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Biosketch: Dr. Russell Francis

Russell Francis is a researcher at the Department of Education, Communication and Learning where he is developing a research agenda focused on students' informal uses of social media from a sociocultural perspective. He currently participates in the Sociocultural and Dialogical Studies and the Youth Studies reading group. He also teaches on courses offered by the LinCS Doctoral School in Educational Science. Most recently he led a course entitled: Ethnography, Education and the Social Web.


Russell’s work draws inspiration from ethnographic studies of digital subcultures, the new literacies studies movement, and sociocultural ways of thinking about learning and personal development. As a research student he conducted a cognitive ethnography that explores university students' use of digital tools and web-based resources in everyday life. His doctoral thesis illustrates how systemic change in the culture of higher education is driven from the bottom-up by the changing practices of students themselves. The fruits of this research were later published in his first book: The Decentring of the Traditional University: The Future of (Self) Education in Virtually Figured Worlds.

From 2008-10 Russell worked on projects at Oxford University and MIT’s Comparative Media Studies. In September 2010 he moved to Gothenburg University to develop his research interests as a post-doctoral researcher with the Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society. During this period Russell has developed his interests in self-directed learning activities mediated by the social web.

Russell is currently investigating how young adults are using social media to make transitions across boundaries as they negotiate personalised trajectories of participation through an increasingly cosmopolitan and globally interconnected academy. His qualitative work has also informed the design and development of a series of social media workshops. These developmental workshops aim to equip learners with the conceptual tools they require to actively reflect upon and discuss the implications of media change for learning, development and social change.

You can find out more about Russell’s past and current research interests by following the links below.

Website: http://russfrancis99.wordpress.com/

Academia.edu http://gu-se.academia.edu/RussellFrancis


Francis R. (in press) The Agency of the Learner in the Networked University: an expansive approach, in Wells, G. and Edwards, A. (Eds.) Pedagogy in Higher Education Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Francis, R. (2012) Trajectories of Participation through online affinity spaces, in Rethinking educational ethnography: researching online communities, (eds. S. Marques da Silva and P. Landri). (pp. 123-132). University of Porto, Portugal: Centre for Research in Education.

Francis, R. (2010) The Decentring of the Traditional University: The Future of (Self) Education in Virtually Figured Worlds, Routledge. London and New York.

Francis, R. (2011) Revolution: experiential learning through virtual role play. In Digital Games and Learning. Eds. Sara de Freitas, Paul Marhag and Henry Jenkins. Continuum Press.

Francis, R. J. (2008) The Predicament of the Learner in the New Media Age: An investigation into the implications of media change for learning. DPhil, Oxford University, Oxford. Available: http://ora.ox.ac.uk/

Interview with Dr. Russell Francis

Russell Francis


Page Manager: Elin Johansson|Last update: 3/25/2013

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