Simon Thomson

Simon Thomson


Personal profile


I have an academic background in broadcast engineering and blended/online education as well as senior level experience in Higher Education relating to digital and blended/online curriculum design and education with the majority of my work being predominantly project orientated.

Having worked in both Post-92 and Russell Group Universities I have experienced first-hand the often missed opportunities to bridge the gap between online learning & teaching with on campus experiences and my work very much centres around the development of increasingly mixed-modal (hybrid) educational experiences. Most recently I have led on work developing and supporting institutional-wide initiatives such as an institutional curriuclum framework, digital learning environment reviews and educationally-led VLE replacement as well as strategic approaches to hybrid/blended education and mixed-modal learning. In my current role I have responsibilty for embedding flexible learning within the University of Manchester as part of the Flexible Learning Programme.

I am also a passionate supporter of ‘open education’ and 'open access' having led a nationally funded Jisc/HEA project and having co-chaired the international OER conference. As such the majority of my work and outputs are freely available for others to use either through my own websites or through open access publications.

You can often find me online as “digisim” which is a persona I have been using for a number of years. It stems from being referred to as “Digital Simon” through my work within digital education and my online activites and includes the hosting of a podcast relating to digital education as well as an openly licensed framework for supporting the development of hybrid education.

I very often use my knowledge and expertise to make a practical difference to the lived-experience by collaborating with others on projects and activites to support institutions, individuals and sector agencies in strategic and operational challenges relating to digital education and hybrid education. One such example being during the Covid-19 pandemic where I led the academic development and curriculum design expertise in supporting six Universities in Peru to move teaching online, in partnership with the British Council and additionally through my work as a trustee for Co-Op College.

Being a first generation higher education student I have always sought to make my own teaching the most engaging and accessible it can be and have therefore focussed my academic career and research interests towards teaching excellence and scholarship of learning and teaching (with a particular interest in digital education and online/blended learning).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Experiencing Academic Staff Development through TPACK: A Phenomenographic Study., Lancaster University

Award Date: 8 Jun 2023

Master in Science, Edinburgh Napier University

Award Date: 1 Jun 2011

Bachelor of Arts, University of Leeds

Award Date: 1 Jun 1996

External positions

Curriculum and Learning Design Advisory Group, Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)

Dec 2022Jul 2023

Trustee, Co-operative College

Sept 2022 → …

Areas of expertise

  • LB2300 Higher Education
  • blended learning
  • hybrid education
  • mixed-modal learning
  • Digital Education
  • Technology Enhanced Learning
  • Online learning
  • Curriculum development
  • LB2361 Curriculum
  • blended curriculum
  • critical digital pedagogy
  • flexible curriculum
  • learning design


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