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Opportunities in Multi-University Collaborative Research

Wednesday 3 July: Conference day one, 4:30pm – 5:30pm parallel symposium



Room 4 – 303-G16, Sem



Dr Misty M. Kirby
Charles Sturt University, Australia

Dr Christine Slade
University of Queensland, Australia

 Terri Downer
University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia



Opportunities in Multi-University Collaborative Research is an examination of an unfunded research collaboration across seven universities in an area previously unexplored by the literature on privacy, consent and confidentiality of secondary use of data from vulnerable populations (i.e. children and medical patients) in ePortfolios. 

We are a multi-disciplinary community of practice in Health and Education across nine universities on two continents and we have recently completed a research project in which we have already published a scoping review of the literature in the International Journal of ePortfolio. Our work has been featured at conferences in the UK, as well as Australia. The Guidelines for ePortfolio practice, an outcome of our research, will be put out for public comment in August and then revised based on feedback from peak bodies and other stakeholders.  These Guidelines will be adopted by a local health authority, as well as the national accrediting body for Occupational Therapy.

We will discuss the life cycle of our group, which emerged virtually out of a 2014 discussion that a few in the group had at the ePortfolios Australia Forum at UWA in Perth. We will also discuss how our collaboration has worked, having taken on the recommendations for research collaborations from Wong and colleagues (2014).


Target Audience

We are targeting academic staff, as well as supporting staff (e.g. educational designers) in a discussion of our collaboration. In addition, we would encourage participation by middle to upper management (e.g. LMS managers, Associate Deans of Research, etc.) of higher education institutions to discuss our perspective on how to better support these multi-university, multi-disciplinary research projects aimed at solving problems that arise in our teaching.


Intended Outcomes for Participants

  1. Increased awareness of collaborative research groups solving the problems of practice, and
  2. Inspiration to look to other colleagues across disciplines and/or universities to help solve the problems of practice.


Outline of Discussion Format

  • Ten minute discussion of our collaboration’s experiences: Processes, pitfalls and epiphanies
  • Why establish multi-institutional research partnerships?
  • How can groups establish group membership and norms and values?
  • What could go wrong? (discussion around facilitative structures and resources)
  • How can we support colleagues in these collaborative research ventures?



Brown Wilson, C., Slade, C., Kirby, M., Downer, T., Fisher, M., & Nuessler, S. (2018). Digital Ethics and the Use of ePortfolio: A Scoping Review of the Literature. International Journal of ePortfolio, 8(2),115-125.
Wong, S., Murray, E., Rivalland, C., Monk, H., Piazza-McFarland, L., & Daniel, G. (2014). Relationships matter: Some benefits, challenges and tensions associated with forming a collaborative educational researcher group. The Australian Association for Research in Education, 41, 243-259.


Presentation topic


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