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DipTchg, BA, PGDipArts, MA, PhD

Tel +64 3 479 5789

Learning Sciences Research Cluster

About Russell


I am a senior lecturer in higher education and educational technology. My research is focused on the evolving 'wicked' problems associated with the changing nature of 21st century education. I deploy methods that are applied in nature and draw heavily on the use of digital devices and sensors to capture naturally occurring data. In line with my research, my teaching and supervision work is focused on liberating and empowering students to become authentic, critical, innovative thinkers who can recognise and address these problems.


Consultations – one-to-one and departmental support

Whether you are a staff member, postgraduate or undergraduate, please feel free to contact me to arrange for an informal chat about any aspect of your teaching or learning.

Online Teaching & Learning Environments

I work with staff interested in exploring the use of online environments to support their teaching.

  • xOtago
  • Teams for Teaching

Postgraduate Programmes

Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education
Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education
Master of Higher Education (MHEd)

Research interests

My research is primarily applied and focused on addressing 'wicked' problems that are associated with the 21st century educational landscape and include…

  • The Science of Learning
  • Digital learning environments
  • Authentic, situated learning
  • Reality mining
  • New educational research methods/methodologies


I am available to supervise postgraduates in higher education who wish to undertake research into any aspect of academic life/teaching/learning within professional and university settings, particularly where there is a focus on my research interests.
Please feel free to contact me directly to discuss your ideas.


Current students

Cho Wonhyuk (PGDipHighE)
Patrick Mazzocco (MA in Higher Education)

Past students

Farah Shawkat (PhD) Teacherpreneurship and the digital learning landscape in higher education. 2022
Larian Nkomo (PhD) - Students' engagement patterns with digital learning technologies: An empirical case of lecture recordings. 2022
Ifeanyi Glory Ndukwe (PhD) - Teaching analytics and teacher dashboards to visualise SET data: Implication to theory and practice. 2021
Miriam Gibson (PhD) Making Meaning: The role of activity in learning. 2020
Taylor Wilson (MHEd) An exploration of learning and performance in high-fidelity critical care simulation through the use of data sensors. 2020
Kait O'Callahan (MHEd) Life's Nurse: Exploring the Impact of Sleep on Performance and Wellbeing in Medical Imaging Students Using Fitbit Devices. 2020
Senorita John (PhD) Mining reality to explore the 21st century student experience. 2019
Belinda Lawrence (PhD) Individual, Institutional and Environmental Factors Influencing Online Distance Tertiary Teaching in New Zealand. 2019
Hamid Mahroeian (PhD) Big Data and Analytics in Higher Education. 2018
Nick Baker (MHEd) The Dynamics of Online Group Learning. (2017)
Senorita John (MHEd) An investigation into the study practices of health science students. 2016
Kwong Nui Sim (PhD) An investigation into the way PhD students utilise ICT to support their doctoral research process. 2015
Suzie Bartlett (MHEd) Use of Actor-based Simulations in Heath Education. 2015
Dallas Knight (PhD) Digital Channels in healthcare service delivery. 2014
Belinda Lawrence (PGDipHighE) Web Based Technology Use in Online and Distance Learning. 2013
Kwong Nui Sim (MA) The importance of personal computers in Higher Education. 2012
Khalaf Alsalm (MSc) Factors and Characteristics of Successful Research Collaboration and E-collaboration Tools, 2011


Barnes, T., Lesche, S., Butson, R., & Wright, D. (2023). Fostering authenticity in undergraduate surgical education: An innovative approach to teaching in the operating theatre. ANZ Journal of Surgery, 93(Suppl. 1), (pp. 179). doi: 10.1111/ans.18394

Butson, R., Barnes, T., & Wright, D. (2023). Fostering authenticity in surgical education: Creating a safe space for medical students to practice as doctors. Journal of Surgical Education, 80(2), 159-165. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2022.08.014

Shawkat, F., Daniel, B., & Butson, R. (2022). Teacherpreneurship: An integrated framework and its practicality among the 21st century university teachers. In E. Heinrich, A. Jolley & L. Rowan (Eds.), Proceedings of the Tertiary Education Research in New Zealand (TERNZ) Conference. (pp. 62-63). HERDSA Aotearoa/New Zealand. [Abstract]

Jeremiah, F., & Butson, R. (2022). Exploring the paradox of mental illness amongst some high achievers. Minerva Psychiatry, 63(3), 295-299.

Wright, D., Boren, M., Butson, R., Lesche, S., & Barnes, T. (2022). Exploring medical student perspectives on the use of real-life/real-time video to enhance operating theatre learning. Colorectal Disease, 24(Suppl. 1), (pp. 141-142). doi: 10.1111/codi.16048

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