Photo of Tim Coughlan

Dr Tim Coughlan


I am a Lecturer in the Institute of Educational Technology / Learning and Teaching Innovation (LTI) at The Open University. My research interests cross the areas of Education and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). I’m particularly focused on the design and evaluation of systems that support inclusion, creativity, and openness in learning. Current projects explore the experiences of online and distance education for disabled students, open data as a material for learning, teaching of community-led design practices, and collaborative authoring of open online courses. My expertise is primarily in qualitative user-centred and participatory research methods. However I also work to analyse the large quantitative data sets generated by learners at scale, and am interested in how we interpret these learner analytics to inform pedagogic and technology design decisions.

My current teaching includes educational technology, accessible online learning, and computing project courses. I also have roles as a Data Wrangler for the WELS faculty and LTI, and as the Open Media Associate and Accessibility Coordinator for LTI.

I am an Accessibility Specialist for IET, and also an Open Media Associate. The OU has a mission to widen participation and success in education, and through these roles my work involves understanding how we can offer the most effective learning opportunities to the most people.

I currently co-supervise three PhD students funded under the Leverhulme Open World Learning programme: Irina Rets,George Alain and Francisco Iniesto.I also co-supervise two EdD students: Wendy Fowle and Karen Foley.

I am a Co-Investigator on the AHRC-funded Empowering Design Practices project and a core member of the Leverhulme-funded international network: Disabled students, ICT, post compulsory education and employment: in search of new solutions

Previously I worked as a Horizon Research Fellow and Lecturer in the School of Computer Science at the University of Nottingham. I was involved in a range of research projects including ArtMaps, Creativity Greenhouse, and Stories of User Appropriation.

Before that, I worked as a researcher at the Institute of Educational Technology at the OU, working on the Open Learning: Bridge to SuccessDigital Scholarship  and Out There and In Here projects.

Before that, I completed my PhD research in Computer Science at the University of Bath, studying how computers can be designed to support creative interaction.





  • Baron, Nick; Carletti, Laura; Muñoz Civantos, Angeles; Coughlan, Tim; Allen, Robert; Lach, Pamella; Davies, Catherine; Tyler-Jones, Richard and Ferran, Bronac. (). Spatial Humanities Moving Beyond the Dot on a Map. In: Proceedings of the Digital Research in the Humanities and Arts Conference, DRHA2014, 111-116.










Ed-ICT (Disabled Students, ICT, post compulsory education and employment: in search of new solutions) 2016 - 2019
Empowering Design Practices: historic places of worship as catalysts for connecting communities 2014 - 2019

Go the Distance

BBC | 1st November 2017


Conference Presentation

19th April 2016