Dr Rebecca Vivian

Research Fellow
Dr Rebecca Vivian
  Org Unit School of Computer Science
  Email rebecca.vivian@adelaide.edu.au
  Telephone +61 8 8313 1894
  Location Floor/Room 4 44 ,  Ingkarni Wardli ,   North Terrace

  • 2016- present: Research Fellow (Level B), Computer Science Education Research Group (CSER).
  • 2012-2016: Postdoctoral Research Associate (Level A), Computer Science Education Research Group (CSER).
  • 2009- 2013: PhD Education.
  • 2009- 2010: Tutor for 'Computers, Communication and Society' at UniSA.
  • 2005- 2008: Bachelor of Education With Honours.
  • 2005- 2009: Pharmacy Assistant, National Pharmacies, South Australia.

I am currently a Research Fellow with the University of Adelaide's Computer Science Education Research (CSER) Group. Previously, I have completed a Bachelor of Education With Honours in Primary School Teaching and a PhD in Education. Being interested in technologies inspired me to explore the use of technologies in learning contexts, in both research theses.

In the CSER group, I apply expertise in mixed-methods research and learning sciences to work on projects that seek to understand how students learn computer science and how to improve learning and teaching, as well within the application of technology to learning contexts and for online learning.

I lead CSER's K-12 Digital Technologies education stream to build research and practice and to support effective implementation of Computer Science in primary and secondary schools, both within Australia and internationally. Within this space, I currently explore appropriate pedagogy, in terms of teacher professional development as well as appropriate pedagogy and learning activities for K-12 computer science, computational thinking and programming. 

With my colleagues in the CSER team, we have developed free online resources and courses and content to support F-12 teachers to implement digital technologies education, programming and computational thinking in the classroom. This program has received $6.9 million in Federal funding support over 4 years to expand support and access to high-indigenous and low-SES schools. 

For an overview of our other current research projects at CSER, please visit our website.

Follow me on Twitter @RebeccaVivian (views are my own) or visit my personal blog, here, where I share updates and ideas around my research activities and digital technologies education.

  • 2014: Google Innovative Educator
  • 2014: The University of Adelaide Supervisor Induction Program
  • 2009- 2013: Doctor of Philosophy (Education), University of South Australia
  • 2008: Registered Teacher for South Australia
  • 2008: Certificate II in Community Pharmacy
  • 2005- 2008: Bachelor of Education (With Honours), University of South Australia

  • 2016: The Barbara Cail STEM Fellowship
  • 2016: The University of Adelaide Women's Research Excellence Award (Early Career Researcher)
  • 2016: Science Meets Parliament attendee, Canberra.
  • 2015: Promotion to Level B (commencing 2016)
  • 2015: ACEL "New Voice" in Educational Leadership Research Award
  • 2014: Accepted for the Google Teacher Academy, Sydney
  • 2009: University of South Australia Postgraduate Award (PhD Scholarship)
  • 2008, 2007, 2005: University of South Australia Merit Award
Completed Professional Development Courses:

I am a research fellow and content developer for the national CSER MOOCs Digital Technologies Education Program at csermoocs.adelaide.edu.au

We currently have the following free, online self-paced MOOCs running:

  • F-6 Foundations in Digital Technologies
  • Years 7&8: Next Steps in Digital Technologies
  • F-6: Digital Technologies Extended (coming soon)
I am a team member for a six-week AdelaideX introductory programming MOOC on edX: "Think. Create. Code". April 2015. This course teaches computational thinking and programming concepts through the creation of digital artwork using ProcessingJS.
I have been an invited speaker to numerous events across Australia on the topic of K-12 Digital Technologies (Computer Science) education and teacher professional development. 

Previously I have taught UniSA's 'Computers Communication and Society' Foundation course and have presented at UniSA in 2012, 2013 and 2016 as a guest-lecturer for the Bachelor of Education ICT Course on the topic of social network sites: research, theory and current trends and guest lecturer for the Charles Sturt University Masters program on the topic of "CS+Education".

I have had course practicum and volunteer experience working in Reception to Year 7 classrooms in South Australia within both Catholic and Public school systems.

Computer Science Education Research Group (CSER). The CSER group aims to promote research and scholarship both within the field of Computer Science Education and more broadly in the Higher Education sector. The goal of CSER is to understand how we can improve the teaching and learning of computing, and how contemporary issues in higher education, such as the use of new technologies can impact upon the teaching and learning environment.

Current Research Areas and Research Interests

  • K-12 Digital Technologies (Computer Science) Education
  • Computational Thinking
  • Open online courses (MOOCs) pedagogy and research
  • Formal and informal learning with social media
  • Learning processes and self-regulated learning
  • Online teamwork and pedagogy

Current HDR Research Students

  • Mr Hamid Tarmazdi - Learning Analytics (PhD)
  • Miss Valance Wang - Problem-solving skills (PhD)
  • Rita Garcia - Intelligent Tutoring Systems (PhD)

Future Research Students (Masters/PhD)

Are you interested in Computer Science Education Research? We love to have new students join our team! If you have an interest, please view our CSER research page for potential topic ideas or you may contact me with your own ideas. If you have a project idea, please email me your draft research proposal (using the Faculty template) and a copy of your academic transcripts. You may find information about scholarships, application processes and dates on the University of Adelaide website [here]. 

Total - >$7.4 million

Research Contract

K. Falkner, R. Vivian and T. Atapattu, Understanding the relationship between social community formation and progression within MOOC environments, Research Contract, Google Australia, $37,687 (2017).

Research Contract

Assessment for the F-10 Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies, Education Services Australia (ESA) Research Contract. R. Vivian & K. Falkner. ($114,000, 2016-2018)

Research Contract

Expanding Teacher Professional Development – Beyond the CSER MOOC, Google Research Contract. K. Falkner, R. Vivian. ($95,101) (2016)

Federal Government Funding

Falkner, K., Vivian, R., Falkner, N. & Szabo, C. The Expanded Rollout and Support of University of Adelaide Digital Technology MOOCs - Closing the Digital Divide for Disadvantaged Students, Department of Education and Training, ($6.9 million) (2016-2020).

Research Contract

Coding Across the Curriculum – Curriculum Mapping and Analysis. K. Falkner and R. Vivian. ($77,889) (2015).

Sponsorship Contract

Addressing the Challenges of the Digital Technologies Curriculum (Years 7 & 8). K. Falkner, R. Vivian, N. Falkner & C. Szabo, Digital Careers Sponsorship Agreement, ($119,588) (2014-2015).

This contract involves the development of a Digital Technologies MOOC for Years 7 to 8 that aligns with the Australian Digital Technologies learning objectives and incorporates student projects and pedagogy.

Research Contract

Building Digital Technologies Capacity. K. Falkner and R. Vivian, Google Research Contract ($48,312) (2014-2015)

This contract involved the redevelopment of an F-6 Digital Technologies Foundations MOOC and the development of an advanced F-6 Digital Technologies MOOC, specialising in the application and development of algorithms and visual programming across F-6 learning areas.

Google CS4HS grant 2014

Digital Technologies Workshop for Primary Teachers, C. Izu, B. Alexander, C. Pope, C. Szabo, A. Weerasinghe, R. Vivian, Grant ($10,000). A workshop for non-CS teachers in schools about computational thinking and computer science, with links to the Australian curriculum.

Research Contract

Addressing the Challenges of the Digital Technologies Curriculum: MOOCs for Teacher Development, K. Falkner, N. Falkner and R. Vivian, Google Research Contract ($65,000 + in-kind) (2013-2014)

This project involves the development of a MOOC designed to assist primary and high school teachers in foundational knowledge and skills for teaching computational thinking and the new Australian F-6 Digital Technologies Curriculum. 

OLT Innovation and Development Grant

An evidenced-based approach to the design and redevelopment of inclusive, technology-enhanced learning environments, Prof D. Wood (Leader), Dr L. Glenny, Dr C. Snowden, A/Prof S. Scutter, Dr. T. Du, D. Tedmanson, B. Underwood, T. Johnson, Prof N. Lindsay, A/Prof K. Falkner, R. Vivian, and Prof H. Partridge, Office for Learning and Teaching, Australian Government, $211,000 (2013-2016).

This project will: 1) demonstrate the benefits of an evidence-based approach to the design of inclusive technology-enhanced learning environments; 2) provide guidelines for academics on the design and redevelopment of inclusive online curricula; and 3) develop a prototype of an open source responsive learning system which adapts to individual student needs.

Journal Papers

  1. Falkner, F. & Vivian, R. (2016). A review of Computer Science resources for learning and teaching with K-12 computing curricula: an Australian case study, Computer Science Education, December Special Issue on K-12 Computer Science, 25 (4), 390-429.

  2. * Vivian, R., Falkner, K., Falkner, N., & Tarmazdi, H. (2015). A method to analyse computer science students’ teamwork in online collaborative learning environments. Transactions on Computing Education. 16 (2), pp. 1-7. (ERA A)

  3. * Vivian, R., Barnes, A., Geer, R., & Wood, D. (2014). The academic journey and experience of university students on Facebook: an analysis of informal academic-related activity over a semester. Research in Learning Technology, 22 (Special Issue: Riding Giants: How to innovate and educate ahead of the wave), 1–16. (16 pages, ERA A)

  4. * Vivian, R., Falkner, K., & Falkner, N. (2014). Addressing the challenges of a new digital technologies curriculum: MOOCs as a scalable solution for teacher professional development. Research in Learning Technology, 22 (Special Issue: Riding Giants: How to innovate and educate ahead of the wave), pp. 1–19. (ERA A)

Conference Papers

  1. Falkner, K., Vivian, R. & Falkner, N. (2017). Reflecting on Three Offerings of a Community-Centric MOOC for K-6 Computer Science Teachers, SIGCSE proceedings, Seattle, Washington. (30.2% acceptance rate).

  2. Falkner, K., Falkner, N, Szabo, C., & Vivian, R. (2016). Applying Validated Pedagogy to MOOCs: An Introductory Programming Course with Media Computation, ITiCSE, 11th-13th July 2016, Arequipa, Peru. (ERA A)

  3. * Tarmazdi, H., Vivian, R., Szabo, C., Falkner, K., & Falkner, N. (2015). Using learning analytics to visualise Computer Science teamwork. In 20th Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE). (ERA A)

  4. * Falkner, K., Szabo, C., Vivian, R.  & Falkner, N. (2015). Evolution of software development strategies. In 37th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE). Florence, Italy. (ERA A*, acceptance rate 19%)

  5. * Vivian, R., Tarmazdi, H., Falkner, K., Falkner, N., & Szabo, C. (2015). The development of a dashboard tool for visualising online teamwork discussions. In 37th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE). (ERA A*, acceptance rate 19%).

  6. Falkner, K., Vivian, R., & Falkner, N. (2015). Teaching Computational Thinking in K-6: The CSER Digital Technologies MOOC. In 17th Australasian Computing Education Conference (ACE), pp. 27–30.

  7. Vivian, R., & Szabo, C. (2014). Can everybody learn to code? Computer Science community perceptions about learning the fundamentals of programming. In 14th Koli Calling International Conference on Computing Education Research (Koli Calling), pp. 41–50. Koli, Finland: ACM. (48% acceptance rate)

  8. Falkner, K., & Vivian, R. (2014). Neo-Piagetian forms of reasoning in software development process construction. In 23rd Australasian Software Engineering Conference (ASWEC). Sydney, Australia.

  9. * Falkner, K., Vivian, R., & Falkner, N. J. G. (2014). Identifying computer science self-regulated learning strategies. In Conference on Innovation & technology in computer science education (ITiCSE), pp. 291–296. Uppsala, Sweden: ACM. (ERA A, acceptance rate 35%).

  10. * Falkner, N., Vivian, R., Piper, D., & Falkner, K. (2014). Increasing the effectiveness of automated assessment by increasing marking granularity and feedback units. Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE), pp. 9–14. Atlanta, Georgia: ACM. (ERA A, acceptance rate 39.4%).

  11. Falkner, K., Vivian, R., & Falkner, N. (2014). The Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum: challenge and opportunity. 16th Australasian Computing Education Conference (ACE), pp. 3–12.

  12. Vivian, R., Falkner, K., & Falkner, N. (2013). Computer Science students’ causal attributions for successful and unsuccessful outcomes in programming assignments. Koli Calling International Conference on Computing Education Research (Koli Calling), pp. 125–134. (50% acceptance rate),

  13. Vivian, R., Falkner, K., & Falkner, N. (2013). Analysing computer science students’ teamwork role adoption in an online self-organised teamwork activity. Koli Calling International Conference on Computing Education Research (Koli Calling), 105–114. (acceptance rate 50%)

  14. Falkner, K., Vivian, R., & Falkner, N. J. G. (2013). Neo-Piagetian Forms of Reasoning in Software Development Process Construction. In Learning and Teaching in Computing and Engineering (LaTiCE), pp. 31–38. Macau, China: IEEE. (acceptance rate 43%)

  15. Falkner, N. J. G., Vivian, R., & Falkner, K. E. (2013). Computer Science education: the first threshold concept. In Learning and Teaching in Computing and Engineering (LaTiCE), pp. 39–46. (acceptance rate 43%)

  16. Vivian, R., Falkner, K., & Falkner, N. (2013). Building consensus: students’ cognitive and metacognitive behaviours during wiki construction. In Learning and Teaching in Computer Engineering (LaTiCE), vol. 1, pp. 154–161. Macau: IEEE. (acceptance rate 43%)

  17. * Falkner, K., Falkner, N. J. G., & Vivian, R. (2013). Collaborative learning and anxiety a phenomenographic study of collaborative learning activities. In 44th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education  (SIGCSE), pp. 227–232. Denver, Colarado: ACM. (ERA A, acceptance rate 37.9%)

  18. Vivian, R. (2011). University Students' Informal Learning Practices Using Facebook: Help or Hindrance? Enhancing Learning Through Technology, Education Unplugged and Web 2.0 Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol. 177, pp. 254- 267.

  19. Vivian, R. (2011). University Students Face-Up to their Informal Learning Practices and Cognitive Learning Strategies with Facebook, In T. Bastiaens & M. Ebner (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications, pp. 1234-1243.

  20. Wood, D., Barnes, A., Vivian, R., Scutter, S., & Stokes-Thompson, F. (2010). The future may have arrived, but engagement with ICTs is not equal among our diverse “net gen” learners. In Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE) (pp. 1107–1118). Sydney, Australia. Retrieved from http://ascilite.org.au/conferences/sydney10/procs/Wood2-full.pdf

  21. Vivian, R., & Barnes, A. (2010). Social networking: from living technology to learning technology? In Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE) (pp. 1007–1019). Sydney, Australia. Retrieved from http://ascilite.org.au/conferences/sydney10/procs/Vivian-full.pdf

Published Reports

  1. Falkner K, Vivian R. (2015). Coding Across the Curriculum: Resource Review, Australian Government : Department of Education and Training, [online] Available at: https://docs.education.gov.au/documents/resource-review-report-coding-across-curriculum

Invited Journal and Conference Reviewer: 

Australasian Computing Education Conference (ACE): 2017

ACM Transactions on Computing Education (TOCE) Journal: 2015

IEEE Transactions on Education (TOE) Journal: 2014, 2015

Journal of The Internet and Higher Education: 2015 

Journal of Computers in Human Behavior: 2015

Education Sciences Journal: 2016

World Conference on E-learning: 2014, 2015

HERGA Committee Member 

The HERGA group is a cross-institutional and multidisciplinary research group for Adelaide. The HERGA group run various seminars throughout the year and an annual conference. The goal of HERGA is to share and disseminate best practice in learning and teaching.

Individual Member of the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA).

The Computer Science Teachers Association is a membership organization that supports and promotes the teaching of computer science and other computing disciplines. CSTA provides opportunities for K–12 teachers and students to better understand the computing disciplines and to more successfully prepare themselves to teach and learn.

Association for Learning Technology Member

The ALT is the leading association in the UK for research and practice about technologies and education. The aims of the association are to improve practice, promote research and influence policy.



2015 to present: Co-Facilitator of The University of Adelaide Communities of Practice "e-learning" Group (formerley MOOC CoP).

2013 to present: CSER Social Media

Maintaining and managing social media accounts for the Computer Science Education Research Group. The purpose of these sites are to connect with the wider research and education community, share our activities and papers among other computer science education resources.

2012 to 2015: HERGA

Leader of the Web Presence Working Group and Committee Member for the Higher Education Research Group of Adelaide (HERGA). HERGA is a cross-disciplinary community of educators, with the intention of promoting high quality university learning and teaching through sharing evidence-based, practical approaches to teaching.

As leader and member of the HERGA Web Presence Working Group we manage the online content and presence of the HERGA group and conference events. We have developed and maintained the new website, social media accounts and content-sharing sites.

2009- 2012: SLUGG, UniSA

Founding member of the School of Education Student Leadership Undergraduate Graduate Group (SLUGG, inc.). The SLUGG Group is a leadership group, run by UniSA Education students for students that focuses on increasing student participation and engagement. The group liases with staff about university matters and organses social activities for students. I was responsible for research and social media outreach.



Science Week 2015: Led the successful application, organisation and running of three workshops for families to learn about Computer Science and coding with the Adelaide City Library during National Science Week, 17th-21st of August.

Open Day: Volunteer 2014, 2015, 2016.

UoA Hour of Code 2014: Led the organisation and running of an Hour of Code event for staff and students at the University of Adelaide with Cathy Miller from the Library Services and Research Branch.

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Entry last updated: Tuesday, 8 Aug 2017

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