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Dr John Baxter

Profile summary

Professional biography

After completing my PhD in chemistry at the University of Bristol, I undertook postdoctoral research in synthetic organic chemistry at the University of Manchester.
I then spent many years teaching science and in particular chemistry to part-time students in the further and higher education sector in the North West. During that time I developed an interest in computer-based learning within science.
In 2002 I joined the Open University as a staff tutor, and a member of the Science Online team, a project to spread best practice in online/on-screen learning within science teaching at the Open University.
I am the qualification director for the BA/ BSc Open Honours, and a member of a team of academics and others that support students on the Open Programme.

Research interests

My professional research interests are focused on how students learn from on-screen teaching materials. Recently I've had a particular focus on the way that students take notes when learning from on-screen materials: what's effective and what's not! A brief description is given here:

I also have a personal research interest investigating the links between folk song and Music Hall - you can find out more at

Teaching interests

Modules I have played a major role in producing include:
  • U316 The Environmental Web
  • S250 Science in Context
  • S104 Exploring Science
  • S155 Scientific Investigations
  • S176 Living without Oil
  • S215 Chemistry Essential Concepts
  • S201 Science and Society


‘Three Acres and a Cow’: Political Song in the General Election of 1885 (2022)
Baxter, John
In: Atkinson, David and Roud, Steve eds. A Notorious Chaunter in B Flat And Other Characters in Street Literature (pp. 24-51)
ISBN : 978-1-9161424-4-2 | Publisher : The Ballad Partners | Published : London