DEHubResearchProject/Charles Sturt University/About

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Managing institutional change through distributive leadership approaches: Engaging academics and teaching support staff in blended and flexible learning.
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Research Question

This research posed the question: What do the strategies and activities developed at CSU and Massey (to foster change in BFL, open and DE) help us to understand about learning leadership?

Aims of the research

This research project was developed as an international research collaboration between Charles Sturt University (via the Flexible Learning Institute) and Massey University. In the five years prior to this research (2008-2011) both Universities had implemented a range of strategies designed to shift each institution towards a new, and dymanic "normal" that takes for granted the presence of new technologies in learning and teaching, and in people's lives. To achieve this shift required a wide range of institutional strategies, some of which focus on capacity building in the contexts of specific change strategies. The research aimed to understand "the connections between situated knowing and doing" (Nepke, 2007 p. 303) at both institutions through the development of descriptive and historical cases. Through "descriptive case studies" Yin (1981) the project partners aimed to build knowledge and understanding of the strategies each had adopted to strengthen the capacity of the respective institutions to be innovative, future-looking and "change capable" (Scott, Coates, & Anderson 2008, p.iii) in terms of learning and teaching practices, with a specific focus on blended and flexible learning, open and distance education.

What did this project hope to achieve?

This research aimed to assist the project partners to develop greater understanding of the strategies and activities used by both institutions to develop learning leadership and learning leaders in blended, flexible, open and distance education.


See Timeline and Milestones

Who participated in this project?

Research Partnership

This research project is a partnership between Charles Sturt University in Australia and Massey University in New Zealand.

The Research Partnership between Charles Sturt University and Massey University aims to transform teaching and learning approaches undertaken by their respective staff in relation to distance education. Both Charles Sturt and Massey University operate over multiple campuses and are the largest distance education providers in Australia and New Zealand with a combined total of close to 40,000 distance students choosing to study at these universities each year.

Chief investigator

Dr Merilyn Childs, Associate Professor of Higher Education and Deputy Director, Flexible Learning Institute, Charles Sturt University, Australia.



Most recent publication

Book chapters

Childs, M and Wagner, R. 2012. Beyond The Look – Viral Learning Spaces as Contemporary Learning Environments. In Physical and Virtual Learning Spaces in Higher Education: Concepts for the Modern Learning Environment. Editor(s): Keppell, MK, Souter K, Riddle M, pp.33-50, IGI Global: USA.

Research Team

(Alphabetical Order)

  • A/Prof Mark Brown (Massey University)
  • A/Prof Merilyn Childs (Chief Investigator, CSU)
  • Natasha Hard (Project manager, CSU)
  • Carole Hunter (CSU)
  • Prof Mike Keppell (CSU)

Advisory Group

Chair: Prof Mike Keppell


Dr Andrea Crampton, Sub-Dean Learning and Teaching, Faculty of Science, CSU

Dr Zeffie Nicholas, Course Coordinator, Education, Ontario Campus, Canada, CSU

Ralph Springett, President, Massey University Extramural Community

A/Prof Marian Tulloch Executive Director, Division of Learning and Teaching Services, CSU

Dr Linda Leach, Senior Lecturer, College of Education, Massey University

Dr Ormond Simpson, Fellow of the Centre for Distance Education, University of London International Programmes

Project Evaluator

Dr Regine Wagner, Associate Professor of Higher Education, Retired.


Project Team Members

Advisory Group

Advisory Group Principles of Engagement

Project Evaluator