Ms Sarah Cornelius
Ms Sarah Cornelius

Ms Sarah Cornelius

BSc, MRes, MSc, PGCE (Further, Higher and Adult Education), DIC, SFHEA

Senior Lecturer


Rm 503 MacRobert Building University of Aberdeen King's College Aberdeen AB24 5UA UK

Office hours: Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday


I am interested in the opportunities that digital approaches provide for collaboration and boundary crossing to support innovative teaching, learning and professional development of educators, particularly those in the Further Education sector. My work has contributed to the design of study programmes and professional development of educators locally and internationally. Research in this area has resulted in over 20 journal articles and a co-authored book on strategies for live online learning. I have also led the University of Aberdeen's contributions to European partnership projects addressing effective preparation of teachers, issues of inclusion and digital practice.

Since joining the University of Aberdeen in 2004 I have contributed to a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the School of Education. I have been Programme Director for the TQFE (Teaching Qualification for Further Education) and Director of Postgraduate Programmes (in this role overseeing the redesign of Masters provision across the School). I have also made significant contributions to online and digital projects across the University, including the development of FutureLearn MOOCs and online strategy. I am a qualified Coach offering coaching within the University's internal scheme. 

I am co-author of an internationally successful textbook on Geographical Information Systems, and previously held posts in GIS at Manchester Metropolitan University and the Free University of Amsterdam. I also have extensive experience of distance learning, gained through tutoring for the UK Open University, as a freelance Consultant in Online and Distance Learning, and as a distance and online learner.


Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships

Project Lead - University of Aberdeen's FutureLearn MOOCs (2014-2017)

Director of Postgraduate Studies (School of Education) (2012-2014)

Elected staff representative for School of Education on University Senate (2012-2016)

Programme Director - Teaching Qualification for Further Education (2017-2019)

Programme Director - Work Based Projects and Dissertations (2011-2016)

School of Education e-Learning Champion

Member - University of Aberdeen Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Recognition Panel (leading to Higher Education Academy accreditation)

Internal University Coach

External Memberships

External examiner, Edinburgh Napier University (PGCert LTAP) (2020-present)

External examiner, University of Huddersfield (Teacher Training: In-service Lifelong Learning) (2014-18)

Member of Editorial Board, Research in Learning Technology

Co-chair ALTC 2014 21st Annual Conference of the Association for Learning Technology, September 1-3 2014, University of Warwick. (with Linda Creanor, Glasgow Caledonian University and Joe Wilson, Independent Consultant)


Prizes and Awards

2021 Advance HE CATE (Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence) awarded to TQFE/BAPD team. Award Team Leader (with Aileen Ackland, Chris Aldred, Christine Calder, Rachel Shanks, Mary Stephen, Stephanie Thomson, Yvonne Bain)

2012 4th International Conference on Computer Supported Education (Porto, Portugal): Best paper award for 'Effective teaching with web conferencing: recommendations based on learners' experiences' co-authored with Carole Gordon (School of Education)

2010 Scottish e-assessment awards: Innovation award for SMS Disaster Simulation and Best Poster Prize (voted by 250 delegates) with Alastair Gemmell (School of Geosciences) and Phil Marston (School of Education)


Research Overview

Research interests

  • Vocational teacher training
  • Professional learning and development
  • Learners’ and teachers’ experiences of digital learning
  • Inclusive and innovative digital practice
  • Professional learning through boundary crossing

Current and recent funded projects

  • ERASMUS+ RAPIDE: Reimaging a postive direction for education (2021-2023) 
  • ERASMUS+ PROMISE: Promoting inclusion in society through education: professional dilemmas in practice (2018-2021)
  • ERASMUS+ MINE: Mobile learning in higher education (2015-2019)
  • ERASMUS+ PROLEA: Professional learning through reflection and portfolios (2014-2018)
  • ESRC Sharing all our stories
  • Aberdeenshire Council: Mobile devices in Schools

Research Specialisms

  • Adult Education Teaching
  • Post Compulsory Education and Training
  • Professional Practice in Education

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.


Completed education PhD students

  • Shahrzad Ardavani (Elphinstone Scholar) - Cultural aspects of MOOCs
  • Khawla Addoweesh - Assessment of online discussions
  • Yvonne Bain - A framework for online discussions
  • Chris Fraser - Professional development in science

Teaching Responsibilities

Current and recent teaching responsbilities:

  • Teaching Qualification Further Education (TQFE) - degree and masters level (online and blended modes)
    • Successful Learing in Further Education
    • Change and Innovation in Further Education
  • PgCert Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (including eLearning module)
  • MEd, MSc, MRes, EdD and PhD supervision (including work based projects)

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  • Work-based simulations: using text messaging and the role of the virtual context

    Cornelius, S. C., Marston, P. G.
    Work-based mobile learning. Pachler, N., Primmer, C., Seipold, J. (eds.). Peter Lang Pub., pp. 249-274
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • Convenience and Community?: An exploratory investigation into learners' experiences of web conferencing

    Cornelius, S. C.
    Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2011. Bastiaens, T., Ebner, M. (eds.). American Association for Computing in Education, pp. 2696-2704, 8 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • An Introduction to Geographical Information Systems

    Heywood, D. I., Cornelius, S. C., Carver, S. J.
    Pearson Prentice Hall, London. 446 pages
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Role engagement and anonymity in synchronous online role play

    Cornelius, S. C., Gordon, C., Harris, M.
    International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, vol. 12, no. 5, pp. 55-70
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Using SMS for real time simulations

    Cornelius, S., Marston, P., Gemmell, A.
    Contributions to Conferences: Other Contributions
  • SMS text messaging for real time simulations in Higher Education

    Cornelius, S. C., Marston, P. G., Gemmell, A. M. D.
    Making Mobile Learning Work. Traxler, J., Wishart, J. (eds.). HEA ESCalate, pp. 13-17, 4 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • Towards flexible learning for adult learners in professional contexts: an activity-focused course design

    Cornelius, S. C., Gordon, C. A., Ackland, A.
    Interactive Learning Environments, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 381-393
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Understanding online role play

    Cornelius, S. C., Gordon, C. A., Harris, M.
    Contributions to Conferences: Papers
  • Further development of the context categories of a mobile learning framework

    Marston, P., Cornelius, S.
    Journal of the Research Centre for Educational Technology, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 70-75
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Towards an understanding of the virtual context in mobile learning

    Cornelius, S., Marston, P.
    Alt-J., vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 161-172
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • 'Unfettered expression of thought'?: Experiences of anonymous online role play

    Cornelius, S., Gordon, C., Harris, M.
    Contributions to Conferences: Other Contributions
  • Adult learners' use of flexible online resources in a blended programme

    Cornelius, S., Gordon, C.
    Educational Media International, vol. 46, no. 3, pp. 239-253
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Learners’ experiences of real-time simulation activities using SMS text messaging

    Cornelius, S., Marston, P., Gemmell, A., Aldred, C.
    Contributions to Conferences: Other Contributions
  • Quality matters: online role play for Scottish Further Education staff

    Gordon, C., Cornelius, S., Harris, M.
    Contributions to Conferences: Other Contributions
  • On-Line Learning, Role-Play and Reflection to Encourage Professional Insight through Knowledge Transfer on a Work-Based Professional Educator Programme

    Harris, M., Cornelius, S., Gordon, C.
    Work Based Learning e-Journal, vol. 1, no. Special Issue, 6
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • An interactive disaster simulation exercise using mobile phones

    Gemmell, A. M. D., Cornelius, S. C., Marston, P.
    Contributions to Conferences: Other Contributions
  • Real time simulation on the move: the learner context

    Cornelius, S. C., Gemmell, A. M. D., Marston, P.
    Contributions to Conferences: Other Contributions
  • The virtual placement: an alternative to the traditional work placement in the geographical sciences?

    Cornelius, S., Medyckyj-Scott, D., Forrest, D., Williams, A., Mackaness, W.
    Journal of Geography in Higher Education, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 287-302
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Online informal professional development for distance tutors: experiences from the Open University in Scotland

    Cornelius, S., MacDonald, J.
    Open Learning: the Journal of Open and Distance Learning, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 43-55
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Providing a flexible learner-centred programme: challenges for educators

    Cornelius, S. C., Gordon, C. A.
    The Internet and Higher Education, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 33-41
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Universalists, butterflies and changelings: learners' roles and strategies for using flexible online resources

    Cornelius, S. C., Gordon, C. A.
    Contributions to Conferences: Other Contributions
  • Introduction to Geographical Information Systems, 3rd Edition

    Heywood, D. I., Cornelius, S. C., Carver, S. J.
    Pearson Education
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Developing skills in online learning in Further Education lecturers

    Cornelius, S. C., Gordon, C. A.
    Scottish Educational Review, vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 145-152
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Learning with learning objects

    Cornelius, S. C., Weller, M.
    Contributions to Conferences: Other Contributions
  • The uptake of learning object based resources: lessons from e-MapScholar

    Cornelius, S. C.
    International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, vol. 1, no. 11
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
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Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Conferences

Contributions to Journals