Our team and programs

The Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning (CRADLE) is 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 complemented by a competitive fellowship program, local and international visiting academics, honorary appointments, and doctoral students.


Alfred Deakin Professor David Boud

Associate Director
Associate Professor Phillip Dawson

Professor, Research
Professor Margaret Bearman

Associate Professor in Educational Research
Associate Professor Rola Ajjawi

Senior Research Fellow
Dr Joanna Tai

Research Fellow
Dr Brandi Fox

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
  • promote research collaboration between CRADLE and its fellows.

Fellows are given access to our researchers and facilities at Deakin Downtown, 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:

  • becoming widely recognised within Australia and worldwide as part of an international research centre in assessment and digital learning 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 (PDF, 453KB)

Applying for a fellowship

Types of applicants
The scheme is only available to individual applicants on a continuing or fixed-term position at Deakin as an academic staff member with more than two years remaining on their contract. In relation to prospective applicants who have a fractional appointment, approval from a direct manager to spend an equivalent of one day per week on the fellowship is required.

We welcome applications from educational research novices, however, a successful fellowship requires substantial engagement with the literature in assessment/feedback in higher education. Demonstrating this is critical to the success of the application and prior publication is one of the ways that can demonstrate an understanding of this type of literature.

The fellowship is awarded to individuals with the purpose of the fellowship to build an individual’s education research capacity in assessment. If successful, the monies may be used to fund a team research project(s).

Applicants are not permitted to apply for the fellowship more than once every 12 months.

Focus of the scheme
This fellowship is about educational research, not educational practice. If an application concerns introducing a new assessment design into a teaching program, this is generally not the type of application we find to be successful as it does not align with the focus of this scheme. Research using an assessment tool an applicant has developed is within scope.

Project research themes
Our three broad and intersecting research themes are:

  • assessing for learning
  • learning in a digital world
  • learning through, and for, work.

Our current programs of research are:

  • academic progress and integrity
  • assessment design (including self/peer, authentic and programmatic)
  • feedback and feedback literacy
  • developing evaluative judgement
  • assessment in a digital world
  • digital identities
  • quality and standards.

We are best able to support fellows in one of these programs, however a strong research proposal on a related area, with demonstrated capacity in educational research, is also acceptable.

Types of proposals
We are interested in an idea or concept that:

  • addresses a particular problem
  • is based on a gap in the literature
  • draws from a conceptual/theoretical framework
  • demonstrates a broad understanding of the relevant higher education literature
  • extends the conversation within the education community (i.e. beyond your local context).

Expected involvement from fellows
We expect fellows to participate in CRADLE’s research community, including working with the team at Deakin Downtown. This type of scholarly exchange is designed to enhance both the fellows and CRADLE staff through collaboration.

CRADLE's involvement
CRADLE staff will work with you in a mentorship role. Each fellow is assigned a CRADLE academic partner to work with. The aim of the fellowship is to assist educational researchers to develop their capacities and outputs as researchers. If projects align closely with CRADLE staff research and with consultation with individual staff members they may be research partners and/or grant co-applicants in future projects.

Fellowship appointments

Professor Emerita Beverley Oliver
Honorary CRADLE Fellow 
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 
Dr M. Reza Hosseini
School of Architecture and Built Environment, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment
Dr Shane McIver
School of Health and Social Development, Faculty of Health
Dr Fiona McKay
School of Health and Social Development, Faculty of Health
Dr Bryony McNeill
School of Medicine, Faculty of Health
Associate Professor Darren Palmer
School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Education
Dr Jonathan Robertson
Deakin Business School, Faculty of Business and Law
Associate Professor Wendy Sutherland-Smith
School of Psychology, Faculty of Health

Honorary appointments

Honorary appointments facilitate our local and international partnerships and strengthen our program of collaborative research in assessment and digital learning.

Our appointees are selected based on their ability to contribute positively to our objectives, values and culture, and work collaboratively with our researchers to expand and facilitate our research both nationally and internationally. Honorary appointments recognise an extensive contribution to research and professional leadership in assessment and digital learning

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.

Honorary Research Fellow: Dr Jiming Zhou

Dr Jiming Zhou was appointed Honorary Research Fellow in November 2019. She is a senior lecturer at Fudan University, China, and holds a PhD in education from the University of Hong Kong.

During her year-long stay at CRADLE, Dr Zhou delivered a seminar on Chinese international students’ first year experiences in Australian universities. Her research activities while at CRADLE have already resulted in several publications, and she continues to work on collaborative research activities with CRADLE researchers.

Dr Zhou’s current research interests include assessment and learning, educational innovation, and students’ school-university transition.

Visiting academics


Jiming Zhou
Fudan University

Gordon Joughin

Emma Watton
Lancaster University

Jack Walton
Griffith University

Karen Olave Encina
University of Queensland

Joanne Dargusch

Kate Thomson
University of Sydney

Peter Goodyear
University of Sydney

Naomi Winstone
University of Surrey

Anastasiya Lipnevich
City University of New York


Sue Bennett
University of Woollongong

Lynn Monrouxe
Chang Gung Medical Education Research Centre

Merolee Penman
University of Sydney

Lara Varpio 
Uniformed Services University

Christopher J. Watling
Western University

Jiming Zhou
Fudan University

Yan Zi
Education University of Hong Kong


Sue Bennett
University of Woollongong

Christine Broughan
Coventry University

Christopher Deneen
Nanyang Technological University

Rachelle Esterhazy
University of Oslo

Dragan Gašević 
University of Edinburgh

Yoon Jeon (YJ) Kim
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Rose Luckin
University College London

Adelardo Pardo 
University of Sydney

Edd Pitt
University of Kent

Kate Thomson 
University of Sydney

Jessica To
University of Hong Kong

Qiyun (Judy) Zhu
Guangdong University of Foreign Studies


David Carless
University of Hong Kong

Peter Goodyear
University of Sydney

Gordon Joughin
CRADLE Honorary Professor

Ernesto Panadero
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

Doctoral scholarship opportunities

Scholarship applications are currently closed.


Developing evaluative judgement in university courses
How can learners develop the ability to make judgements about their own learning? How can it be fostered in different contexts? How does it develop over time? – with Professor David Boud

Ensuring feedback influences learning
What strategies and models are effective in enabling comments made by teachers and others to have a positive impact on student’s subsequent work? What types of feedback processes can be effectively incorporated across programs? How can students influence the kinds of feedback most useful for their own learning? – with Professor David Boud

Developing feedback literacy for study, work and life
'Feedback literacy' is the capability to seek out, understand and make use of feedback, as well as making productive use of emotions throughout the process. It's important not just at university, but in life and work in general. But how can we develop feedback literacy in learners, and how can we help learners deploy their feedback literacy? – with Associate Professor Phillip Dawson

Designing assessment to prevent and detect contract cheating
Contract cheating occurs when students pay someone else to do their assignment. Many recommendations have been made about designing assessment that helps prevent or detect contract cheating, however there is very little evidence about what actually works. This project aims to develop and test assessment designs that resist contract cheating – with Associate Professor Phillip Dawson

How medical trainees learn in a data-saturated clinical environment
This PhD project is a joint (cotutelle) project with the University of Copenhagen. This ethnographic investigation examines how and when doctors learn within what are digital and data-saturated environments and considers the differences between Australian and Danish contexts. Candidates should be willing to spend at least six months in Copenhagen during their course of their candidature – with Associate Professor Margaret Bearman and Professor Karl Hoeyer (University of Copenhagen)

Building evaluative judgement in the workplace
Students often have theoretical knowledge but struggle to apply this in workplaces. This PhD project investigates how educators and institutions can build students' evaluative judgement, which is the key capability to judge the work of self and others. It particularly focuses on work-based learning – with Associate Professor Margaret Bearman

The sociomaterial foundations of assessment change
It can be difficult to change assessment practices. This PhD project will trace assessment materials from inception to final use, in the process illuminating the complex teaching and learning interactions which underpin assessment design, delivery and use. This project could have a digital learning focus, if this is of interest – with Associate Professor Margaret Bearman

Feedback and the educational alliance
The relational aspects of feedback are increasingly coming to be recognised as crucial in how learners make sense of and incorporate feedback. This research seeks to extend understandings of the educational alliance by examining it as a construct across different disciplines and learning environments. The research asks what judgements do students make about the credibility, interest and intent of their educators and how do these judgements influence their current and future feedback behaviours – with Associate Professor Rola Ajjawi

Assessment and professional identity formation
Taking part in assessment not only drives students' learning of knowledge, skills and attitudes, but it also shapes their professional identity. This occurs as students take part in authentic practices of the community, engage with standard and criteria and receive feedback on their work. This research asks: How do assessment practices influence students' professional identity formation? – withAssociate Professor Rola Ajjawi

Authentic assessment in WIL
Work-integrated learning is an important contributor to students' employability. Assessment can compromise authentic learning if it doesn’t contribute to both landscapes of practice in academia and the workplace. This research seeks to explore notions of authenticity in assessment design – with Associate Professor Rola Ajjawi

Inclusive assessment
Assessment in higher education must ensure that a diverse student population can demonstrate their achievement of learning outcomes. This project aims to explore student experiences of inclusive assessment, and the affordances and limitations of current and emerging assessment designs, within the context of technology-enabled post-secondary environments – with Dr Joanna Tai

Peer learning in higher education
The benefits of peer learning for knowledge and skills are well described. There are emerging descriptions of peer learning contributing to desirable graduate learning outcomes such as evaluative judgement. This project seeks to explore and characterise the situations in which peer learning, including but not limited to peer assessments, feedback, and discussion, contribute to students' learning. This project can be undertaken in a specific disciplinary context or in a broader postgraduate education setting – with Dr Joanna Tai

Current doctoral students

Our doctoral program is an international network of students researching assessment and digital learning. Students have the opportunity to receive joint supervision from not only CRADLE researchers but also leading local and international researchers, and benefit from mutual support and interaction within a collaborative research environment.

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

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.

Juan Fischer

PhD topic
Juan’s research explores how science students can develop evaluative judgement capabilities throughout their undergraduate studies. Using a Practice Theory framework, he is interested in how students engage in evaluative judgement practices inside and outside classrooms, and understanding how this might influence the development of their evaluative judgement.  At CRADLE, Juan is supervised by Dr Joanna Tai, Associate Professor Margaret Bearman and Alfred Deakin Professor David Boud.

Prior to commencing his PhD with CRADLE, Juan undertook a Master’s in education at Monash University, where he also collaborates as a research assistant. His minor Master’s thesis addressed the conceptions of assessment held by academics at a faculty of science, which led him to propose the doctoral research project he is currently developing. Before moving to Australia, Juan worked for four years as a research assistant at Icesi University in Colombia, where he had obtained a Bachelor in Social Psychology (Hons).

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

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.

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

Bianka Malecka

PhD topic
Bianka Malecka’s PhD research investigates the impact of ipsative feedback on the development of student feedback literacy. Bianka’s supervisory team includes Dr Rola Ajjawi, Dr Joanna Tai and Professor David Boud.

Bianka’s research builds on 20 years’ practice as an English language instructor in tertiary institutions in Poland and Australia. She currently teaches a direct entry course at UNSW Global in Sydney. Bianka’s recent projects include exploring the effects of e-portfolio on students’ writing skills (English Australia Action Research programme) and increasing student engagement with feedback through backfeed.

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.

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