Helen Coker


Helen CokerEducational Research
Online pedagogy, agency and collaboration

+44 (0)1463 273236

Inverness College UHI
Room 101
1 Inverness Campus

I work as a lecturer in Education. My PhD research explored the ways in which tutors use collaborative activities in online settings and smaller scale projects have explored teacher agency and the development of e-portfolios.  I have recently been working with colleagues from Federation University in Australia, developing connections between the Education departments, we presented the partnership research connected to this at the ATEA conference in Ballarat, Australia, in July 2016. I currently work as a lecturer in the education department, working on the UHI Masters programmes in Education, and the Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) for Primary and Secondary. I am module leader for a range of modules across these programmes and was an active member of the development teams for the PGDE and the Master of Education Critical Enquiry.

Before joining Inverness College, I worked as Primary teacher in England, Australia and Scotland. Since moving into the Higher Education sector in 2010, I’ve taught on a range of programmes within education and childhood practice and with a wide range of students, from school pupils to professionals studying Masters degrees. My role now is predominantly focused on professional learning, working with educational professionals undertaking Masters study, and with student teachers on the one-year diploma programme. I love to travel and enjoy regular summer adventures with my husband and two children. We have been island-hopping around Croatia, biking touring in Iceland, canoe touring in the Central Massif, climbing in Slovenia and on safari in Tanzania.

Research Interests

  • Online pedagogy and the facilitation of collaborative activities
  • The potential of online learning as a collaborative experience
  • Developing critical reflection, and enabling agency through effective online design and delivery
  • The potential of online collaborative spaces for professionals working in rural areas
  • Agency and professional capital, in relation to professional learning
  • Online Ethnography and Narrative Approaches
  • Qualitative approaches to the use of data

Current and recent projects

  • Understanding Pedagogic Collaboration (PhD)

Past projects

Student Teacher e-portfolios: the emergence of student agency through structured dialogue and critical engagement’ presented at the September 2016 BERA conference in Leeds and the July 2016 ATEA conference in Ballarat, Australia, with Dr Morag Redford (UHI)

Developing international partnerships for teacher education through digital platforms: Possibilities for transformational partnership’ presented at the July 2016 ATEA conference in Ballarat, Australia, with Dr Jenene Burke (Federation University), Dr Morag Redford (UHI) and Dr Sharon McDonough (Federation University)

A Critically Enquiring Approach to VLE Development’ presented at the September 2015 BERA conference in Belfast and the June 2015 TEAN conference in Birmingham


Using Data to See what Students are Doing: A Critically Enquiring Approach to VLE Development’ JPAAP: Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, vol. 3, no. 1, 2015