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James Roy

James Roy at Redcar beach

Profile summary

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Professional biography

I am now a homeworker, living 4 minutes walk from the beach in Redcar, County Cleveland on the North East coast of England.  I am a Senior Lecturer and Staff Tutor, (Education) in the School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport (ECYS) in the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS).  My role involves managing Associate Lecturers across several modules, and undertaking core academic staff duties, including engagement in scholarship and working closely with module teams as needed.  I am Lead Staff Tutor for the Sport, Fitness and Coaching programme in my School which means I line manage a current team of 5 Staff Tutors (Education) who work in this programme.   

Prior to starting to work for the Open University, I have taught English language in Brazil, France and Vietnam and in the UK.  I speak fluent Portuguese and have, on occasions, been mistaken for being a Brazilian - especially when I open my mouth in Portuguese!  My wife is originally from Belo Horizonte in Brazil and we have a son, a grandson and two granddaughters.   On returning from Brazil to the UK in 1990, I did my MA in Applied Linguistics (L2 teaching) at the University of Reading, and worked for 3 years at a private EFL school in Oxford, followed by 3 years as Curriculum Manager, EFL, ESOL and Modern Languages at Reading College.   From 1997,  I was Principal Lecturer for English Language Teaching (ELT) at the then-Leeds Metropolitan University, before leaving there and starting to work as a Staff Tutor in the then-Faculty of Education and Language Studies in the Open University in 2007, based first in Scotland for 6 months and then in Manchester, up to 2016.  I started as an Associate Lecturer with the Open University in 2004, and was a student on the Masters in Education (Management) from 1991 to 1994 ...  so I do  have a long-ish - and strong - connection with the Open University! 

Since 2016, OU modules have been organised into 'clusters' and each cluster on big modules is managed by a Staff Tutor in the ECYS School - in this context,  I am Lead Cluster Manager for the large Level 1 module, E103: Learning and teaching in the Primary Years, working with a team of other Staff Tutors in managing tuition delivery and the Associate Lecturer team on this module.   In this role, I also attend Module Team meetings on a regular basis. 

I am an experienced website developer, and can work with Moodle-based sites as well as with OpenLearn Create.   As outlined in the 'Impact and Engagement' section below, I created a University-wide website for all Staff Tutors (who work in the WELS, FASS or STEM faculties) and Student Experience Managers (based in the Faculty of Business and Law) and I also created and developed - in collaboration with many tutors - a website within the School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport for Associate Lecturer induction - which has been disseminated/shared University-wide.  

During the latter part of 2019 and the early part of 2020, I chaired and led production - with a cross-Faculty team -  of the free 8-hour OpenLearn couirse Building confidence in using online learning forums, which comes out of research I did with a colleague back in 2015-16 that found that many Open University students were a bit frightened of using forums, out of anxiety or reticence.   This free OpenLearn course seeks to build learners' confidence about getting involved in online forums by providing some strategies and showing how involvement can benefit students.  

You can find me on Twitter @JamesRoy or on Linkedin as James Roy

Research interests

Forthcoming Publication: Griffin L and Roy J (tbd) Engaging the fearful students in forums: why and how In Online Teaching and learning in a changing pedagogic and linguistic landscape.  Castledown (Forthcoming) . In this chapter, we discuss an inclusive approach to online asynchronous pedagogy, and show how education practitioners can develop inclusive online pedagogy to engage and support fearful and anxious users of online learning forums, with lots of practical tips and ideas.  

Research Interests

My research interests in recent years have been focused on online tuition, and together with my colleague, Dr Lynda Grifin, an Honorary Associate in the School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport (ECYS) we completed a study exploring student and tutor views of working with online forums undertaken with students in 2015. We have presented our findings internally on five separate occasions and our first article from this study iwas published in July 2019..  And, as noted above, the free 8-hour OpenLearn course, Buidling confidence in using online learning forums comes out of this research.  The course went live in August 2020.  

At present, I am working, together with colleagues,  on a scholarship project to explore student experiences of tutorials - both online and face-to-face - on one of my School's biggest Level 1 modules.  To this end, my interest is in online tuition and students' experience of online tuition, and expectations around online tuition and online learning. 

Teaching interests

As an Associate Lecturer, I have tutored on a Level 2 English language module, a Masters module in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), a Masters module in Education Enquiry and, currently I tutor and supervise students on the Dissertation module in the Applied Linguistics pathway of the Masters in Education in my Faculty.  In my previous professional lives, I have also delivered in-service development for teachers in and from Norway, and in and from France, focusing on language skills development and language teaching. 

As a Staff Tutor, line managing teams of Associate Lecturers, I am also keenly involved in planning and delivering professional development, around many aspects of tuition.  I have also led the development of an online resource, housed within OpenLearn, called New EDORO (Education Open Resources Online), which houses course spaces for each undergraduate and postgraduate module in the ECYS School, and also has generic course spaces for resources to support online synchronous and asynchronous tuition, as well as study skills support and student retention. 

Impact and engagement

Teaching Related Infrastructure Outputs

  • Building Confidence in Using Online Forums; I led the production of this free 8-hour course which went live on 13th August 2020.  It is rooted in the scholarship work I did together with an Associate Lecturer colleague, Dr Lynda Griffin, where we explored Open University students' views about using online forums and we found that many students were anxious or fearful about posting to forums.   This OpenLearn course addresses students' fears and anxieties and seeks to build students' confidence and it is very much an applied, practical output from my research publications.  
  • Working with Online Forums: A Guide for Tutors.    This detailed document provides a wide range of ideas, tips, advice and guidance for any tutors working with online forums.   If you would like a copy, email me at  
  • The ST & SEM Resources and Development Site: i created  this internal website for all Staff Tutors (STs) and Student Experience Managers (SEMs) in the Open University.   The site supports and informs over 400 academic managers (STs & SEMs) in their work with Associate Lecturers.  Sections on the site include Handbooks; Supporting Associate Lecturers; Supporting Student Success; Reflections on our Role; Scholarship and Research; Development Resources for STs and SEMs, and a Forum 4 STs and SEMs, enabling community engagement and sharing across this important academic group in the Open University.   Feedback from cross-Faculty colleagues - especially new starters - has been consistently excellent. 
  • The Staff Tutor and Student Experience Manager Handbook: an extensive and detailed Handbook, for use by all STs and SEMs, and including a foreword from the Vice-Chancellor of the Open  University.  
  • The School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport AL Induction site: I created this site to support and inform the induction of new Associate Lecturers (ALs) to my School in the Open University..  This internal site includes a range of contributions from experienced Associate Lecturers, sharing their tuition practices assessment and feedback practices and student support practices, so as to guide and inform new starters.  The site has been shared with all Faculties and is linked to from the main University-wide AL Induction Core.   


I am currently coach in training.  I am working on a Higher Apprenticeship on the Professional Coaching (Level 5) Apprenticeship Standard at BPP University.   On cmpletion of this programme, I will be accredited by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC).   This is an area of work that I am very interested in developing and to build my requisite core hours as a coach I am offering coaching sessions to my colleagues in the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies.  

External Engagement

In my local area, I work as an independent lay member on a range of local groups, particularly for Safeguarding issues.    I am also Academic Reviewer for some undergraduate education programmes at local Further Education colleges in the North of England, working through OU Validation Programmes (OUVP).  


A great resource that should be utilised more, but also a place of anxiety: student perspectives on using an online discussion forum (2022)
Griffin, Lynda and Roy, James
Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 37(3) (pp. 235-250)

Two Ends of a Spectrum: 'I have no interest in getting to know other students online' versus 'It was nice to be given the chance to meet my tutor and other students in person'. Some cautionary tales from 825 Level 1 distance learning students about flexible modes of delivery. (2022)
Roy, James
In : Advance HE Teaching and Learning Conference 2022: Teaching in the spotlight: Where next for enhancing student success? (5-7 Jul 2022, Northumbria University, Newcastle)

Think again! Transformative online pedagogy and the student who says ‘I am uncomfortable communicating with unknown people online’ (2019)
Roy, James
In : ICDE: World Conference on Online Learning 2019 (3-7 Nov 2019, Dublin, Ireland)