Skip to content The Open University

Dr Simon James Cross

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Lecturer
  • Institute of Educational Technology
  • IET Academic Team
  • simon.j.cross

Professional biography

My work within IET is focused on several areas including assessment and digital badges, learning design, adaptive and visual learning, trends in learning with mobile devices and international and open learning. I have worked in IET for around ten years and joined the academic team as lecturer in late 2014. My present four areas of interest are:

Assessment and digital badges 

I am currently involved in several projects related to the OU's institutional Assessment Programme. In 2014-16 I led the Student Experience of Aassessment, Feedback and Revision (SEFAR) project and made contributions to the institutional benchmarking of assessment practice. I have a particular interest in exploring synergies between learning design, revision design, and learning/assessment analytics. I am also currently co-investigator and Work Package lead for the EU funded TeSLA project and remain interested in the functional and roles of digital badges for learning and for learners.

Open Online Learning

I have led or been involved in the evaluation of a number of open online courses including the 2013 OLDS MOOC, 2013 Open Education MOOC, FutureLearn MOOCs, TESS-India 2015-16, and the 2009-10 OpenED OOC. As a member of the TESS-India academic team I have contributed to the design and facilitation of a MOOC for training teachers and have helped lead the training of facilitators in India. I am currently contributing to the writing of two modules in the OU's MA in Online and Distance Education

Analytics and use of learning technologies

Since 2012 I have been working with Mike Sharples and Graham Healing on a longitudinal project to capture and examine student uses of handheld technologies. The latest 2016 survey received over 750 responses from under-graduate and post-gradaute sutdents. I am a principal member of the OU's Data Wrangler Group which has responsiblity for supporting faculties in the analysis and interpretation of student data and learning analytics. Since 2014 I have written reports in to the impact of studying concurrent study, module performance, and assessment banking. I also worked on the 2015-2016 OU Learning Anlaytics project.  

Learning Design, Student Choice 

I have a longstanding interest in learning design and visualisation. I first joined the OU's strategic Learning Design project in 2007 and was involved throughout the 2008-2012 JISC sponsored Open University Learning Design Initiate (OULDI) Project. At present I am interested in the role of learning design in developing adaptive and multi-path routes for students through distance learning and in the motivational and learning benefits to offering students choice in learning paths. 

Selected writing and presentations

Assessment and digital badges 

Open Online Learning

Adapting and learning with technologies, analytics and mobile learning

  • Cross, S., Sharples, M. and Healing, G. (2016) Learning with Mobile Devices: the changing place and space of distance learners' study. In EDULEARN16 Proceedings: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, Barcelona, Spain. July 4th-6th, 2016. IATED. pp. 5385-5393. ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4. doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.
  • Cross, S. (2016). Making the most of learning analytics: achieving impact. Invited speaker. New Technologies in Education 2016 Conference, Belgrade. 26-27 February 2016.
  • Cross, S., Sharples, M, and Healing, G. (2016). Emerging patterns in distance learners' use of mobile devices. New Technologies in Education 2016 Conference, Belgrade. 26-27 February 2016.
  • Rienties, B., Cross, S. and Zdrahal, Z. (2016). Implementing a Learning Analytics Intervention and Evaluation Framework: what works? In: Kei Daniel, Ben and Butson, Russell eds. Big Data and Learning Analytics in Higher Education: Current Theory and Practice. Heidelberg: Springer.
  • Rienties, B., Boroowa, A., Cross, S., Kubiak, C., Mayles, K. and Murphy, S. (2016). Analytics4Ation Evaluation Framework: a review of evidence-based learning analytics interventions at Open University UK. Journal of Interactive Media in Education.
  • Cross, S., Sharples, M. and Healing , G. (2015) E-Pedagogy of Handheld Devices 2013 Survey: Patterns of student use for learning. IET Research and Innovation Report ISSN: 2058-9867,  IET-2015-01.
  • Cross, S. (2015). Comparison of concurrent- and single-study student performance and feedback in selected Level 1 modules. IET Data Wrangling Report (OU staff access only).
  • Cross, S., Healing, G. and Sharples, M. (2014) Findings from a Survey of Undergradaute Use of mobile Devices for OU Study, Computer Assisted Learning Research Group Conference, Milton Keynes, June 2014
  • Scanlon, E., Sharples, M., Fenton-O'Creevy, M., Fleck, J., Cooban, C., Ferguson, R., Cross, S., Waterhouse, P. (2013) Beyond Prototypes: Enabling innovation in technology-enhanced learning. Report
  • Sharples, M. and Cross, S. (2012) Pedagogy of E-books: Report of a survey and Interviews with OU Taught Postgraduate Students.
  • Cross, S. (2011) Assessing the Potential for Adaptation and Personalisation of Teaching and Learning: initial review of benefits, uses and barriers (OU Staff only).
  • Jones, C., Ramanau, R., Cross, S. and Healing, G. (2010) Net Generation or Digital natives: Is there a distinct new generation entering university? Computers and Education, 54(3).

Learning Design

 

External Projects

Whilst at the Open University I have been involved in the following externally funded projects:

  • TESLA Project European Commission H2020 (2016-2019). Co-investigator and WP8 (Evaluation) Lead.
  • TESS India Project .DfID (UK) (2015-2017).
  • Re:Form Project (2015). 
  • LACE: Learning Analytics Community Exchange Project. European Commission FP7  (2014 -2015).
  • OLDS MOOC Project (Evaluation WP lead). JISC (2012-2013).
  • Beyond Prototypes Project. ESRC (2013).
  • OpenED Project: Business Compentencies in a Web 2 World Open Online Course. European Commission Lifelong Learning (2009-2012).
  • The Open University Learning Design Initive Project. JISC (2008-2012).
  • NetGen Project. ESRC (2008-2009).

Educational Background

My previous background is in Geography: Ph.D. (Cantab), M.A.(Cantab), F.R.G.S, and I have teaching and management qualifications: P.G.C.E. (Oxon.), Cert Mgmt. (Open). I have also taught as an Associate Lecturer and undergraduate supervisor. Recent blog postings are at my new blog address of: https://simonjcross.wordpress.com/

 

Publications

Analytics4Action Evaluation Framework: A Review of Evidence-Based Learning Analytics Interventions at the Open University UK (2016-01-19)
Rienties, Bart; Boroowa, Avinash; Cross, Simon; Kubiak, Chris; Mayles, Kevin and Murphy, Sam
Journal of Interactive Media in Education, Article 2(1) (pp. 1-11)
Similarity and difference in fee-paying and no-fee learner expectations, interaction and reaction to learning in a massive open online course (2016)
Cross, Simon and Whitelock, Denise
Interactive Learning Environments ((Early Access))
The use, role and reception of open badges as a method for formative and summative reward in two Massive Open Online Courses (2014)
Cross, Simon; Whitelock, Denise and Galley, Rebecca
International Journal of e-Assessment, 4(1)
Authentic assessment: What does it mean and how is it instantiated by a group of distance learning academics? (2012-03)
Whitelock, Denise and Cross, Simon
International Journal of e-Assessment, 2(1) (Article 9)
Assessment benchmarking: accumulating and accelerating institutional know - how for best practice (2011-07)
Whitelock, Denise and Cross, Simon
International Journal of e-Assessment, 1(1) (pp. 1-10)
Net generation or Digital Natives: Is there a distinct new generation entering university? (2010-04)
Jones, Chris; Ramanau, Ruslan; Cross, Simon and Healing, Graham
Computers & Education, 54(3) (pp. 722-732)
Visualising learning design to foster and support good practice and creativity (2008)
Conole, Grainne; Brasher, Andrew; Cross, Simon; Weller, Martin; Clark, Paul and Culver, Juliette
Educational Media International, 45(3) (pp. 177-194)
The experience of Owenite socialism and anti-socialism in Halifax, 1829-1845 (2007)
Cross, Simon
Transactions of the Halifax Antiquarian Society, 15 (pp. 91-111)
Implementing a Learning Analytics Intervention and Evaluation Framework: what works? (2016-02)
Rienties, Bart; Cross, Simon and Zdrahal, Zdenek
In: Kei Daniel, Ben and Butson, Russell eds. Big Data and Learning Analytics in Higher Education: Current Theory and Practice
ISBN : 978-3-319-06520-5 | Publisher : Springer | Published : Heidelberg
Reflections on developing a tool for creating visual representations of learning designs: towards a visual language for learning designs (2015)
Brasher, Andrew and Cross, Simon
In: Maina, Marcelo; Craft, Brock and Mor, Yishay eds. The Art and Science of Learning Design. Technology Enhanced Learning (9) (pp. 169-180)
ISBN : 9789463001021 | Publisher : Sense Publishers | Published : Rotterdam
Learning with mobile devices: the changing place and space of distance learners' study (2016-07-04)
Cross, Simon; Sharples, Mike and Healing, Graham
In : Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning (EduLearn) (4-6 July 2016, Barcelona, Spain)
Does the Quality and Quantity of Exam Revision Impact on Student Satisfaction and Performance in the Exam Itself?: Perspectives from Undergraduate Distance Learners (2016)
Cross, Simon; Whitelock, Denise and Mittelmeier, Jenna
In : 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies (EDULEARN16) (4-6 July 2016, Barcelona, Spain) (pp. 5052-5061)
Understanding mobile VLE usage in distance education: A pilot study (2013-06-27)
Mwanza-Simwami, Daisy; Kirkwood, Adrian; Thomas, Rhodri; Woods, William and Cross, Simon
In : World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (EDMEDIA) 2013 (24th - 27th June, 2013 , Victoria, Canada) (601 -610)
Academics understanding of authentic assessment (2011-07)
Whitelock, Denise and Cross, Simon
In : 2011 International Computer Assisted Assessment (CAA) Conference, Research into e-Assessment (5/6 July 2011, Southampton)
Some issues affecting the sustainability of open learning courses (2011-06)
Aczel, James; Cross, Simon; Meiszner, Andreas; Hardy, Pascale; McAndrew, Patrick and Clow, Doug
In : EDEN 2011 Annual Conference: Learning and Sustainability: The New Ecosystem of Innovation and Knowledge (19-22 June 2011, Dublin, Ireland)
Benchmarking assessment: breaking down barriers and building institutional understanding (2010-07-20)
Cross, Simon and Whitelock, Denise
In : 2010 International Computer Assisted Assessment (CAA) Conference (20-21 July 2010, Southampton, UK)
Is there a net generation coming to university? (2009-09)
Jones, Chris and Cross, Simon
In : ALT-C 2009 “In Dreams Begins Responsibility”: Choice, Evidence and Change (8-10 September 2009, Manchester, UK)
New methods and approaches to the design and evaluation of open educational resources (2009)
Conole, Grainne; Wilson, Tina; McAndrew, Patrick; Culver, Juliette; Brasher, Andrew and Cross, Simon
In : EDEN Annual Conference 2009 (10-13 June 2009, Gdansk, Poland)
Preliminary findings from a series of staff surveys on perceptions, attitudes and practices of learning design (2009)
Cross, Simon; Clark, Paul and Brasher, Andrew
In : ALT-C 2009 “In Dreams Begins Responsibility”: Choice, Evidence and Change (8-10 September 2009, Manchester, UK)
Cloudworks: social networking for learning design (2008-12)
Conole, Grainne; Culver, Juliette; Williams, Perry; Cross, Simon; Clark, Paul and Brasher, Andrew
In : ASCILITE 2008 conference: Hello! Where are you in the landscape of educational technology? (30 Nov-3 Dec 2008, Melbourne, Australia)
A new methodology for learning design (2008-07)
Conole, Grainne; Brasher, Andrew; Cross, Simon; Weller, Martin; Nixon, Stewart; Clark, Paul and Petit, John
In : Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (EDMEDIA) (30 June - 4 July 2008, Vienna)
Mapping a landscape of learning design: Identifying key trends in current practice at the Open University (2008-06)
Cross, Simon; Conole, Grainne; Clark, Paul; Brasher, Andrew and Weller, Martin
In : 2008 European LAMS Conference (25-27 June 2008, Cadiz, Spain)
CompendiumLD – a tool for effective, efficient and creative learning design (2008)
Brasher, Andrew; Conole, Gráinne; Cross, Simon; Weller, Martin; Clark, Paul and White, Juliette
In : Proceedings of the 2008 European LAMS Conference: Practical Benefits of Learning Design (25-27 June 2008, Cadiz, Spain)
E-Pedagogy of Handheld Devices 2013 Survey: Patterns of student use for learning (2015-09)
Cross, Simon; Sharples, Mike and Healing, Graham
The Open University, UK
Evaluation of the OLDS MOOC curriculum design course: participant perspectives, expectations and experiences (2013-06)
Cross, Simon
OLDS MOOC Project, Milton Keynes.
MOOC Badging and the Learning Arc (2012-11-16)
Cross, Simon and Galley, Rebecca
OLDS MOOC Blog Post
OULDI-JISC Project Evaluation Report: the impact of new curriulum design tools and approaches on institutional process and design cultures (2012-07-31)
Cross, Simon; Galley, Rebecca; Brasher, Andrew and Weller, Martin
OULDI Project (Open University)
99 Measures of Assessment Processes and Practice for use in Benchmarking and Reviewing Teaching and Learning (2011)
Whitelock, Denise and Cross, Simon