Keynote Speaker


"Moving Higher Education Forward in the Digital Age: Realising a Digital Strategy"

By Professor Neil MorrisProfessor of Educational Technology, Innovation and Change and Director of Digital Learning,
University of Leeds, UK


Digital technologies have matured rapidly over the past five years, and are commonplace in many sectors which affect our daily lives.  In the Higher Education sector, digital technologies are still seen as an add-on to the learning experience,  and are not always an integral and accepted part of the teaching and learning process.  Many universities have developed e-learning or digital strategies to address this, and this paper will reflect on the success of these strategies from a range of perspectives, using the University of Leeds as a case study.  The session will explore the adoption of digital technologies by staff and students, the impact on the teaching and learning process and the impact on student learning and experience.  The aim of the paper is to illustrate the benefits of a strategic approach to integrating digital technologies into a blended learning curriculum for staff and students.  The paper will use the author’s experiences of VLE resources, mobile learning, Open Educational Resources, Massive Open Online Courses and social media to demonstrate the main arguments.



Professor Neil Morris is Chair of Educational Technology, Innovation and Change in the School of Education and the Director of Digital Learning at the University of Leeds, reporting directly to the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Student Education.  He is a National Teaching Fellow, and has won a number of national awards for teaching excellence.  Neil has a research background in neuroscience and current research interests in educational technology, online learning and blended learning. He has conducted a number of published research studies on the impact of mobile technologies on student learning and engagement and he is the co-author of Study Skills Connected, a successful textbook on using technology effectively to enhance learning (Palgrave MacMillan). Neil has led a number of strategic technology projects at Leeds, including MOOCs for FutureLearn, lecture capture, Open Educational Resources, Virtual Learning Environment and student response handsets. In his current role, Neil has strategic and operational responsibility for the Digital Learning Team which is responsible for the University's iTunesU site and delivering MOOCs for the FutureLearn platform. Neil has authored a number of strategies and policies for the University, including the Digital Strategy for Taught Student Education, the Blended Learning Strategy, the MOOC vision and strategy and the Open Educational Resources policy. Neil has given a number of keynote talks at UK and international events, and is a regular speaker at conferences.