Simon Walker

Simon Walker

Simon Walker

Principal Lecturer; Head of the Educational Development Unit

Educational Development Unit

Simon Walker, a Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellow, is the Head of Educational Development at the University of Greenwich.  He has held previous teaching posts at the University of the Arts, and in the School of Education and Training, where he was appointed a principal lecturer in 1992.

In 2010, he led an HEA leadership change academy project to develop the Greenwich Graduate Attributes, which form the core of the University's Teaching and Learning Strategy 2012-17.  He co-led the development of the Students as Change Agents UK Network, setting up support and national accreditation for students undertaking deep student engagement work in the curriculum, and support for student engagement research through the new Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change.

Previously he was director of a number of national JISC and BECTA funded technology enhanced learning projects including the Digital Literacy in Higher Education project and International Baccalaureate e-Learning Laboratory. He was a founding member of the CAMEL project management model, which continues to be used in implementing many innovative projects. He has worked on numerous EU projects and is currently a quality board member on the Erasmus FLITE project, developing a MOOC to support entrepreneurs across Europe.

For 9 years he was programme leader for the highly successful Professional Development in Technology Enhanced Learning certificated framework.

Simon's research and publication lies mainly in the development and evaluation of learning design. He is a co-author of the Larnaca Declaration on Learning Design with Professor James Dalziel in Australia, and Professor Diana Laurillard and Professor Grainne Conole in the UK. In 2012 he led a University of Greenwich team as part of a university consortium, coordinated by the Open University, to develop the first MOOC on Learning Design.

He is a co-director of the eCentre for Learning and Innovation Research, which convenes the annual Academic Practice and Technology (APT) international conference, now in its 13th year. He also convenes the University's annual teaching and Learning conference, SHIFT. He established Compass: the Journal of Learning & Teaching in 2009 as a means to raise the profile of teaching and learning, and e-learning. The journal is now in its 10th issue and available online. In 2012 he was awarded the Google/ALT "Apps in Learning and Teaching" Award for his work with Dr Mark Kerrigan on a tool for visually representing the student assessment journey.

Responsibilities within the university

Development of policy and strategy for teaching, learning and assessment, including implementation of personal tutoring policy, new arrivals policy, feedback and assessment policy and Greenwich Connect vision

< p>Delivery of the International PG Cert in Higher Education< p>Delivery of GOLD Professional Development Scheme< p>Delivery CPD for teaching, learning and assessment< p>Organiser of the university’s annual Learning, teaching and Assessment SHIFT conference< p>Organiser of the university’s e-Learning APT conference


  • The Google/ALT “Apps in Learning and Teaching” Award 2012
  • European Association of Faculties of Pharmacy. Best Poster of the 2010 Annual Conference
  • Higher Education Academy (HEA) National Teaching Fellow 2006

External recognition

Higher Education Academy Fellow

Research/scholarly interests

The relatively new field of Learning Design has the potential to offer ways of representing, communicating and critiquing learning ideas, patterns and experiences across different subjects. The essential elements comprising the field of Learning Design, and its development, are contained within the 2013 Larnaca Declaration. In this monograph, we present a model for notational systems that could capture and communicate great teaching ideas, using as examples other descriptive systems that have been developed. It was once argued that music was impossible to write down. It was too ethereal to be reduced to a textual form. The aim of our research is to find a way to apply lessons such as the development of music notation to education. If we can find a way to describe the activities of educators and learners in classrooms (and increasingly online) we can help to make implicit, private teaching ideas into explicit, shared ideas. In a forthcoming research paper, we explore ways to achieve this within the context of the digital age. Understanding the ways in which students and teachers interact with digital learning is now a critical component of learning design. Students’ use of digital technologies is essential to their learning practice. Our latest research builds upon the Larnaca Declaration of Learning Design model to support the successful integration of critical digital literacy within a learning design so that institutions can meet students’ increasing expectations of their learning, and support the professional development of their staff.

Recent funded projects

2013-present. Change Agents Network. JISC funded and supported by the HEA, HEFCE, QAA and NUS.

Following the 2011 White Paper ‘Students at the heart of the system’ (BIS 2011), the Change Agent’s Network (CAN) was established to help institutions and their students work in partnership on curriculum enhancement and innovation projects. Key activities include facilitating of networking and peer support and setting up a course carrying national accreditation for students working as change agents. To support research in this emerging area, we have established a Journal called Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change. Our review of current and past institutional projects relating to student-staff partnerships and students as change agents has led to the formation of a range of resources and effective practice guides for institutions wishing to set up and implement staff-student partnerships, including case studies, effective practice points/top tips, a database of sector resources and a “Student Partnerships Toolkit”. Together these act to support institutions in change processes associated with student partnership initiatives. This work now forms a major work programme for Jisc working in partnership with HEA, HEFCE, QAA and NUS and, as the sector moves towards a greater implementation of student engagement, this work will be valuable to provide ideas and build capacity and research for and about student engagement.

2012-14. Digital Literacies in Transition – A Model for Transforming Graduate Attributes

This student undergraduate transition project ran from 2012-14 and supported students’ development of digital literacies through the design and delivery of the curriculum. The project produced a number of useful outputs that have been used within the institution and nationally. We recognised that a significant amount of research and development had already been undertaken to support the students’ transition and progression through a programme. However, in a world where the digital increasingly embraces study and professional work, we identified a gap in our understanding around how transition and attainment of graduate attributes is specifically linked to improving digital literacy. We define digital literacy as ‘those who exhibit a critical understanding and capability for living, learning and working in a digital society. The project was therefor conceived to support the development of graduate attributes and help students succeed through Higher Education and into employment. A recent review of what employers want from graduates includes numerous attributes and skills of which a core part is digital literacy. As well as involving five other institutions through a Benefits Realisation Camel, locally he project funded 18 university student scholarships as part of an interdisciplinary research group which explored learners’ experiences of digital literacy and practices at key points of transition, and developed series of student led workshops and resources. Using the viewpoints methodology, resources to stimulate discussion for programme design were developed informed by our published model of critical digital literacies. A community of practice website that has attracted members worldwide is still in use even though the project has now ended.

Recent publications

Walker, S and Kerrigan, M (forthcoming 2015 by Routledge). Learning Design in the New Digital Age (chapter in edited book)

Bryant, P; Coombs, A; Pazio, M and Walker, S. (2014). ‘Disruption, destruction, construction or transformation? The challenges of implementing a university wide strategic approach to connecting in an open world. In Proceedings of OpenCourseWare Consortium Global 2014: Open Education for a Multicultural World.

Walker, S and Kerrigan, M (2013) The relationship of critical digital literacy to the Learning Design Conceptual Map.: 63rd Annual Conference International Council for Educational Media, conference proceedings. IEEE Conference Record No. 32828

Ryan,M., Franklin,E., Galsink, T., Potter, D., Wren, J., Kerrigan, M., Coombs, and Walker, S (2013) Students as Digital Change Agents. In The Student Engagement Handbook (eds by Dunne, L and Owen, D. Emerald

Mark J.P. Kerrigan, Richard Blackburn, Sue Force, Zahin Amin, Katie James, James Yorke, Simon Walker, Martin J. Snowden and Eben Scott-Jones, (2013). The student experience of using iPads to enhance undergraduate laboratory teaching. UCISA Mobile Learning Good Practice Guide.

Dalziel,J., Conole, G., Wills,S,. Walker,S., Bennett,S., Dobozy,E., Cameron,L., Il Badilescu-Buga, E., Bower, M. . (2013). Larnaca Declaration on Learning Design. Available: Last accessed 10/09/2013

Masterman, L., Walker, S., Bower, M. (2012) Computational Support For Teachers’ Design Thinking: Its Feasibility And Acceptability To Practitioners And Institutions, Educational Media International, Taylor And Francis

Cemal Nat, M; Walker, S., Dastbaz, M., Bacon, L (2011) Learning Design Approaches For Personalised And Non-Personalised E-Learning Systems. Teaching English with Technology – Special Issue on LAMS and Learning Design, 11 (1), 176-187

Cemal Nat, M., Bacon, L., Walker, S., Dastbaz, M (2010) Designing Personalisation In LAMS. Proceedings Of The 2010 European LAMS and Learning Design Conference.

Walker, S; Jameson, J and Ryan, M (2009) Skills And Strategies For E-Learning In A Participatory Culture In Sharpe, R., Beetham, H. and De Freitas (Eds) Rethinking Learning For A Digital Age: How Learners Are Shaping Their Own Experiences. Routledge, New York.

Burns, L and Walker, S (2009) Promoting Institutional Change: Embedding Learning Design Using LAMS In ESOL. Special Issue On LAMS And Learning Design Teaching English With Technology. Vol 2. IATEFL Poland Computer Special Interest Group

Walker, S (2009), Educational Development? Are There Nuts In That? Proceedings “E” Teaching And Learning Workshop 2009. Higher Education Academy Subject Centre For Computer And Information Sciences.

Walker, S and Masterman, E (2009) Learning designs and the development of study skills: reuse and community perspectives. Teaching English with Technology, 9 (2). pp. 16-31. ISSN 1642-1027. (Revised reprint of Walker and Masterman, 2006)

Walker, S, Ryan, M and Teed, R (2009) Learning from the learners' experience: e-Learning@greenwich post-conference reflections. University of Greenwich, London. ISBN 18616625722 (Book)

Masterman, E,. Jameson, J., and Walker, S (2009) Capturing teachers' experience of learning design through case studies. Distance Education, 30 (2)

Browse our publications database

Recent conference presentations

  • Walker, S. 2014. Learning design in an open and connected world. M25 2014 Annual Conference. In It Together: responding to National Initiatives, London.
  • Walker, S. 2014. Learning and Teaching in an Open and Connected World. Teaching Innovation Conference. Fudan University, Shanghai, China.
  • Walker, S. 2013. The Online Learning Landscape. University of East London. E-Learning Conference.
  • Walker, S. 2013. Digital Practice, the Bedrock of Higher Education Bath Spa University. Enhancing our Digital Practice
  • Walker, S and Kerrigan, M 2013. Higher Education Viewed Through The Lens Of Digital Literacy SOLSTICE and CLT Conference Edge Hill University.

Browse our publications database