University professor wins top prize for research

Professor John TraxlerJohn Traxler, the University’s Professor of Mobile Learning, was given the £500 award for his contribution to a project which aims to examine the ethical issues of conducting online research across the globe.

The project has been set up by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Council – a Government agency which funds scientific research.

The aim of the work– headed up by the University of Oxford - is to look at the problems encountered when universities and other institutions in the western world conduct online research and work in the global south, often making broad ethical assumptions when they do so.

To assist the project, Professor Traxler wrote an essay where he compared this situation to adults going online and trying to communicating with youngsters.

He said: “I was really pleased to have won the prize, it was quite unexpected.

“The point I made was that universities, colleges and schools in the developed world are increasingly drawn to using social media, mobile phones and other popular digital technologies to deliver education in their countries.

“Likewise ministries, donors, agencies and foundations in the developed world are increasingly drawn to using exactly the same technologies to deliver their educational objectives in the developing world.

“In both cases and in very similar ways, these organisations and institutions are intervening in communities that fundamentally they don't understand, where expectations and standards, for example about what's appropriate, acceptable,  allowable in interaction, language, behaviour are very different from those of the professionals, the bureaucrats, the elites that run these institutions and organisations.”

ENDS

For more information please contact Chris Jones in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322736

Date Issued: Monday 9 September 2013

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