Photo of Dr Simon Cross


Dr Simon Cross MA, PhD, PGCE, FRGS

Senior Lecturer


I am a Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Educational Technology and currently have responsibility for the Institute's Quality Enhancement and Innovations (QEI) Portfolio as Associate Director (QE). This comprises four areas of work: pan-university pedagogic insights, innovative analytics and methodologies, educational technology evaluation, and ongoing QE process support. A team of academic and academic-related staff contribute to the programme and projects are developed working closely with university faculties and units.

My research interests presently include:

(1) Digital Badge for Learning - how badges and micro-achievements can perform an essential formative role in online learning and how the implementation and awarding of badges can operate in diverse contexts. I currently lead a GCRF funded project in India working with TISS (Mumbai) exploring digital badges for teacher education and professional development.

(2) Student Experience of Assessment, Revision and Feedback - I am academic lead for a strategic project reviewing distance student experience of online assessment. A recent survey sent to a sample of over 6,000 learners is intended to explore themes such quality and satisfaction, dialogic feedback and learner agency, process transparency, strategic learning, social reach and assessment networks, and confidence in assessment literacy and academic writing. The project aims to understand differences between groups (subject, BAME, level, study intensity) and identify practice challenges and opportunities.

(3) 360-degree video for Teacher Education - I have led fieldwork in India exploring the potential of 360-degree recording and viewing on mobile VR headsets for teacher professional learning and educational research. 


Dr Simon Cross is a lecturer at The Open University (UK). His current research interests include embedding open and online learning, the contextualised experience of MOOCs, VR, student experience and perceptions of learning gain and assessment, learning design, and mobile learning. He is an academic author on the university’s MA in Online and Distance Learning and has led projects aligned to strategic learning and teaching programmes. Simon has worked on nine externally funded projects since joining the university and has presented at many international conferences.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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