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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 as a Lecturer (Staff Tutor) in Earth and Environmental Science. Part of my role involves the recruitment, academic line management and staff development / support of teams of Associate Lecturers. My teaching spans the undergraduate science curriculum, from our multidisciplinary level 1 science provision, to specialist modules in environmental science at levels 2 and 3. I have scholarship interests in distance learning and undergraduate science teaching and learning.

I worked for over 10 years in a large "Outstanding" tertiary college; my work and responsibilities were diverse, and included: programme leading a number of science Foundation Degrees, co-ordinating staff development, supervising final year degree dissertations, and teaching/observing and co-ordinating mentors on the PGCE programme. I was a member of the college's HE management team (focussing on quality assurance), and was delighted with the successful outcome of the QAA "Higher Education Review".

Given my mixed FE and HE background, I have a particular interest in science Foundation Degrees. I work as an External Examiner for FdSc courses, and also with a learned society on FdSc accreditations.


Research interests

My scholarship / research interests focus on three main areas linked to my teaching activities. I currently have two active eSTEeM-funded projects, both of which I co-lead with a colleague:

1. Student perceptions and development of employability skills in level 1 science.

2. Online peer mentoring at scale.

I also carry out evaluative work in the School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences on preparatory websites used to help students get ready for a new distance learning science module.

Teaching interests

I am a member of the module teams for S112 Science: concepts and practice and SDT306 Environment: responding to change. I was involved with both production and presentation of both modules; my work has 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 also work on S(XF)206 Environmental Science as a member of the module team and directing residential field schools. I have a Staff Tutor role (academic line management of Associate Lecturers) on S111, S112, S(XF)206 and SDT306.

Within the School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, I lead the development of preparatory sites for our modules, and am also 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 5 years.