Gráinne Conole CV 2019



Gráinne Conole


Current Position        Professor of Open Education, Dublin City University


Contact Details           Email:


Address: 35 Manor Road, Grimscote, NN12 8LN



                        Mobile: 07795 417922 






Date of Birth              23/08/1964



1986-1990       Ph.D. in X-ray structural studies, University of North London

1982-1985       B.Sc. (Hons) Chemistry (2.1), Sheffield University




2012               Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellow

2012                Fellow of the ASCILITE community

2013                Fellow of the European Distance E-Learning Network




Apr16-Sept18 Independent e-learning consultant and visiting professor Dublin City University (DCU)


                        I am engaged in a range of learning innovation and research and consultancy activities, including: giving keynotes and workshops, developing a MOOC on digital literacies for OERu, undertaking a trends analysis of the use of digital technologies for low-skilled and/or low-literate users for UNESCO, and acting as a visiting professor at DCU with their National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL). Consultancies in the last year have included work for: Teagasc (the Irish Agricultural Industry), QQI (Ireland), the Open Universities Australia, Dublin City University, the Malaysian Multimedia University, Waterford Institute of Technology, Mary Immaculate College (Limerick), Politeknik Brunei, Aarhus University, University of Ljubljana, University of Strathclyde, University of Geneva, EADTU in Vilnius, University of Suffolk, UNESCO, the University of Rwanda, CLICKS (a training organisation in Dubai), the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, University of Ljubljana and the University of Geneva. Recent presentations include keynotes and workshops in: Russia, Singapore, Australia, Denmark and Sweden. The total value of this consultancy is over 60 K. I am recently completed undertaking a major evaluation of the In-Service Training programme for Teagasc – the Irish food and agricultural professional body, an Horizon scanning report for the Open University of Australia, and the development of an Open and Distance e-Learning strategy for the University of Rwanda. I am also undertaking interviews with senior management at Charles Sturt University in Australia evaluating their course design and curriculum mapping initiative – CourseSpace. In addition in the last year I have been external examiner for eight PhD defences. I am currently preparing a proposal in response to a closed invitation from the European Commission on innovative case studies of Continuing Professional Developemnt.


Feb15 –Apr16Professor of Education, Institute for Education, Bath Spa University


I was a newly appointed chair in education, undertaking a range of research projects on the use of technology for education. In addition I was involved in a range of course at undergraduate and postgraduate level. I also had a cross-institutional role in the use of digital technologies. I was involved in a range of teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level, including: Continuing professional development, Issues in Education, International Education, Pedagogy, technology and society, and Research Methods in Social Sciences. I was successful in securing funding from the EU, examples include: TELL-OP (BSU share 54K euros), MOOCs4ALL (BSU share 28 K euros) and eReflect (BSU share 48 K euros).


Sept11–Dec 14Professor of learning innovation and Director of the Institute of Learning Innovation, University of Leicester


                        I headed up a research institute (the Institute of Learning Innovation), which explored the use of technologies in education. We had significant funding from the UK and the EU. Research interests included: Learning Design, Open Educational Resources, Massive Open Online Courses, social and participatory media, e-pedagogies, mobile learning, and virtual worlds. We also had an institutional role in terms of transferring the research findings to inform policy and practice at Leicester. We had a PhD programme with 11 students. From September 2014 we offered a Technology-Enhanced Learning strand as part of the School of Education’s Masters in International Education and in particular two modules on Technology-Enhanced Learning and Learning Design for the 21st Century. We also had a range of consultancy offerings; clients are both national and international. Examples included: the East Midlands Medical Deanery, UNISA in South Africa, Massey University in New Zealand, Charles Sturt University in Australia, Singapore, Uruguay and Kuala Lumpar. I sat on a number of institutional committees, including the Learning Technology Management Group, committees in the School of Education, and the Distance Advisory Group. I lead the evaluation of the University of Leicester’s evaluation of the University of Leicester’s MOOCs as part of the FutureLearn initiative. Funded projects are listed in the table below.





Start date

End date

Total amount

Amount for Leicester


(UoL lead)































(UoL lead)







(UoL lead)
































Festival of


Science 2014









Apr 2005        Professor of e-learning, Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University


The role involved three aspects: research, teaching and institutional support. I was programme lead for one of the three research programmes in the Institute, ‘Learning in an Open World’. I was a member of the IET management team. Teaching included contributions to two of the Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) modules: H800 and H809. Successful bids included: the JISC OUDLI project (£400 K), the Personal Inquiry project (£1.2 million), EU-funded XDelia (£668, 052) the Hewlett foundation funded OLNET (£1,776,439), the EU-funded Design-Practice £219, 904), the EU-funded OPAL (640, 952 Euros). In addition, I was a critical friend to the HE Academy e-learning pathfinder programme

(£30 K).


Apr 2002        Chair in Educational Innovation in PCET

- Apr 2005      School of Education, University of Southampton


The post provided overall strategic direction and leadership for post-compulsory education and training (PCET) research. It also included an institution-wide remit in terms of supporting and promoting learning and teaching innovation and input into relevant strategic developments. The focus was on taking a lead in research in innovation in HE learning and teaching, working with colleagues within the School, across the University, and with national and international networks, to establish the University as an international centre of excellence for research in this field; as well as working with colleagues and groups across the University to promote innovation and the pursuit of excellence in learning and teaching. Teaching responsibilities included the development of a new masters in ‘Educational Practice and Innovation’, leader for the Masters in Research Methods unit on ‘Communicating and Disseminating Research’ as well as other teaching contributions including the Masters in Research Methods, the Post-compulsory Certificate in Academic Practice (PCAP) for new lecturers, the BA in Post-Compulsory Education (PCE), and the Masters in Computer-based Learning and Teaching (CBLT), as well as supervision of masters and PhD students. Example projects included: 1) Co-Director of the £1.2 million HEFCE-funded e-learning research centre jointly with Manchester, 2) Co-applicant for the £2 million ESRC-funded National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM), 3) Project evaluator and pedagogical researcher for the £1.5 million JISC/NSF (National Science Foundation) DialogPlus project; work included the development of an online toolkit which guides practitioners through the process of creating pedagogically informed learning activities, 4) Part of the evaluation team (£25K for Southampton) for the HEFCE-funded development of online learning materials for in-service teachers in China in collaboration with Beijing Normal University, 5) JISC-funded LADIE project (£150 K) - which developed a series of use cases on learning activities. 6) JISC-funded TOIA project (evaluation) (£6 K) – development of an online assessment tool, 7) EU-funded Neonatalogy project (£20 K), evaluation of the development and delivery of a series of online modules for practitioners across Europe, 8), SEEDA-funded Computer Club for Girls (evaluation) (£220 K) with A. Fuller (lead) – regional initiative to encourage uptake of the use of computers by girls, 9) ESRC-funded seminar series (£ 15 K), (R. Andrews, University of York lead) – 6 regional seminars on e-learning research, in collaboration with WUN partners in the States and mainland Europe.



Sep 1999-       Director of the Institute for Learning and Research Technology, ILRT

Apr 2002        University of Bristol


            The Institute for Learning and Research Technology (ILRT) was a centre of excellence for the development and use of ICT in education. We were 95% externally funded and during my time it grew from 30 to 80 staff, with an annual income of ca £3 million. The institute’s research was both pedagogical and technical, and included the development and use of educational toolkits, the development of information portals, digital archives, and underlying metadata research and associated technological developments. Research and development activities were across around 40 projects and services (funding sources included HEFCE, JISC, EPSRC, ESRC, EU and commercial sponsors). Successful bids which I led or was involved in included: BB-LT (JISC-funded, £180K), Career Development Scoping Study (JISC-funded, £80K), Evaluation Toolkit (JISC-funded, £30K), FILTER (JISC-funded, £200K), QA FOCUS (JISC-funded, £110K), Biz/ed VLA (JISC-funded, £180K), Biz/ed TimeWeb (JISC-funded, £180K), Virtual Training Suite (JISC-funded, £410K). Consultancy included: QA-training (£12K), a QA-training research study into the effectiveness of training in the workplace, evaluation of COVETS (East Anglia (£6K), Neonatal Education (Southampton, £6K) and the CAA centre (Luton, £8K).




Feb 1999         Head of Technology-based Learning, University of North London

-Sept 1999  

I was responsible for recommending strategy and policy development in the academic use of ICT. My remit included the establishment and direction of the Teaching and Learning Technology Centre (TLTC), which provided support and advice on the application and integration of learning technologies in teaching and learning, through workshops, individual support and course development. Research and project-based work underpinned staff development activities and provided toolkits, frameworks and case studies on the use, integration and evaluation of learning technologies.  Externally funded projects focused on the evaluation of the effectiveness of learning technologies, the use and integration of technologies in the curriculum, and the application of learning technologies across a wider spectrum of activities. Under my direction, TLTC (Teaching and Learning Technology Centre) and its predecessor LaTID, (Learning and Teaching Innovation and Development) secured approximately £400K in national and international funding (out of total project values of ca. £2.2 million). Projects included: Evaluation of Learning Technology (ELT): (BP-funded, £45K), Extranet Education (EXE): (EU-funded, £200K), HEFCE-funded TLTP projects: EFFECTS (£50K) and FOCUS (£50K), SME-Connect (HEFCE CVE-funded, £20K), Cascade (ESF Objective 4-funded, £45K) and FICTION (HEFCE CVE-funded, £20K,).






1996-99           Director: Learning & Teaching Innovation & Development,

North London University

1991-96           Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry, University of North London

1990-91           Lecturer in Foundation Science (HITECC), University of North London




Other academic responsibilities and professional activities

·      Visiting Professor, National Institute for Digital Learning, Dublin City University (from 2014)

·      Editor of a special issue on MOOCs, INNOQUAL (2014)

·      Editor of the journal ALT-J (Taylor and Francis publication) (1999 – 2007)

·      Member of the e-learning papers journal board (2012-2015)

·      Co-editor for the new INOQUAL journal on quality in e-learning (2013-2015)

·      Chair of the programme committee for ALT-C 2004, Exeter

·      Programme committees for a number of international conferences (for example LAK – learning analytics, ALT-C, EC-TEL, Edmedia, ICALT, e-society, ICEE)

·      Special guest editor of the online refereed journal Education, Technology and Society and guest editor on a special issue, on learning technologies, of the Journal of Quality Assurance in Education.

·      Special guest editor for e-learning papers on Learning Design (2012).

·      Special quest editor for Distance Education on OER and social inclusion.  (2012)

·      Special guest editor of the online journal IRRODL (with George Siemens) on Connectivism (2011)

·      Co-programme chair for the first international conference on learning analytics, to be held in Banff, Canada,

·      Editorial board member for a number of e-learning journals

·      Referee for a number of peer-reviewed academic journals and for JISC, ESRC and EPSRC proposals

·      Member of

·      JISC Learning and Teaching Committee (2008 – 2010)

·      Member of the Ensemble ESPRC/ESRC TELP project (2008 – 2010)

·      JISC Organisational Structures Committee (2000 – 2008)

·      HEFCE e-learning partnership board (2003 – 2005)

·      ESRC TLRP steering committee (2002)

·      ESRC NCESS steering committee (2002)

·      ESRC/EPSRC working group on e-learning research

·      Member of the WUN e-learning research group and co-organiser of the international WUN e-learning research access-grid based virtual seminar series (2002 - 2005)

·      Steering group for London Metropolitan University Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) on reusable learning objects (2002 – 2007)

·      HE Academy teaching and learning group

·      Professional membership has included: the Association for Learning Technology, ASCILITE, American Educational Research Association, British Educational Research Association, European Distance Education Network (EDEN), Institute for Learning and Teaching, European Foundation for Quality in E-Learning (EFQUEL), Staff Education Development Association, the Royal Society of Chemistry and Association of University Teachers

·      Committee membership has included: Distance Learning Advisory Group, MOOC steering review group, Learning Technology Management Group, Learning and Teaching Committee, IET management group, CREET research centre, CALRG research group, School’s Research and Initiatives Group, School Board, Policy and Resources Committee, Professorial Group, chair of PCET research centre, Research Degrees Committee, chair of e-Learning Advisory Group; at Institutional level: Academic Resources Committee and the Learning and Teaching Strategy Committee, Chair of the Universities e-learning strategy committee

·      Panel member for THES innovative teaching awards (2005 - 2006)

·      Masters and PhD supervision and external examinations (both national and international): (14 as internal examiner, 56 as external examiner, 16 as supervisor)

·      External examiner for the Technology and Learning Masters course at Trinity College Dublin (2013 -2017), PGCE course at the University of Southhampton (Current), a Masters course in Educational Technology in Ulster (now complete), the Networked Learning masters at Lancaster University (now complete),, the masters in e-learning at Plymouth University (now complete), and the masters in e-learning at the Dublin Institute of Technology (now complete)

·      I have been involved with or chaired a number of national consultative fora and several advisory boards and steering groups (ALT central executive, the ALT publications committee, the ALT Research and Policy committee and the annual ALT policy board, ALT Learning Technology theory group, range of TLTP, HEFCE and JISC-funded projects, EU-funded IPTS expert group and chair of the LTSN SWAP).







Appendix I: Funded research projects




Dates       Project                                Funding body            Funding     Role and description

Feb 14 –    EMMA                                  EU                                   2.480M EURCreation of a MOOC aggregator targeting 60, 000 participants

Aug 16


Nov 13       eMundus                             EU                             370 K EUR   State of the art of MOOCs and Virtual Mobility and policy uptake

- Nov 15


Oct 12      POERUP                             EU                             567 K EUR  Policy uptake of OER

- Aug 14


Oct 12      METIS                                 EU                             369 K EUR  Creation and trialing of an Integrated Learning Design Environment

- Aug 14


Oct 13      VM-Pass                              EU                             400 K EUR  A Learning Passport for Pan-EU OER accreditation and Virtual Mobility

- Mar 16


Oct 11      SPEED                                JISC                          50 K           Use and evaluation of the 7Cs of Learning Design framework


Sep 07      Personal Inquiry                   TLRP TEL                  £1.2 M        Co-investigator. The developed of an online toolkit to support inquiry-based

- Aug 10                                                                                                learning in Science          


Sep 08 -    JISC OUDLI                         JISC                          £400 K        Principle investigator. The development of a new and innovative

May 2012                                                                                              learning design methodology to help teachers better design courses                                                                and make more effective use of technologies


Mar 08     Olnet                                   Hewlett                       £1,7 M        Co-investigator. The development of a global network of researchers and

-Feb 11                                                                                                  practitioners of Open Educational Resources


Jan 09       OPAL                                  EU                             £641 K        Co-investigator. Identification of Open Educational Practice around the

- Dec 11                                                                                                 design, use and management of Open Educational Resources                          

Oct 08      Design Practice                     EU                             220 EUR     Application of the OU Learning Design methodology to teachers in

-Sep 11                                                                                                  Cyprus and Greece


Sep 09      Pearls in the Clouds              HEA                          £30 K          Evaluation of the use of the Cloudworks site for evidence-based practice

-Aug 10


Mar 07 -   PB-LXP                               JISC                          £90 K          Evaluation of learners’ experience of using technologies across

Feb 09                                                                                                   a range of practice-based OU courses.



2003 –



Dates       Project                                Funding body            Funding     Role and description

Oct 03      E-Learning Research              HEFCE                      £1.2 M        Co-director of this distributed research centre, which consists of         

-July 06    Centre                                                                                    three nodes (HE Academy, Manchester and Southampton). The

                                                                                                            Southampton node is concentrating on research into the

                                                                                                            pedagogical and organisational issues of e-learning. Part of this

                                                                                                            work has included an evaluation of the lessons learnt from the

                                                                                                            UKeU experience. 


Apr 04      National Centre for                ESRC                        £2 M           Co-director of the central hub for the National Centre for Research Methods

-Mar 09    Research Methods (NCRM)                                                        which consists of a hub at Southampton and six national research nodes

                                                                                                            (with an additional £4 M funding).


Oct 02      DialogPlus                           JISC/NSF                   £1.5 M        Digital libraries in support of learning and teaching in Geography.

-Sep 07                                                                                                  The project is integrating digital resources and repositories across four

                                                                                                            institutions in the UK and the US. Lead on the development of a

                                                                                                            pedagogical toolkit to help practitioners create learning activities, as well as  

                                                                                                            leading on overall project evaluation


Apr 05      LADIE                                 JISC                          £1.5 M        Southampton (Lead) in conjunction with Dundee and Intrallect Ltd.

-Mar 06                                                                                                 LADIE is developing a series of use cases on learning activities,

                                                                                                            these will be used to identify the web services needed to support

                                                                                                            teaching and learning. This is part of the JISC eFrameworks programme


Nov 05     Evaluation of the student         JISC                          £40 K          Evaluation of students’ experiences of e-learning.

-Aug 06    e-learning experience                                                                 Working with the HE Academy through a series of the subject networks to

                                                                                                            research subject discipline differences of students experiences of



Jan 06      E-Banks                               JISC                          £10 K          Pedagogical analysis and evaluation of the E-Banks project, which is developing

-May 06                                                                               (for Soton)   innovative links between research data in X-ray crystallography and its use

                                                                                                            in teaching




Dates       Project                                Funding body            Funding     Role and description


Apr 04      European Virtual Learning     European Commission  €20 K          External evaluator for this VLE which enables junior

-Mar06     Environment for Neonatology  Leonardo Programme    (for Soton)   doctors to study the European Neonatal Syllabus. Led by the Princess Anne

                                                                                                            Hospital, Southampton. 


Sep 04      PASS-IT                               Scottish Executive        £12K           Evaluation of the Scottish PASS-IT, a collaboration betweeen the Scottish

-Sep 05                                                                                (for Soton)   Executive, BBC Scotland, SQA, SFEU, Learning and Teaching Scotland                                                                                                                  and Heriott Watt University which was comparing the

                                                                                                            use of paper-based and online assessment in schools and colleges.


July 02     Technologies for Online          JISC                          £6 K           External evaluation of this project which has developed an

- July 05   Interoperable Assessment                                         (for Soton)   online assessment system now freely available for further and higher education

               (TOIA)                                                                                    institutions in the UK.


Apr03       UK-Sino e-China                   HEFCE                      £25 K          Evaluation of the e-China programme which developed a

-Sept05     programme                                                            (for Soton)   series of e-learning modules for in-services teachers in Beijing


June04      Computer Clubs for               SEEDA                      £220 K        With A. Fuller (lead), summative evaluation of this major regional development

-May07     Girls                                                                                      to encourage uptake of the use of computers by girls


Sept04      ESRC e-learning                   ESRC                        £15 K          Lead by the University of York – this is a series of six seminars

-Apr-06     seminar series                                                                          involving the UK WUN  partners

                                                                                                            and international partners in the states and mainland Europe. The series is also

                                                                                                            producing a Sage handbook of e-learning research     














Date         Project                                Funding body            Funding     Role and description



               BB-LT                                 JISC                          £180K         Project Director: Building on an image database of 8,500 images,

                                                                                                            BB-LT developed a set of case studies and tutorials to use images

                                                                                                            effectively in learning and teaching. 


               Career development               JISC                          £80K           Project Director: An important audit and research study of the types and roles of

                                                                                                            new ‘para-professionals’ within education, particularly learning technologists.


               Evaluation toolkit                  JISC                          £30K           Project Director: Development of an easy-to-use online evaluation

                                                                                                            toolkit for practitioners.


               FILTER                               JISC                          £200K         Filter created an image set and associated database, mapping out different types                                                                                         of images, their associated affordances, and exemplars of how

                                                                                                            they could be used in teaching and learning.


               QA FOCUS                          JISC                          £110K         A JISC national ‘Focus’ post, developing a Quality Assurance

                                                                                                            framework for the Distributed Electronic Network of Resources (DNER).


               Biz/Ed VLA                          JISC                          £180K         The development of an online Virtual Learning Arcade.


               Virtual Training Suite            JISC                           £410K         Over fifty subject-specific online tutorials providing an introduction to

                                                                                                            the Internet and relevant subject resources. Produced in collaboration with

                                                                                                            over 50 academics and subject specialists in over 30 institutions,

                                                                                                            VTS was launched in May 2001 by Sir John Kingman and Micheal Willis (MP).                                                                                                      It has been a huge success, receiving national acclaim and numerous

                                                                                                            favourable press reports. 


               Evaluation consultancies         QA, EU                      £30K           QA research study into the effectiveness of training in the workplace,

                                                         TLTP                                           evaluation of the COVETS/BP televersity, research study on the development

                                                                                                            of a Neonatalogy online course across Europe, external evaluation of the

                                                                                                            TLTP CAA centre




Dates       Project                                Funding body            Funding     Role and description




               Evaluation of Learning           BP                             £45K           The development of tools which allow staff to integrate technology into

               Technology (ELT)                                                                     their courses in an educationally driven way and then evaluate its effectiveness.


               Extranet Education                EU                             £200K         EXE concerned the development of an Extranet and Educational Wizards

               (EXE)                                                                   (for UNL)    for teachers from the primary, secondary and tertiary sector, with the

                                                                                                            aim of increasing the use of learning technologies in the classroom and

                                                                                                            fostering collaboration across institutions. Partners included the

                                                                                                            councils of Barcelona, Bologna and Islington

               EFFECTS                            TLTP                         £50K           Working towards a nationally accredited staff development

                                                                                          (for UNL)    programme in Learning Technologies, EFFECTS linked with

                                                                                                            national policy following the Booth and Dearing reports

               FOCUS                               TLTP                         £50K           A framework for ICT Uptake and Support. FOCUS involved a

                                                                                          (for UNL)    review of resources and their current use, case studies, and the

                                                                                                            development of general principles and strategies for using

                                                                                                            integrated learning environments in teaching and learning.

               SME-Connect                        CVE-EU                     £20K           An integrated networking environment for local SMEs, on the

                                                                                          (for UNL)    use of the Internet for business.

               Cascade                               ESF Obj 4                   £45K           Cascade delivered a training package for an audience of

                                                                                          (for UNL)    professional staff developers within SMEs. The package provided

                                                                                                            these IT trainers with three toolkits covering course design,

                                                                                                            delivery and evaluation.

               FICTION                             CVE-EU                     £20K           The development and delivery of a training package

                                                                                          (for UNL)    for multimedia trainers, on a structured approach to

                                                                                                            integrating learning technologies into courses