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 badges, learning design and issues associated with adaptive/visualisatised learning, and international and open learning design. I have worked in IET for around seven years and joined the academic team as lecturer in late 2014. My present four areas of interest are:

Assessment practices, experiences and the formative use of digital badges 

I am currently involved in several projects related to the OU's institutional Assessment Programme and in particular the student experience of assessment, feedback and revision, collaborative assessment and institutional benchmarking of assessment practice There are clear synegies here with learning design, revision design, and learning analytics. I am also 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, and the 2009-10 OpenED OOC, and have delivered presentations about the challenges to data interpretion that these emerging technologies pose. Of particular interest is understanding why and how people participate so as to better align the design and delivery of the course with participant goals and objectives. Pre- and post- course surveys, analysis of website data, and review of several hundred blog posts and forum discussions we all used to build a rich picture of the MOOC experience.

Adapting and learning with technologies and analytics

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 2014 survey received over 750 responses from under-graduate and post-gradaute sutdents. At present I am also at present working on two learning analytics projects and am the institute's Data Wrangler for the Mathematics, Computing and Technology faculty.

Learning Design

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. The project sought to review current curriculum design processes, develop a range of supporting materials and views of the process and, perhaps most importantly, trial and embed these in institutional processes. I retain an interest in the visualisation and the process of Learning Design and benefits to learners.

 

Selected writing and presentations

Assessment and digital badges 

  • Cross, S., Whitelock, D. and MIttelmier, J. (2016) Does the quality and quantity of exam revision impact on student satisfaction and performance in the exam itself? Perspecitves from undergradaute distance learners. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies (EDULEARN16), Bacelona, 8 July 2016.
  • Cross, S. and Whitelock, D. (2016) Exam revision, the student experience and ‘revision analytics’: understanding and designing for the student experience prior to examinations. CALRG Conference. 6-8 June, The Open Universtiy, UK.
  • Cross, S. (2016) The roles for digial badges in learning. BETT Conference, London. Invited speaker. 20 January 2016.
  • Cross, S. (2016). Assessment Banking in the faculty of Maths Computing and Technology: How, Who, When. IET Data Wrangling Report (OU staff access only).
  • Cross, S., Whitelock, D., and Mittelmeier, J. (2015) Student Expeirence of Feedback, Assessment and Revision (SEFAR) Project: Final Report. (OU Staff only).
  • Cross, S., Whitelock, D. and Galley, R (2014) The use, role and reception of open badges as a method for formative and summative reward in two Massive Open Online Courses. International Journal of e-Assessment, 4(1).
  • Cross, S. (2014) Badges for Learning: a review of the formative role of badges in two open online courses. Transforming Assessment Seminar Series, Online Seminar. 5 March 2014.
  • Whitelock, D. and Cross, S. (2014) Assessment: Practice and Promise (OU Staff only)
  • Whitelock, D. and Cross, S. (2011). Academics understanding of authentic assessment. 2011 International Computer Assisted Assessment (CAA) Conference, Research into e-Assessment, 5/6 July 2011, Southampton.
  • Cross, S. and Whitelock, D. (2010). Benchmarking assessment: breaking down barriers and building institutional understanding. 2010 International Computer Assisted Assessment (CAA) Conference, 20-21 July 2010, Southampton, UK.
  • Cross, S. and Greaney, P. (2008) Review of Innovative Assessment Practices Across the OU.

Open Online Learning

  • Cross, S. and Whitelock, D. (2016) Similarity and Difference in fee-paying and no-fee learner expectations, interaction and reaction to learning in a MOOC, Interactive Learning Environments. DOI: 10.1080/10494820.2016.1138312
  • Cross, S. and Whitelock, D. (2014) Contrasting the experiences of fee-paying students and free-learners in an 'opened' university taught module: case study of the 2013 Open Education MOOC, HEA Design4Learning Conference, 26-27 November 2014, Milton Keynes.
  • Cross, S. (2013) Evaluation of the OLDS MOOC curriculum design course: participant perspectives, expectations and experiences, IET Research and Innovation Report Series. Institute of Educational Technology, Milton Keynes, UK. IET-2013-04.
  • Cross, S. and Galley, R. (2013) Reflections on #oldsmooc, Computação Brasil, 22, 47-51.
  • Cross, S. (2012) 40 Tips for running an Open Online Course or MOOC from those who have experienced them, 20 September 2012, Blog Post
  • Aczel, J., Cross, S., Meiszner, A., Hardy, Pascale., McAndrew, P. and Clow, D. (2011). Some issues affecting the sustainability of open learning courses. In: EDEN 2011 Annual Conference: Learning and Sustainability: The New Ecosystem of Innovation and Knowledge, 19-22 June 2011, Dublin, Ireland

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. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies (EDULEARN16), 7 July 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-). Co-investigator and WP8 (Evaluation) Lead.
  • TESS India Project .DfID (UK) (2015-2016).
  • Re:Form (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

Similarity and difference in fee-paying and no-fee learner expectations, interaction and reaction to learning in a massive open online course (2016-02-17)
Cross, Simon and Whitelock, Denise
Interactive Learning Environments ((Early Access))
Analytics4Action Evaluation Framework: a review of evidence-based learning analytics interventions at the Open University UK (2016)
Rienties, Bart; Boroowa, Avinash; Cross, Simon; Kubiak, Christopher; Mayles, Kevin and Murphy, Sam
Journal of Interactive Media in Education
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
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