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BBL: How New Technologies Can Enhance Learner Autonomy

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HCIL (2105 Hornbake, South Wing)


Find out more about the new technology-based approaches for supporting education from the perspective of learner autonomy. The University of Edinburgh and the British Open University have made extensive use of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), including innovative applications of MOOCs to domains such as real-time political situations and citizen science. While to date, MOOCs and shared virtual environments have augmented rather than displaced more mature modes of e-learning, in the future, individual and distributed groups of learners will be able to become much more autonomous as they take advantage of new developments in data science.


Tim O’Shea holds a BSc in Mathematics and Experimental Psychology from Sussex University and a PhD in Computer Based Learning from Leeds University. Prior to assuming academic leadership positions at the Open University, Gresham College, the University of London, and Edinburgh University, he worked as a researcher in the Computer Science Department of the University of Texas at Austin, the Bionics Research Lab at the University of Edinburgh and the Systems Concepts Lab, Xerox PARC, California. His research interests include computer-based learning, MOOCs, artificial intelligence, and mathematics education and encompass 10 books, 22 BBC television programs, and 100+ journal articles. In 2014 Debrett’s and The Sunday Times named the 500 most influential people in the United Kingdom and listed Tim in the top 30 in Technology.

Eileen Scanlon is Associate Director of Research and Innovation in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University, UK. She is also Visiting Professor in Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh. Previously, she has held visiting academic appointments at University of California Berkeley and the University of London. Eileen has published extensively in the fields of technology-enhanced learning and science communication and has been recognized for exceptional contributions to the fields of educational technology and public engagement with the sciences. Her projects have been funded by 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.

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