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Dr Helen Donelan

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Senior Lecturer
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • School of Computing & Communications
  • helen.donelan

Professional biography

Helen is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Computing and Communications, in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Faculty at the Open University.

She studied Communications Engineering and Electronics at Liverpool University and then worked in the telecoms industry as a Design Engineer designing structured cabling systems. She completed her PhD at Leeds University in the area of mobile communications which was funded by a departmental scholarship and start-up company sponsorship. On completion of her PhD she worked at Leeds Metropolitan University, initially as a Researcher, and then as a Lecturer where she developed courses and taught in various areas including mobile communications and networking.

She joined the Open University in 2006 initially as a Research Fellow, working on a project concerned with women in STEM careers, before becoming a Lecturer in 2008.

She is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) and a Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (MIET).

Research interests

Helen's current research interests include:

  • Technologies and approaches for online group work
  • Social media for academic engagement and communities of interest
  • Women in IT and computing
  • Technology in learning and teaching
  • Learning and peer feedback in shared online spaces

Teaching interests

Helen currently works on undergraduate Level 2 and 3 modules in the area of communications technologies. 

She is also the Qualification Lead for BSc Computing & IT (Communications and Networking pathway) and member of the Board of Studies.

She has been involved in other modules at the Open University. She chaired the production and presentation of a 30 credit Level 1 module - Microsoft Server Technologies; was a member of the module team for the level 1 module - Technologies in practice; she also chaired a 60 credit level 2 module on communication and information technologies.

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Technology and Education Research Group (TERG)GroupFaculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology
Technology and Learning Research Group (TLRG)GroupInstitute of Educational Technology


Students’ experiences of anxiety in an assessed, online, collaborative project (2020-01)
Hilliard, Jake; Kear, Karen; Donelan, Helen and Heaney, Caroline
Computers and Education, 143, Article 103675
Virtualization for computer networking skills development in a distance learning environment (2018-07)
Donelan, Helen; Smith, Andrew and Wong, Patrick
Computer Applications in Engineering Education, 26(4) (pp. 872-883)
Creating and collaborating: students’ and tutors’ perceptions of an online group project (2018-04)
Donelan, Helen and Kear, Karen
International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 19(2)
Social media for professional development and networking opportunities in academia (2016)
Donelan, Helen
Journal of Further and Higher Education, 40(5) (pp. 706-729)
Using wikis for online group projects: student and tutor perspectives (2014-09)
Kear, Karen; Donelan, Helen and Williams, Judith
International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 15(4) (pp. 70-90)
Web conferencing for synchronous online tutorials: perspectives of tutors using a new medium (2012-04)
Kear, Karen; Chetwynd, Frances; Williams, Judith and Donelan, Helen
Computers & Education, 58(3) (pp. 953-963)
Patterns of online networking for women’s career development (2009)
Donelan, Helen; Herman, Clem; Kear, Karen and Kirkup, Gill
Gender in Management: An International Journal, 24(2) (pp. 92-111)
The analysis of user behaviour of a network management training tool using a neural network (2006)
Donelan, H; Pattinson, C and Palmer-Brown, D
Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics, 3(5)
The analysis of network manager's behaviour using a self-organising neural network (2005-08)
Donelan, H.; Pattinson, C.; Palmer-Brown, D. and Lee, S.W.
International Journal on Simulation: Systems, Science and Technology, 6(9) (pp. 22-32)
Families of ternary sequences with aperiodic zero correlation zones for MC-DS-CDMA (2001-12-05)
Donelan, H and O'Farrell, T
IEE Electronics Letters, 38(25) (pp. 1660-1661)
Online participation: Shaping the networks of professional women (2009-07)
Donelan, Helen; Herman, Clem; Kear, Karen and Kirkup, Gill
In: Dumova, Tatyana and Fiordo, Richard eds. Handbook of Research on Social Interaction Technologies and Collaboration Software: Concepts and Trends (pp. 270-280)
ISBN : 978-1-60566-368-5 | Publisher : Information Science Reference | Published : UK
Online communication and collaboration: A Reader (2010-01)
Donelan, Helen; Kear, Karen and Ramage, Magnus eds.
ISBN : 978-0-415-56478-6 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon
Exploring the emotions of distance learning students in an assessed, online, collaborative project (2019-06-16)
Hilliard, Jake; Kear, Karen; Donelan, Helen and Heaney, Caroline
In : Connecting through Educational Technology - Proceedings of the European Distance and E-Learning Network 2019 Annual Conference (16-19 Jun 2019, Bruges, Belgium) (pp. 251-259)
An Open Networking Lab for practical open education (2019)
Kear, Karen; Smith, Andrew; Donelan, Helen; Mikroyannidis, Alexander; Jones, Allan; Rosewell, Jonathan; Wermelinger, Michel; Connolly, Teresa; Sanders, Chris; Peasgood, Alice; Williams, Judith; Moss, Nicky and Third, Allan
In : OER19: Recentering Open (10-11 Apr 2019, National University of Ireland, Galway)
The Open Networking Lab: Hands-on Vocational Learning in Computer Networking (2018-10)
Mikroyannidis, Alexander; Kear, Karen; Smith, Andrew; Jones, Allan; Rosewell, Jonathan; Donelan, Helen; Wermelinger, Michel; Sanders, Chris; Third, Allan and Connolly, Teresa
In : IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE) (3-6 Oct 2018, San Jose, California, USA)
Open Networking Lab: online practical learning of computer networking (2018-10)
Rosewell, Jonathan; Kear, Karen; Jones, Allan; Smith, Andrew; Donelan, Helen; Mikroyannidis, Alexander; Peasgood, Alice; Sanders, Chris; Third, Allan; Wermelinger, Michel; Moss, Nicky; Williams, Judith and Connolly, Teresa
In : The Online, Open and Flexible Higher Education Conference: Blended and online Learning: Changing the Educational Landscape (10-12 Oct 2018, Aarhus University, Denmark)
The Open Networking Lab: an open online course for experiential learning of computer networking (2018)
Kear, Karen; Smith, Andrew; Mikroyannidis, Alex; Jones, Allan; Rosewell, Jon; Donelan, Helen; Wermelinger, Michel; Sanders, Chris; Third, Allan and Connolly, Teresa
In : Association for Learning Technology (ALT) annual conference 2018 (11-13 Sep 2018, Manchester)
Entering STEM in later life: examining the motivations of adult women studying computing (2018)
Herman, Clem; Donelan, Helen; Jefferis, Helen and Hughes, Janet
In : 4th Biennial Network Gender and STEM Conference: Reimagining Who Does STEM and Why (31 Jul - 2 Aug 2018, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA)
Assessing online collaborative work (2016-09-08)
Kear, Karen and Donelan, Helen
In : ALT-C Annual Conference 2016 (6-8 Sep 2016, University of Warwick, UK)
Evaluating assessment strategies for online group work (2016-06-30)
Donelan, Helen and Kear, Karen
In : Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference: Making Connections and Sharing Pedagogy (30 Jun - 31 Jul 2016, Leicester, UK)
Online conversations around digital artefacts: the studio approach to learning in STEM subjects (2016-05)
Thomas, Elaine; Barroca, Leonor; Donelan, Helen; Kear, Karen; Jefferis, Helen and Rosewell, Jon
In : Networked Learning Conference 2016 (9-11 May 2016, Lancaster) (pp. 172-180)
Social media for increasing the networking and engagement opportunities of academics (2014-07-02)
Donelan, Helen
In : HEA Annual Conference 2014: Preparing for learning futures: the next ten years (2-3 Jul 2014, Aston University)
Learning and peer feedback in shared online spaces (2014)
Thomas, Elaine; Rosewell, Jon; Kear, Karen and Donelan, Helen
In : Ninth International Conference on Networked Learning 2014 (7-9 Apr 2014, Edinburgh, UK) (pp. 382-385)
The use of synchronous online tutorials to provide numeracy support for technology students (2009)
Chetwynd, Francis; Donelan, Helen; Heath, Hazel; Kear, Karen and Williams, Judith
In : CETL-MSOR Conference 2009 (7-8 Sep 2009, The Open University, Milton Keynes)
Women's experiences of online networking for career progression in science, engineering and technology (2007-03)
Donelan, Helen; Herman, Clem; Kear, Karen; Kirkup, Gill and Whitelegg, Liz
In : 3rd Christina Conference on Women's Studies (8-10 Mar 2007, Helsinki, Finland)
A schema for cryptographic keys generation using hybrid biometrics (2006)
Voderhobli, K; Pattinson, C and Donelan, Helen
In : 7th annual postgraduate symposium: The convergence of telecommunications, networking and broadcasting (26-27 Jun 2006, Liverpool, UK)
Large Families of Ternary Sequences with Aperiodic Zero Correlation Zone Sequences for a Multi-Carrier DS-CDMA System (2002)
Donelan, H. and O'Farrell, T.
In : 13th IEEE International Symposium on Personal, Indoor and Mobile Radio Communications (15-18 Sep 2002, Lisboa, Portugal)
Zero correlation zone sequences for multi-carrier DS-CDMA systems (2002)
Donelan, H. and O'Farrell, T.
In : 3rd IEE International Conference on 3G Mobile Communication Technologies (8-10 May 2002, London, UK)
Using OpenStudio in STEM learning - final report to eSTEeM, the OU centre for STEM pedagogy (2018-12-20)
Thomas, Elaine; Barroca, Leonor; Donelan, Helen; Kear, Karen; Jefferis, Helen and Rosewell, Jonathan
eSTEeM - The OU centre for STEM pedagogy

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