Dr Monica Bulger

 Dr Monica Bulger

Dr. Monica Bulger recently completed a Research Fellowship at the Oxford Internet Institute and is currently a consultant on child protection and digital media literacy for multi-national organisations including UNICEF and the BBC.


Monica Bulger leads the Enabling Connected Learning initiative at the Data & Society Research Institute. She serves on the International Advisory Board for Global Kids Online, a collaboration between UNICEF, LSE and international partners to study the risks and opportunities of children's use of the internet. She additionally serves on the advisory board of the International Child Redress Project helping child victims of sex crimes in Southeast Asia access civil justice. A 2014-2015 Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, she is a Research Associate at the Oxford Internet Institute and a fellow of Fundación Ceibal studying impacts of educational technologies on children's everyday experiences. Monica contributes policy research UNICEF, EU Kids Online, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the European Commission. She holds a PhD in Education with an emphasis in cognitive science and social dimensions of technology. Her recent work focuses on issues of equality and children's rights in digital and learning spaces.

At the Oxford Internet Institute, Dr. Bulger's work focused on three key areas and their interrelationships: digital literacy, information use, and online child safety. Within these fields, she contributed to the development of indicators for measuring media literacy across the EU for the European Commission, which has resulted in a practical, modular framework for national media literacy assessment as well as an examination of the methodological and political challenges of measuring national levels of media literacy. Dr. Bulger simultaneously, studied information use practices among scholars in the humanities and physical sciences to determine how technology was affecting their research, collaboration, and dissemination practices. In particular, she examined how the interplay between technical skills and scholarship affected practice, namely, who was increasing their use of technology, who wasn’t, and the significance of these choices for their practice.

In 2011, Dr. Bulger and Dr. Victoria Nash received a grant from the John Fell Fund to study the extent of harms children experience as a result of being online. Together with Vera Slavtcheva-Petkova, they completed a critical synthesis of documented evidence of harms, drawing from studies across disciplines and including practitioner studies and charities reports. This work is ongoing, with current research focused on an analysis of international policy related to online child protection and an evaluation of the efficacy of interventions in reducing children’s online risky behaviors.

Please visit slideshare to view recent presentations and Dr. Bulger’s blog for links to recent publications.

Research interests

digital literacy, online child protection, online child safety, information use, child development, learning and cognition, teens and Internet

Positions held at the OII

  • Research Associate, November 2012 -
  • Research Fellow, January 2011 - October 2012


Current projects

  • Child Protection

    January 2005 -

    Work and activities by OII faculty and associates on issues surrounding online child safety and protection.

Past projects





  • Slavtcheva-Petkova, V., Nash, V., and Bulger M.E. (2013) Evidence on the extent of harms experienced by children as a result of online risks: A critical synthesis of research. International Communication Association (ICA) Annual Meeting, 17-21 June 2013, London, UK.
  • Slavtcheva-Petkova, V., Nash, V., and Bulger M.E. (2013) Does the Internet harm children's health? A critical review of the evidence. Annual Conference of the Media, Communication, and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA), 9 January 2013, Derry/Londonderry, Ireland.
  • Bulger, M.E., Mayer, R.E. and Metzger, M.J. (2010) Digital Literacy Practices in the University: Examining the Role of Cognitive Processes and Expertise in Student Information Use. 11th Annual Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR), Gothenburg, Sweden.
  • Bulger, M.E. (2009) Research methods for Web Science: The study of moving targets. Web Science Curriculum Workshop, WebSci '09, 18-20 March 2009, Athens, Greece.
  • Bulger, M.E., Murphy, J.C. and Lagresa, E. (2009) Digital textual analysis: Potential for research and practice. Conference on College Composition and Communication, San Francisco, California.
  • Ventura, J., Forbes, A., Adams, B., Joshi, S., Grossner, K., Bulger, M., Hollerer, T. and Manjunath, B.S. (2009) IssueBrowser: Knowledge Acquisition via Multimedia Data. The Future of Interactive Media: Workshop on Media Arts, Science, and Technology (MAST), Santa Barbara, CA.
  • Bulger, M.E. (2008) Beyond search: Online literacy practices in academic settings. Writing Research Across Borders, Santa Barbara, CA.
  • Bulger, M.E. and Bradley, N.D. (2007) Technology in action: Using simulation exercises in university writing instruction. Conference on College Composition and Communication, New York, NY.
  • Bulger, M.E., Almeroth, K.C., Mayer, R.E., Knight, A., Collins, H.M. and Chun, D. (2007) Effects of instructor engagement on student use of a Course Management System. Poster Presentation. Association for Psychological Science 19th Annual Convention, Washington, DC.
  • Knight, A., Bulger, M.E. and Almeroth, K.C. (2007) Is learning really a phone call away? Knowledge transfer in mobile learning. MLearn Conference on Mobile Learning, Banff.
  • Bulger, M.E., Mayer, R.E. and Almeroth, K.C. (2006) Engaged by design: Using simulations to promote active learning. ED-Media: Conference on Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, Orlando, FL.



Working papers


  • Managing research information: one size does not fit all

    25 January 2012 Physorg.com

    Eric Mayer and Monica Bulger are authors of a new report by RIN looking at information practices in the physical sciences, and highlighting the richly varied ways in which physical scientists work, collaborate and share information.

  • Online tools are 'distraction' for science

    25 January 2012 Physics World

    Eric Mayer and Monica Bulger are authors of a new report by RIN looking at information practices in the physical sciences. They find that physical scientists "are still fairly conservative when it comes to adopting new communications technologies".

  • Talk less, text more

    10 January 2012 Oman Tribune

    Monica Bulger suggests that technology makes us more literate in a feature article by BBC correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones about his Today programme report on whether technology is stopping us talking.

  • Does technology stop us talking?

    29 December 2011 BBC Radio 4 Today Programme

    Guest editor, Viktor Blank asks the BBC technology correspondent to investigate whether technology helps or hinders communications. The OII's Monica Bulger suggests that emails can improve literacy and encourage more thoughtful communication.


  • Adapting Social Science Methods to Humanities Research

    Monica Bulger on 6 Jan 2013 14:49PM

    Today I will be co-convening a session with Ray Siemens at the Modern Language Association’s annual conference on the topic of using and adapting research methods typically associated with social sciences to research in the humanities. Our panelists [...]

  • Talking to each other: the challenge of interdisciplinary work

    Monica Bulger on 3 Dec 2012 15:28PM

    Today I’m giving a lecture about learning environments that promote interdisciplinary dialogue in Internet Science. After 10+ years working in an interdisciplinary space, I take for granted how much easier it has become, I forget the many times I [...]

  • A truly disruptive technology for education

    Monica Bulger on 8 Oct 2012 12:57PM

    I wonder if the technologies that will truly disrupt education are the ones most talked about (Khan Academy, online courses in their many forms), the subtle, yet game-changing shifts (digital texts) or the quiet ones we have yet to consider? While [...]

  • EngageU: Challenges of assessment & public engagement

    Monica Bulger on 25 Apr 2012 16:07PM

    Funding bodies are increasingly requiring evidence of impact for higher education efforts in outreach and public engagement, yet measuring this impact is challenging. A review of current practice combined with interviews of public engagement experts in [...]

  • Child protection study underway

    Monica Bulger on 25 Apr 2012 13:17PM

    Vicki Nash and I were successful in our bid to the Fell Fund to examine how risk and harm are used in literature addressing children’s use of the Internet. Vera Slavtcheva-Petkova, a recent graduate of Loughborough University, joined us in December [...]

  • Christmas aftermath: A Facebook Story

    Monica Bulger on 17 Jan 2012 21:41PM

    My husband and his friend trade off sending each other obscure DVDs. So for Christmas, we sent him one of our favorites, “The Road to Wellville,” a film based on T.C. Boyle’s novel and starring Anthony Hopkins, Dana Carvey, and Matthew [...]

  • Teaching & Learning with Digital Tools in the Humanities

    Monica Bulger on 16 Jan 2012 08:58AM

    During graduate school, I participated in an experimental seminar, “Literature+: Cross-Disciplinary Models of Literary Interpretation,” taught by Alan Liu. He asked students to form groups around topics of their choosing and perform analyses using digital [...]

  • New technologies are promising, but what about the teachers?

    Monica Bulger on 1 Sep 2011 09:37AM

    This post is not going to promise dramatic learning gains from using a new technology. It’s not one of those stories where at first a teacher was skeptical, but in the end, the classroom was like a sports movie where the technology scored the [...]

  • Will de-funding unravel the academic integrity of universities?

    Monica Bulger on 29 Jul 2011 08:59AM

    Last week, the New York Times reported that in 2007, Deutsche Bank entered into an agreement with two German universities, Humboldt University and the Technical University of Berlin, to fund a mathematical laboratory. The problematic parts were the [...]

  • The Human Element of Academic Presentations

    Monica Bulger on 12 Jul 2011 06:39AM

    How often have you walked out of a room and barely remembered anything from a lecture or presentation? It feels that often presentations focus on information transfer rather than connection. If much of what is communicated in academic presentations could [...]

  • Learning from Google’s Big Tent Event

    Monica Bulger on 19 May 2011 07:04AM

    Yesterday, I attended Google’s Big Tent Event in Hertfordshire. As an academic, I’m used to attending conferences at universities or Hiltons, not countryside resorts with helicopter pads. The event was held in a grand tent that could easily [...]

  • Social Dimensions of Humanities Research

    Monica Bulger on 13 Apr 2011 07:00AM

    Eleven years after Brown & Duguid (2000) released their Social Life of Information, we find that even in humanities, a field that typically conjures an image of a lone scholar toiling in dusty archives, the process of research is very much a social [...]

  • Presentation about presentations

    Monica Bulger on 11 Nov 2010 14:28PM

    Today I presented to our DPhil seminar about creating and delivering compelling presentations. In our discussion, we particularly focused on audience need, presenter goals, and developing a clear, coherent story. For more information, I recommend Nancy [...]

  • AOIR 2010 presentation

    Monica Bulger on 19 Oct 2010 18:21PM

    My dissertation research will be presented at AOIR’s annual conference this week in Gothenburg, Sweden. Below is the abstract and presentation. Abstract: In university settings, students are increasingly required to conduct online research to [...]

  • Media literacy by mail

    Monica Bulger on 12 Oct 2010 02:47AM

    The U.S. Postal Service is sending around a brochure titled “Do you know the warning signs of fraud?” It is brief, but surprisingly helpful. Here are some of their tips: Warning Signs Sounds too good to be true Pressures you to act [...]

  • For Amazon, e-books outsell hardcovers

    Monica Bulger on 20 Jul 2010 21:04PM

    Today, Jeff Bezos announced e-books are outselling hardcovers at Amazon. What does the success of e-books mean for reading? I’ve been talking to people who read their Kindles or iPads on train rides or plane flights — and this is by no means a [...]

  • The Scavenger Hunt

    Monica Bulger on 7 Jul 2010 07:53AM

    I’ve been traveling to Oxford for the past two years and in that time, I’ve gotten familiar with the City Centre area, in particular, the city’s homeless. For the most part, the same people show up at the same posts every day, with a few [...]

  • Managing Distraction: Reading in the Age of the App

    Monica Bulger on 25 May 2010 17:17PM

    Imagine if, when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, he said, this phone is going to have applications that allow you to check e-mail, find nearby restaurants, update your Facebook, tweet, and use maps, but it’s going to be rubbish as a phone. It’s awkward [...]

  • Innovative teaching

    Monica Bulger on 17 May 2010 08:48AM

    Started as a way to tutor his cousin, Sal Khan has developed an extensive library of online lessons in subjects ranging from Math to Science to History. While most online learning approaches are stuck in either the lecture format or the impersonal slide [...]

  • A return to consumption

    Monica Bulger on 13 May 2010 18:36PM

    The desktop revolution of the 80’s empowered us to create, not just consume texts. Desktop publishing is a concept most users take for granted, but was certainly a significant change from the typewriter. As Cynthia Selfe (1996) points out, prior [...]