The Sociological review blog post, by Anna Wood, 17 November 2017:  Being a Housebound Digital Academic

I have been housebound with a chronic health condition (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, ME) since 2008.

Yet over the last few years I’ve published three papers and submitted a fourth, given a number of conference talks and reviewed for some top journals. I have even recently started a paid research position, 5 hours per week at the University of Edinburgh in the Centre for Digital Education Research. I’m still 90% housebound, so there have been some significant challenges. Many things have coincided to make this possible: supportive colleagues, the ability to work flexibly and from home, changing research field – I now focus on the use of technology within higher (physics) education, but the most crucial of all has been the wide range of digital tools available.

Digital tools help me in a variety of ways. They help me to communicate with others asynchronously (for example e-mail) and synchronously (for example meetings via Skype). They help me to network, for example through twitter and to give live talks at conferences. They enable me to work with others through collaborative software and to minimise my energy expenditure by using software that converts text to speech and speech to text.

Read more about the technologies Anna finds helpful:

  • Studying Online
  • Twitter
  • Video conferencing
  • Recording Conference Talks
  • Speech to Text and Text to Speech
  • Collaboration


Anna Wood is a Research Associate at the University of Edinburgh. She holds a PhD in Physics and is also a graduate from the Digital Education MSc Programme. She blogs at The Science of Scientific Learning and tweets at @annakwood.


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