Prof Eileen Scanlon – Co-investigator (Communication)

Professor Eileen Scanlon

Professor Eileen Scanlon


Eileen was a co-investigator on The Open University’s Catalyst project. She co-ordinated the communication work package, working with Trevor Collins. Eileen worked to facilitate the development and adoption of effective practices and tools for staff, students’ and publics’ engagement with research. She was also involved in the learning and digital engagement work packages.

Eileen brought a wealth of experience to these aspects of the project, e.g. through her research where she has explored the use of tools and technologies for public engagement with research, through her contributions to science communication teaching and training programmes, and through her research into the uses of digital technologies in distance learning.


Eileen has extensive research experience on educational technology projects, some of which are summarized in McAndrew, et al. (2010). Funding sources for her research have included: The European Commission; The Economic and Social Research Council; The Hewlett Foundation; The Higher Education Funding Council for England; Research Councils UK; and The Joint Information Systems Committee. Her research funding track record evidences strong links with research users and beneficiaries that contribute to both current and future projects.

Eileen has published extensively in the fields of Technology Enhanced Learning and science communication. Her research publications are hosted in the OU’s Open Research Online Repository.

Eileen is currently involved in research projects:

  • that explore aspects of digital scholarship to develop open educational resources (e.g. through The Open Learning Network);
  • that investigate science learning in formal and informal settings concentrating on the development of an inquiry learning pedagogy (e.g. The Personal Inquiry project);
  • that develop innovative approaches to evaluation (e.g. games based learning, such as The xDelia project); and
  • where research is informing the development of an online laboratory for practical science teaching (Open Science Laboratory, a collaborative activity with the Wolfson Foundation).

Eileen contributed to the OU’s Catalyst proposal through research that explores aspects of Digital Scholarship (with Prof. Martin Weller). This work was aimed at understanding the changes in communication and publication practices of academic researchers in higher education due to the impact of the information age. The impact consists of a changed landscape which offers researchers innovative ways of working and offers additional kinds of academic output for educators to use in their teaching. The focus is a programme of research that explores the ways that digital technologies influence the discourse and practices of academic researchers, and the consequences that these developments have for the professional practices of educators.


Eileen Scanlon is Regius Professor of Open Education, an award she received for her exceptional contributions to the fields of educational technology and public engagement with the sciences. Her award also reflects the exceptionally high quality of teaching and research within The Institute of Educational Technology (IET).

Eileen has a background in science communication teaching and research, and educational technology. She holds a number of senior management roles and visiting posts. She is Associate Director of Research and Innovation in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University, UK. As Associate Director she has institutional responsibility for developing research strategy in educational technology. Eileen is also Visiting Professor in Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh and a Trustee at Bletchley Park. Previously, she has held visiting academic appointments at University of California (Berkeley) and the University of London.

Eileen began her full-time OU career in 1975, working in the Deanery of The Science Faculty. She completed her PhD in 1990 studying cognitive models of physics problem solving. Eileen has worked in IET since 1978 where she has held a number of roles, including Director of the Computers and Learning Research Group (CALRG). She was also Director of the interfaculty centre of excellence, the Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET).

Eileen has contributed to a number of postgraduate teaching projects, including leading roles in the development of Contemporary issues in science learning and Communicating science in the information age.


Professor Eileen Scanlon

Regius Professor of Open Education

Associate Director (Research and Scholarship)
The Institute of Educational Technology
The Open University
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes