HE online and blended student engagement

Supporting online and blended student engagement and experience in Higher Education

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

The last decade has seen significant growth in online and blended course offerings across higher education institutions. However, this rapid growth in enrolment numbers is accompanied by undeniable challenges. Universities have observed higher student attrition rates and disengagement among online and blended learning cohorts, as well as overall learner dissatisfaction. There is a need for universities to rethink their course design and support strategies to enhance student engagement and retention. Teaching online is pedagogically different to teaching on-campus, yet there is a tendency for instructors to apply face-to-face syllabus and teaching approaches directly to the online environment (Kenzig, 2015). Embedding strategies in the course design to support student engagement is an effective way to retain students in these courses and support them to succeed. We seek PhD candidates who are passionate about researching online pedagogy to enhance student engagement and experience in higher education. Applicants who are familiar with the mixed-methods research methodology and theories relevant to student engagement in higher education are preferred. Prior teaching experiences in online or blended courses in a higher education context are also seen as desirable.

Kenzig, M. J. (2015). Lost in translation: Adapting a face-to-face course into an online learning experience. Health Promotion Practice, 16(5), 625-628.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Frances Fan


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Ensure your eligibility for the scholarship round by referring to our Key Dates.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Frances Fan to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 25 September 2023.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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