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Dr Christopher Hutton

Profile summary

Professional biography

Dr Christopher Hutton

My academic background is in environmental science, with BSc (Hons) Environmental Science and Technology, MSc Biological Research Methods, and a PhD in "Modelling the biogeochemical mobility of arsenic". Following this, I completed a PGCE in Post-Compulsory Education and Training and hold Senior Fellowship of the HEA.

I joined the OU in April 2017 after 11 years in a large FE college. I am a Senior Lecturer (Staff Tutor) in Earth and Environmental Science, and presently the Lead Staff Tutor for the School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, supporting the organisation and operation of a team of 7 of my colleagues. The Staff Tutor part of my role involves the recruitment, academic line management and staff development / support of teams of Associate Lecturers and their students. Meanwhile, my academic work / teaching spans the undergraduate science curriculum, from our multidisciplinary level 1 science provision, to specialist modules in environmental science up to Integrated Masters level. I have scholarship / educational research interests in online distance education, and regularly publish / present at conferences in these areas.

In addition to my main role, I enjoy working as an Associate Lecturer on SXE390 (the capstone research project module for BSc Environmental Science), and I am an OU student working towards an Open Degree in my spare time. I am an External Examiner for two large UK universities in the area of environmental science, and work with the Royal Society of Biology on FdSc accreditations. 

Research interests

My scholarship / research interests focus on three main areas linked to my teaching activities, these include: online community building, employablility skills development, online peer mentoring, and improving the accessibility of online learning for students with disabilities and in secure environments. I am currently co-lead for two eSTEeM funded projects in these areas, and present my work at various national and international conferences. 

Teaching interests

I am a member of the presentation module teams for S112 Science: concepts and practice and S206 Environmental Science. I was involved with both production and presentation of S112 and SDT306 (Environment: responding to change) where my work involved designing tuition strategies, producing tuition resources, staff development of tutors, assessing and adapting resources for accessibility, moderating forums, designing and running preparatory websites, and advising students / colleagues on aspects of tuition. I was an author and Deputy Chair for production of S840 (Master of Environmental Science Research Project), and will chair this module when it first presents in Oct 2024. I am also looking forward to writing materials for S226 (Environmental Science). I have a Staff Tutor role (academic line management of Associate Lecturers) on S111, S112, and S(XF)206.

Within the School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, I led the development of preparatory sites for our modules, and have also been involved in rolling out our peer mentoring ("student buddy") scheme with a colleague.

I have contributed to degree approvals as an external academic advisor, and was involved in writing the Royal Society of Biology's Foundation Degree Accreditation Criteria; I now act as an accreditation assessor. I have worked as an External Examiner for the last 9 years.  


Offline Study in Online Education: Promoting Equity of Access During the Digital Transformation. (2024)
Hutton, Christopher and Aiken, Fiona
In : EDEN 2024 Annual Conference (16-18 Jun 2024, Graz, Austria)

Towards Best Practice In Designing Sustainable Online Peer Mentoring At Scale - What’s In It For The Mentors? (2023-10-27)
Robson, Julie and Hutton, Christopher
In : “Yes we can!” - Digital Education for Better Futures (EDEN 2023 Annual Conference) (18-20 Jun 2023, Dublin, Ireland) (pp. 149-155)

Improving equity of experience in distance education for students with challenges accessing online learning environments (2023-10)
Aiken, Fiona J. and Hutton, Christopher
In : EDEN 2023 Annual Conference “Yes we can!” – Digital Education for Better Futures (18-20 Jun 2023, Dublin, Ireland)

Evaluating the effectiveness of printed materials as an alternative to online resources (2022-07-06)
Hutton, Christopher and Aiken, Fiona
In : Advance HE Teaching and Learning Conference 2022: Teaching in the spotlight: Where next for enhancing student success? (5-7 Jul 2022, Northumbria University, Newcastle)

Exploring student perceptions of employability skills development using radar charts in first year science (2022)
Aiken, Fiona J. and Hutton, Christopher
In : Towards Smart and Inclusive Learning Ecosystem. EDEN 2022 Research Workshop (19-20 Sep 2022, Faculty of Organization and Informatics, University of Zagreb, Croatia) (pp. 77-82)

Evaluation of students’ employability skills development and the use of radar diagrams in Personal Development Planning (2021-06-30)
Aiken, Fiona and Hutton, Christopher
In : Horizons in STEM Higher Education Conference: Making Connections and Sharing Pedagogy (29-30 Jun 2021, Virtual)

Student perceptions and development of employability skills in a multidisciplinary, Level 4 Science module (2020-01-29)
Hutton, Christopher and Aiken, Fiona
In : Advance HE STEM Conference 2020, STEM Graduates for a world of change (29-30 Jan 2020, Manchester)