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Dr Karen Kear

Profile summary

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

Professional biography


Karen Kear is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computing and Communications, within the STEM Faculty at The Open University (UK). 

Karen develops and presents courses in IT and Computing, specialising in the social and communication aspects of these subjects.

Karen's research is in e-learning, with a particular focus on online communication. She has researched the use of social technologies such as forums, wikis and web conferencing in educational contexts. She is the author of 'Online and Social Networking Communities: a best practice guide for educators'.


Research interests

Karen's current research is primarily in e-learning. She has researched student use of forums, wikis, web conferencing and other social networking tools.  

Karen's recent research projects include:

  • Changing the Pedagogical Landscape, which looks at European policy to support new learning approaches in Higher Education
  • E-xcellence Next, which considers quality assessment and enhancement in e-learning
  • Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the Co-operative College,UK, to help the College develop e-learning.


Karen's book Online and social networking communities: a best practice guide for educators was published by Routledge in 2010. She was one of three co-editors of Online communication and collaboration: a reader, also published by Routledge in 2010.  

Karen's publications are listed in the Open University's Open Research Online (ORO) repository.

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

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