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Dr Karen New

Profile summary

Professional biography

As a 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 Co-chair for the production of SK190 - an exciting new level 1 module to be released in the future.  Previously I was Module Team Chair on SXM150 ​Contemporary topics in science

I have worked at the OU for over 25 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, a cell biology module; S201, which combines science and social issues and SXL390 the biology project module.

I am also a STEM Academic Conduct Officer, and a key element of this role is supporting the development of good academic practices.


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've also just started another MA - this time in Inclusive Practices 

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


Research interests

I am particularly interested in ways in which we can support the development of community, and am currently working on 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.

*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?  

Project team: Fiona Moorman, Karen New, Kathryn Fox and Hazel Church


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 am currently working on another Esteem project, which is looking at student and tutor perceptions of an online augmented reality app.