Stuart Nicol

Head of Educational Design and Engagement

  • Educational Design and Engagement
  • Learning, Teaching and Web Services
  • Information Services Group

Contact details



Argyle House, H East
3 Lady Lawson Street

Post code


  • 9am-5pm


Stuart leads the Educational Design and Engagement section in Information Services Group (ISG), responsible for delivering a number of key strategic services to the University, including: advice, consultancy, and training for learning technologies; learning design; support for online course production, including MOOCs; and support for open education resources. Stuart has worked as a learning technologist for over 20 years and joined the University of Edinburgh in 2007, initially in the School of History, Classics, and Archaeology, moving to ISG in 2011. He has a master’s degree in Digital Education from the University of Edinburgh and is currently studying for a professional doctorate in education.


  • MSc Digital Education (distinction) (University of Edinburgh)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Multimedia Technology (Napier University)
  • Undergraduate MA(hons) in Psychology (University of Edinburgh)
  • Certified Member of Association for Learning Technology (CMALT)

Responsibilities & affiliations

  • Chair of the Learning Technology Advisory Group
  • Member of Support for Curriculum Development Group
  • Member of the MOOC strategy group

Invited speaker

Online teaching - seriously? A world-leading provider of online university courses. Presenation at Knowhow Edtech 2023, 28th September 2023, Tou Scene, Stavanger, Norway.

OER Closing Penerary: Open Scotland (2023), featured speaker at OER Conference in Inverness, 6th April.

Nicol, S. (2020), Creating your blend: What's working in on-campus and online learning and teaching? Presentation and panalist at the QAA / Heriot-Watt online event, Views from the kitchen table: sharing practice in supporting students, 21st October.

Nicol, S. (2017), Marketing the How to Read a Novel MOOC. Paper presented to the FutureLearn Partner's Forum in London, 10-11 October.

Papers delivered

Nicol, S., Campbell, L., Cross, A., Douglas, K. & McAndrew, E. (2023), Open for Good - Transforming the Curriculum with OER at the University of Edinburgh. Paper delivered at OER Conference in Inverness, 6th April.

Nicol, S. & Highton, M. (2022), Fables, fairy tales and the complex worlds of learning technology ethics. Paper presented to the ALT Annual Conference in Manchester, 7th September.

Nicol, S. & Highton, M. (2022), Fables, fairy tales and the complex worlds of learning technology ethics. Paper presented to the Learning and Teaching Conference in Edinburgh, 14-15th June.

Nicol, S., Madden, T. & Crolla, M. (2021), Being a learning technologist: designing an open primer course. Paper presented to the ALT Annual Conference (online), 6th September.

Nicol, S., McCormick, N., Lewis, M., & Jones, C. (2020), Moving beyond emergency provision at University of Edinburgh. Paper presented to the ALT Winter Conference, 16th December,

Nicol, S., Gallagher, M., & MacNeill, S. (2019), Walking the online creative teaching walk: developing curriculum and staff creativity in online programme design and teaching. Workshop delivered at the ALT Annual Conference in Edinburgh, 3-5 Sept.,

Nicol, S., Scott, A., & Campbell, L. (2019), Positioning the values and practices of open education at the core of University business. Workshop delivered at OER Conference in Galway, 10-11 April,

Nicol, S. & Sheail, P. (2018), ‘HELP PLZ’: Navigating Minecraft as a digital education space with postgraduate students. Paper presented to the Learning and Teaching Conference in Edinburgh, 20th June,

Nicol, S. (2016), Developing literacies of ‘open’ across an institution, and beyond. Paper presented to the ALT Annual Conference in Warwick, 6-8 September,

Nicol, S. (2016), Doing OER: a sociomaterial approach to understanding the complexities of OER policy and practice. Paper presented to the OER Conference in Edinburgh, 19-20 April, oer-policy-and-practice-1142.

Nicol, S., Highton, M., & Sekhar, D. (2015), Student-led, OpenEd, and wiping away the open wash. Paper presented to the OER Conference in Cardiff, 14-15 April,

Published papers

Gallagher, M., Nicol, S. & Breines, M. (2022) Ghost Hunting in the Broken Archives: Re-Historicizing Digital Education in an Institutional Context. Postdigital Science and Education.

Fawns, T., Bayne, S., Ross, J., Nicol, S., Quayle, E., Macleod, H., Howie, K. (2015), Socially reconstructing history: the Social History Timestream application, Continuum, 29(4), 522-533.

Rodger, R., Fleet, C., Nicol, S. (2010), Visualising urban geographies, e-Perimetron, 5(3), 118-131.

Selected blog posts

Behind the infographic: 20 years of strategic investment in online learning. EDE team blog, 25th September 2023.

Learning by doing: practical tips from 10 years of making Moocs. Time Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed., 13th September 2023.

Learn Ultra Base Navigation: The changing face of our virtual learning environment. Teaching Matters, 2nd May 2022.

Spotlight on Learn Foundations: Enhancing our use of the Learn VLE in different teaching settings (with Dr Paul Norris). Teaching Matters, 8th February 2021.

Building a community for learning technologists. EDE team blog, 23rd November 2020.

Spotlight on Learn Foundations: Building the foundations for a better student experience online. Teaching Matters, 11th September 2019.

Relaunch of EDE team blog. EDE team blog, 22nd May 2019.