Short Biography

(suitable for publications and presentations)
Matthew Allen is Professor of Internet Studies, Curtin University. Matthew has worked at Curtin University since 1994, establishing and sustaining a program of Internet research and education from 1999 onwards. Matthew is an innovative educator, a Teaching Fellow of the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, and is currently researching the link between student learning and online knowledge networking. He is also a critic and researcher of the social uses and cultural meanings of the Internet, most recently analysing the development of Web 2.0 and also writing on Internet connectivity. He served as President of the Association of Internet Researchers from 2005-2007. He is the author of several articles and papers on things Internet, as well as on television, popular culture and Australian history.

Longer Biography

(suitable only for the excessively inquisitive)
Born in England, but having lived most of my life in Australia, I studied history at the University of Sydney in the 1980s (BA (Hons) History) and then completed a PhD in history and organisational changes at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University. During this time I was an active student politician, serving as President of the ANU Postgraduate and Research Students’ Association and, from time to time, demonstrating my commitment to a more just and equitable society, particularly in relation to education. Upon finishing my PhD, I took up a tutorship (as they were then called) in the History Department at the University of Western Australia to teach Australian history.

Since then I have regularly reshaped and refashioned my academic career, sidestepping the yawning chasms of academic unemployment that have accompanied twenty years of ‘rationalisation’ in higher education in Australia. After some short-term appointments at UWA, and also Murdoch and Edith Cowan universities, I moved in 1994 to the School of Social Sciences at Curtin University, teaching critical thinking. During this time, my research shifted from history towards contemporary media, especially television and gender and, along the way, acquired an MA from Murdoch University in Literature and Communication. In the mid-1990s I started to explore the use of the Internet for more effective distance education and soon realised that it would have profound effects on both teaching and learning for all students and on society as a whole. During this time, I also wrote the successful Smart Thinking textbook which was based on my teaching responsibilities.

Since then, I have gone on to establish what is now the Department of Internet Studies and craft with colleagues a new kind of undergraduate degree – the BA (Internet Studies) (renamed the BA (Internet Communications) in 2010) – which aimed to create professionally capable, creative thinkers, communicators and users of the Internet. This degree is also an ongoing exploration in how best to use the Internet for education, since most students study fully online. The department also offers postgraduate education and is home to several doctoral students, including some studying fully online. Since I established the Internet Studies program at Curtin University, it has grown from 60 equivalent full–time students and 1 academic to 250 students, 15 doctoral research students and 7 academics. In particular, the BA program is particularly successful through Open Universities Australia and demonstrates the synergies that can be achieved between form and content in teaching.

Because of my ongoing interest in and success with introducing new academic programs, based on innovative pedagogy, I have also played a role within Curtin in the overall management and development of teaching and learning, being Associate Dean Teaching and Learning in Humanities from 2003 to 2005. I have run many workshops on teaching and learning and related issues with the aim of creating new kinds of teaching practices in higher education. I have been awarded an Australian Award for University Teaching (2000), a Curtin Excellence in Teaching award (2003), and most recently was appointed as an Australian Learning and Teaching Council Teaching Fellow (2008).

I have represented Western Australia in touch football (admittedly as a ‘veteran’) and would hope to do so again. I am an avid reader of science fiction, fanatical supporter of Western Australian and Australian softball teams, probably spend far too much time watching television (the old habits of tele-ology research live on), and am accompanied on life’s journey by the wonderful Professor Jane Long.