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Tom Olney

Profile summary

  • Academic Related Staff
  • Senior Manager (Learning & Teaching)
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • Deanery
  • Curriculum Support
  • tom.olney

Professional biography

I am currently employed as a Senior Learning and Teaching Manager in the Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) with specific responsibility for the adoption and development of learning design and learning analytics principles in STEM course creation. My work also includes project managing various initiatives to support the Associate Dean, Student Experience in improving the experience of STEM students.

Projects, past and present, generally involve delivering training opportunities and developing resources to support the professional development of OU academics, Staff Tutors, and Associate Lecturers as well as evaluating and then operationalising institutional research outputs into business as usual.

Examples of these projects include: Analytics for Action (2015-16)OU Learning Design (2016-18), Teaching Tricky Topics (2017), Predictive Learning Analytics (2017-18), Module Team Chair Induction Resources and Event (2018), Single Component Assessment (2018), Learning Networks (2018).

However, my background is in face to face classroom teaching. Before joining the OU I was employed as a teacher and Humanities faculty lead in Melbourne, Australia, teaching English, International Relations and History for 10 years. I have worked as an examiner for Pearson Education and tutor secondary school students in my spare time. I hold a degree in History and Politics, and a Post -Grad Diploma in Education. I have also achieved Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Association (SFHEA) status (2018). 

I have significant expertise in developing, interpreting, explaining and obtaining meaning from visualisations of both learning analytics and learning designs and am an experienced facilitator, drawing on my classroom practice and trained in consensus and group facilitation methodologies (2016). At the OU I regularly facilitate learning design workshops for module teams across the faculty. I am particuarly interested in the cross-cultural application of learning design and as such I have developed and delivered a range of workshop approaches for international and commercial audiences such as EDEN (2016), the Independent Institute of Education (IIE) in Johannesburg, South Africa (2017), and at Open Universities in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong (2017-18) as well as for commercial UK-based institutions such as the College of Policing (2017). 

My research interests include the application of learning design data and learning analytics. Publications include co-author on the LAK 16 conference paper, Reviewing Three Case Studies of Learning Analytics Interventions at the OU (2016), as well as lead author on chapter 6 in Learning Analytics in the Classroom: Translating Learning Analytics for Teachers (2018) about the practical applications for learning design data. I am currently working on the evaluation of several learning design and course creation workshops in China, the use of predictive analytics dashboards and the application of learning design visualisations.