Researching the MSc – we need your help!

We’d like to invite all students to contribute to a research project – based in the MSc in E-learning programme – which will try to find answers to the question, ‘what does it mean to be a student at Edinburgh who is not in Edinburgh?’. The project starts from the position that physical location is differently, not less, important when students are distanced from their home institution. In digital environments, to be distant no longer needs to imply isolation, but the nature of community and place needs to be fundamentally re-thought for those of us who study and teach online.

If you would like to be a part of this exciting project, we’d like to invite you to take part in an interview:

1. We’d like to interview around 20-30 students, and to hear the story of your ‘arrival’ at Edinburgh (understanding that ‘arrival’ means something quite different when working online!

2. We’d like all interviewees to contribute, if willing, an image of some kind to go alongside your narrative, and which encapsulates something of how you understand your ‘place’ – your geography – as a distance learner.

Later, we’ll be introducing some different, ‘lighter touch’ ways of taking part – by sending us electronic postcards, and by tweeting. But in the first instance, if you would be willing to consider being a full interviewee, please contact Michael Gallagher, who is one of the research associates on the project – you can reach Michael at:

The full project team consists of James Lamb (current MSc in E-learning student), Michael Gallagher (who graduated last year) as research associates. The rest of the research team are Sian Bayne (PI), Hamish Macleod, Jen Ross and Clara O’Shea.

It would be great if you could volunteer to take part in this project and help us understand better how distance programmes can be designed to take account of the unique geographies of our learners. See our project web site for more details of the project:

If you want to know more about the project generally, please drop Sian a line –