Photo of Thomas Ullmann

Dr Thomas Ullmann SFHEA

Lecturer

I am a Lecturer in the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University and an Honorary Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Warwick. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).

As Lecturer, I am responsible for teaching and for supporting the teaching and learning of the Open University. A major part of my role is to support the Quality Assurance and Quality Enhancement process at the Open University. In this role I investigate the latest online and distance teaching practices as well as contribute to the development of novel methods and techniques. I taught on the Master in Online and Distance Education (MAODE) at the OU. I was the deputy module chair of H817 'Openness and innovation in eLearning' and module team member of H817 'The network practitioner. For H817 I wrote the course materials and activities about reflective thinking and reflective writing for EdTech practitioners.

I am now working over a decade at the Open University. I joined the Institute of Educational Technology in 2015, but I have been with the Open University since 2008 working for the Knowledge Media Institute.

My research focus is on the future of education, especially on the space of possibilities created by new technologies for education. Currently, I am investigating the space of text analytics for improving teaching and learning. In my research I am exploring techniques to make outcomes of thinking processes visible in order to better understand teaching and learning. For example, in my work on reflection detection, I focus on techniques to automatically analyse texts regarding reflective thinking. I built ReflectR, a simple demonstrator of reflection detection in action, which you can try out here: http://qone.eu/reflectr. In my work as lead of the Text Analytics of Student Comments initiative, I investigate text analytics techniques to make visible the student experience based on large data sets.

I published over 30 publications in high-ranked journals, conferences, and workshops and over 45 research deliverables, internal research reports, quality enhancement reports, and scholarship work. Most of my publications are freely available as pre-print. You can find them under 'Publications'. I was a Co-Investigator of the LAEP project - 'The implications and opportunities of learning analytics for European educational policy' (Final report: http://dx.doi.org/10.2791/955210 - open access) and I worked for the following large-scale European Research projects STELLAR, Catalyst (both FP7), and X-Media (FP6). For several years, I co-organised the Workshop on Awareness and Reflection in Technology-Enhanced Learning at the European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning (https://eduinf.eu/category/cfp/) and co-published several workshop proceedings and special issues on reflection and awareness in educational technology. I frequently review research for journals, conferences, and workshops.

I am currently supervising two post-graduate students:

I am interested in hearing from prospective PhD and EdD students on topics related to Educational Technology, Evaluation of Online and Distance Learning, Online Assessment, Learning Analytics, Educational Data Mining, Quality Enhancement, Automated text analytics (e.g. natural language processing, sentiment analysis, machine learning) for learning and teaching, Automated detection of reflective thinking in student writings, Artificial Intelligence (automated sense-making and decision-making techniques) for teaching and learning, Development and evaluation of intelligent automated analysis tools, and Automated text analytics methods to make sense of student comments.

In this wider context I am currently working on the following two specific topics:

  1. Automated assessment of thinking skills from academic student writings. The objective is to investigate the potential of natural language processing and text mining to automate the assessment of critical/reflective thinking from academic student writings.
  2. Applicability of natural language processing for the automated analysis of open-ended question data. The objective is to investigate natural language processing techniques to automatically derive insights from open-ended question data of large student experience surveys.

If you are interested in any of these two specific topics or interested in the outlined areas above and want to work with me, then please get in contact with me: My Email is firstname.lastname_its_two_nnsATopen.ac.uk. If you are looking for studentships, The Open University regularly announces fully funded PhD studentships on a competitive basis. You can ask me about this.

Some trivia about me. I was part of one of the winning teams of the Mozilla Jetpack for eLearning competition and I provide a free to use questionnaire generator, which was recently rated by the German magazine PC Welt as one of the best free online questionnaires generators.

See my biography for more information.

The permanent link to my latest biography is: http://qone.eu/ullmann.

(last updated 17/12/2020)

Dr Thomas Ullmann is a Lecturer in the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University and an Honorary Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Warwick. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).

In his role as lecturer, he is responsible for teaching and for supporting the teaching and learning of the Open University. He supports Quality Assurance and Quality Enhancement processes at the Open University. Specifically, he investigates the latest online and distance teaching practices as well as contribute to the development of novel methods and techniques. He taught on the Master in Online and Distance Education (MAODE).

Thomas joined with Open University in 2008 and started working for the Institute of Educational Technology in 2015. With more than 15 years of experience inside and outside Higher Education, he is an expert in the evaluation of Educational Technology in Higher Education. His current research interests include the evaluation of online and distance teaching and learning, educational text analytics, and the automated analysis of reflective thinking in writings.

Thomas published over 30 publications in high-ranked journals, conferences, and workshops and over 45 research deliverables, internal research reports, quality enhancement reports, and scholarship work. Thomas co-organised the Workshop series on Awareness and Reflection in Technology-Enhanced Learning held in conjunction with the European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning. He was member of the Programme Committee of six conferences and workshops. Thomas regularly reviews papers for journals, such as the Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, IEEE Transaction on Learning Technologies, Interactive Learning Environments, International Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, Computers in Human Behaviour, and Open Learning: The Journal of Open and Distance Learning. Thomas regularly presents his work at conferences.

Thomas was a Co-Investigator of the LAEP project - 'The implications and opportunities of learning analytics for European educational policy'. LAEP investigated the state of the art of learning analytics in Europe and beyond and gave an outlook into the field during the next 10-15 years (Final report: http://dx.doi.org/10.2791/955210 - open access). He worked for several EU funded projects, such as the FP7 funded Catalyst project (http://catalyst-fp7.eu/), the STELLAR Network of Excellence project (http://www.stellarnet.eu/), the FP6 funded X-Media project (http://www.x-media-project.org/). For the OU, he also contributed to the social learning platform SocialLearn.

For the LAEP project he contributed to the evaluation of the field of learning analytics. For the CATALYST project he led the development and evaluation of the Collective Intelligence Dashboard. For the STELLAR project, he contributed to the development of the STELLAR Science 2.0 infrastructure for researchers in the field of Technology Enhanced Learning. He also developed the social networking platform for technology-enhanced learning TELeurope.eu (http://teleurope.eu, which is now defunct). For the X-Media project, he developed Knowledge Lenses for the SemSearch Semantic Search Engine to support information exploration tasks of knowledge engineers. For the SocialLearn project, he created the ELLIMent tool, supporting mentees in developing their lifelong learning skills within a mentor relationship. ELLIMent builds upon the Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory.

Since 2015 Thomas leads the pan-university wide Text Analytics of Student Comments Initiative. This initiative aims at improving the capability of the Open University to rapidly make sense of large quantities of student comments using automated text analytics methods.

Since 2019 Thomas is part of the OU-wide Quality Enhancement and Innovation (QEI) initiative spearheaded by Simon Cross. QEI investigates, supports and delivers innovative teaching and learning research, advice and practice with the aim of improving pan-university quality enhancement, strategic planning, curriculum delivery, and learning and teaching development.

From 2015 to 2019, Thomas was part of the pan-university Data Wrangler initiative spearheaded by Bart Rienties. He was part of the core team that steered the strategy of the whole Data Wrangler initiative. The purpose of the Data Wrangling initiative was to produce evidence-based and analytically informed reports that support faculties in their decision making and quality assurance and enhancement processes. The Data Wranglers offered several services, such as the bi-annual Scholarly Insights reports, which provided an in-depth analysis of OU-wide pedagogical problems and opportunities, the Key Metrics reports that summarise OU targets for the quality review process, faculty-specific bespoke requests, and general advice about learning analytics questions.

From 2015 to 2018, Thomas taught on the Master of Online and Distance Education until its teach-out. He was the deputy module chair of H817 'Openness and innovation in eLearning' and module team member of H817 'The network practitioner. For H817 I wrote the course materials and activities about reflective thinking and reflective writing for EdTech practitioners.

From 2014 to 2015, Thomas was a Research Assistant at the Knowledge Media Institute.

From 2009 to 2016, Thomas was a part-time PhD student at the Knowledge Media Institute.

From 2009 to 2014, Thomas worked as consultant and software developer for various enterprises in the educational area.

His full biography is available on request.

The permanent link to his latest biography is http://qone.eu/ullmann.

(last updated 17/12/2020)

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

  • Reinhardt, Wolfgang; Ullmann, Thomas Daniel; Scott, Peter; Pammer, Viktoria; Conlan, Owen and Berlanga, Adriana (). Editorial: Awareness and reflection in learning networks. In: Reinhardt, Wolfgang; Ullmann, Thomas Daniel; Scott, Peter; Pammer, Viktoria; Conlan, Owen and Berlanga, Adriana eds. Proceedings of the 1st European Workshop on Awareness and Reflection in Learning Networks. In conjunction with the 6th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning: Towards Ubiquitous Learning 2011. Palermo, Italy, September 21, 2011 CEUR-WS, pp. 2-7.

2010

  • Duval, Erik; Ullmann, Thomas Daniel; Wild, Fridolin; Lindstaedt, Stefanie and Scott, Peter (). Editorial: Research 2.0 for TEL: four challenges. In: Duval, Erik; Ullmann, Thomas Daniel; Wild, Fridolin; Lindstaedt, Stefanie and Scott, Peter eds. Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Research 2.0. At the 5th European Conference on Technology-Enhanced Learning: Sustaining TEL, Barcelona, Spain, September 28, 2010 Publisher not known, pp. 2-4.

2009

Completed

LAEP (The implications and opportunities of learning analytics for European educational policy) 2015 - 2016

Past

Conference Presentation

15th March 2017

Reflective writing analytics: empirically determined keywords of written reflection

Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference 2017 Vancouver, Canada