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Dr Christothea Herodotou

Christothea Herodotou

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Senior Lecturer
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies
  • LTIA
  • Institute of Educational Technology
  • christothea.herodotou

Professional biography

I am a Lecturer at The Open University, UK. My research interests focus on the evaluation of technologies for learning (web-based platformsmobile applications, digital gamesthrough innovative research methodologies including crowdsourcing and learning analytics. I hold funding from the National Science FoundationWellcome Trust, and ESRC for researching learning in online citizen science communities with the aim to make learning science more accessible and productive for youth. I also hold funding from the British Academy for evaluating the impact of mobile maths applications on young children's learning and development. I run an eSTEeM funded project on improving online pedagogy around the use of virtual microscopy in VLEs and work with a broader academic team on the BBC/OU online citizen science partnership. 

Qualifications: I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).I received my Ph.D. degree in Digital Games and Psychology from the University College London (UCL) Institute of Education with very minor amendments (4 weeks), a MSc in Education, Technology, and Society at the University of Bristol, UK (with Distinction) and a BA (Hons) degree in Primary Education, University of Cyprus

Teaching: I am chairing the master module H800:Technology-enhanced learning: practices and debates (MA in Open and Distance Learning; MAODE) and I am Data Wrangler for the Faculty of Business and Law (FBL).  I also work with the Early Alert Indicators team and consult on the evaluation of university-wide predictive learning analytic interventions and their impact on students' performance and attainment.  

Funding awards:

  • Examining learning processes through the integration of two informal science learning approaches: Natural History Museum-led citizen science, Funded by: National Science Foundation (NSF), Wellcome Trust, ESRC. Role: co-Investigator, leading the online evaluation of citizen science programmes, May 2017-April 2021.
  • m-Evaluate: Devising an evaluation framework for the design and use of mobile learning applications in early years' education, Funded by: British Academy. Role: Principal Investigator, Oct 2017-Sept 2018

  • Understanding and improving students’ learning experience and engagement with practical science on-line: The case of virtual and remote microscopes, Funded by: eSTEeM, The OU centre for STEM pedagogy. Role: Principal Investigator, Feb 2016 - Jan2018​ 

  • mobiGame: How can touch screen mobile game applications support inclusion and participation in science learning of preschoolers from disadvantaged backgrounds?,, Funded by: British Educational Research Association (BERA), Role: Principal Investigator – BERA BJET Fellow, Feb 2015-Nov 2016.

  • Police Knowledge Fund (PKF):  National Centre for Policing Research and Professional Development, Improving investigations through utilising technology, community and psychology. Funded by: Home Office and the Higher Education Funding Council for England,Role: Leading "Building policing-practitioner ocmmunities online", Jan 2016 - March 2017.

In the past, I worked extensively for a number of international and national projects related to learning analytics and formal and informal science education and developed a number of technologies for supporting science learning and understanding. Specifically, I worked for the following projects:

  • A4A: Analytics for action, Funded by: The Open University, UK. Role: Collaborating Investigator leading the evaluation of learning analytics interventions, 2015-2016.
  • nQuire: Young Citizen Inquiry,, Funded by: Nominet Trust, UK, Role: Postdoctoral research associate (Educational developer)

  • PROFILES,, Funded by: European Commission, Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), Role: Postdoctoral research associate

  • Digital support for Inquiry, Collaboration, and Reflection on Socio-Scientific Debates CoReflect,, Funded by: European Commission, Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), Role: Postdoctoral research associate

Research interests

  • Development and evaluation of educational software
  • Game-based learning
  • Learning analytics
  • Citizen science / crowdsourcing
  • Science learning and engagement
  • Mixed-methods research 

Teaching interests

As a Visiting Lecturer at the Cyprus University of Technology I was teaching in higher education for two years at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I chaired and taught the following master courses:

  • “New media and Children”
  • “Innovative Technologies”

and undergraduate courses:

  • “Digital Games and Communication”
  • “Communication Technology Environment”.  

As part of my duties, I supervised a number of master and undergraduate students.

Also, I worked for 7 years as a primary teacher in the UK and abroad.

Impact and engagement

Please see here.

Herodotou, C., Sharples, M., Scanlon, E. (2018) (Eds). Citizen Inquiry: Synthesizing Science and Inquiry Learning. London: Taylor & Francis. 


The Open University inaugural Engaging Research Award Scheme, category: Early Career Researcher, funded by the RCUK Public Engagement with Research Catalyst ‘An open research university’, 12th March 2014. 

Research Activity

Externally funded projects

How can touchscreen mobile game applications support inclusion and participation in science learning of preschoolers from disadvantaged backgrounds?

RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01/Feb/201531/Aug/2016BERA British Educational Research Association
The proposed research relates to the 'use of mobile technology to support inclusion and participation' aspect of the call and the impact of mobile technology in the UK on preschool children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Preschoolers from Disadvantaged Backgrounds (PDB) face higher risks of exclusion for, their personal or social circumstances may comprise obstacles to educational achievement and reaching the basic minimum level of skills for inclusion in society (OECD, 2012). It is more likely to experience anxiety and lack of confidence when it comes to learning (Hirsch, 20007). Preschool learning experiences are crucial as they affect youngers' cognitive and socioemotional development as well as longer-term educational, professional and social inclusion (Sylva, 2010). Touchscreens (smartphones and tablets) is the most popular play activity amongst children of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, overtaking more traditional forms of play (Michael Cohen Group, 2014).However, their impact on learning and inclusion is relatively underexplored. The aim of this study is to shed light in this area of research by examining the impact touch screen game applications have on PDB participation in science learning. Engagement with science is a thorny issue within the field of education with students being disinterested in STEM topics and careers (Tapscott, 2012). Science teaching in early years is underemphasized despite the critical role of early exposure to increasing comfort, engagement and long-term achievement later in school life, especially for PDB (Bowman, Donovan, & Burns, 2001; Greenfield et al., 2011). This study will specifically examine how touch screen mobile game applications relate to domain-specific and domain-general scientific thinking, that is, conceptual knowledge to solve a science task and development of reasoning skills about causal relationships respectively. Scientific thinking skills are essential for effective problem-solving and personal and professional development throughout life (Williams, Papierno, Makel, Ceci, 2004) contributing to inclusion and participation in society. A comparative study will be conducted with 100 preschoolers. Participants will be divided into two groups - a control group and a group of PDB - in order to address the following research objectives (a) describe usage patterns when preschoolers make use of touch screen mobile game applications, (b) measure the impact of using touch screen game applications on scientific thinking, and (c) examine how preschoolers' previous subject theories about cause and effect relationships mediate scientific thinking. Data will be collected through semi-structured interviews with preschoolers, observation check-lists and tape-recording of preschoolers' use of touch screens. To achieve greater impact, outcomes will be reported in international, scientific conferences and high-ranked peer-reviewed journals, to educational stakeholders through policy briefings, presentations in academic and public events, and through official website and social network sites. Considering the involvement of children in research, BERA ethical guidelines will be followed ensuring privacy, security and ethical conduct during the implementation of the project.


Blended and online learning: A comparative study of virtual microscopy in Higher Education (2019)
Herodotou, Christothea; Muirhead, Dave K.; Aristeidou, Maria; Hole, Malcolm J.; Kelley, Simon; Scanlon, Eileen and Duffy, Marcus
Interactive Learning Environments ((Early Access))
Designing citizen science tools for learning: lessons learnt from the iterative development of nQuire (2018-05-11)
Herodotou, Christothea; Aristeidou, Maria; Sharples, Mike and Scanlon, Eileen
Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 13(4)
Making sense of learning analytics dashboards: a technology acceptance perspective of 95 teachers (2018)
Rienties, Bart; Herodotou, Christothea; Olney, Tom; Schencks, Mat and Boroowa, Avinash
International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning ((In Press))
The Sense-it App: A Smartphone Toolkit for Citizen Inquiry Learning (2017-03)
Sharples, Mike; Aristeidou, Maria; Villasclaras-Fernández, Eloy; Herodotou, Christothea and Scanlon, Eileen
International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 9(2) (pp. 16-38)
Dimensions of personalisation in technology-enhanced learning: a framework and implications for design (2017)
FitzGerald, Elizabeth; Kucirkova, Natalia; Jones, Ann; Cross, Simon; Ferguson, Rebecca; Herodotou, Christothea; Hillaire, Garron and Scanlon, Eileen
British Journal of Educational Technology, 49(1) (pp. 165-181)
Implementing Randomised Control Trials in Open and Distance Learning: A Feasibility Study (2017)
Herodotou, Christothea; Heiser, Sarah and Rienties, Bart
Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-learning, 32(2) (pp. 147-162)
Mobile games and science learning: A comparative study of 4 and 5 years old playing the game Angry Birds (2017)
Herodotou, Christothea
British Journal of Educational Technology ((Early view))
Young children and tablets: A systematic review of effects on learning and development (2017)
Herodotou, Christothea
Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 34(1) (pp. 1-9)
An Iterative, Multidisciplinary Approach to Studying Digital Play Motivation: The Model of Game Motivation (2015-05)
Herodotou, Christothea; Winters, Niall and Kambouri, Maria
Games and Culture, 10(3) (pp. 249-268)
Dispelling the myth of the socio-emotionally dissatisfied gamer (2014-03)
Herodotou, C.; Kambouri, M. and Winters, N.
Computers in Human Behavior, 32 (pp. 23-31)
A Motivationally Oriented Approach to Understanding Game Appropriation (2012)
Herodotou, Christothea; Winters, Niall and Kambouri, Maria
International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 28(1) (pp. 34-47)
The development and validation of the GMOAS: an instrument measuring secondary students’ attitudes towards Genetically Modified Organisms. (2012)
Herodotou, Christothea; Kyza, Eleni A.; Nicolaidou, Iolie; Hadjichambis, Andreas; Kafouris, Dimitris and Terzian, Freda
International Journal of Science Education, Part B: Communication and Public Engagement, 2(2) (pp. 131-147)
The role of trait emotional intelligence in gamers' preferences for play and frequency of gaming (2011-09)
Herodotou, Christothea; Kambouri, Maria and Winters, Niall
Computers in Human Behavior, 27(5) (pp. 1815-1819)
MOOC development: priority areas (2018-01-24)
Ferguson, Rebecca; Herodotou, Christothea; Coughlan, Tim; Scanlon, Eileen and Sharples, Mike
In: Luckin, Rosemary ed. Enhancing Learning and Teaching with Technology: What the Research Says
ISBN : 9781782772262 | Publisher : UCL IOE Press | Published : London
Citizen science and informal learning: A brief commentary (2018-01-24)
Herodotou, Christothea
In: Luckin, Rosemary ed. Enhancing Learning and Teaching with Technology: What the Research Says.
ISBN : 9781782772262 | Publisher : UCL Institute of Education Press | Published : London
Introducing citizen inquiry (2017-09-21)
Herodotou, Christothea; Sharples, Mike and Scanlon, Eileen
In: Herodotou, Christothea; Sharples, Mike and Scanlon, Eileen eds. Citizen Inquiry: Synthesising Science and Inquiry Learning
ISBN : 9781138208681 | Publisher : Routledge
The design and evaluation of a sensor-based mobile application for citizen inquiry science investigations (2014-09)
Herodotou, Christothea; Villasclaras Fernandez, Eloy and Sharples, Mike
In: Rensing, Christoph; de Freitas, Sara; Ley, Tobias and Muñoz-Merino, Pedro J. eds. Open Learning and Teaching in Educational Communities: 9th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning, EC-TEL 2014, Graz, Austria, September 16-19, 2014, Proceedings. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (8719) (pp. 434-439)
ISBN : 978-3-319-11199-5 | Publisher : SpringerInternational Publishing
Adapting web-based inquiry learning environments from one country to another: the CoReflect experience (2014)
Kyza, Eleni A.; Herodotou, Christothea; Nicolaidou, Iolie; Redfors, Andreas; Hansson, Lena; Schanze, Sascha; Saballus, Ulf; Papadouris, Nicos and Michael, Georgia
In: Bruguière, Catherine; Tiberghien, Andrée and Clément, Pierre eds. Topics and Trends in Current Science Education. Contributions from Science Education Research (1) (pp. 567-582)
ISBN : 978-94-007-7280-9 | Publisher : Springer Netherlands | Published : Dordrecht
Citizen Inquiry: Synthesising Science and Inquiry Learning (2017-09-21)
Herodotou, Christothea; Sharples, Mike and Scanlon, Eileen eds.
ISBN : 9781138208681 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon
Tomorrow’s World nQuire: young people’s requirements for engaging with inquiry-led, civic engagement technologies (2018-11-13)
Aristeidou, Maria and Herodotou, Christothea
In : 17th World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning (mLearn 2018) (11-14 Nov 2018, Concordia University Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA) (pp. 51-53)
Empowering citizens to participate in scientific endeavours: Tools and approaches from the Citizen Inquiry group (2018-06-03)
Herodotou, Christothea
In : European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) Conference (3-5 Jun 2018, Geneva, Switzerland)
Young children learning with mobile devices: Research on design and implementation (2018-04)
Herodotou, Christothea
In : AERA Annual Conference 2018 (13-17 Apr 2018, New York)
Do children learn from playing Angry Birds? A comparative study of 4 and 5 years old (2017-06-14)
Herodotou, Christothea
In : CALRG Annual Conference 2017 (14-16 Jun 2017, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK)
Predictive modelling for addressing students’ attrition in Higher Education: The case of OU Analyse (2017-06-14)
Herodotou, Christothea; Gilmour, Alison; Boroowa, Avinash; Rienties, Bart; Zdrahal, Zdenek and Hlosta, Martin
In : CALRG Annual Conference 2017 (14-16 Jun 2017, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK)
Predictive modelling and student retention: A collaborative enhancement project (2017-06)
Gilmour, Alison; MacLeod, Lucy; Naydenova, Galina; Boroowa, Avinash; Ward, Rebecca and Herodotou, Christothea
In : 3rd International Enhancement in Higher Education Conference (6-8 Jun 2017, Glasgow, UK)
Implementing predictive learning analytics on a large scale: the teacher's perspective (2017-03-13)
Herodotou, Christothea; Rienties, Bart; Boroowa, Avinash; Zdrahal, Zdenek; Hlosta, Martin and Naydenova, Galina
In : 7th International Learning Analytics & Knowledge Conference (13-17 Mar 2017, Vancouver, Canada) (pp. 267-271)
Students' engagement with practical science online: Pedagogical implications of the use of virtual microscope in distance learning (2017)
Herodotou, Christothea; Aristeidou, Maria; Kelley, Simon and Scanlon, Eileen
In : EARLI 2017 (29 Aug - 2 Sep 2017)
A Comparative Study of Blended and Online Learning using the Virtual Microscope for Earth Sciences (2017)
Muirhead, David K.; Herodotou, Christothea; Aristeidou, Maria; Hole, M. J.; Kelley, Simon; Scanlon, Eileen and Duffy, M.
In : Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference: Making Connections and Sharing Pedagogy (39 Jun - 30 June 2017, Heriot-Watt University, UK)
Are mobile games good for preschoolers? Angry Birds and science learning in a group of 5-years old (2016-11-14)
Herodotou, Christothea
In : E-Learn 2016: World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education (14-16 Nov 2016, Washington DC) (pp. 679-687)
Touchscreen mobile games and science learning: Do preschoolers benefit from their use? (2016-09-13)
Herodotou, Christothea
In : BERA conference 2016 (13-15 Sep 2016, Leeds, UK)
A randomised control study about the effects of different assessment registration encouragements (2016-08-24)
Herodotou, Christothea; Heiser, Sarah and Rienties, Bart
In : 8th Biennial conference of EARLI Sig 1: Assessment & Evaluation (24-26 Aug 2016, Munich, Germany)
OpenQuest: Designing a Motivational Framework for MOOCs Instruction (2016-06-30)
Mystakidis, Stylianos and Herodotou, Christothea
In : WOW! Europe embraces MOOCs (30 Nov 2015, Rome) (pp. 141-145)
Reviewing three case-studies of learning analytics interventions at the open university UK (2016-04-25)
Rienties, Bart; Boroowa, Avinash; Cross, Simon; Farrington-Flint, Lee; Herodotou, Christothea; Prescott, Lynda; Mayles, Kevin; Olney, Tom; Toetenel, Lisette and Woodthorpe, John
In : Sixth International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge (LAK '16 ) (25-29 Apr 2016, Edinburgh) (pp. 534-535)
Sense-it: A Smartphone Toolkit for Citizen Inquiry Learning (2015-10)
Sharples, Mike; Aristeidou, Maria; Villasclaras-Fernández, Eloy; Herodotou, Christothea and Scanlon, Eileen
In : Proceedings of 14th World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning, mLearn 2015 (17-24 Oct 2015, Venice, Italy) (pp. 366-377)
Addressing the Retention Gap in MOOCs: Towards a Motivational Framework for MOOCs Instructional Design (2015-08-26)
Herodotou, Christothea and Mystakidis, Stylianos
In : 16th Biennial EARLI Conference for Research on Learning and Instruction (25-29 Aug 2015, Limassol, Cyprus)
What characteristics of the gamers' profile should be taken into account in player-centred game design? (2015)
Herodotou, Christothea; Kambouri, Maria and Winters, Niall
In : 11th International Conference on Intelligent Environments (13-14 Jul 2015, Prague, Czech Republic) (pp. 289-297)
Scaffolding citizen inquiry science learning through the nQuire toolkit. (2014)
Herodotou, Christothea; Villasclaras-Fernandez, Eloy and Sharples, Mike
In : EARLI SIG 20: Computer Supported Inquiry Learning (18-20 Aug 2014, Malmö University, Sweden) (p 5)
Game Appropriation: Where does the gamer fit? (2009-04-01)
Herodotou, Christothea
PhD thesis UCL Institute of Education
Scholarly insight Spring 2018: a Data wrangler perspective (2018-09-01)
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
Open University UK, Milton Keynes.
Innovating Pedagogy 2017: Exploring new forms of teaching, learning and assessment, to guide educators and policy makers. Open University Innovation Report 6 (2017-12)
Ferguson, Rebecca; Barzilai, Sarit; Ben-Zvi, Dani; Chinn, Clark A; Herodotou, Christothea; Hod, Yotam; Kali, Yael; Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes; Kupermintz, Haggai; McAndrew, Patrick; Rienties, Bart; Sagy, Ornit; Scanlon, Eileen; Sharples, Mike; Weller, Martin and Whitelock, Denise
The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.
Scholarly insight Autumn 2017:a Data wrangler perspective (2017-10-23)
Rienties, Bart; Clow, Doug; Coughlan, Tim; Cross, Simon; Edwards, Chris; Gaved, Mark; Herodotou, Christothea; Hlosta, Martin; Jones, Jan; Rogaten, Jekaterina and Ullmann, Thomas
Open University UK
Scholarly insight Spring 2017: A Data Wrangler Perspective (2017-06-01)
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
Open University UK
MOOCs: What the research of FutureLearn’s UK partners tells us (2017-01)
Ferguson, Rebecca; Coughlan, Tim; Herodotou, Christothea and Scanlon, Eileen
Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University, Milton Keynes.
Factors explaining students’ satisfaction and performance in Business and Law modules (2017)
Herodotou, Christothea and Edwards, Chris
The Open University
Scholarly insight 2016: a Data wrangler perspective (2016-12-21)
Rienties, Bart; Edwards, Chris; Gaved, Mark; Marsh, Vicky; Herodotou, Christothea; Clow, Doug; Cross, Simon; Coughlan, Tim; Jones, Jan and Ullmann, Thomas
Open University UK
Innovating Pedagogy 2016: Open University Innovation Report 5 (2016-12-01)
Sharples, Mike; de Roock, Roberto; Ferguson, Rebecca; Gaved, Mark; Herodotou, Christothea; Koh, Elizabeth; Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes; Looi, Chee-Kit; McAndrew, Patrick; Rienties, Bart; Weller, Martin and Wong, Lung Hsiang
The Open University
MOOCS: What The Open University research tells us (2016-07)
Ferguson, Rebecca; Coughlan, Tim and Herodotou, Christothea
Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University, Milton Keynes.
How can touchscreen mobile game applications support inclusion and participation in science learning of preschoolers from disadvantaged backgrounds? ()
Herodotou, Christothea


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