Rebecca Vivian

Dr Rebecca Vivian

Grant-Funded Researcher (C)

School of Computer and Mathematical Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

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

I am a Senior Research Fellow in the Computer Science Education Research Group (CSER). I have qualifications in Education and expertise in Learning Sciences, Computer Science (Digital Technologies) Education, Teacher Training and Educational Technology.

I have collaborated extensively with various stakeholders across industry, education, and government to deliver education and research initiatives. I receive invitations to contribute expertise and presentations toward a broad range of communities, including Computing, Higher Education, Teacher Education, government, industry and community associations.

I am Lead Learning Designer for our massively open online courses (MOOCs) and PL-in-a-Box initiatives for teachers for our national CSER Digital Technologies Education Program, which has engaged over 40,000 teachers.

I am Project Lead for the University of Adelaide Mathematics and Numeracy MOOCs and professional learning program; an initiative in partnership with Education Services Australia that is supported through the Australian Department of Education Skills and Employment.

I am passionate about engaging more young people, and particularly women, in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) study pathways and careers, and have been involved in research and initiatives to support this endeavour.

I am a multidisciplinary researcher and have expertise in Computer Science Education, Teacher Training, Educational Technology and K-12 STEM egagement. I have a particular interest in understanding how people learn - their cognitive processes, interactions, self-efficacy and self-regulated learning skills, as well as investigating the way that we can harness technology to enhance and innovate learning experiences. I am a mixed-methods researcher, with particular strengths in qualitative research methods, and have experience in harnessing both qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate research questions. 

My primary research areas of interest include: STEM engagement, K-6 Computer Science Education and Technology-Enhanced Learning:

  • I am passionate about K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and engaging future students, particularly those underrepresented in the field. My work explores ways that we can support stakeholders, including teachers and parents, to engage and inspire students in STEM learning and careers.
  • I lead our K-6 Computer Science Education research stream for CSER. This involves understanding how we can harness Learning Sciences and apply Computer Science techniques to understand how young children learn Computer Science (including Computational Thinking) as well as how we can best support teachers to build their capacity to teach the subject. 
  • I work with our research team to apply Education Theories and Educational Psychology to understand how we can understand and enhance learning and collaboration in online spaces, in particular for professional learning and continuing education.

I have collaborated extensively with various stakeholders across industry, education, and government to deliver education and research initiatives that are to inform policy or strategic directions, and have acquired over $7.4 million in research funding. This includes $6.9 million from the Australian Department of Education to expand our highly successful CSER Digital Technologies teacher-training program, which has seen over 40,000 teachers enrol. I also co-launched and co-lead PL-in-a-Box, with Google Australia, which is an initiative that empowers educators and leaders to facilitate professional learning in Digital Technologies with free, ready-made resource packs.

Our research group leads the national 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 the primary years 

PhD Opportunities

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:

Current Grants and Research Contracts

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

Artificial Intelligence Resources. Falkner, F., Vivian, R., Atapattu, T. and Palmer, E., Department of Education and Training ($585,000) (2019-2022)

Completed Grants and Research Contracts

Girls in STEM Toolkit Literature Review. Vivian, R. Education Services Australia. $9,731 (2020).

The Expanded Rollout and Support of University of Adelaide Digital Technology MOOCs - Closing the Digital Divide for Disadvantaged Students, Department of Education and Training, Falkner, K., Vivian, R., Falkner, N. & Szabo, C. $6.9 million. (2016-2020). (Federal Government Funding). This project has been launched and is currently operating at our CSER Digital Technologies program website

For the Expanded Rollout and Support of the University of Adelaide Digital Technology MOOCS – Closing the Digital Divide for Disadvantaged Students (Extension), Department of Education and Training. Falkner, K & Vivian, R. (2020)

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

Assessment for the F-10 Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies, Education Services Australia (ESA) Research Contract. $114,000 (2016-2018), R. Vivian & K. Falkner. (Research Contract)

Maximising Echo360 Active Learning Platform (ALP) to improve the student experience in lectures. McEntee, J. Viven-Wilksch, J. Vivian, R. Pope, C. Learning Enhancement and Innovation Grants, UoA. $6,718 (2018).

Building Teacher Capacity in Digital Technologies, Department of Education Western Australia, R. Vivian & K. Falkner, $4545 (2017). (Consultancy Contract). This project resulted in a report for the Department of Education to inform their statewide strategy for professional development. 

Understanding the relationship between social community formation and progression within MOOC environments, Research Contract, Google Australia, K. Falkner, R. Vivian and T. Atapattu, $37,687 (2017). (Research Contract). This project resulted in a report for Google as well as peer-reviewed publications. 

Expanding Teacher Professional Development – Beyond the CSER MOOC, Google Research Contract. K. Falkner, R. Vivian. $95,101. (2016) (Research Contract). This project resulted in the development of PL-in-a-Box, a site with free ready-made presenter packs for implementing Digital Technologies and associated themes. 

Engaging the Future of STEM, Barbara Cail STEM Fellowship. Vivian, R. Australian Government & CEW Ltd. $40,000 (2016).

Coding Across the Curriculum – Curriculum Mapping and Analysis. K. Falkner and R. Vivian. $77,889. (2015). (Research Contract). This project resulted in a published report for the Australian Federal Department of Education and Training, as well as an extended peer-reviewed publication in Computer Science Education.

Addressing the Challenges of the Digital Technologies Curriculum (Years 7 & 8). K. Falkner, R. Vivian, N. Falkner & C. Szabo, Digital Careers Sponsorship Agreement, $119,588. (2014-2015). (Sponsorship Contract). This resulted in the launch of our Years 7&8 MOOC: Next Steps

Building Digital Technologies Capacity. K. Falkner and R. Vivian, Google Research Contract, $48,312. (2014-2015) (Research Contract). This resulted in the launch of our F-6 Extended MOOC and associated resources.

Digital Technologies Workshop for Primary Teachers, C. Izu, B. Alexander, C. Pope, C. Szabo, A. Weerasinghe, R. Vivian, Grant ($10,000). A workshop for non-CS teachers in schools about computational thinking and computer science, with links to the Australian curriculum. (Google CS4HS grant 2014)

Addressing the Challenges of the Digital Technologies Curriculum: MOOCs for Teacher Development, K. Falkner, N. Falkner and R. Vivian, $65,000 + in-kind. (2013-2014). (Google Research Contract). This resulted in the launch of our F-6 Extended MOOC and associated resources, as well as a number of peer-reviewed publications.  

An evidence-based approach to the design and redevelopment of inclusive, technology-enhanced learning environments, Prof D. Wood (Leader), Dr L. Glenny, Dr C. Snowden, A/Prof S. Scutter, Dr. T. Du, D. Tedmanson, B. Underwood, T. Johnson, Prof N. Lindsay, A/Prof K. Falkner, R. Vivian, and Prof H. Partridge, Office for Learning and Teaching, Australian Government, $211,000 (2013-2016). (Research Contract). 

Course-Coordinator Human and Ethical Factors in Computer Science (Online Postgraduate) 2019-2020

Students are introduced to two important areas in contemporary computing: human factors and ethical theory and practice. In human factors, students study all areas that assist us in performing work in an appropriate manner. In ethics, students study those areas that discuss whether the tasks that we seek to achieve fit our definitions of what is right for individuals, companies and our society. Participants are introduced to tools, thinking, and analyses to establish whether the computing tasks they are being asked to perform are fit for purpose in terms of both usage and ethics. 

K-12 Digital Technologies Education

Lead Learning Designer and Content Developer for CSER's national MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) Digital Technologies Education Program. We currently have the following free, online self-paced MOOCs:

  • F-6 Foundations in Digital Technologies
  • Years 7&8: Next Steps in Digital Technologies
  • F-6: Digital Technologies Extended
  • Years 9&10: Explore!
  • Teaching AI in the Primary Classroom
  • Teaching AI in the Secondary Classroom
  • Teaching Cybersecurity in the Primary Classroom
  • Teaching Cybersecurity in the Secondary Classroom

I lead the development of PL-in-a-Box, which is a site with ready-made presenter packs for facilitating professional development in K-12 Digital Technologies education. 

I am a team member for a 6-week AdelaideX introductory programming MOOC on edX: "Think. Create. Code (external link)". April 2015. This course teaches computational thinking and programming concepts through the creation of digital artwork using ProcessingJS.

I have been an invited speaker to numerous events across Australia on the topic of K-12 Digital Technologies (Computer Science) education and teacher professional development, including webinars for Education Services Australia, The Digital Technologies Hub, CSIRO Scientists in Schools Webinar, Google's International 2017 Education on Air event and for Google Apps for Education (GAFE) events.

Previously I have taught UniSA's 'Computers Communication and Society' Foundation course and have presented at UniSA in 2012, 2013 and 2016 as a guest-lecturer for the Bachelor of Education ICT Course on the topic of social network sites: research, theory and current trends and guest lecturer for the Charles Sturt University Masters program on the topic of "CS+Education".

I have had course practicum and volunteer experience working in Reception to Year 7 classrooms in South Australia within both Catholic and Public school systems.

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

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2021 - 2022 Co-Supervisor Investigating Students’ Learning through Learner roles and Linguistic Expressions in Massive Open Online Courses Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Lavendini Sivaneasharajah
    2017 - 2020 Co-Supervisor Codification Pedagogy for Introductory Procedural Programming Courses Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Rita Alicia Garcia
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2020 - ongoing Board Member Digital Learning and Innovation Committee The University of Adelaide Australia
    2017 - ongoing Co-Chair e-learning Community of Practice The University of Adelaide Australia
    2015 - ongoing Member ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE) Journal Reviewer - -
    2015 - ongoing Member The Internet and Higher Education Journal Reviewer - -
    2014 - ongoing Member World Conference on E-learning Program Committee - -
    2014 - ongoing Member IEEE Transactions on Education (TOE) Journal Reviewer - -
    2012 - ongoing Member Higher Education Research Group of Adelaide (HERGA) - Australia
    2009 - 2012 Board Member Student Leadership Undergraduate Group (SLUGG) (Inc.) The University of South Australia Australia
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2013 - ongoing Member Individual Member of the CSTA (ACM) -
  • Position: Grant-Funded Researcher (C)
  • Phone: 83131894
  • Email:
  • Fax: 83134366
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Ingkarni Wardli, floor 4
  • Org Unit: Computer Science

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