Photo of Tim Coughlan

Dr Tim Coughlan


I am a Lecturer in the Institute of Educational Technology (Learning and Teaching Innovation) at The Open University. My research crosses the areas of Education and Human-Computer Interaction. 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 open education for disabled students, the uses of open data as a material for learning, teaching community-led design practices through online courses, and collaborative authoring of open online courses to widen participation in higher education. I am currently working on projects funded by AHRC, Leverhulme, and HEFCE in these areas. My passion is for user-centred and participatory research. However I also work on approaches to analyse the large quantitative data sets generated by learners at scale, and am interested in how we interpret these learner analytics through the participation of learners.

I was previously a Horizon Digital Economy Research Fellow and Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Nottingham. As part of Horizon I worked on a variety of projects funded by RCUK and AHRC. These included the design and evaluation of new technologies to support participation and informal learning in museum spaces, and studies to understand data sharing and assistive technologies in the home.

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 Coordinator and 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 am also a Data Wrangler, which means I work as part of a team to enhance the use of learning analytics at the OU. I focus on working with WELS faculty curriculum and contribute to the projects conducted and reported in the Scholarly Insight series.

I co-supervise four PhD students: Irina Rets,George Alain,Francisco Iniestoand Jo Buxton. 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

I recently led a HEIF SKE-funded project that supported the development of Our Journey. This is a set of openly licenced tools to support students to represent their experiences of study over time. We are exploring a variety of use cases for this, including as a tool for reflective learning, feedback at scale, and dialogue between staff and students.

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 Bridge to Success, Digital 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


Invited Talk

8th November 2018

Facilitating training and evaluation around assistive technologies

MediLink Showcase: Assistive Technologies

Conference Presentation

6th November 2018

Conference Presentation

23rd April 2018

Conference Presentation

19th April 2016