Engagement in socio constructivist online learning to support personalisation and borderless education


  • Dawn Morley University of Surrey
  • Helen Carmichael University of Surrey


Increasingly, higher education is tasked with designing online courses that fulfil the twin purposes of scalability and personalisation. In response to market pressures, a traditionally taught masters at a UK university undertook its first online module. Influenced by existing evidence around creating a positive online learning environment through pertinent course structure and pedagogy, the new online module followed socio-constructivist principles and was then evaluated through a mixed method research study. By dividing the teaching team between ‘academic experts’ and ‘pedagogic coordinators’ students drew on the expertise of active researchers through their published work, a podcast and an asynchronous discussion forum. Students’ reflections on iterative fortnightly research themes were moderated in a second discussion forum by the pedagogic coordinators but was highly influenced by the strength of the peer support and review that was designed into the course. Recommendations are offered on how the personalisation and borderless provision of a socio constructivist design can be implemented in an online format.


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Author Biographies

Dawn Morley, University of Surrey

Dawn Morley now works as a post doctorate researcher at Solent University focusing on the research and application of real-world learning pedagogy.

Twitter: @morleydawn1

personal blog: https://workbasedlearninggain.wordpress.com/


Helen Carmichael, University of Surrey

Helen Carmichael now works as Principal Teaching Fellow, Director of Programmes and Deputy Director, Centre for Higher Education Practice at the University of Southampton leading on institutional projects to enhance the student experience

Twitter: @helencarm




How to Cite

Morley, D., & Carmichael, H. (2020). Engagement in socio constructivist online learning to support personalisation and borderless education. Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal, 3(1), 115–132. Retrieved from https://sehej.raise-network.com/raise/article/view/1004