Our team and programs

The Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning (CRADLE) aims to become an Australian and international assessment research leader in an increasingly digitally-connected world. 

Our team consists of academics with wide-ranging research interests and expertise in the areas of assessment in higher education. We're complimented by a competitive fellowship program of visiting academics, honorary and adjunct professor appointments, and doctoral students.


Professor David Boud

Associate Director
Associate Professor Phillip Dawson

Associate Professor, Research
Associate Professor Margaret Bearman

Senior Research Fellow
Dr Rola Ajjawi

Research Fellow
Dr Joanna Tai

Research Manager
Dr Helen Walker

Associate Research Fellow
Paige Mahoney

CRADLE Fellowship Scheme


The objectives of the CRADLE Fellowship Scheme are to attract internal applicants to:

  • foster the development of relevant research expertise
  • enhance CRADLE’s research capacity and performance
  • support excellent practice in assessment and digital learning at Deakin.

Fellows are given access to our facilities and researchers, and are financially supported to develop both their individual and faculty's research profile. For example, the funding can be utilised for:

  • direct costs associated with research, such as salaries of research assistants
  • research dissemination at national or international conferences
  • professional development, such as methodological training.

Benefits of the CRADLE Fellowship Scheme include:

  • gaining worldwide recognition as being part of an international research centre in assessment in higher education
  • interacting with eminent researchers from overseas, with opportunities for collective research partnerships
  • mentoring and financial support for research.

For further information:
Download the Fellowship guidelines

Fellowship Appointments

Dr Bryony Mcneill
School of Medicine, Faculty of Health
Dr Kate Anderson
School of Health & Social Development, Faculty of Health
Dr Jaclyn Broadbent
School of Psychology, Faculty of Health 
Dr Matthew Dunn
School of Health and Social Development, Faculty of Health 
Associate Professor Wendy Sutherland-Smith
School of Psychology, Faculty of Health 
Dr Bhavani Sridharan
Learning Innovations, Faculty of Business and Law

Complete the online application form

Visiting Academics Program


CRADLE has identified the need to be a renowned leader in collaborative research and education in assessment and digital learning. Honorary and adjunct appointments aim to promote the centre's leadership by facilitating these partnerships.

Appointees to honorary and adjunct positions are selected based on their ability to contribute positively to our objectives, values and culture, with the express purpose of working collaboratively with our researchers to internationally expand and facilitate our research.

These appointments maximise academic and professional talent in the broader assessment and digital learning research community. As a result, we acknowledge their extensive contribution to research and professional leadership.

Honorary Professor: Professor Dirk Ifenthaler

Professor Dirk Ifenthaler was CRADLE's first Adjunct Professor, commencing in April 2015, and was reappointed as an Honorary Professor in 2018. He is Chair of Economic and Business Education and Learning, Design and Technology at the University of Mannheim, Germany and is an Affiliate Research Scholar at the University of Oklahoma in the US.

Professor Ifenthaler is currently working on joint collaborative research activities with CRADLE researchers. His research explores the intersections between cognitive psychology, educational technology, learning science, data analytics, and computer science. His research outcomes are numerous and include co-authored books, book series, book chapters, peer-reviewed journal articles and international conference papers.

Professor Ifenthaler has also been successful in gaining research funding in Australia, Germany and the US. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Technology, Knowledge and Learning.

Honorary Professor: Dr Gordon Joughin

Dr Gordon Joughin joined CRADLE as an Honorary Professor in June 2016. He is a higher education consultant working with CRADLE on decision-making in assessment.

In April, Dr Joughin delivered a seminar on assessment design as part of the CRADLE Seminar Series. He was also an integral member of the CRADLE International Symposium in October 2016.

Dr Joughin is a former Director of the Teaching and Educational Development Institute (TEDI) at the University of Queensland. He has published extensively on assessment and learning in higher education, including editing Assessment, Learning and Judgement (Springer, 2009)His current research considers decision-making theory in assessment design and the nature of spoken work in oral assessment.

Dr Joughin also completed a 12-month consultancy with CRADLE between June 2015–May 2016, producing collaborative research papers that have recently been published.

Honorary Professor: Professor David Carless

Professor David Carless was appointed CRADLE Honorary Professor in March 2016. He is Professor of Educational Assessment and Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) in the Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong. 

Professor Carless recently participated in the CRADLE International Symposium in October 2016 both as a presenter and Panel Member, and continues to work on collaborative research activities with CRADLE researchers.

A decorated teacher and researcher, Professor Carless has authored and co-edited several books. He has also published over 30 peer-reviewed journal articles. His current research explores learning-oriented assessment in higher education; productive assessment task design; using exemplars to illustrate the nature of quality work; and promoting student engagement with feedback. He currently sits on the editorial boards of five journals, including two SSCI journals: Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education and Innovations in Education and Teaching International.

Honorary Professor: Dr Ernesto Panadero

An outstanding researcher, Dr Ernesto Panadero was CRADLE's first Honorary Professor, appointed in January 2016. He was hosted under the Visiting Academics program in September and October of 2016 resulting in substantial collaborative output activity. Dr Panadero also participated in the CRADLE International Symposium in October 2016 both as a presenter and Panel Member. 

Dr. Panadero is funded at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid through the Ramón y Cajal Excellence Program for Research – a national program more competitive than an ARC DECRA.

Dr Panadero has an excellent publication record, including well-regarded English and Spanish journals, book chapters, and international conference papers. He has undertaken funded stays at a broad range of international institutions, including the University of Missouri (US), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), the University of Vienna (Austria), and Kristianstad University (Sweden). He is also the convenor of the Special Interest Group 1 of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI), which is the major international research association for assessment.

Dr Panadero's research interests include:

  • Assessment – classroom assessment, formative assessment, and assessment for learning.
  • Self-assessment – cognitive, motivational, and emotional aspects.
  • Peer assessment – accuracy and interpersonal variables. 
  • Self-regulated and socially shared regulated learning – collaborative learning and CSCL.

Honorary Professor: Professor Sue Bennett

Professor Sue Bennett was appointed as a CRADLE Honorary Professor in June 2018. She is the Head of the University of Wollongong's School of Education.

Professor Bennett has participated in two CRADLE international symposia, in 2016 and 2017, as both a panel member and presenter. She continues to work on collaborative research activities with CRADLE researchers, including the Stories of Failure and Persistence in Higher Education project with Dr Rola Ajjawi and Professor David Boud.

An internationally recognised researcher, Professor Bennett has published over 100 refereed journal articles, conference papers and scholarly book chapters. Her research investigates how people engage with technology in their everyday lives and in educational settings. Professor Bennett's current research interests include: learning design for supporting teachers' educational design practices; sociological perspectives on educational technology, investigating young people's creative practices with technology; and functional brain imaging and multimedia based problem solving.

Honorary Research Fellow: Dr Edd Pitt

Dr Edd Pitt was appointed Honorary Research Fellow in March 2018. He is Programme Director for the Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education and Senior Lecturer in Higher Education and Academic Practice in the Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Kent.

Dr Pitt has participated in two CRADLE international symposia, in 2016 and 2017, as both a presenter and panel member. He delivered a seminar on the effects of emotional backwash in feedback situations as part of CRADLE’s Seminar Series, and continues to work on collaborative research activities with CRADLE researchers.

Dr Pitt’s principle research field is assessment and feedback, with a particular focus on students’ emotional processing during feedback situations. His research outcomes include peer-reviewed journal articles, international conference papers, and book chapters.

Doctoral program


CRADLE links with other initiatives in the Faculty of Arts and Education, and will build key components of a doctoral program in its specialist area. Over time we will develop an international network of research students working on assessment and learning, and will provide mutual support and interaction and joint supervision internationally. We also collaborate with Deakin faculties in integrating doctoral students in programs in cognate areas of the university.

Susie MacFarlane

PhD topic
Susie MacFarlane is undertaking her PhD investigating higher education students’ teamwork and collaboration, supervised by Professor David Boud and Dr Rola Ajjawi. She also conducts research in assessment feedback, educational technologies and multimedia, and social inclusion.

Susie is a Senior Lecturer and researcher working with the Deakin Learning Futures Health Pod team, undertaking capacity building and organisational change projects at Deakin University. She is thrilled to be working with committed and passionate colleagues in the higher education sector working to enhance the student experience, and is particularly interested in understanding systems and approaches that promote both educators’ and students’ agency and intrinsic motivation.

Bachelor of Science (Hons), Monash University
Graduate Certificate of Higher Education, Deakin University

Darci Taylor

PhD topic
Darci Taylor is undertaking her PhD investigating how higher education students conceptualise personal goals in the context of their placement learning experience. Darci also conducts research in staff-student partnerships and the changing nature of the higher education workforce. Darci is supervised by Professor David Boud and Associate Professor Phillip Dawson.

Darci has spent the last 15 years working in higher education in a variety of roles that have seen her develop her research, learning and teaching, management and leadership capabilities – positioning herself as a ‘third space’ individual able to meet the changing demands of a contemporary higher education sector. She is currently a Lecturer in the Deakin Learning Futures Health Pod with key responsibilities in curriculum development, online learning design and strategic project implementation.

Bachelor of Arts/Science (Hons), University of Melbourne
Graduate Diploma of Education (Secondary), Monash University
Graduate Certificate of Higher Education, Monash University

Andrew Eyers

PhD topic
Andrew Eyers' research explores how literacy-based relational assessment may develop student’s pedagogical capabilities in initial teacher education. This study is interrogating an assessment procedure that measures a relationship between a pre-service teacher and a school student with whom they have worked. The use of a text, a ‘thank you’ note used in the teacher student relationship, has been shown to capture multiple audiences and assessment purposes. The possibilities and opportunities of this technique and practice are yet to be explored! Andrew’s direct supervisor is Associate Professor Phillip Dawson.

Andrew was a primary school teacher for the best part of 20 years. His recent career has been in the initial teacher education field working mainly in literacy related teaching units, or briefly stated, teaching aspirant teachers how to teach English! In what now amounts to 10 years of experience in higher education, he is immersed in the tensions surrounding assessment and higher education.

Sarah Lambert

PhD Topic
Sarah’s PhD research explores how open education programs (including use of open technologies) are used to support the access, progress and success of students from various equity groups who typically struggle or are excluded from higher education. Sarah’s supervisor team includes Professor David Boud (primary), Associate Professor Phillip Dawson and Dr Nadine Zacharias, Equity Fellow, from the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE).

Sarah’s research builds on 16 years practice in technology-enhanced learning within higher education settings. Motivated by equity and social justice concerns, her most recent work has developed MOOCs and open education programs bringing accessible information to a wide international audience including: science-based medical information about our most common medical problems; lessons to support stressed maths learners transitioning to higher education; and digital literacies training as preparation for online study in higher education. Sarah also provides consultancy on the strategic development of distance education (online) programs.

Cedomir (Chad) Gladovic

Master of Education (Research) topic
Chad’s research explores the significance of the concept of evaluative judgement in its ability to transform learners into professionals. Chad is supervised by Associate Professor Phillip Dawson and Dr Joanna Tai.

Chad is a senior academic in the Built Environment Degree Programs Department at Holmesglen Institute. He has a strong interest in student-centred education including curriculum, delivery and assessment design. He strongly believes that educational experiences can be transformational for students. He is also interested in educational technology and the integration of online delivery with curriculum and pedagogical objectives.

Bachelor of Applied Science (Built Environment), Holmesglen Institute
Bachelor of Construction Management and Economics, Holmesglen Institute
Master of Facility Management, Deakin University

Lasse Jensen

PhD topic
Lasse Jensen is enrolled as part of a joint PhD collaboration between Deakin University and the University of Copenhagen. In his PhD project Lasse investigates what students do when they participate in online courses, in particular the actions they take in relation to dialogic assessment feedback. At CRADLE he is supervised by Associate Professor Margaret Bearman and Professor David Boud.

Since 2008 Lasse has been working in the higher education sector, mostly within education strategy, educational technologies, and communications. Previous projects have focused on MOOCs and open education, public/global health education, international humanitarian education, and the use of virtual reality technologies in education and training.

Master of Disaster Management, University of Copenhagen
Master of Arts in Cognitive Semiotics, Aarhus University
Bachelor of Arts in Information Studies, Aarhus University

Rebecca Awdry

PhD topic
Rebecca Awdry is undertaking her PhD on the top of assignment outsourcing, including assignment bidding sites, bespoke essay mill services, peer-to-peer sharing sites and obtaining work from others. She is exploring the applicability of criminological theories of deviance to contract cheating in higher education. Rebecca is conducting an international research component to establish whether there are differences in outsourcing behaviours across different languages. Associate Professor Phillip Dawson and Associate Professor Wendy Sutherland-Smith are supervising the work.

Rebecca has spent thirteen years working within higher education in Wales, England, Oman and Australia. Her roles have focused on the areas of improving academic quality, academic policy and governance, teaching and learning practices, and learning analytics.

NVQ in Management, Level 5, National Centre for Business UK
BScEcon (Hons) in Sociology and Criminology, 2.1, Cardiff University UK
MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice, Distinction, Cardiff University UK

Abbas Mehrabi

PhD topic
Abbas Mehrabi’s PhD research explores sustainable assessment practices in first-year academic writing contexts, particularly assessment and feedback practices that assist first-year undergraduates not only to adjust to their new academic setting but also to develop lifelong learning behaviours. He is particularly interested in understanding the interplay between assessment, learning and teaching approaches towards academic writing in the first-year curriculum within a discipline-specific framework. Abbas is supervised by Dr Rola Ajjawi and Professor David Boud.

Abbas has an Education background with over seven years’ experience in teaching and research activities, centring mainly on theoretical and practical issues in second language teaching. Prior to commencing his PhD journey, he was a research fellow at the Language Research Centre in Isfahan, Iran, where he conducted a number of research projects which resulted in published papers and conference presentations. Abbas also taught academic writing to senior undergraduates at Isfahan University, Iran, for four years.