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Ms Lorna Sibbett

Lorna smiling

Profile summary

Professional biography

I am Staff Tutor in the Centre for Access, Open and Cross-curricular Innovation (AOCCI), responsible for our 'Open Box' modules YXM130 and YXM830. I am also an Associate Lecturer in STEM, tutoring across modules from Level 1 to the Level 3 capstone Biology project module (SXB390). I am interested in students-as-partners in scholarship and co-development of curriculum and pedagogy; student learning across transition; development of self-efficacy; and skills for learning and employability. I am currently focused on development of more inclusive distance learning experience, particularly with regard to autistic students.

I am: Chair for the Open Programme Interdisciplinary Conference Blurring Boundaries Conference June 2023 (; Open Academic Lead for Student Support Services; Academic Conduct Officer for AOCCI; co-chair of a team creating principles for assessment design that promote academic integrity; member of the Tuition Programme Management Group; and member of the Student Consultation Management Group.

My teaching career began within the barbed wire enclosure of a secondary school in Northern Ireland; the barbed wire being to keep out those who might pilfer useful chemicals from the science store cupboard. Since then, I have taught and developed courses/ curricula in Secondary, Further and Higher Education in Northern Ireland, Scotland and now across nations with the OU.

My previous roles include those held while a Senior Teaching Fellow at the University of St Andrews: Co-Director of the Centre for Higher Education Research; Co-Director of External Relations in the School of Biology; and responsibility for skills development across the undergraduate Biology programme.

Research interests

Transition into HE and employment; student skills development; student collaboration in curriculum development; and science communication. I have an emerging interest in education as a route to regeneration within the individual. 

Current Project 2023

BUD:Belonging, United, Diverse 

with Renu Bhandari, Sarah McKernan and Andrew Webster.

In the Belong, United Diverse (BUD) project, two student interns have been appointed to act as a student ‘buddies’ within Access student online discussion forums (ODFs) and to collaborate with academic staff in the development of recommendations for more inclusive practice in distance education. One student represented Black ethnicity and English-as-a-second-language; the other had lived experience of autism.  The slide deck "How can we maximise equity and diversity in student partnerships?" provides further information on this.

Teaching interests

Quantitative and analytical skills. I currently teach S111 Questions in Science and SXB390 Science Project Course.


Lost in transition--the Island of Susak (1951-2001) (2004)
Rudan, I; Stevanović, R; Vitart, V; Vuletić, G; Sibbett, Lorna; Vuletić, S; Ivanković, D; Szirovicza, L; Stanić, A and Cvjetanović, B
Collegium antropologicum, 28(1) (pp. 403-421)

It’s the quiet ones you have to look out for (2023-06)
Sibbett, Lorna and Bhandari, Renu
In : Open University ACCESS Online Staff Development Conference 2023 (9-10 Jun 2023, [Online])

Ensuring Each Student Reaches Their Potential: (1) Transition Issues (2010)
Sibbett, Lorna
In : ICERI 2010 (International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation) (15-17 Nov 2010, Madrid, Spain)

Ensuring Each Student Reaches Their Potential: (2) Transferability Issues (2010)
Sibbett, Lorna
In : ICERI 2010 (International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation) (15-17 Nov 2010, Madrid, Spain)