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Dr Karen New

Profile summary

Professional biography

As a Senior Lecturer and Staff Tutor for the School of Life, Health and Chemical Sciences, I support and manage around 30 Associate Lecturers. I enjoy being involved in the provision of academic development opportunities for Associate Lecturers, both within STEM and across the University, to share best practice and learn from one another, and to develop and maintain a supportive community of practitioners.

I am Module Chair for SK190 Human Biology: a body in balance - an exciting Stage 1 module which was presented for the first time in September 2023.  Previously I was Co-Chair on it's production, and was Module Team Chair on SXM150 ​Contemporary topics in science.

I have worked at the OU for nearly 30 years - as an Associate Lecturer I have tutored on a variety of Science Level 1 modules (from S154, S102, S103, S104 - to the current S111). I have also tutored SDK100, a level 1 science and health module; SK299, a second level human biology module; S294 (now S296), a cell biology module; S201, a now finished module which combined science and social issues and SXl390 the health science project module.

After gaining my first degree through the OU, I went onto a PhD (primarily biochemistry but some mathematical elements).  I've recently completed an MSc with the OU (specialising in Science and Society) and an MA (specialising in Online Education and Disability). I'm also partway through another MA - this time in Inclusive Practices 

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AdvanceHE).


Research interests

I am also a STEM Academic Conduct Officer, and a key element of this role is supporting the development of good academic practices. Learning to write in an academic writing style can be challenging for many students - and I am interested in ways that we can increase student confidence in developing their own 'academic voice'.

I am also interested in ways in which we can support the development of community, and recently completed an Esteem project* looking at the development of student-facing Online Journal Clubs (OJC).  Myself and Dr Fiona Moorman co-lead this project, and envisage OJC as a mechanism to facilitate the development of community – whether within module, across qualification, or indeed, across disciplines and university as a whole. Through participation in OJC events, we feel that OJC can help students to develop key study and key employability skills. Online Journal Clubs now run within some of our modules within our school, either as part of the formal tuition strategy, or as an optional extra. Full project team: Fiona Moorman, Karen New, Kathryn Fox and Hazel Church

*Winner of the 2020 Esteem Award for Innovative/original Approach to Teaching: Online journal clubs in distance higher education: an opportunity to develop skills and community?  

Our OJC project is currently being adapted to work with Students in Secure Environments.

Additionally, tying in with my MA, I am also interested in the use of technology within education, and recently completed another Esteem project, which looked at student and tutor perceptions of an online augmented reality app: Use of augmented reality in a second level human biology module


The development and evaluation of an online journal club: perspectives from student participants and practitioners (2024)
New, Karen; Fox, Kate; Church, Hazel and Moorman, Fiona
Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning ((early access))