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Dr Simon Cross MA, PhD, PGCE, FRGS

Senior Lecturer

About

I am Senior Lecturer at the Open University, UK. Based in the Institute of Educational Technology, I have interests in many areas of education and educational technology including distance and online learning, assessment at scale, learner experiences of assessment, digital badges, learning design, and teacher professional development. My research often sits at the confluence of two or more of these aspects and I regularly publish and present at international conferences. In have experience working on over forty funded or strategic projects and presently hold the role of Associate Director within the Institute with responsibility for the Quality Enhancement and Innovation team.

I have a keen interest in new ways of thinking about assessment at scale and at distance. I have led IET's Student Experience of Revision, Assessment and Feedback survey project since 2015 (Cross et al. 2016). Recent analysis of our latest 2020 survey has identified significant difference in the assessment experience between students from different ethnic backgrounds (Cross & Brasher, 2021 - available on request) and highlighted the need for rethinking how dialogic feedback and assessment literacies can be supported in a distance learning context (Cross & Brasher, 2022). The survey comprises over 100 question items and covers additional themes such as learners' assessment networks, learner agency and process transparency.

Internationally, I have led the Digital Badges for Teacher Professional Development in India project working closely with Freda Wolfenden, Lina Adinolfi and colleagues from TISS, India. The focus of this research has been on the potential role that digital badges may have in supporting teachers in improving their classroom practice and giving teachers greater ownership of their professional development (Cross et al. 2022 - available at https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.00014c69). Last year, field trials were conducted with teachers from over 220 schools in the state of Assam (Cross et al., 2022; Charania et al., 2022) and the knowledge exchange events we have organised (Cross et al., 2021; Wolfenden et al, 2020) have helped promote conversations amongst educators. The project was shortlisted for the 2022 OU Research Awards.

Prior to this I led a project piloting the use of 360-degree spherical video recording and VR viewing of classroom practice by teachers in India (Cross, 2018). This work identified four key themes to the emerging narrative around spherical video for TPD: opened observation, critical distance, investigative spaces and spatial presence, and has been published in the journalTeachers and Teacher Education (2022) and the Handbook of Digital Higher Education (2022)I was also a member of the academic team working on the award-winning TESS-India Programme (Cross et al., 2019, Wolfenden et al, 2017) and HEFCE funded Learning Gains project (Rogaten et al, 2019; Cross et al, 2017).

I am also interested in the question of quality in distance education and, as Associate Director, have supported my team's involvement in over 30 strategic projects over the last year spanning four thematic areas. I work work closely with stakeholders across the university including pro-vice chancellor's offices, faculties, and business units. I have had responsibility for quality, research and evaluation in many projects. For example, I presently chair the university's Foundations (strategic change project) Evaluation Advisory Group, represent and the unit on the Quality Enhancement Oversight Group, and am co-ordinating a scoping study investigating student and staff perceptions of Learning Gain. I work with colleagues on pan-university and test-and-learn projects including an investigation led by Maria Aristeidou into student perceptions of quality in online exams (Aristeidou & Cross, 2021; 2022).

And finally, as part of my long-standing interest in learning design and learner engagement with technology (Cross et al, 2019, Cross, 2012; Jones & Cross, 2009), I am presently conducting an institution-wide review of teaching practices that offer optionality, differentiation or similar learning choices within the Open University's undergraduate modules. This builds on an ongoing interest (Cross 2019) in how tools already available in VLEs such as Moodle could be utilised to give learners choice in the difficulty, focus or pedagogic form of pathways they take through sequences of learning activities and resources.  

Biography

Dr Simon Cross is a Senor Lecturer at The Open University (UK). Based in the Institute of Educational Technology, his current research interests span many areas of education and educational technology including distance and online learning, assessment at scale, learning design, and teacher professional development. He has experience working on over forty funded and or strategic projects. These include several projects trailing digital badges and 360-dgree spherical video technologies for TPD in India, and sustained research into UK distance learners' experience of assessment, exam revision and feedback. Simon is presently an Associate Director at the Institute and disseminates his research widely in publications and international conferences.

Publications

2022

Cross, Simon; Charania, Amina; Wolfenden, Freda; Adinolfi, Lina; Sen, Sohini and Sarkar, Durba (). Digital Badges for TPD at scale in the Global South: a framework for implementation and field study in Assam, India. The Open University, Milton Keynes.
Cross, Simon; Wolfenden, Freda and Adinolfi, Lina (). Spherical 360-degree video recording and viewing in educational research: a case-study from India. In: Sharpe, Rhona; Bennett, Sue and Varga-Atkins, Tünde eds. Handbook of Digital Higher Education Edward Elgar.
Chaudhari, Vasudha; Littlejohn, Allison and Cross, Simon (). Antecedents and consequences of uncertainties perceived by finance professionals. In: Rienties, Bart; Hampel, Regine; Scanlon, Eileen and Whitelock, Denise eds. Open World Learning: Research, Innovation and the Challenges of High-Quality Education New York, USA: Routledge, pp. 237-249.
Cross, Simon; Wolfenden, Freda; Charania, Amina; Adinolfi, Lina; Sen, Sohini and Sarkar, Durba. (). Supporting practice-based teacher professional learning and assessment at scale in the Global South. In: INTED2022 Proceedings.
Edwards, Chris; Whitelock, Denise; Cross, Simon and Wild, Fridolin. (). Developing automated ways to give essay writing feedback to students. In: INTED2022 Proceedings: 16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference, IATED Academy, Valencia, Spain, 5446-5450.

2021

Charania, Amina; Wolfenden, Freda; Sarkar, Durba; Cross, Simon; Sen, Sohini and Adinolfi, Lina. (). Teacher Motivation and Aspiration for Online Mentoring their Fellow Teachers in the COVID Lockdown Period. In: SITE Interactive 2021, 26-28 Oct 2021, Online.
Aristeidou, Maria and Cross, Simon. (). Disrupted distance learning: the impact of Covid-19 on study habits of distance learning university students. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-learning, 36 (3) pp. 263-282.
Aristeidou, Maria and Cross, Simon. (). The impact of the Covid-19 disruption on distance learning higher education students and activities. In: Seventh International Conference on Higher Education Advances proceedings (HEAd'21), UPV Press, València, Spain, 695-702.
Cross, Simon; Adinolfi, Lina; Charania, Amina; Wolfenden, Freda; Ramchand, Mythili; Sen, Sohini; Paltiwale, Sumegh; Coughlan, Emily; Shende, Satej; Sarkar, Durba; Chatterjee, Ananya and Balli, Omkar (). Teachers’ professional learning during and after Covid: A role for open digital badges. The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.

2020

Wolfenden, Freda; Adinolfi, Lina and Cross, Simon. (). Exploring open digital badges in teacher education: a case study from India. Journal of Learning for Development - JL4D, 7 (1) pp. 108-115.
Cross, Simon; Adinolfi, Lina; Charania, Amina; Ramchand, Mythili; Wolfenden, Freda; Sen, Sohini; Paltiwale, Sumegh; Balli, Omkar and Chatterjee, Ananya (). Digital Badges for Teacher Professional Development in India: Interim Project Report. The Open University & Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

2019

Cross, Simon; Sharples, Mike; Healing, Graham and Ellis, Jim. (). Distance Learners’ Use of Handheld Technologies: Mobile Learning Activity, Changing Study Habits, and the ‘Place’ of Anywhere Learning. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 20 (2) pp. 223-241.
Rogaten, Jekaterina; Rienties, Bart; Sharpe, Rhona; Cross, Simon; Whitelock, Denise; Lygo-Baker, Simon and Littlejohn, Allison. (). Reviewing affective, behavioural, and cognitive learning gains in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 44 (3) pp. 321-337.
Cross, Simon. (). How handheld devices transform, augment and reinforce university students' study habits: emerging themes from a three-year study. In: EDULEARN: 11th annual International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, 1-3 Jul 2019, Mallorca, Spain.
Cross, Simon; Adinolfi, Lina and Wolfenden, Freda (). TESS-India: An approach to supporting teacher development and improving classroom practice. The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.

2018

Cross, Simon; Wolfenden, Freda and Adinolfi, Lina. (). Transforming classroom observation and professional development with 360-degree video and mobile VR. In: 8th Annual mEducation Alliance Symposium, 6-8 Nov 2018, Washington DC, USA.
Weller, Martin; van Ameijde, Jitse and Cross, Simon. (). Learning Design for Student Retention. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice.
Ullmann, Thomas; Lay, Stephanie; Cross, Simon; Edwards, Chris; Gaved, Mark; Jones, Edwina; Hidalgo, Rafael; Evans, Gerald; Lowe, Sue; Calder, Kathleen; Clow, Doug; Coughlan, Tim; Herodotou, Christothea; Mangafa, Chrysoula and Rienties, Bart (). Scholarly insight Spring 2018: a Data wrangler perspective. Open University UK, Milton Keynes.
Ullmann, Thomas; Lay, Stephanie; Coughlan, Tim; Lister, Katharine; Cross, Simon; Rienties, Bart and Whitelock, Denise. (). Understanding SEaM student comments from a Big(ger)Data perspective: what are students saying?. In: CALRG Annual Conference 2018, 18-19 Jun 2018, The Open University, Milton Keynes.

2017

Rienties, Bart; Clow, Doug; Coughlan, Tim; Cross, Simon; Edwards, Chris; Gaved, Mark; Herodotou, Christothea; Hlosta, Martin; Jones, Jan; Rogaten, Jekaterina and Ullmann, Thomas (). Scholarly insight Autumn 2017:a Data wrangler perspective. Open University UK.
Wolfenden, Freda; Cross, Simon and Henry, Fiona. (). MOOC adaptation and translation to improve equity in participation. Journal of Learning for Development - JL4D.
Rienties, Bart; Rogaten, Jekaterina; Nguyen, Quan; Edwards, Chris; Gaved, Mark; Holt, Deborah; Herodotou, Christothea; Clow, Doug; Cross, Simon; Coughlan, Tim; Jones, Jan and Ullmann, Thomas (). Scholarly insight Spring 2017: A Data Wrangler Perspective. Open University UK.
Wolfenden, Freda; Adinolfi, Lina; Cross, Simon; Lee, Clare; Paranjpe, Sandhya and Safford, Kimberly (). Moving towards more participatory practice with Open Educational Resources: TESS-India Academic Review. The Open University, Milton Keynes.
Bektik, Duygu; Cross, Simon; Holmes, Wayne; Aleksieva, Lyubka and Whitelock, Denise. (). A European pilot study of a modular assessment system designed to authenticate the authorship of online learners. In: CALRG Annual Conference 2017, 14-16 Jun 2017, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.
Wolfenden, Freda; Henry, Fiona and Cross, Simon. (). Extending the MOOC footprint: supporting capacity building in India. In: 8th Pan Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF8), 27-30 Nov 2016, Kuala Lumpur,.
Rienties, Bart; Cross, Simon; Marsh, Vicky and Ullmann, Thomas. (). Making sense of learner and learning Big Data: reviewing 5 years of Data Wrangling at the Open University UK. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-learning, 32 (3) pp. 279-293.

2016

Rogaten, Jekaterina; Rienties, Bart; Whitelock, Denise; Cross, Simon; Littlejohn, Allison; Sharpe, Rhona; Lygo-Baker, Simon; Scott, Ian; Warburton, Stephen and Kinchin, Ian. (). Multilevel modelling of learning gains: The impact of module particulars on students’ learning in Higher Education. In: SRHE International Annual Research Conference 2016, 7-9 Dec 2016, Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, South Wales, United Kingdom.
Rienties, Bart; Boroowa, Avinash; Cross, Simon; Farrington-Flint, Lee; Herodotou, Christothea; Prescott, Lynda; Mayles, Kevin; Olney, Tom; Toetenel, Lisette and Woodthorpe, John. (). Reviewing three case-studies of learning analytics interventions at the open university UK. In: Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge, ACM, New York, 534-535.
Rienties, Bart; Cross, Simon and Zdrahal, Zdenek (). Implementing a Learning Analytics Intervention and Evaluation Framework: what works?. In: Kei Daniel, Ben and Butson, Russell eds. Big Data and Learning Analytics in Higher Education: Current Theory and Practice Heidelberg: Springer, pp. 147-166.
Rienties, Bart; Boroowa, Avinash; Cross, Simon; Kubiak, Chris; Mayles, Kevin and Murphy, Sam. (). Analytics4Action Evaluation Framework: A Review of Evidence-Based Learning Analytics Interventions at the Open University UK. Journal of Interactive Media in Education.
Rogaten, Jekaterina; Rienties, Bart; Whitelock, Denise; Cross, Simon and Littlejohn, Allison. (). A multi-level longitudinal analysis of 80,000 online learners: Affective-Behaviour-Cognition models of learning gains. In: Emerging Methodologies in Educational Research: Book of Abstracts, Maastricht University, Maastricht, 25.

2015

Brasher, Andrew and Cross, Simon (). Reflections on developing a tool for creating visual representations of learning designs: towards a visual language for learning designs. In: Maina, Marcelo; Craft, Brock and Mor, Yishay eds. The Art and Science of Learning Design Rotterdam: Sense Publishers, pp. 169-180.

2014

2013

Mwanza-Simwami, Daisy; Kirkwood, Adrian; Thomas, Rhodri; Woods, William and Cross, Simon. (). Understanding mobile VLE usage in distance education: A pilot study. In: World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (EDMEDIA) 2013, 24-27 Jun 2013, Victoria, Canada.
Scanlon, Eileen; Sharples, Mike; Fenton-O'Creevy, Mark; Fleck, James; Cooban, Caroline; Ferguson, Rebecca; Cross, Simon and Waterhouse, Peter (). Beyond prototypes: Enabling innovation in technology-enhanced learning. Open University, Milton Keynes.

2012

Cross, Simon and Galley, Rebecca (). MOOC Badging and the Learning Arc. OLDS MOOC Blog Post.

2011

Whitelock, Denise and Cross, Simon. (). Academics understanding of authentic assessment. In: 2011 International Computer Assisted Assessment (CAA) Conference, Research into e-Assessment, 5/6 Jul 2011, Southampton.
Aczel, James; Cross, Simon; Meiszner, Andreas; Hardy, Pascale; McAndrew, Patrick and Clow, Doug. (). Some issues affecting the sustainability of open learning courses. In: EDEN 2011 Annual Conference: Learning and Sustainability: The New Ecosystem of Innovation and Knowledge, 19-22 Jun 2011, Dublin, Ireland.

2010

Cross, Simon and Whitelock, Denise. (). Benchmarking assessment: breaking down barriers and building institutional understanding. In: 2010 International Computer Assisted Assessment (CAA) Conference, 20-21 Jul 2010, Southampton, UK.
Jones, Chris; Ramanau, Ruslan; Cross, Simon and Healing, Graham. (). Net generation or Digital Natives: Is there a distinct new generation entering university?. Computers & Education, 54 (3) pp. 722-732.

2009

Jones, Chris and Cross, Simon. (). Is there a net generation coming to university?. In: ALT-C 2009 “In Dreams Begins Responsibility”: Choice, Evidence and Change, 8-10 Sep 2009, Manchester, UK.
Conole, Grainne; Wilson, Tina; McAndrew, Patrick; Culver, Juliette; Brasher, Andrew and Cross, Simon. (). New methods and approaches to the design and evaluation of open educational resources. In: EDEN Annual Conference 2009, 10-13 Jun 2009, Gdansk, Poland.
Cross, Simon; Clark, Paul and Brasher, Andrew. (). Preliminary findings from a series of staff surveys on perceptions, attitudes and practices of learning design. In: ALT-C 2009 “In Dreams Begins Responsibility”: Choice, Evidence and Change, 8-10 Sep 2009, Manchester, UK.

2008

Conole, Grainne; Culver, Juliette; Williams, Perry; Cross, Simon; Clark, Paul and Brasher, Andrew. (). Cloudworks: social networking for learning design. In: ASCILITE 2008 conference: Hello! Where are you in the landscape of educational technology?, 30 Nov - 3 Dec 2008, Melbourne, Australia.
Conole, Grainne; Brasher, Andrew; Cross, Simon; Weller, Martin; Nixon, Stewart; Clark, Paul and Petit, John. (). A new methodology for learning design. In: Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (EDMEDIA), 30 Jun - 4 Jul 2008, Vienna.
Cross, Simon; Conole, Grainne; Clark, Paul; Brasher, Andrew and Weller, Martin. (). Mapping a landscape of learning design: Identifying key trends in current practice at the Open University. In: 2008 European LAMS Conference, 25-27 Jun 2008, Cadiz, Spain.
Conole, Grainne; Brasher, Andrew; Cross, Simon; Weller, Martin; Clark, Paul and Culver, Juliette. (). Visualising learning design to foster and support good practice and creativity. Educational Media International, 45 (3) pp. 177-194.
Brasher, Andrew; Conole, Gráinne; Cross, Simon; Weller, Martin; Clark, Paul and White, Juliette. (). CompendiumLD – a tool for effective, efficient and creative learning design. In: Proceedings of the 2008 European LAMS Conference: Practical Benefits of Learning Design, 25-27 Jun 2008, Cadiz, Spain.

2007

Cross, Simon. (). The experience of Owenite socialism and anti-socialism in Halifax, 1829-1845. Transactions of the Halifax Antiquarian Society, 15 pp. 91-111.