The EdTech Group

Who are we?

The EdTech group work specifically in the field of educational technologies as part of the larger vision of the Higher Education Development Centre. 

Though our team shares an interest in the growing field of educational technology, each member has their own area of expertise and their own unique research interests within the larger sector. 

Click below to learn more about our individual team members. 


Professor Ben Daniel

Head of Department HEDC

Associate Professor Joyce Koh


Dr Russell Butson

Senior Lecturer HEDC

Dr Qian Liu

Lecturer HEDC

Associate Professor Ben Daniel

About Ben

Ben Daniel is a Professor in Higher Education and Head of the Department of the Higher Education Development Centre at the University of Otago, New Zealand. He obtained his PhD in 2007, jointly in Artificial Intelligence in Education (AIED) and Educational Technology from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Before joining HEDC, Ben spent over a decade in the Canadian Prairies, working in the health care sector, in what was then Saskatoon Health Region (SHR)—now Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). While with SHA, he worked as a Research Methodologist and Innovation Analyst in the Office of the Vice-President Health Research and Innovation. Before this role, Ben worked in the software industry as a Knowledge Management Software Architect and Learning Specialist.

In HEDC, Ben leads academic development programmes in Research Methodology (Quantitative, Qualitative and Mixed Methods), Artificial Intelligence in Education (AIED), and general issues in Educational Technology. He supervises postgraduate students in these areas. His current primary research examines the value of Big Data and learning analytics in influencing the quality of learning and teaching. In addition, he is investigating what constitutes "best practice teaching" in research methods.

Ben has Professional memberships with the International Society for Artificial Intelligence in Education (IAIED); he is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

As the head of HEDC, Ben is responsible for overseeing the operational and strategic directions of HEDC, including Student Learning Development (SLD), and works with colleagues to provide strategic advice to the University in the areas of teaching and learning.

Ben's Research Interests
Ben's Teaching
Ben's Supervision

Associate Professor Joyce Koh

About Joyce

My path to teaching instructional design began in creating training packages and developing e-learning for both corporate and public sectors. When I was working in a corporate environment, I did not have much time to reflect about my practice as I was more consumed with meeting targets so as to ensure product quality, customer satisfaction, and good project cashflow. There was no time to theorise, I was busy solving problems. In academia, however, when you are in teaching, you still must put your problem-solving hat on while the research part of your role pushes you to theorise and reflect on your practice.
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Joyce's Research Interests
Joyce's Teaching
Joyce's Supervision

Dr Russell Butson

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.

Russell's Research Interests
Russell's Teaching
Rusell's Supervision

Dr Qian Liu

About Qian

I provide academic development support to staff and students, teach within the programmes offered by HEDC, and research in the field of higher education. Prior to this role, I was a professional practice fellow (eLearning) in a medical school, postdoc research fellow in a business school, assistant researcher in a policy research institute, and training specialist in an oil and gas company. I completed my doctoral research within three years at the University of Auckland and the thesis received Dean’s List award. I gained a Master of Science degree from the University of Edinburgh, and a Bachelor of Management degree from a Chinese university.

Qian's Research Interests
Qian's Teaching
Qian's Supervision