Mark Nichols

He is the Director of Technology Enhanced Learning with the Open University, UK. Mark is responsible for a team of TEL professionals innovating, serving and transforming online and distance education. Until the end of January 2016 he was Executive Director (ED) of Education Design Services with the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.

At Open Polytechnic he led a professional team of staff dedicated to student success through the design and development of innovative online learning materials. Up to June of 2014 he was ED Faculty for Open Polytechnic for four years, leading a team of management, academic and general staff dedicated to student success. Previous to that he was an e-learning specialist (and member of faculty) with Laidlaw College (formerly the Bible College of New Zealand), a broad role that included everything from LMS administration through to tutor training, course design through to change management, strategy through to research.

As of 2016’s Annual Conference he is a member of the EDEN Executive Committee. Previously he proposed and chaired the Mahara ePortfolio project, and has been a member of the DEANZ and ascilite Executives (before resigning from Open Polytechnic he was president of DEANZ following some years of co-editing the Journal of Flexible, Open and Distance Learning, and was a senior executive member of ascilite). Until 2015 he was also a member of the Central Hub Advisory Group for Ako Aotearoa, and served on the Tertiary eLearing Reference Group (TeLRG). He was recognised as a Flexible Learning Leader in New Zealand (2005-2006) and also convened the ITPNZ (polytechnic sector) e-learning forum while working for UCOL.

Mark’s past research has been in the areas of e-learning theory, institutional change, ePortfolio implementation, and Web 2.0. At the moment his research activity is directed at publishing based on his PhD and various projects involving senior management with Open Polytechnic. He has authored a series of E-Primers, scholarly yet accessible introductions to e-learning drawing on substantial (and peer-reviewed) research. These are available through Ako Aotearoa and have been well received. One of his articles published in Distance Education (Nichols, 2010) was the most downloaded article in that journal for 2011. In 2001 he self-published a book called Teaching for Learning.

For more about Mark please visit his ePortfolio at