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Ms Felicity Harper

Profile summary

Professional biography

I joined the Open University in September 2003 as a Staff Tutor in the South West region.  As Staff Tutor, I am a regional academic with responsibility for the management and staff development of the Associate Lecturers who tutor our courses. I am also required to provide course guidance and advice to current and prospective students and to liaise with regional staff regarding day to day issues related to tutorial timetabling, examinations and student support. I represent the Department of Languages to the region, both internally, within the regional office, and externally, at appropriate events. Conversely, I am also a regional representative to the Faculty and to the Department of Languages. My academic work includes all forms of quality assurance, for example, tutorial visits and assignment monitoring, as well as membership of course teams and contribution to the production and presentation of courses.

Research interests

As a recent hearing aid user, I am particularly interested in listening comprehension, and, specifically, the relationship between input and perception. My first research project was conducted whilst I was teaching A level languages as a small-scale Action Enquiry into approaches to improving listening comprehension scores of A level French students (see Harper, F (2002) 'Module to develop learner autonomy in listening comprehension', Francophonie, ALL, Autumn 2002, 0957-1744). Although I have not pursued any further projects, I am particularly keen to work with people in the field of listening.

Whilst working in FE, I was involved in two European Co-operation Programmes, the second of which focused on the impact of first foreign language teaching on second foreign language learning. To inform the design of suitable teaching materials, my colleague and I conducted practitioner research into using parallel texts combined with reflective learning to facilitate access to further languages (see Harper, F and Hamer, M, Language Learning Journal, ALL, Winter 2006, 34:14-24).

Apart from my language-related interests, I am fascinated by the concept of  'choice', and have conducted two pieces of research in this field. The first investigated the choices made by students in Year 11 with regard to their post-16 education and the second the choices made concerning post-A level destinations by Year 12/13 (sixth form) students who had no prior experience of HE in their family .


Another of my interests is the effect of anxiety on oral performance, and, specifically, the impact of a perfectionist personality on the ability to speak without fear of "failure". This year, I am working with Annette Duensing, from the Department of Languages, on a pilot project to investigate the inhibitors and motivators which affect whether an orally anxious student attends the final oral assessment of an Open University language course.

Teaching interests

I began my teaching career teaching modern lanaguages in a comprehensive school and later moved on to FE, where I taught a mixture of EFL, modern languages and teacher training quailifications to students from 16 to 85+. During my time there, I  moved from managing the language programme to managing the curricular aspects of the Sixth Form College and, in my last year, became manager of Adult Community Education in North Somerset, which offered courses ranging from Reiki to Accounts to Cooking with a Wok.

Since joining the Open University, I have taught French at the residential school in Caen, written units for the revised L130 Auftakt: Get ahead in German course and contributed to the workings of the course team for L(ZX)194 Beginners' Spanish.

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)CentreFaculty of Education and Language Studies


Using screencasts in the teaching of modern languages: investigating the use of Jing® in feedback on written assignments (2018-08-18)
Green, Hannelore; Harper, Felicity and Fernández-Toro, Maria
The Language Learning Journal, 46(3) (pp. 277-292)

Online Peer Observation: An Exploration of a Cross-Discipline Observation Project (2014)
Nicolson, Margaret and Harper, Felicity
International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 26(2) (pp. 251-259)

Online peer observation: its value in teacher professional development, support and well-being (2013)
Harper, Felicity and Nicolson, Margaret
International Journal for Academic Development, 18(3) (pp. 264-275)

Facilitating access to further languages: trialling materials combining parallel texts with reflective learning (2006-01)
Harper, Felicity and Hamer, Melanie
Language Learning Journal, 34(1) (pp. 14-24)

The role and nature of assessment in blended contexts (2011-05-26)
Duensing, Annette and Harper, Felicity
In: Nicolson, Margaret; Murphy, Linda and Southgate, Margaret eds. Language Teaching in Blended Contexts (pp. 59-74)
ISBN : 9781906716202 | Publisher : Dunedin Academic Press Ltd | Published : Edinburgh

Developing competence in the language (2): Writing and speaking skills (2005-07)
Adinolfi, Lina; Pleines, Christine; Harper, Felicity; Beaven, Tita; Smith, Pete; Hassan, Xaviere; Adams, Helga and Nicolson, Margaret
In: Success wtih Languages. Routledge Study Guides (pp. 110-139)
ISBN : 978-0-415-36836-0 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon, UK

Developing competence in the language (1): reading and listening skills (2005)
Harper, Felicity; Smith, Pete and Beaven, Mary
In: Hurd, Stella and Murphy, Linda eds. Success With Languages. Routledge Study Guides (pp. 79-109)
ISBN : 0-415-36836-7 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Evaluating the integration of Jing® screencasts in feedback on written assignments (2012-09)
Harper, Felicity; Green, Hannelore and Fernandez-Toro, Maria
In : 15th International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning (26-28 Sep 2012, Villach, Austria)

Using Jing to enhance student understanding through video recorded assignment commentary (2011-11-17)
Green, Hannelore and Harper, Felicity
In : 16th Annual SEDA Conference 2011: Using Technology to Enhance Learning (17-18 Nov 2011, Birmingham, UK)