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Mr James Roy

James Roy at Redcar beach

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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.  My current role as Staff Tutor (Education) and Senior Lecturer in the School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport (ECYS).  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 Education Studies (Primary) and Early Childhood programmes in my School which means I line manage a current team of 6 Staff Tutors (Education) who work on these two programme areas.  

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 and a grandson.   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 2005, 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.  I am also a Cluster Manager on the Early Childhood Level 1 module, E110: Young children's play and creativity. 

I am also an experienced website developer, and can work with Moodle-based sites as well as with OpenLearn Create. 

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

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

From November 2019 to August 2020, I chaired the production of the OpenLearn course Buidling confidence in using online learning forums.   This free 8-hour course 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.  

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 Middlesbrough College 


A great resource that should be utilised more, but also a place of anxiety: student perspectives on using an online discussion forum (2019)
Griffin, Lynda and Roy, James
Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning ((Early Access))