Katrina Falkner

Professor Katrina Falkner

Executive Dean, Faculty of SET

Sciences, Engineering and Technology Faculty Office

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Professor Falkner is Executive Dean of the Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology at the University of Adelaide, having served formerly as Executive Dean for the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences and Head of School of the School of Computer Science. Professor Falkner leads the Computer Science Education Research Group (CSER), and formerly the Modelling & Analysis Program within the Centre for Distributed and Intelligent Technologies (CDIT) (2011-2021). Professor Falkner has extensive experience in industry consultation, working with DST Group, NICTA, Google US, Google Australia & New Zealand, the Department of Education and Training, and Telstra Foundation, crossing both the areas of Computer Science Education and Distributed Defence Systems. Professor Falkner has attracted over $26 million in government and industry funding to support her research and community work.

Addressing inequities in education and access to technology underpins Professor Falkner’s work. Professor Falkner leads the development of the CSER MOOCs - open online courses for Australian teachers to help prepare them for the Digital Technologies Curriculum, and leads the national CSER Digital Technologies Education Program, designed to support Australian teachers in teaching Computer Science, with an emphasis on supporting young women, low-SES and Indigenous populations. This program, funded by a $7.2 million contract through the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training, provides critical support to Australian teachers as they embrace the teaching of Computer Science as a new area, assisting all young Australians to see themselves as Computer Scientists. This approach has now been expanded as part of the Mathematics Massive Open Online Courses and Mathematics Hub project, in collaboration with Education Services Australia.

Professor Falkner contributes to a number of key ICT groups, including the Australian Council of ICT Deans (ACDICT), the ACDICT Learning and Teaching Academy Executive (2011-2012), the Inaugural Australian Computer Society Education Board (2015-2017), the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) Digital Technologies Stakeholder Board (2014-present), President of the Australian Council of Deans of ICT (2018-2020), and Chair of the ACM Special Interest Group in Computer Science Education (Australasia) (2016-2018).

Professor Falkner has received numerous awards for her efforts in Computer Science leadership and education, including 2015 EdTechSA Leader of the Year, 2015 EdTechSA/ International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) ‘Making IT Happen’ Award, an Australian Computing Society (ACS) Gold Award as an ICT Higher Education Educator of the Year (2015), the Australian Council for Computers in Education (ACCE) and ACS National Leader of the Year Award (2016), the CORE John Hughes Distinguished Service Award (2017) and was named in The Australian's 2021 list of Australia's top 100 Innovators.

Computer Science Education Research Group

My education research interests range from understanding how we can better teach fundamental computer science and computational thinking skills, to how we can apply computer science to better improve learning and learning environments. I am the leader of the Computer Science Education Research Group (CSER) based in the School of Computer Science. The CSER group aims to promote research and scholarship both within the field of Computer Science Education and more broadly in the Higher Education sector. The goal of CSER is to understand how we can improve the teaching and learning of computing, and how contemporary issues in higher education, such as the use of new technologies can impact upon the teaching and learning environment.

We lead the CSER Digital Technologies Education Program, where we support Australian teachers in developing skill and confidence in the new Digital Technologies learning area, as well as undertaking research into how we scaffold and understand the development of Computational Thinking skills in K-6. 

We also explore how we can use Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning and Information Retrieval techniques to better support learning, and to better understand how learning occurs within learning environments, such as within Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). We explore the development of learning models within MOOC contexts that support good practice pedagogy, and community-based learning environments.

Current Research Staff 

We are currently seeking PhD student applications for students passionate about Computer Science Education Research. If you are interested, please review these example project descriptions for further details:

Distributed and Intelligent Technologies Group

My discipline research is in the areas of Software Architecture and Distributed Systems, leading the Modelling and Analysis program within the Defence and Intelligent Technologies Group (2011-2021). Within this project we explored techniques for developing accurate performance models for distributed software systems so that we can better understand the Space, Weight and Power (SWaP) constraints of systems operating within constrained environments, including defence environments such as combat management systems, but also other constrained environments such as seen within drone platforms. This work has benefit well outside of the defence space, as can be seen by our recent collaboration with the Ecology and Environmental Science area within the University to explore how we can better create drone environments to support conservation efforts across a range of physical environmental conditions.

In strong collaboration with colleagues based at Australia' Defence Science and Technology Group, we led the development of the MEDEA modelling environment, which supports performance modelling of software systems in early stages of design and development, including the integration of existing software components, and supporting a range of representative hardware platforms, including FPGA, GPU, VM and Cloud-based environments. After a successful 10 years of collaboration, and supporting 3 postdocs, 14 software developers, and many honours, PHD and summer students, we closed our lab in April 2021. More information on our work can be found in our GitHub repository, and in my publications

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2022 - ongoing Executive Dean, Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology University of Adelaide
    2021 - 2022 Interim Executive Dean, Faculty of Sciences University of Adelaide
    2020 - 2022 Executive Dean, Faculty of ECMS University of Adelaide
    2019 - 2020 Interim Executive Dean, Faculty of ECMS University of Adelaide
    2018 - 2019 Deputy Dean (Students) University of Adelaide
    2017 - ongoing Professor University of Adelaide
    2014 - 2017 Head of School University of Adelaide
    2013 - 2016 Associate Professor University of Adelaide
    2009 - 2012 Senior Lecturer University of Adelaide
    2009 - 2011 Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) University of Adelaide
    2003 - 2008 Lecturer University of Adelaide
    2000 - 2003 Postdoctoral Research Fellow University of Adelaide
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2017 Award John Hughes Distinguished Service Award CORE Australia
    2016 Award National Leader of the Year Australian Council for Computers in Education (ACCE) and Australian Computer Society (ACS) Australia
    2015 Award 2015 Gold Award Winner for ACS ICT Higher Education Educator of the Year Australian Computer Society Australia
    2015 Award 2015 EdtechSA/ISTE Making it Happen Award
    2015 Award EdTEchSA Leader of the Year Award
    2012 Award Endeavour Executive Award
    2008 Achievement Australian Learning and Teaching Council Citation
    2008 Teaching Award Stephen Cole the Elder Award for Excellence in Teaching
    2007 Teaching Award ECMS Faculty Prize for Excellence in Teaching
    2007 Teaching Award Executive Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

Grants and Industry Research Contracts

Mathematics Massive Open Online Courses and Mathematics Hub. Education Services Australia and University of Adelaide (R. Vivian and K. Falkner) ($9,500,000) (2020-2024)

Artificial Intelligence Resources. K. Falkner, R. Vivian, T. Atapattu and E. Palmer, Department of Education and Training ($805,000) (2019-2023)

CyberSecurity Education Resources. K. Falkner, AustCyber (with industry partners Google Australian/New Zealand and CSIRO) ($313,387) (2020-2021)

SEM Environment Employment Integration. K. Falkner and B. Phillips, DST Group Research Contract ($1,218,573) (2019-2021)

ICT Forecast and Analysis, and Exploration of Automatic Code Deployment to Computing Hardware Types. K. Falkner and B. Phillips, DST Group Research Contract ($902,852) (2017-2020)

For the Expanded Rollout and Support of the University of Adelaide Digital Technology MOOCS – Closing the Digital Divide for Disadvantaged Students, Department of Education and Training. K. Falkner, R. Vivian, N. Falkner and C. Szabo ($7,200,000) (2016-2020)

Artificial Intelligence Education Models. K. Falkner, R. Vivian and T. Atapattu, Google Research Contract ($83,749) (2019)

Review of the first Australia FRC program, K. Falkner and R. Vivian, Google Research Contract ($50,941) (2018-2019)

SEM Environment: Deployment Platform and Instrumentation Research. K. Falkner and C. Szabo, DST Group Research Contract ($1,033,014) (2017-2019)

Assessment and OS-Level Mitigation of Timing Channels. Y.Yarom and K. Falkner, Data61 CRP Research Agreement ($682,684) (2016-2019)

Airborne spatial tracking for saving endangered species. D. Ranasinghe, L. P. Koh, K. Falkner, B. Ostendorf, G. Puddy, ARC Linkage Project ($181,194) (2016-2018)

Assessment for the F-10 Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies, Education Services Australia (ESA) Research Contract. R. Vivian & K. Falkner. ($141,616) (2016-2018).

Understanding Australia’s Teaching Culture with Respect to Gender Diversity, C. Szabo, K. Falkner, A. Szorenyi and D. Michell, Google Australia, $26,764 (2017)

Understanding the relationship between social community formation and progression within MOOC environments, K. Falkner, R. Vivian and T. Atapattu, Research Contract, Google Australia, $37,687 (2017)

KVM Literature Review. K. Falkner, DST Group Research Contract ($60,000) (2017)

Delivery of a Fully Operational SEM Environment. K. Falkner and C. Szabo, DST Group Research Contract ($150,000) (2016-2017)

Submarine Combat System Large Scale Computing Infrastructure Performance and Interoperability Insight. K. Falkner and C. Szabo, DST Group Research Contract ($150,000) (2016-2017)

Computing Infrastructure Performance and Interoperability Research (Generic Vehicle Architecture Integration). K. Falkner and C. Szabo, DST Group Research Contract ($110,000) (2016)

Expanding Teacher Professional Development – Beyond the CSER MOOC, Google Research Contract. K. Falkner, R. Vivian. ($95,101) (2016)

Assessment and OS-Level Mitigation of Timing Channels. Y.Yarom and K. Falkner, NICTA CRP Research Agreement ($132,378) (2015-2016)

Automated Analysis of MOOC Discussion Content to Support Personalised Learning, K. Falkner, Google MOOC Focused Research Awards. ($50,000 US) (2015-2016)

Pathways to Computer Science: Enabling Equity and Diversity. K. Falkner, C. Szabo, A.Szorenyi and D. Michell, Google Research Contract ($55,000) (2015-2016)

Computing Infrastructure Performance and Interoperability Research – Integration. K. Falkner and C. Szabo, DSTO Research Contract ($465,000) (2015-2016)

Computing Infrastructure Performance and Interoperability Research – Security. K. Falkner and Y. Yarom, DSTO Research Contract ($170,000) (2015-2016)

Coding Across the Curriculum – Curriculum Mapping and Analysis. K. Falkner and R. Vivian. ($77,889) (2015)

Building Digital Technologies Capacity. K. Falkner and R. Vivian, Google Research Contract ($48,312) (2014-2015)

Assessment and OS-Level Mitigation of Timing Channels. K. Falkner and Y. Yarom, NICTA CRP ($232,167) (2014-2015)

Addressing the Challenge of the Digital Technologies Curriculum (Years 7&8). K. Falkner, R. Vivian, N. Falkner and C. Szabo, Digital Careers Sponsorship Agreement ($119,588) (2014-2015).

Model Driven Systems Engineering: Advanced Modelling of Communication Protocols. K. Falkner and Y. Yarom, DSTO Research Contract ($110,000) (2014)

Improving Gender Equity in Computer Science and ICT, A. Szorenyi and K. Falkner, HUMSS Faculty Research Centre Competitive Funding Scheme ($4,985) (2014)

Experiences of first year students in ICT courses: best practices in teaching introductory programming in ICT courses, J. Sheard, M. Morgan, M. Butler, K. Falkner, A. Weerasinghe, Simon, ACDICT ALTA Commissioned Good Practice Report ($14,937) (2014)

Model Driven Systems Engineering: Advanced Modelling of Communication Protocols. K. Falkner and C. Szabo, DSTO Research Contract ($130,000) (2014)

Addressing the Challenges of the Digital Technologies Curriculum: MOOCs for Teacher Development, K. Falkner, N. Falkner and R. Vivian, Google Research Contract ($65,000 + in-kind) (2013-2014)

An evidenced-based approach to the design and redevelopment of inclusive, technology-enhanced learning environments, D. Wood, L. Glenny, C. Snowden, S. Scutter, T. Du, D. Tedmanson, B. Underwood, T. Johnson, N. Lindsay, K. Falkner, R. Vivian, M. Hughes-Warrington, H. Partridge and J. Willems, OLT Innovation and Development Grant, $211,000 (2013-2014)

Model Driven Systems Engineering. K. Falkner and C. Szabo, DSTO Research Contract ($420,000) (2013-2015)

Digital Inclusion and Indigenous Australians. Lester-Irabinna Rigney, Katrina Falkner, Peter Radoll and Mike Wilmore. Telstra Foundation Research Contract, $75,000 (2013).

Review of Model Driven Software Engineering Practice: System Execution Modelling Environment. K. Falkner, N. Falkner and C. Szabo. DSTO Research Contract ($75,000) (2012-2013)

Review of Model Driven Software Engineering Practice: System Virtualisation. K. Falkner. DSTO Research Contract ($130,000) (2012-2013)

Review of Model Driven Software Engineering Practice: Extending the Reference Combat management and System Execution Modelling Capability. K. Falkner, N. Falkner and C. Szabo, DSTO Research Contract ($490,000) (2012-2013)

Review of Model Driven Software Engineering Practice: System Execution Modelling. K. Falkner, DSTO Research Contract ($120,000) (2012)

Review of Model Driven Software Engineering Practice: Reference Combat Management System Development. K. Falkner, DSTO Research Contract ($225,000) (2011-2012)

Review of Model Driven Software Engineering Practice: UAV Models. K. Falkner, DSTO Research Contract ($46,500) (2011)

Early Intervention Strategies for At Risk Students in ECMS, Katrina Falkner, Lachlan Coleman, University Implementation Grant for Learning and Teaching Enhancements ($12,000) (2010).

Sustained Sessional Teacher Support, K. Falkner, T. Rainsford, C. Kestell, J. Denier, University Learning and Teaching Performance Fund Grant ($50,000) (2009-2010)

A Problem Solving Curriculum in Computing, B. Alexander, K. Falkner, H. el-Gindy, F. Brown, Z. Michalewicz, Google Research Grant ($46,500) (2007-2008)

Review of Model Driven Software Engineering Practice. K. Falkner, DSTO Research Contract ($70,000) (2010)
Designing software architectures for application development above a microkernel in a trusted embedded system, K. Falkner, ECMS Faculty Small Grant ($10,000) (2006-2007)

Evaluating effectiveness, defining standards and sharing effective methods of assessment across disciplines, E. Palmer, K. Falkner, J. McEntee, B. Alexander, S. Al-Sarawi, M. Coulson, J. Botten, L. Rogers, University of Adelaide Learning and Teaching Grant ($32,000) (2007)

Establishing links between High School Mathematics and Different University Pathways, K. Falkner (Industry Partner), Premier's Industry Awards for Teachers of Science and Mathematics (in-kind contribution) (2007)

Mistkastn - a distributed Java Virtual Machine, D.S. Munro, K. Falkner and Y. Yarom, Apple University Development Fund Grant (Equipment Grant, $7,500) (2005-2007)

The evaluation and validation of a new approach to software evolution, K. Falkner, ECMS Faculty Small Grant ($6,500) (2005)

A new approach to integrating Static and Dynamic Software Evolution Techniques, K. Falkner, ECMS Faculty Small Grant ($8,000) (2004)

Computer Science Programming and Learning Centre, K. Falkner and D.S. Munro, University of Adelaide Learning and Teaching Grant ($12,000) (2003)

 

 

I have a strong interest in Computer Science Education Research, mainly in the areas of collaborative and active pedagogy, and the use of technology to support online learning, including MOOCs, online collaboration environments and technology-assisted education. You can read more about my work in this area at the Computer Science Education Research Group (CSER) site. 

I led a five-year curriculum redevelopment program in the School of Computer Science, incorporating best-practice and innovative pedagogy designed to support equity and increase engagement. As part of this, I led the development of The University of Adelaide’s first Computer Science MOOC: Think Create Code, launched in 2015 on edX, attracting over 25,000 students from 177 countries. Built upon contextualised and collaborative pedagogy as a strategy for increasing diversity, the first cohort for this course attracted 34.4% female participation, significantly higher than participation rates seen in traditional learning environments.

CSER leads the development of the CSER Digital Technologies MOOCs, free online courses, designed to support Australian teachers with implementing the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies and more recently in Mathematics. These courses are free and open to all Australian teachers, and will help connect you with a community of interested educators. 

 

 

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2021 Principal Supervisor Prediction of mastery learning and misconceptions picked up by users in MOOC contexts Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Abhilash Sridhara
    2018 Principal Supervisor Predict Student Behavior and Provide Supplementary Feedback to Increase the Student Engagement through Learning Analytics Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Lavendini Sivaneasharajah
    2011 Principal Supervisor Identification and management of Risk Associated with Interaction of Distributed Real Time and Embedded System Through the use of Execution and behaviour modelling Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mr Gavin Stanley Puddy
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2017 - 2020 Principal Supervisor Codification Pedagogy for Introductory Procedural Programming Courses Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Rita Alicia Garcia
    2017 - 2021 Principal Supervisor In Search of a Common Thread: Enhancing the LBD Workflow with a view to its Widespread Applicability Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Menasha Thilakaratne
    2015 - 2017 Principal Supervisor Towards Technologies for Promoting Nutritional Health in Older People with Dementia Living in their Own Home Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Asangi Jayatilaka
    2015 - 2021 Principal Supervisor Enterprise Security Architecture - Mythology or Methodology? Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Michelle Rey Graham
    2014 - 2017 Co-Supervisor Adaptive Anomalous Behavior Identification in Large-Scale Distributed Systems Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Javier Alvarez
    2014 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Detecting Students At-Risk Using Learning Analytics Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Ayman Saleh S Albassam
    2012 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Semantic Component Selection Based on Non-Functional Requirements Master of Science in Mathematical and Computer Sciences Master Part Time Mr Amir Kanan Kashefi
    2011 - 2015 Principal Supervisor A computational model for task-adapted knowledge organisation: improving learning through concept maps extracted from lecture slides Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Thushari Atapattu
    2010 - 2014 Principal Supervisor Engineering Security Methodologies for Distributed Systems Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Anton Uzunov
    2003 - 2014 Co-Supervisor Software-Based Reference Protection for Component Isolation Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time APrf Yuval Yarom
    2003 - 2008 Co-Supervisor Surf: An Abstract Model of Distributed Garbage Collection Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr William Brodie-Tyrrell
  • Board Memberships

    Date Role Board name Institution name Country
    2015 - ongoing Board Member ACS ICT Educators Board Australian Computer Society Australia
    2006 - 2011 Co-Founder Higher Education Research Group of Adelaide University of Adelaide Australia
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2018 - 2020 President Australian Council of Deans of ICT Australia
    2015 - ongoing Member ACDICT Executive Committee
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2015 - ongoing Associate Editor ACM Transactions on Computing Education
    2014 - ongoing Associate Editor IEEE Transactions on Education
  • Offices Held

    Date Office Name Institution Country
    2014 - ongoing Chair, ACM SIGCSE - Australasia ACM Special Interest Group in Computer Science Education - Australasia
  • Position: Executive Dean, Faculty of SET
  • Phone: 83134700
  • Email: katrina.falkner@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 83134366
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Darling
  • Org Unit: Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Connect With Me
External Profiles

Other Links