Photo of Tina Papathoma

Tina Papathoma BA MSc MRes

Research Student

My PhD research set out to answer who teaches in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and how do these different educators learn to teach.

After submitting my PhD thesis, I started working as a Research Fellow at the Open University Centre for Policing Research and Learning based at the Faculty of Business and Law. In this role, I am currently exploring the e-learning systems and platforms used for learning and development across the police forces of England and Wales.   

I am a member of the Professional and Digital Learning group which explores how professionals learn in different organisations, including companies, government organisations, open networks, public sector organisations (including universities) and the Open University itself.

I am also a member of the Global OER graduate network, a global network of PhD students involved in projects, policy development and implementation strategies on open educational resources (OER).

Tina is a PhD researcher in the Institute of Educational Technology (IET) at the Open University in the UK. Her PhD was funded by the Centre of Research in Education and Educational Technology of the Open University. Tina's PhD research study explores who are the MOOC educators and how they learn. Tina conducted online interviews with around 30 educators from seven FutureLearn partner institutions. For her analysis, Tina utilised Tynjälä’s theoretical model of Integrative Pedagogy that brings together different elements of professional expertise.

Her PhD analysis showed that the role of ‘educator’ is filled not only by those with the titles used by the FutureLearn platform but also by other professionals who take pedagogical decisions. MOOC teaching activities are diverse, different from face-to-face teaching and it is difficult for them to be carried out by a single individual. Educators in different courses and different universities used diverse models of work practice, each of which had advantages and disadvantages. MOOC educators learned to teach effectively when they had a shared goal, worked in transparent ways and involved interdisciplinary teams in a timely manner.

These findings can help institutions and platforms to design better Continuing Professional Development programmes and, ultimately, more effective MOOC learning journeys. Drawing on this evidence, the original contribution to knowledge of Tina's thesis is a new conceptualisation of who the educators of MOOCs are, developed by uncovering the roles of professionals who carry out teaching on these courses, the wide variety of teaching activities involved and the ways people learn to work towards these.

Tina has a Master of Research (Educational Technology) from the Institute of Educational Technology of the Open University, UK and an MSc in Education, Technology and Society from the Graduate School of Education of Bristol University (UK). Her background is in Philosophy and Education with a Bachelor degree from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece).

Tina's research interests are related to Professional Learning and MOOCs. She is communicative in English, Greek (native speaker), French and Spanish.

Tina has an interest in different cultures and languages. She has worked as a language teacher in the UK. Most of her work placements (i.e. Workforce Team Leader at London 2012) have involved interaction with other people and have majorly helped her to practice and further develop her organisational and problem-solving skills.Tina has a multinational experience of living in 5 different countries.



13th October 2017

Challenges and good practices related to online interviews

Joint Technology Enhanced Learning Summer School 2017 Aveiro, Portugal

Invited Talk

23rd June 2017

Who are the mooc educators and what are their job tasks? A multi case study

Future Learn Academic Network Milton Keynes, UK

Conference Presentation

5th April 2017

Invited Talk

19th January 2017

Exploring how educators learn how to teach in moocs

Future Learn Academic Network Barcelona, Spain


Research and Scholarship award from Santander

funding received for a Research Visit in Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona Spain