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As Director of Teaching and Learning, Dr James McDowell provides strategic leadership in the coordination of teaching and learning activities across the five subject areas offering taught courses within the School of Computing and Engineering. An internationally recognised award-winning researcher-practitioner in the field of technology-enhanced learning, James also leads on the integration of both pedagogic and technological innovation in teaching and learning within the School, and on the promotion and dissemination of pedagogical research. Through his work as Chair of the Teaching and Learning Committee, he is responsible for the implementation and evaluation of the University’s Teaching and Learning Strategy within the School, while as Chair of the School Accreditation and Validation Panel, James oversees the validation of both undergraduate and postgraduate taught provision, ensuring compliance with institutional and external quality assurance requirements.
Since graduating with a first degree in Philosophy, James has completed postgraduate qualifications in four areas, first receiving Masters degrees in both Philosophy (MA) and in Information Technology (MSc), and then a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice, before gaining his PhD from Lancaster University in the field of technology-enhanced learning for a thesis entitled: “An investigation of the influence of asynchronous video on the learner experience of assessment and feedback”. Prior to joining the University of Huddersfield, James held posts at the University of Bradford, first in European Research and Training Centre on Environmental Education in the Department of Environmental Science, and later in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. At Huddersfield, Dr McDowell has worked as a Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer prior to gaining promotion to University Teaching Fellow (cf. Reader in Teaching and Learning), and then to Director of Teaching and Learning.
In addition to a broad portfolio of teaching for which he was named Winner in the Excellence in Assessment and Feedback category of the institutional Thank You Awards, Dr McDowell has a successful record in supervision of postgraduate research around technology-enhanced learning, and has overseen research into areas including the use of mobile communications technologies to aid spatial orientation for visual impairment, games-based learning to overcome sensory issues for children affected by autistic spectrum conditions, and the development of input/output devices to complement the use of brain-computer interface in virtual environments.
A Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), and a Certified Member of the Association for Learning Technology (CMALT), James is a member of the ALT Membership Development Committee and a Lead Assessor for the Association’s CMALT professional recognition scheme. He is currently leading a University-wide mentoring scheme supporting colleagues in academic, academic-related and technical roles work towards CMALT accreditation.
James’ research interests cover areas including technology-enhanced learning, mobile learning, video-enhanced assessment and feedback, technology and inclusivity, immersive environments and the brain-computer interface.
In the area of technology-enhanced learning, James’ research has explored the influence of asynchronous video in the assessment and feedback process in the HE sector, with an emphasis on leveraging video to promote greater inclusivity for students affected by dyslexia and Asperger’s Syndrome.
James is project Leader for:
Chrysikos, A., McDowell, J. and Ward, R. (2016) ‘Cloud Services in UK Higher Education: A Feasibility Study for providing IaaS in the Computing and Library Services of a UK university’. In: Cloud-Based STEM Education for Improved Learning Outcomes. : IGI Global. pp. 377-402.
McDowell, J (2015) ‘A Black Swan in a Sea of White Noise: Using Technology-Enhanced Learning to Afford Educational Inclusivity for Learners with Aspergers Syndrome’ Social Inclusion , 3 (6), pp. 7-15. ISSN 2183-2803
McDowell, J (2015) ‘Design-based research as a methodological approach to support participatory engagement of learners in the development of learning technologies’. In: ALT Annual Conference 2015 Shaping the Future of Learning Together, 8th - 10th September 2015, University of Manchester
McDowell, J (2015) ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?: A Case Study of the Influence of Voting Technologies on Undergraduate Learners' Confidence in Self- and Peer-Assessment’. In: Inspire Conference 2015, 14 January 2015, School of Education and Professional Development, University of Huddersfield, UK
McDowell, J. and Catterall, S. (2014) ‘Using Asynchronous Video to Enhance Engagement with Learning, Assessment and Feedback for Learners Affected by Dyslexia’ Proceedings of the Second International Conference on the Use of New Technologies for Inclusive Learning .
McDowell, J (2014) ‘Using video feedback in formative assessments’. In: Supersizing it: innovative approaches to teaching, assessing and feeding back to large Engineering and Computing classes, 21st February 2014, University of Derby, UK
McDowell, J., Raistrick, A. and Merrington, J. (2013) ‘Enhancing institutional practice through CMALT accreditation’. In: ALT-C 2013 - Building new cultures of learning, 10th - 12th September 2013, University of Nottingham, UK
McDowell, J., Allan, R. and Evans, C. (2012) ‘Effecting institutional change through the cultivation of a community of practice on video-enhanced assessment and feedback’. In: ALT-C 2012 a confrontation with reality, 11th - 13th September 2012, Manchester University, UK
McDowell, J (2012) ‘VELOCITy: Video Enhanced Learning Opportunities in Computing and Information Technology’. In: British Educational Research Association Conference, 4-6 September 2012, University of Manchester, UK
McDowell, J (2012) ‘An Integrated Strategy for Video-Enhanced Learning, Assessment and Feedback’. In: The Learning and Teaching Institute Knowledge Exchange. Hertfordshire, UK: University of Hertfordshire. .
McDowell, J (2012) ‘ReVERiFy: Cultivating a community of practice on video-enhanced assessment and feedback’. In: Solstice & CLTR Conference, 13th - 14th June 2012, Edge Hill University, Lancashire
McDowell, J (2012) ‘An Holistic Approach to Video-Enhancement of Learning, Feedback and Assessment in Computing and Information Technology’. In: Solstice & CLTR Conference, 13th - 14th June 2012, Edge Hill University, Lancashire
McDowell, J (2012) ‘Cultivating a viral community of practice to drive institutional enhancement through the promotion of video-enhanced learning, feedback and assessment’. In: Proceedings of the 7th International Blended Learning Conference. Hertfordshire, UK: University of Hertfordshire. pp. 64-70.
McDowell, J (2012) ‘VELOCITy: Video Enhanced Learning Opportunities in Computing and Information Technology’. In: Second Conference on Active and Interactive Learning, 30th March 2012, University of Bradford, UK
McDowell, J (2011) ‘Enhancing Assessment and Feedback using Asynchronous Video and Mobile Technologies’. In: University of Huddersfield Annual Learning and Teaching Conference 2011, 9th September 2011, University of Huddersfield
McDowell, J (2011) ‘Using Asynchronous Video Technologies to Enhance Learner Engagement with Formative Feedback’. In: ALT-C 2011: Thriving in a colder and more challenging climate, 6th-8th September 2011, University of Leeds
McDowell, J (2011) ‘Using Asynchronous Video to Promote Learner Engagement through the Enhancement of Assessment and Feedback’. In: 6th International Blended Learning Conference, 15th-16th June 2011, University of Hertfordshire
McDowell, J (2011) ‘Vineyard: Using an e-portfolio system to facilitate the development of learner generated video-vignettes’. In: SOLSTICE & CLTR Conference 2011, 8th-9th June 2011, Edge Hill University, London
McDowell, J (2011) ‘How pedagogical research can enhance teaching and learning: one academics personal account’. In: Paper presentations of the 2010 University of Huddersfield Annual Learning and Teaching Conference. Huddersfield: University of Huddersfield. pp. 57-64.
McDowell, J (2010) ‘Using Video Tutorials as a Focus to Assist the Formation of a Blended Learning Community’. In: Active and Interactive Learning Sharing Best Practices, 17th November 2010, University of Huddersfield
McDowell, J (2010) ‘An investigation into the social and educational affordances of computer mediated communications experienced by students with Asperger's Syndrome participating in group work’. In: SOLSTICE Technology Enhanced Learning Conference, 3rd June 2010, Edge Hill University, London
McDowell, J. and Austin, D. (2010) ‘An investigation into the use of learning technology tools to offer opportunities for learners with Aspergers Syndrome in higher education to participate in group work’. In: Addressing Autism and Asperger's Syndrome, Friday 21st May 2010, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk
McDowell, J (2010) ‘Anarchy in the Universities: Beyond the Student-Teacher Hierarchy’. In: Learning Futures Festival 2010, 7th-14th January 2010, University of Leicester
James is a reviewer for a range of journals in the field of technology-enhanced learning, including Research in Learning Technology, the Journal for Learning Development in Higher Education, and the International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies.
Outside the University, James holds external examiner positions both with Lancaster University, for their Computing courses at the University Centre, Blackburn College, and at the University of Greenwich, while also contributing to the work of the Association for Learning Technology. A CMALT Lead Assessor, James has examined a range of CMALT portfolios, and is a member of the ALT Membership Development Committee, where he contributes to the committee’s Research sub-theme. James is also an Associate Member of Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning at Lancaster University.
I have supervised three successful research degree completions, and am available to supervise PhD work broadly in the field of technology-enhanced learning. I am particularly interested in receiving research proposals for doctoral work in the areas of video-enhanced learning, assessment and feedback, games-based learning, the brain-computer interface and hands-free computing, and all aspects of using technology to promote inclusivity for students in higher education affected by dyslexia or Asperger’s Syndrome.