Ms Ingrid Nix | Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies
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Ms Ingrid Nix

Profile summary

  • Visiting Formal Academic
  • Honorary Associate
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies
  • School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
  • Social Work
  • ingrid.nix

Professional biography

I have recently joined the University of West London as an Academic Developer in the ExPERT Academy (Expertise for Professionalism in Education, Research and Teaching).

From 2000-2017 I was Lecturer in Learning and Teaching Technologies in the School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care within the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies. I was based within the Social Work department where I was Joint-Social Work Qualification Lead (Assessment). I was an author and learning designer, working with module teams and associated colleagues to develop and enhance learning, teaching and assessment using appropriate technology. I facilitated change in L& T design and production practices. My expertise covered:

  • designing programme-based learning (in particular the development of digital literacies, including for work-based learning contexts)
  • understanding learner experiences and needs in relation to learning with new technologies
  • eAssessment: designing, writing and implementing interactive computer-marked assessment. 

I engaged in ongoing scholarship related to students' perceptions of their digital literacies development, especially work-based social work students. More recently I worked with colleagues from the OU Library (OU Library Data Project) exploring links between students engagement in digital literacy activities and attainment in module results. From June 2011 to 2014 I was co-lead of the EADDLS project, evaluating HSC students perceptions of skills development on a number of modules (see Research for further details).  In 2008 I initiated a PBPL CETL research project Prepared for Practice? to explore newly qualified OU BA Social work graduates' perceptions of technology-enhanced learning and its role in preparing them for technology-enhanced social work practice.

Following my appointment as Teaching Fellow with the COLMSCT CETL in eAssessment (2006), my research activity also included exploring enhancements in designs to improve learner engagement in eAssessment, and learner perceptions of computer-based feedback.

I helped influence enhancements to OU policy and practice through membership of various OU working groups (e.g. Learning Innovations Office Consultation Group, VLE eAssessment Faculty Liaison Group). I was an FHSC  Accessibility lead in Securing Greater Accessibility (SeGA) and member of the Cross-Faculty Accessibility Working group (CFAWG) and the new Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies EDWAS Steering group.

I played a key role in staff development for tutors, academic and academic-related staff. For 7 years I was a joint-organiser of eLC (eLearning Community) events, at which visiting guests and OU colleagues with an interest in pedagogy and technologies for learning regularly meet to debate and share knowledge and practice (see Other Interests for details). I was one of three OU central academic representatives on the AL eLearning Development Group (ALEDG) chaired by Student Services.

In 2009 I was a founder member and from 2013-15 chaired the HSC Teaching Online Panel (TOP) steering group which supported ALs in undertaking scholarship in key areas of L&T to inform good practices within the faculty. See Publications for our recent published article (Barnes, Cole and Nix, 2018) evaluating our experiences of supporting scholarship through a mostly online community of practice. 

WELS Teaching Excellence Award (K315 Production Team award) (2017)
PBPL CETL Teaching and Learner Support Award (2007)
OU Teaching Award (2006)

Research interests

Skills development: Digital literacy skills, ICT skills, Technology-enhanced learning, Technology-enhanced work practices

  • Learner experiences of ICT/technology-enhanced learning in study and work-based settings, currently focussing on Social Work settings. Investigating learner perceptions of the role and value of ICT in their professional practice, what motivates their engagement in skills development and their experience of particular learning designs.
  • Designing strategically located learning activities to enable evaluation and research: 'Windows into the workplace' online activities which invite students to post their experiences of work-setting related issues online to enable module teams to observe, evaluate and update module material on an on-going basis. See video  or slides of OU Making Connections conference presentation (3 June 2009).

e-Assessment: developing designs to motivate and engage learners in online computer-marked assessment, e.g.

  • designs to facilitate learners to locate relevant self-assessment questions
  • use of media and narrative within question sequences to engage and facilitate learning
  • use of tools (such as a reflective log, a confidence indicator tool) to enable reflection during questions
  • optimising (personalising) feedback display to suit learner preferences
  • tracking student pathways through formative iCMAs to explore how they are used for formative learning.

See video of Feedback - Do I really need it? 4th Open CETL conference presentation (Dec. 2009)

I was affiliated to:

  • Social Work Research and Scholarship Group.

Feb - April 2008 Studied part of H809 Practice-based research in educational technology.

March - June 2008 HEA funding bid to trial Moodle Gradebook on selected HSC courses (reached final shortlist from 134 nationally submitted bids)

Dec 2008 PBPL CETL awarded funding for project: Prepared for practice?

Dec 2006 COLMSCT CETL awarded funding for project: Learning through Interactive Assessment (LINA)  

2007-09 Member of advisory group for the PB-LXP elearning project, exploring e-learning in practice settings (led by Prof. Mary Thorpe, IET).

2010-12 Member of advisory group for the PePLE project, developing CPD e-learning resources for practice-based learning (led by Prof. Mary Thorpe, IET).

Recent scholarship projects

  • Collaborating with OU colleagues to capture our reflections on our experiences of supporting scholarship in learning and teaching through TOP - an online community of practice (see Publications). 
  • Collaborating with OU Library Data Project team to explore links between practice-learning students' engagement with DIL-IL, VLE data and data from module results.

Previous projects

Evaluating Approaches for Developing Digital Literacy Skills (EADDLS project):

2010 Funded by the OU Fund for Scholarship of and for Learning and Teaching, co-investigator with Marion Hall (HSC), and working with Kirsty Baker (OU Library) to explore student perceptions of their experiences of various learning designs for digital and information literacy skills development used in K113, K216 and K217. This project aimed to identify student attitudes to digital literacy for home/study/work, what motivates students to engage in skills development, and what features and learning designs are most effective. (Also funded by the HSC Faculty; and the OU Library.)

Prepared for practice? Exploring and evaluating the first six months of post-qualified practice in social work - PBPL CETL funded project with social work colleagues, exploring recent graduates' views on how effectively the social work degree has prepared them for their role as practitioners. My own interest was around use and perceptions of ICT - how it may 'enhance' social work practice i.e. improve existing processes and outcomes. Final report submitted November 2009.

Undertaking research analysing ICT Support queries from HSC students from 2002 to 2008. Aim to identify changing student needs and highlight issues relating to implementation of elearning tools and updates. 

Learning through Interactive Assessment (LINA) project - motivating factors in e-Assessment; - COLMSCT CETL funded project with Ali Wyllie (HSC Lecturer Learning and Teaching Technologies), exploring tools for reflection - use of Confidence Indicator tool, Learning Logs. 2007 and 2008 tested with selected K216 students. Undertook observational research using audio and video. Project completed June 2009.

Moodle Gradebook - students and tutor experiences of this VLE tool and implications for practice (hoping to inform course team application of this tool within their courses). Undertook surveys of tutor use on K216 and K101.


Member of the Peer Review Panel for:

  • BJET (British Journal of Educational Technology)
  • Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance, and e-Learning
  • Australian Journal of Social Work. 

Editorial reviewer:

I undertake reviews of book proposals and drafts in my specialist areas eg. for SAGE Publishers was critical reader from initial proposal to publication, and am quoted on book cover of: Hill, A., Shaw, I. (2011) Social Work & ICT, Sage publications, ISBN 978-1-84920-055-4.

Course reviewer:

  • April 2014 - reviewer of ALT open course in Technology Enhanced Learning (ocTEL)

Conference programme committee member:

  • ALT-C 2013 Programme committee.


17 March 2010 HEA-funded research seminar on Employer engagement and employability skills. Hosted with Jan Brunwin and Sue Parr (CPLD), presented with Prof. Mary Thorpe (IET) on Preparing for technology-enhanced practice (see PBPL website for details.) The final report we produced is:

Brunwin, J., Nix, I., Parr, Sue and Thorpe, M. (2010), ‘Employer engagement and development of skills for employability’, briefing report for HEA Academy Seminar on ‘Employer Engagement and Development of Skills for Employability’, The Open University Practice Based Professional Learning CETL, May 2010, (accessed 22 October 2010)

15 June 2010 PBPL CETL dissemination event 'Developing professional identities through practice based learning', presented Disruptive or facilitative? Social work student transitions towards technology-enhanced practice (PBPL website details).

30 June-2 July  2010 JSWEC Conference workshop with Jackie Rafferty (SWAP) and Ian Davies (IRISS) on Developing technology-enhanced social work practice – how are we doing?


2005 to 2011 Member of a national advisory group: Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE) eLearning Materials Advisory Group (ELMAG) responsible for quality assurance of a national repository of elearning resources being produced.

From 2009-2016 I was an organising team member of the the eLearning Community  led by Chris Pegler, IET (2006-2012) and now Ann Jones, IET (2012 to 2017), with Sarah Davies and Graham Healing, and since 2012 also Karen Kear and Anna Comas-Quinn. We organised a programme of events for colleagues to share knowledge and practices in the application of technology to distance learning. Events cover a range of topics of interest including work-in-progress reports from colleagues relating to research or practice. The eLC offers a mailing list (as of 2015 we had approx. 330 subscribers) and we contribute to the monthly eLC Digest (newsletter) which is circulated to subscribers.

Teaching interests

I was a lead academic in the faculty responsible for developing and enhancing learning and teaching using educational technologies. I advised and facilitated module teams and authors developing module material, including through staff development activities. I also wrote and designed learning activities for modules and programmes. I was engaged in Faculty groups to develop teaching approaches, production processes, and tutor and learner support  (I was a longtime member of and briefly chaired HSC's Learning Technologies Working Group, and a member of past groups such as Learning and Teaching Quality Sub-Committee, Skills Working Group, and OU-wide groups such as OU Computing Guide User Group). From 2009-2017 I was an academic member of AL Elearning Development Group. I was a SeGA coordinator, facilitating how to design L&T to ensure greater accessibility.


Digital literacy skills

  • 2012-2015 Led on reviewing the ICT strategy within the Social Work degrees to address the Social Work Reform Board recommendations for England. Created a digital literacy skills development curriculum across three levels of the degree, including  ICT and IL skills (in collaboration with OU Library experts and module authors).

Integrated ICT skills

  • 2003-2007 Developed ICT strategy for Social Work Degrees (commended by General Social Care Council); ICT skills activities were developed for generic use in the faculty (made available through a shared repository, the HSC Resource Bank) and OU-wide
  • As part of the above, collaborated with OU Library colleagues to develop the strategy for the first OU degree to offer programme-wide Information literacy (IL) skills development and assessment (integrating ICT and IL skills into a cohesive syllabus)  
  • 2000-2004 Developed ICT Skills for Level 1 module to support students working online for first time (KZX100 Understanding Health and Social Care), including new method for assessment of ICT using screenshots to demonstrate skills. 

Online interactive Computer Marked Assessments (iCMAs)

  • I was a lead academic responsible for developing guidance to support iCMA design and practice within HSC.
  • 2005-2008 Developed iCMAs for SW Degree: covering ICT skills; also worked with authors to cover Information Literacy skills, terminology for Finance, Research, Ethics. Supported colleagues to roll out iCMAs on other programmes including on Mental Capacity Act Badged Open Course, and Postgraduate Diploma in Social Work.

CD-ROM/DVD-ROM experiential learning

  • 2000-2003 Academic lead on development of K303 Managing Care CD-ROM, first-time use in faculty of existing shell, subsequently also used on other modules. Students (including those not yet in management position) work through scenarios in shoes of protagonist (trainee manager). Exploratory mode, problem-based learning self-selecting from range of resources simulating work practice.
  • 2003-2006 Academic lead on K216 CD-ROMs, linear sequence of interactive activities using range of media-rich resources based on social work contexts.

Online Collaborative project framework

  • 2000-2002 Played key role in developing a prototype specification for and implementation of an online framework which for the first time enabled HSC Level 1 distance learner students (on KZX100 Understanding Health and Social Care) to collaborate online. Design included some features which ease tutor management of teams and project tasks. 


Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
FHSC Teaching and Learning Research GroupResearch GroupFaculty of Health and Social Care
Social Work Research GroupResearch GroupFaculty of Health and Social Care


Supporting and Enabling Scholarship: Developing and Sharing Expertise in Online Learning and Teaching (2018-04-24)
Barnes, Fiona; Cole, Sue and Nix, Ingrid
Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 6(1) (pp. 66-74)
Student experiences and perceptions of digital literacy skills development: engaging learners by design? (2013-08-16)
Hall, Marion; Nix, Ingrid and Baker, Kirsty
Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 11, Article 258(3) (pp. 207-225)
Exploring design features to enhance computer-based assessment: learners’ views on using a confidence indicator tool and computer-based feedback (2011-01)
Nix, Ingrid and Wyllie, Ali
British Journal of Educational Technology, 42(1) (pp. 101-112)
Face-to-face language learning at a distance? a study of a video conference try-out (1996-11)
Goodfellow, Robin; Jefferys, Ingrid; Miles, Terry and Shirra, Tim
ReCALL, 8(2) (pp. 5-16)
Supported open learning: developing an integrated information literacy strategy online (2011)
Gosling, Clari and Nix, Ingrid
In: Mackey, Thomas P. and Jacobson, Trudi E. eds. Teaching Information Literacy Online (pp. 91-108)
ISBN : 9781555707354 | Publisher : Neal Schuman | Published : New York
Technology-enhanced learning for social work education and practice (2010-09-03)
Nix, Ingrid
In: Seden, Janet; Matthews, Sarah; McCormick, Mick and Morgan, Alun eds. Professional Development in Social Work: Complex Issues in Practice. Post-qualifying Social Work (pp. 150-156)
ISBN : 9780415553360 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon, UK and New York, USA
The loss of Mango (2009)
Nix, Ingrid
In: Earle, Sarah; Bartholomew, Caroline and Komaromy, Carol eds. Making sense of Death, Dying and Bereavement: An Anthology (pp. 134-135)
ISBN : 9781847875129 | Publisher : The Open University and Sage Publications
Social media and social work students: the boundaries just got more complicated (2015-07-15)
Lomax, Robert and Nix, Ingrid
In : Joint Social Work Education Conference (JSWEC 2015) (15-17 Jul 2015, The Open University, Milton Keynes)
“What do I need?” – evaluating learner perceptions of digital literacy skills development to inform enhancements to learning design (2012-11)
Nix, Ingrid; Hall, Marion and Baker, Kirsty
In : International Blended Learning Conference 2012 (13-14 Jun 2012, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Herts., UK)
“Why bother?” Learner perceptions of digital literacy skills development - learning design implications (2012-10)
Nix, Ingrid; Hall, Marion and Baker, Kirsty
In : 11th European Conference on e-Learning ECEL- 2012 (26-27 Oct 2012, University of Groningen, The Netherlands)
“Why should I?” Engaging learners in digital literacy skills development (2012-10)
Hall, Marion; Nix, Ingrid and Baker, Kirsty
In : Proceedings of the 11th European Conference on e-Learning, University of Groningen, The Netherlands, 26-27 October 2012 (ed. by H. Belduis) (26-27 Oct 2012, Groningen, The Netherlands)
Are learner perceptions of digital literacy skills teaching affected by demographic factors? (2012)
Hall, Marion; Nix, Ingrid and Baker, Kirsty
In : The Seventh International Blended Learning Conference: “Reflecting on Our Achievements - What's Next for Technology-Enhanced Learning and Teaching?” (13-14 Jun 2012, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK)
Collecting Questionnaire and Interview Data: Evaluating Approaches to Developing Digital Literacy Skills (2016-01)
Nix, Ingrid and Hall, Marion
SAGE Research Methods Cases, SAGE Publications Ltd, London, UK.
Prepared for Practice? Exploring and Evaluating the First Six Months of Post-qualified Practice in Social Work (2009)
Nix, Ingrid; Cooper, Barry; Davis, Roger and McCormick, Michael
The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.


The OU is positive about carers

The OU has been awarded Carer Positive ‘established' status by Carers Scotland.

19th July 2018
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