Dr. Andrew Whitworth

Programme Director, MA: Digital Technologies, Communication and Education

School of Education, University of Manchester, UK

Telephone: +44 (0) 161 275 7843.
E-mail: drew [dot] whitworth [at] manchester [dot] ac [dot] uk


Research interests and projects

Teaching experience and consultancy

A photograph of Drew

Journal and Book Publications in Information Literacy and Educational Technology

Book: Whitworth, A. (2009): Information Obesity, Chandos, Oxford. See the web site for this book at www.informationobesity.com

Book chapters

Benson, A. D. & Whitworth, A. (forthcoming). The Public Administration Program at Churchampton College, UK. In A. Piña and A. Mizell (Eds.), Real-Life Distance Education: Case Studies in Research and Practice, IAP.

Whitworth, A., Fishwick, I. and McIndoe, S. (2011): Teaching information literacy in a holistic way, in Teaching Information Literacy Online, ed. T. Mackey and T. Jacobson, Neal-Schuman, New York.

Whitworth, A. (2011). Information literacy and noöpolitics. In Pope, A. and Walton, G. (Eds.), Information Literacy: Infiltrating the Curriculum, Challenging Minds, Chandos, Oxford.

Whitworth, A. & Benson, A. D. (2010). Learning, design and emergence: Two case studies of Moodle in distance education. In G. Veletsianos (Ed), Using Emerging Technologies in Distance Education, Edmonton; Athabasca UP.

Luckin, R., Clark, W., Garnett, F.,Whitworth, A., Akass, J., Cook, J., Day, P., Ecclesfield, N., Hamilton, T. & Robertson, J. (2010). Learner Generated Contexts: a framework to support the effective use of technology to support learning. In M. J. W. Lee & C. McLoughlin (Eds.) Web 2.0-based e-learning: applying socialinformatics for tertiary teaching. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Whitworth, A. (2007): "Communicative Competence in the Information Age: Towards a critical theory of information literacy" in Andretta, S. (ed.): Change and challenge: Information Literacy for the 21st Century, Blackwood: Auslib.

Whitworth, A. (2007): "Researching the cognitive cultures of e-learning" in Andrews, R. and Haythornthwaite, C. (eds.): The Handbook of E-learning Research, London, Sage.

Journal articles

Whitworth, A. (2012). Invisible success: Problems with the grand technological innovation in higher education. Computers & Education, 59/1, 145-155.

Whitworth, A. (2011) Empowerment or instrumental progressivism? Analyzing Information Literacy policies. Library Trends 60/2, 312-337.

Whitworth, A. (2009). Whose context is it anyway? Workplace learning as a synthesis of designer- and learner-generated contexts. Journal of Workplace E-learning, 1(1).

Whitworth, A. (2009). Teaching information literacy within a relational frame: the Media & Information Literacy course at Manchester. Journal of Information Literacy, 3(2).

McPherson, M. and Whitworth, A. (2008): "Editorial" - to a special issue on the organisation of e-learning; British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 39 no. 3.

Benson, A., Lawler, C. and Whitworth, A. (2008): "Rules, roles and tools: Activity Theory and the Comparative Study of E-learning" in British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 39 no. 3 (special issue as noted above)

Whitworth, A. (2008): "The organisation of space and place: A commentary on Wahlstedt et al" in British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 39 no. 2.

Benson, A. and Whitworth, A. (2007): "Technology at the Planning Table: Negotiation, Activity Theory and Course Management Systems" in Journal of Organisational Transformation and Social Change, vol. 4 no. 1.

Whitworth, A. (2006): "Dynamic but Prosaic: Toward a Methodology for Researching e-Learning Environments", International J ournal of Research and Method in Education 29/2, 151-164.

Whitworth, A. (2005): "The politics of virtual learning environments: environmental change, conflict, and e-learning", British Journal of Educational Technology, vol 36 no 4.

Whitworth, A. (2005): "'Who Wants to Learn Web Design Anyway?': Course Design for Student Diversity in an ICT Sub-Discipline", ITALICS vol 4 no 2.

Whitworth, A. (2005): "The State of ICT Skills Education", ITALICS vol 4 no 1.

Reffell, P. and Whitworth, A. (2002): "Information fluency: critically examining IT education", New Library World vol 103, no 1182/1183.

Conference presentations

Keynote speeches:

Whitworth, A. (2012): "Research: a means, an end or a culture?", University of Agder, Norway, 5th June 2012. Prezi

Whitworth, A. (2012). "Redefining information literacy: from 'study skills' to 'community informatics'", Information Literacy: A way of life, conference in Nyborg, Denmark, 11 May 2012. Prezi

Whitworth, A. (2011). The relational model of IL, and what it means for PhDs", PhD=kandidater og forskningsprosessen: Biblioteks bidrag, Oslo, 10 March 2011. Prezi

Whitworth, A. (2010): “The three domains of value: Why information literacy practitioners must take a holistic approach”, Creating Knowledge VI, Nord-InfoLit, Bergen, Norway, Sept 2010. See http://creatingknowledge.blip.tv Whitworth, A. (2009): “The VLE and innovation: an oxymoron?”, Flexible Learning Conference, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, March 2009.

Other conference presentations:

Whitworth, A., S. McIndoe and C. Whitworth (2010): “Teaching media and information literacy to postgraduate researchers”, Higher Education Academy - Information and Computer Science subject centre, annual conference, Durham, August 2010.

Whitworth, A. (2010): Resource generation networks and innovation in fragmented institutions. Poster presented at the Networked Learning conference, Aalborg, Denmark, May 2010.

Whitworth, A. (2010): An evaluation of a course located in the relational frame of IL. LILAC: Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference, Limerick, Ireland, March 2010.

Whitworth, A. (2010): Critical theory, learning and transliteracy. Transliteracy conference, Leicester, February 2010.

Whitworth, A. (2009): “Information obesity: Critical theory and information literacy”, LILAC: Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference, Cardiff, Wales, April 2009.

Luckin, R. and Whitworth, A. (2009): “Sustainable learning environments: technology, learning communities and the ecology of resources”, CAL Computer-Assisted Learning, Brighton, England, March 2009.

Whitworth, A. (2008): “Learner-Generated Contexts: Critical theory and ICT education”, ETPE, Limassol, Cyprus, September 2008.

Whitworth, A. (2007): “Information literacy in an endemic surveillance society”, i3 Information literacy conference, Aberdeen, Scotland, June 2007.

Whitworth, A. and Benson, A. (2007): "Taming the Lone Ranger: the Creative Development of Elearning Technologies in UK and US Higher Education Institiutions", at Creativity or Conformity: Building Cultures of Creativity in Higher Education, 8-10 January 2007, Cardiff.

Whitworth, A. and Benson, A. (2006): "Mapping e-learning: Visualising the negotiated social shaping of educational technology" in Proceedings of ALT-C 2006: The next generation, 5-7 September 2006, Edinburgh, 192-202.

Whitworth, A. (2005): "Researching the cognitive cultures of e-learning" in Cook, J. and Whitelock, D. (eds.): Exploring the frontiers of e-learning: borders, outposts and migration - Proceedings of ALT-C 2005, 6-8 September, University of Manchester.

Sobol, S., Stones, C. and Whitworth, A. (2005): "Qualitative Evaluation of e-Learning using a Visualisation Tool", Proceedings of the IADIS International Confernce on Applied Computing, February, Carvoeiro, Portugal.

Whitworth, A. (2004): "E is for Environment: Critical Social Science, Technology and the Learning Environment", Proceedings of the IADIS International Conference on E-Society, 16-19 July 2004, Avila, 980-983.

Whitworth, A. (2003): "Reclaiming the virtual public sphere: the philosophy and practice of teaching web design", Proceedings of the 11th BOBCATSSS symposium on library and information science, 3-5 February 2003, Torun, 47-60.

Back to the top

Research interests

My work lies at the intersection of three fields:


Critical theory
and the politics
of organisations


A critical theory
of learning, information and technology?


and technology


(particularly HE)

Research projects

I am a member of the Learner Generated Contexts research group. For more information on this wide-ranging project see the LGC web site as linked.

2011: MOSI-ALONG was a community informatics project in Manchester, run with several partners including the London Knowledge Lab, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Learning, Skills and Employment network, Mimas and People's Voice Media.

Since March 2005: Technology at the Planning Table - a joint project with Dr. Angela Benson of the University of Alabama, US.

This project considers the negotiation of power and interests in the creation of course management systems (sometimes referred to as virtual learning environments). Different approaches to systems development have been identified: open source (e.g., Moodle), commercial (e.g., Blackboard), home-grown/ private, and "ad hoc" (small-scale autonomous work by individual teachers). For each of these we have selected one online programme from the UK and one from the US as qualitative case studies. Various data collection methods are then used to establish how the course management systems were designed and shaped in an ongoing process partly dependent on the negotiation of power and interests amongst the staff (faculty), planners, and software developers on that programme.

The project has so far acquired funding from the World Universities Network and the British Academy.

Back to the top

Teaching interests

Current courses taught include:

See also my Web design tutorial site.


I have run a range of professional development workshops, on the subjects of e-learning, digital and information literacy, lasting between one and four days, in various countries including Russia (2012), Norway (2011-2012), Finland (2011), Bulgaria (2009), Saudi Arabia (2008) and the UK (various). For more information see the CWA Consulting site.

In 2010 I worked with the NCUK on their e-learning strategy.

In 2008 I worked with the British Council Bulgaria delivering training (with Alan Jervis) on ICT i n School Leadership to headmasters from all over Bulgaria.

Back to the top