Dr Robert Ellis

Associate Professor
Director of eLearning, Learning Space

Research Interests

Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

  • Student and teacher experiences of learning and teaching at University
  • Academic Literacy

Learning Technologies

  • Student and teacher perspectives on learning technologies
  • Associations between learning technologies and Campus Planning

Professional Biography

Robert is an Associate Professor of Education at the University of Sydney. Since 2004, he has worked as the Director of eLearning in the University’s Education Portfolio. Key amongst his responsibilities is managing Sydney eLearning and the University’s strategic development in this area. More recently, his area of oversight has grown to include all the University’s shared learning space, both physical and virtual. Previously, Robert has held teaching, researching and managerial positions at the University of New South Wales, the University of Western Sydney.

Robert has been Chief Investigator on Australian Research Council Projects into University learning and teaching since 2005. His other responsibilities involve managing some of the University’s alliances with international universities such as the United Nations University Tokyo, University College London and Imperial College London.

Robert has a PhD, Masters of Arts and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney, and a Masters of Education from the University of New South Wales.

Current Projects

  • 2009-11: Learning through inquiry in higher education (ARC-funded project with Peter Goodyear & Mike Prosser)
  • 2008-12: Student experiences of learning across the Asia Pacific (Inter-University Project with the United Nations University, Tokyo).

Past Projects

  • 2006-2009: Blended learning in schools, TAFE and universities: experience, principles, patterns and practices (ARC-funded projects with Peter Goodyear, Mike Prosser and NSW Dept for Education & Training)
  • 2005-2007: Learning through discussions at University (ARC-funded project with Peter Goodyear and Michael Prosser)

Books and Journal Articles since 2004


Ellis, R.A. and Goodyear, P. (2010) Student experiences of e-learning in higher education: the ecology of sustainable innovation. London: RoutledgeFalmer.

Ravelli, L. J. and Ellis, R. A. (Eds.) (2004). Analysing Academic Writing: Contextualised Frameworks. London: Continuum.

Journal Articles

Matthew, S., Taylor, R.M. and Ellis, R. (2010). Students’ experiences of clinic-based learning during a final year veterinary internship programme. Higher Education Research and Development, 29, 4.

Bliuc, A., Ellis, R.A., Goodyear, P., Piggott, L. (2010) Learning through face-to-face and on-line discussions: associations between students’ conceptions, approaches and academic performance in political science. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41, 3, 512-524.

Ellis, R.A., Ginns, P. and Piggott, L. (2009) eLearning in higher education: some key aspects and their relationship to approaches to study. Higher Education Research and Development, 28, 3, 303-318.

Ginns, P. and Ellis, R. A. (2009). Evaluating the quality of e-learning at the degree level in the student experience of blended learning. British Journal of Educational Technology. 40., 4 652–663.

Patron, L. Ellis, R.A. and Barrett, B. (2008) University teacher approaches to design and teaching of case studies using ICTs: virtual ‘Field Trips’. PROSPECTS, journal of comparative education, 38 4, 527- 539.

Ellis, R.A., Bell, A. and Freeman, M. (2008) Referencing as evidence of student scholarliness and academic readiness. Australia and New Zealand Journal of Law and Education, 13, 1, 83-98.

Ellis, R.A., Goodyear, P., Brillant, M. and Prosser, M. (2008) Student experiences of PBL in pharmacy: face-to-face and on-line approaches. Advances in Health Sciences Education. 13, 5, 675-687.

Ellis, R. A., Hughes, J., Weyers, M. and Riding, P. (2008) University teacher approaches to design and teaching and concepts of learning technologies of blended design. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25, 109-117.

Goodyear, P. and Ellis, R.A. (2008). University students’ approaches to learning: re-thinking the place of technology. Distance Education, 29, 2, 141-152.

Ellis, R.A., Goodyear, P., Calvo, R. and Prosser, M. (2008) Engineering students’ experiences of learning through discussions in face-to-face and on-line contexts. Learning and Instruction. 18, 267-282.

Ellis, R.A. Jarkey, N., Mahony, M.J., Peat, M., Sheely, S. (2007) Managing quality improvement and review of eLearning in a large, comprehensive, campus-based university. Quality Assurance in Education. 15, 1, 9-23.

Ellis, R.A., Goodyear, P., O’Hara, A. Prosser, M. (2007). The university student experience of face-to-face and on-line discussions: coherence, reflection and meaning. Association for Learning Technology Journal. 15, 1, 83-97.

Ellis, R.A., and Calvo, R. A. (2007). Necessary but insufficient indicators to assure the quality of learning supported by learning management systems. Educational Technology and Society. 10, 2, 60-70.

Ginns, P., and Ellis, R. A. (2007). Exploring relations Between On-line and Face-to-face Teaching and Learning. The Internet and Higher Education. 10, 1, 53-64.

Ellis, R. A., Taylor, C. and Drury, H. (2007). Learning science through writing –associations with prior conceptions of writing and perceptions of a writing program. Higher Education Research and Development. 26, 3, 297-311.

Calvo, R.A. Carroll, N. and Ellis, R. A. (2007) Curriculum central: A portal system for the academic enterprise. International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning. 17, 1, 41-56.

Bliuc, A., Goodyear, P. and Ellis, R.A., (2007) Research Focus and Methodological Choices in Studies into Students' Experiences of Blended Learning in Higher Education. The Internet and Higher Education, 15, 4, 231-244.

Ellis, R.A., and Calvo, R. A. (2006). Discontinuities in university student experiences of learning through discussions. British Journal of Educational Technology. 37, 1, 55-68.

Ellis, R. A., Taylor, C. and Drury, H. (2006). University student conceptions of learning through writing. Australian Journal of Education. 50, 1, 6-28.

Ellis, R. A. (2006) Investigating the quality of student approaches to using technology in experiences of learning through writing. Computers and Education. 46, 4, 371-390.

Ellis, R. A. and Moore, R. (2006). Learning through benchmarking: developing a relational, prospective approach to benchmarking ICT in learning and teaching. Higher Education. 51, 351-371.

Ellis, R.A., Goodyear, P., Prosser, M., O’Hara, A. (2006) How and what university students learn through online and face-to-face discussions: conceptions, intentions and approaches. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. 22, 244–256.

Ellis, R. A. Steed., A and Applebee, A. (2006). Teacher conceptions of blended learning, blended teaching and associations with approaches to design. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology. 22, 3, 312-335.

Ellis, R.A., Marcus, G., and Taylor, R. (2005). Learning through inquiry: student difficulties with on-line case-based material. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 21, 239–252

Ellis, R. A., Taylor, C. and Drury, H. (2005). Evaluating writing instruction through an investigation of students’ experiences of learning through writing. Instructional Science, 33, 49–71.

Ellis, R. A. (2004) Student approaches to learning science through writing.International Journal of Science Education, 26, 15, 1835-1854.

Ellis, R.A., Calvo, R.A., Levy, D., Tan, K. (2004). Learning through discussions. Higher Education Research and Development, 23, 1, 73-93.

Ellis, R. A. and Calvo, R. A. (2004) Learning through Discussions in Blended Environments. Educational Media International, 40, 1, 263-274.

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