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Dr Nicole Lotz

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Senior Lecturer in Design
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • School of Engineering & Innovation
  • nicole.lotz

Professional biography

I joined the Open University as a Lecturer in Design in 2008. Before, I was Research Associate at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University school of Design. I've also worked as design consultant for various agencies and companies in Germany and Hong Kong. I have earned my PhD from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 2008. I wrote my thesis on 'Design patterns for cross-cultural collaboration'. My research interests remain in this area.


Ph.D. Design Patterns for Cross-Cultural Collaboration: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2008)

Dipl.Des/MDes in Communication Design: Burg Giebichenstein, Halle, Germany (2002)

Exhibitions and Awards

2003: Participant in the Exhibition “Times like these” with the video installation “Alltagsmutationen - Mutations” Goethe Institute, Arts Centre, Hong Kong

2001: Junior Award "Best German Book Design 2000" with the book "Koerpertransparent", Deutsche Buch Guilde, Frankfurt, Germany

2000: Participant in the Exhibition "Village Gutenberg" " with the video installation "…und wieder", Mainz, Germany


IxDA - Interaction Design Association

DRS - Design Research Society

Research interests

My research interests include investigations of cultural factors, collaboration and best practice in designing.

There is a synergy between my teaching and research, both of which aim at understanding and supporting novice designers to engage, persevere and succeed in challenging situations. My unique approach is to uncover and strengthen the designers’ and learners’ shared values to drive engagement and collaboration.

I currently supervise 2 PhD students, with one completed supervision. Andreas Peter looked at prototyping in design collaboration and graduated in 2015. Iain Aitchison investigates curricula development in design education. Tanveer Ahmed considers the inequalities in fashion design education. I am happy to supervise PhD students in subjects that broadly align with my interest framed by current and past projects.


Design and implementation of a FabLab in a marginalised district in Monterrey, Mexico,

This British Council Mexico HE Links funded project (£15K) co-designed and co-implemented a FabLab in La Campana-Altamira district with members of the community (2019).

Reducing marginalization and promoting inclusive education with the mediation of digital technology in Higher Education

This British Council Mexico HE Links funded project (£10K) developed projects that foster inclusive education in marginalised communities (disabled, ethnic minotiries and conflicted communties in Mexico) (2018).

Developing a sense of community through cross-level engagement between staff and students in creative industries subjects. (2017-2018)

This OU internally funded scholarship project (E&I and eSTEeM and MSQ, £12k) aims to pilot and evaluate four innovative programme level engagement events that aim to create a community of learners across a qualification.

Designing effective, interactive learning resources to teach practical STEM subjects in Nigeria at a distance (2017)

This OU internally funded research networking event (RAS and eSTEeM, £6k) aimed at identifying pathways for collaborative research between NOUN and the OU to address Nigeria’s challenges in developing locally relevant and high-quality interactive ODL applications to teach STEM subjects at a distance. 

Are we making progress? Progression through learners’ interaction in OpenStudio across a qualification (2015 - 2017)

This OU internally funded scholarship project (eSTEeM, £6k) looks at learners' engagement with the online design community 'Open Design Studio' across the Design and Innovation qualification at the Open University.

Unite: Novice interaction design behaviour in different cultures (2011 - 2013)

This Leverhulme funded project (£86k) investigated novice interaction design behaviour in the UK and Botswana. We conducted protocol studies to investigate patterns of behaviour and diary studies to look at socio-cultural factors in designing in both cultures. Background information about this project can be found here.

ARCHI (2010 - 2012)

This EU funded project investigated 'Architectural and Design based Education and Practice through Content & Language Integrated Learning using Immersive Virtual Environments for 21st Century Skills'. More information can be found at

Atelier-D (2008 - 2010)

This JISC funded project looked at the development of a virtual design studio space to support student learning throughout the Design programme of the Open University. More information can be found at the Atelier-D website and at JISC.

Design pattern Wikis

In long term projects, I try to further develop various design patterns collections. I set up several wikis to encourage academics and professionals, who had experiences with collaboration across cultures, learning design or self-directed learning, to share recurring problems and success stories in design patterns format.

I maintain several Wikis on design patterns

- in Cross-cultural collaboration

- in Learning design

- in self-directed learning

and a Cloudscape on design pedagogy.


Teaching interests

In my teaching, I am involved, to some degree, in all our core Design and Innovation Qualification modules. I took part in the production of the groundbreaking Design Thinking module - U101, and I am now presentation chair for U101. I was presentation chair for Design and Designing - T211 until 2012. I was part of the production team of the third level module Innovation: Designing for change - T317.

I am interested in the design of innovative learning technologies, such as the OpenDesignStudio or CompendiumDS, and investigate the effectiveness of those in teaching and learning.

Previously I have gained teaching experience in Hong Kong, at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and in the CONVIVIO international interaction design summer school in Romania.

Impact and engagement

Building stories (2013)

I was Academic Advisor for 3 interactive stories shown on OpenLearn that are based on a 3-part BBC documentary 'Brits Who build the World' broadcasted in 2014.

I activlty contribute, maintain and manage contributions of others in the areas design education, design research, design engagement and design commentary to our Design Group's Design@Open blog

I have worked with Botho University in Botswana, and made links to NOUN, the National Open University of Nigeria. I maintain links to several German Higher Education Institutions around distance design education and work with Tec de Monterrey in Mexico.


Challenges for interaction design education in the South: a case study of Botswana (2019)
Lotz, Nicole and Sharp, Helen
Journal of International Development ((In Press))
Envisioning Futures of Design Education: An Exploratory Workshop with Design Educator (2018-09-14)
Singh, Sapna; Lotz, Nicole and Sanders, Elizabeth B.-N.
Dialectic, 2(1) (pp. 15-42)
The influence of cognitive style, design setting and cultural background on sketch-based ideation by novice interaction designers (2017)
Lotz, Nicole and Sharp, Helen
The Design Journal, 20(3) (pp. 333-356)
A process model for developing learning design patterns with international scope (2014-06-06)
Lotz, Nicole; Law, Effie Lai-Chong and Nguyen-Ngoc, Anh Vu
Educational Technology Research and Development, 62(3) (pp. 293-314)
Team design communication patterns in e-learning design and development (2013-08)
Rapanta, Chrysi; Maina, Marcelo; Lotz, Nicole and Bacchelli, Alberto
Educational Technology Research and Development, 61(4) (pp. 581-605)
Design patterns for cross-cultural collaboration (2009)
Schadewitz, Nicole
International Journal of Design, 3(3) (pp. 37-53)
Deep Space (2007-01)
Schadewitz, N.; Jachna, T. and Santo, Y.
International Journal of Architectural Computing, 5(1) (pp. 146-160)
Just breathe (2014)
Lotz, Nicole and Jones, Derek
In: Williams, Alison; Jones, Derek and Robertson, Judy eds. BITE: Recipes for Remarkable Research (pp. 144-145)
ISBN : 978-94-6209-583-0 | Publisher : Sense Publishers | Published : Rotterdam
Disziplinen der Produktentwicklung aus der Perspektive des angelsächsischen Raums (2011-03-24)
Eckert, Claudia and Schadewitz, Nicole
In: Banse, Gerhard and Fleischer, Lutz-Günther eds. Wissenschaft im Kontext. Inter- und Transdisziplinarität in Theorie und Praxis. Abhandlungen der Leibniz-Sozietät der Wissenschaften (27)
ISBN : 978-3-89626-896-9 | Publisher : trafo wissenschaft verlag | Published : Berlin
Innovative collaborative design in international interaction design summer schools (2009)
Schadewitz, Nicole
In: Poggenpohl, Sharon and Sato, Keiichi eds. Design Integrations: Research and Collaboration (pp. 230-250)
ISBN : 9781841502403 | Publisher : Intellect | Published : UK
OpenDesignStudio: virtual studio development over a decade (2019)
Lotz, Nicole; Jones, Derek and Holden, Georgina
In : Proceedings of the DRS LearnXdesign Conference 2019 (9-12 Jul 2019, Ankara)
Co-creating FabLab La Campana: Empowering a marginalised community in the North of Mexico (2019)
Lotz, Nicole; Thomas, Briony; Fernández Cárdenas, Juan Manuel; Reynaga Peña, Cristina; Díaz de León Lastras, Alejandra; Cortes Capetillo, Azael; González Nieto, Noe; Santamaría-Cid de León, David; López, Fabio; Machado, Rafa and Hayhoe, Simon
In : IASDR 2019 The International Association of Societies of Design Research (2-5 Sep 2019, Manchester)
Engaging Qualities: factors affecting learner attention in online design studios (2018-06-25)
Lotz, Nicole; Jones, Derek and Holden, Georgy
In : Proceedings of DRS 2018 (25-28 Jun 2018, Limerick, Ireland) (pp. 2746-2764)
Lurking and learning: Making learning visible in a Virtual Design Studio (2017)
Jones, Derek; Lotz, Nicole and Holden, Georgina
In : LearnX Design 2017 (27-30 Jun 2017, London) (pp. 176-183)
Out of sight, out of mind: curriculum representation in design education today (2015-06-28)
Aitchison, Iain; Dewberry, Emma and Lotz, Nicole
In : 3rd International Conference for Design Education Researchers (28-30 Jun 2015, Chicago, Il, USA) (pp. 1536-1551)
Social engagement in online design pedagogies (2015-06-28)
Lotz, Nicole; Jones, Derek and Holden, Georgina
In : 3rd International Conference for Design Education Researchers (28-30 Jun 2015, Chicago, Il, USA) (pp. 1645-1668)
Framing behaviours in novice interaction designers (2014-06)
Lotz, Nicole; Sharp, Helen; Woodroffe, Mark; Blyth, Richard; Rajah, Dino and Ranganai, Turugare
In : DRS 2014: Design's Big Debates. (16-19 Jun 2014, Umeå, Sweden) (pp. 1178-1190)
A protocol study of novice interaction design behaviour in Botswana: solution-driven interaction design (2013-09)
Sharp, Helen; Lotz, Nicole; Blyth, Richard; Woodroffe, Mark; Rajah, Dino and Ranganai, Turugare
In : BCS HCI Conference 2013 (9-13 Sep 2013, London)
Co-evolving problems and solutions: The case of novice interaction designers in Botswana and the UK (2013-08)
Lotz, Nicole; Sharp, Helen; Woodroffe, Mark; Richard, Blyth; Rajah, Dino and Ranganai, Turugare
In : IASDR (26-30 Aug, Tokyo, Japan) (pp. 1004-1015)
The effect of prototyping material on verbal and non-verbal behaviours in collaborative design tasks (2013-08)
Peter, Andreas; Lotz, Nicole; McDonnell, Janet and Lloyd, Peter
In : 5th International Congress of International Association of Societies of Design Research (IASDR) (26-30 Aug 2013, Tokyo, Japan) (pp. 2382-2393)
A frame signature matrix for analysing and comparing interaction design behaviour (2012-09)
Blyth, Richard; Schadewitz, Nicole; Sharp, Helen; Woodroffe, Mark; Rajah, Dino and Turugare, Ranganai
In : BCS HCI Conference (12-14 Sep 2012, Birmingham)
Talk around things: prototyping and discussion in the design process (2011)
Peter, Andreas; Schadewitz, Nicole and Lloyd, Peter
In : 4th World Conference on Design Research (IASDR2011) (31 Oct - 4 Nov 2011, Delft, The Netherlands)
Design and communication patterns observed in an eLearning design team: A case-study (2010-06-29)
Rapanta, Chrysi; Schadewitz, Nicole and Holden, Georgina
In : World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (Ed-Media 2010) (29 Jun 2010, Toronto, Canada) (pp. 356-365)
Design education, design research (2009-09)
Holden, Georgina; Schadewitz, Nicole and Zamenopoulos, Theodore
In : Designs on Elearning (02-04 Sep 2009, Online)
Cross-cultural collaboration Wiki: evolving knowledge about international teamwork (2009-02-20)
Schadewitz, Nicole and Zakaria, Norhayati
In : 2009 International Workshop on Intercultural Collaboration (IWIC '09) (20-21 Feb 2009, Palo Alto, CA, USA)
Towards an online design studio: a study of social networking in design distance learning (2009)
Schadewitz, Nicole and Zamenopoulos, Theodore
In : International Association of Societies of Design Research (IASDR) Conference 2009 (18-22 Oct 2009, Seoul, South Korea)
STAR framework revisited: Curriculum for user-centered design summer schools (2008)
Roberts, Joi L.; Schadewitz, Nicole and Adler, Pedro Jorge
In : Proceedings of Connected 2007, International Conference on Design Education (9-12 Jul 2007, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
Utilizing FM software in collaborative design-learning (2008)
Schadewitz, Nicole; Garner, Steve and Ferreira, Giselle
In : HCI 2008 Workshop 'HCI for Technology-Enhanced Learning' (15 Sep 2008, Liverpool)
Utilising Flash Meeting software in collaborative design-learning (2008)
Schadewitz, Nicole; Garner, Steven and Ferreira, Giselle
In : HCI for Technology Enhanced Learning, at HCI 2008: Culture, Creativity and Interaction (1 Sep 2008, Liverpool, UK)
Comparing inductive and deductive methodologies for design patterns identification and articulation (2007-11)
Schadewitz, Nicole and Jachna, Timothy
In : International Design Research Conference IADSR 2007 Emerging Trends in Design Research (12-15 Nov 2007, Hong Kong)
Introducing New Methodologies for Identifying Design Patterns for Internationalization and Localization (2007-07)
Schadewitz, Nicole and Jachna, Timothy
In : International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCII) (22-27 Jul 2007, Beijing, China)
Comparing design summer schools in European and Asian contexts (2006-11-10)
Schadewitz, Nicole and Jachna, Timothy
In : Proceedings of the International Design Research Symposium, IDRS (10-12 Nov 2006, Seoul, Korea)
The STAR Interaction Design Summer Schools Framework (2006-11)
Schadewitz, Nicole; Adler, Pedro-Jorge; Moncur, Wendy and Roberts, Joi
In : Proceedings of WONDERGROUND, International Deign Research Conference (1-3 Nov 2006, Lisbon, Portugal)
Interaction and Interface Design Patterns for Intercultural Collaboration (2005-07)
Schadewitz, Nicole
In : Proceedings of the 7th International Workshop on Internationalisation of Products and Systems (IWIPS '05) (7-9 Jul 2005, Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Interface and Interaction Design Patterns for Intercultural Collaboration (2005-07)
Schadewitz, Nicole
In : Proceedings of the Seventh International Workshop on Internationalisation of Products and Systems (7-9 Jul 2005, Amsterdam)