Dr Ella Taylor-Smith

Senior Research Fellow

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Projects within the Centre for Computing Education Research (CCER):
  • Managing the research strategy within the Graduate Level Apprenticeships in the School of Computing.
  • Evaluating the Associate Student Project, which aims to ease transitions for direct entrant students coming from college to university.
  • The Work Experience Joint Study (with university of Greenwich) investigates computing students’ experiences of getting and completing work experience, focusing on diversity and self-identity.
  • Graduate Outcomes, part of the e-Placement Scotland project, explores work placements from the perspectives of computing graduates.
  • The CfE Transitions project explores the impact of the Curriculum for Excellence on the transition from school to university for undergraduate computing students.
  • GEP Identity uses an identity theory framework to study the student experiences of employability programmes across four disciplines.
Projects within the Centre for Social Informatics (CSI):
The 2017 Knitted Memes study investigates how social media images carry and transform values and emotions, by focusing on posts of photos of knitted or crocheted protest banners in local democracy. In particular, the study explores the experiences of social media users who post, forward, or comment on the images.

In 2016, Ella completed her PhD: "Participation Space Studies: a socio-technical exploration of activist and community groups’ use of online and offline spaces to support their work"

From 2007 to 2011, Ella was a Senior Research Fellow within the Centre for Social informatics, primarily working on the projects: Research in Librarianship - Impact Evaluation Study (RiLIES1: 2011),  Hub Websites for Youth Participation (HUWY; 2009-2011), and Western Balkans Democratic Participation (WEB-DEP: 2007-2009).

The EU funded project HUWY: Hub Websites for Youth Participation piloted a distributed discussion (combining on and offline processes). The project explored ways to support young people to discuss Internet problems and improvements and to encourage policy-makers to interact with the resulting ideas. The HUWY project started in January 2009 and ran for 28 months. Ella led the proposal and consortium: Edinburgh Napier coordinated the project, working with noine other partners, from four countries: Estonia, Germany, Republic of Ireland and the UK.

The WEB.DEP project (Western Balkans Democratic Participation) established communication and information management networks, hosted by the National News Agencies of the Western Balkan countries. Edinburgh Napier's role within the project focused on specifying and supporting the e-participation aspects and designing and implementing the project evaluation.

Ella is active in a number of participation networks (digital and otherwise). In 2009, she organised the ESRC-funded eParticipation Scotland Baseline Workshop.

Ella joined Edinburgh Napier's International Teledemocracy Centre (ITC) in September 2001, where her research focused on using the Internet to get people more involved in democracy, especially young people: ITC projects working with young people. In around 2007, the ITC merged into CSI (The Centre for Social Informatics).

Ella's work within the ITC (2001 -6) included development of a suite of e-democracy tools for Highland Youth Voice (a youth parliament for the Highland region of Scotland). These tools take the form of a website, including an  online policy debating forum, a content management system for news and information and an e-voting section, which was used to elect new HYV members in Autumn 2002 and 2004.

As one of the ITC's researcher/ developers, Ella was involved in the ITC's e-Petitioning projects.

Initially Ella joined the ITC to work on the "What sort of Scotland do we want to live in?"  e-consultation as part of her dissertation: "Usability and Community in a Dynamic e-Democracy Website.", completing an MSc in Multimedia Technology (Napier University, Edinburgh).

Ella is on the Program Committee of the following conferences:

Ella is on the editorial board of JeDEM - eJournal of eDemocracy and Open Government http://www.jedem.org/

Until July 2007, Ella worked under her maiden name: Ella Smith. Her CV (2016, pdf) contains a full list of projects and publications for both names.

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Areas of Expertise link icon

  • Computing Education
    Computing Education shares many of the same challenges of general education but it also has a few unique challenges which the researchers in this area are exploring through a range of funded projects and collaborative national and international projects.
  • eGovernment
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Merchiston Campus
10 Colinton Road
EH10 5DT

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    Recent Projects

    Associate Student Project
    Associate Students study at college (e.g. for an HND), then enter university directly into 3rd year. They are given access to university resources and academic support during their college years. The ASP team are working with partner colleges to improve students' transition from college to...
    e-Placement Scotland
    The project aims to create 1500 paid placement opportunities for computing students studying in any Scottish university or college over the 5 year project. We are also researching student, graduate and employer perspectives on work placements.
    CfE Transitions Project
    To explore the impact of the Curriculum for Excellence on the transition from school to university for undergraduate computing students. It will compare the September 2015 School of Computing intake from Scottish schools (the final cohort with pre-CfE experience and qualifications) with the...
    Graduate Level Apprenticeships (SD, ITMB & Cyber- Cohort1)
    Evaluate the impacts and processes of the new Graduate Level Apprenticeship programmes in the School of Computing Measure the extent to which the intervention has met its various aims;Identify impacts on student participants;Identify outcomes for other stakeholders (e.g.
    See all projects

    PhD Project Involvement

    See all PhD projects

    Recent Publications

    Meharg, D., Taylor-Smith, E., Varey, A., Mooney, C., Dallas, S. (2017). An enhanced route from FE to HE graduation?. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 5, (2), 85-92.

    Smith, S., Smith, C., Taylor-Smith, E., Fotheringham, J. (2017). In search of graduate employability: An exploration of student identity. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 18, (1), 15–24.

    Smith, S., Smith, C., Taylor-Smith, E., Fotheringham, J. (2017). Towards graduate employment: exploring student identity through a university-wide employability project. Journal of Further and Higher Education, , (), .

    Taylor-Smith, E., Smith, S., Smith, C. (2017, ). Placement or practicalities? Barriers and disincentives to work experience, as reported by computing students. Paper presented at Society for Research into Higher Education Annual Conference, Newport, Wales.

    See all publications

    Supervised dissertations


    Academic CV April 2017 Resource
    Projects and publications (2001 to 2017)