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Ms Karen Foley

Profile summary

Professional biography

As Lecturer (Student Hub Live) in LTI at the Open University I am responsible for developing and delivering online interactive events that facilitate open access to an academic community. Whilst this is an academic role, I oversee many areas including:

·         Strategic direction of events

·         Development of each programme and working with other academics to plan content

·         Producing events

·         Marketing and Communication

·         Developing the website

·         Reuse of assets

·         Rights

·         Widget/VT generation and logistics

·         Evaluation and Impact

·         Internal connections with many areas of the University

I am chair of Y032 People work and Society, the Access module that feeds into Social Science, Business, Law, Health and Education.

In my previous role I was an academic consultant for the Faculty of Arts and Social Science, developing the concept of online interactive conferences and various forms of synchronous and asynchronous formats to promote these (including online workshops, podcasts and two series of audio dramas).

I have also worked as an Assistant Staff Tutor in Wales which involved recruiting, training and managing Associate Lecturers, overseeing tutorial delivery, dealing with student issues.

I have been involved with several HEA grants that focused on peer to peer student support and the use of video.

I regularly act as an interviewer and have recently been involved with the “Historians on History” series for A255.

In my previous career I was Creative Solutions Director, and have worked at Emap, BBC Worldwide, and Redwood.

My areas of expertise are:

·         Use of livestream to broadcast learning events

·         Using online platforms for tutorial delivery (Elluminate, Blackboard Collaborate, Adobe Connect)

·         Interviewing academics to produce lively and engaging content

Research interests

Currently in my first year of an EdD I am researching on virtual communities in a distance learning context, in particular the extent to which belonging to a community relates to student success. I am using ethnographic methods, including virtual ethnography.

I am interested in student engagement and the differences between distance and face to face learning environments in terms of learning communities and belonging.

I am involved with an EADTU project, looking at issues in retention and progression in Open Distance Education.

Teaching interests

I am an Associate Lecturer (Tutor) for DD102 (Introducing the Social Sciences) DD210 (Living Psychology) and SDK228 (The Science of the Mind). I am involved with a widening participation initiative in Wales and deliver a week long applied Psychology programme for 16-17-year-old students.  

I am interested in online learning pedagogy and in working with academics to deliver interactive and engaging online teaching opportunities.



Scaffolding Extracurricular Online Events to Support Distance Learning University Students (2019)
Foley, Karen and Marr, Liz
Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2019, Article 17(1)

From despair to somewhere: activating students in a distance learning environment (2015-01)
Foley, Karen; Middleton, Dave and Fribbance, Ian
Practice and Evidence of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 9(1) (pp. 18-32)

The Student Hub Live: The Open University’s Solution to Facilitating the Development of an Academic Community in Distance Learning through Collaborative Online Interaction (2020-09)
Foley, Karen
In: Dennis, Chris; Abbott, Stuart; Matheson, Ruth and Tangney, Sue eds. Flexibility and Pedagogy in Higher Education: Delivering Flexibility in Learning through Online Learning Communities (pp. 179-191)
ISBN : 9789004438118 | Publisher : Brill | Sense

"Is There Anybody There?": Engaging With Open University Distance Learners (2019)
Clough, Helen and Foley, Karen
In: Joe, Jennifer and Knight, Elisabeth eds. Social Media for Communication and Instruction in Academic Libraries (pp. 151-172)
ISBN : 9781522580980 | Publisher : IGI Global

Student Connections: Livestreaming and Creating Community via an Annual Student Conference (2018)
Foley, Karen and Fribbance, Ian
In: Baxter, Jacqueline; Callaghan, George and McAvoy, Jean eds. Creativity and Critique in Online Learning: Exploring and Examining Innovations in Online Pedagogy (pp. 169-189)
ISBN : 978-3-319-78297-3 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan

Case study 22: The PodMag: podcasting to promote academic community (2018)
Foley, Karen
In: Matheson, Ruth; Tagney, Sue and Sutcliffe, Mark eds. Transition In, Through and Out of Higher Education: International Case Studies and Best Practice (pp. 154-156)
ISBN : 9781134817627 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : UK