Gabi Witthaus

Research Associate (Feb 2009 to Nov 2014)Gabi Witthaus

Gabi was a member of the Beyond Distance Research Alliance and Institute of Learning Innovation at the University of Leicester from February 2009 to November 2014. Major roles and projects included:

  • Research Associate on the JISC-funded DUCKLING project. Gabi led the MA TESOL course team in experimenting with a range of innovative technologies for distance learning. As a result of this project, the MA TESOL course team rolled out a series of interactive online tasks in every module on the programme. Student feedback indicates that participation in these tasks reduces the sense of isolation often experienced by distance learners, and increases motivation to learn. Gabi is still an E-moderator on the online MA TESOL programme.
  • Project Coordinator on the JISC-funded OTTER project. Gabi facilitated the publication of a number of the University of Leicester’s teaching materials as open educational resources.
  • Knowledge Transfer Fellow on the JISC_funded OSTRICH project. Gabi supported project teams at the Universities of Bath and Derby in the development and release of open educational resources.
  • SCORE Research Fellow on the HEFCE-funded TOUCANS project. Gabi investigated attitudes in the UK towards the OER university concept, which aims to massively widen participation in higher education through open education.
  • Project Coordinator on the JISC-funded SPEED project. Gabi led a team from the Institute of Learning Innovation in supporting colleagues at the universities of Derby, Liverpool John Moores, London South Bank and Northampton, in embedding good practice in learning design within their institutions.
  • Research Associate – POERUP, a European Commission-funded project that undertook research to understand how governments can stimulate the uptake of open educational resources (OER).
  • Lead Researcher – OpenCred. This study was carried out under the umbrella of the European Commission-funded Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) for the OpenEdu project. The OpenCred research team identified practices taking place in Europe for the recognition of non-formal and informal learning and created a typology of recognition models for open learning.

Contact details


  • Masters in Training and Development, University of Southern Queensland, Australia (2009)
  • MA in English Education, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa (1999)
  • PG Certificate in Mediation, Robert Gordon University, Scotland (2014)
  • BA (Hons) in Applied Linguistics, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa (1990)
  • BA majoring in Social Anthropology and Zulu,  University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa (1986)

Papers and journal articles


Witthaus, G., Childs, M., Nkuyubwatsi, B., Conole, G., Inamorato dos Santos, A. & Punie, Y. (2015 in press). ‘An Assessment-Recognition Matrix for Analysing Institutional Practices in the Recognition of Open Learning’, in elearning papers, Issue 41.


Schreurs, B., Van den Beemt, A., Prinsen, F., De Laat, M., Witthaus, G. and Conole, G. (2014).  ‘Investigating the social configuration of a community to understand how networked learning activities take place: The OERu case study’, in Networked Learning Conference Proceedings, April 2014.

McGreal, R., Conrad, D., Murphy, A., Witthaus, G. and Mackintosh, W. (2014). 'Formalising informal learning: Assessment and accreditation challenges within disaggregated systems’ in Open Praxis Vol. 6, No. 2.


Conrad, D., Mackintosh, W., McGreal, R., Murphy, A. and Witthaus, G. (2013). Report on the Assessment and Accreditation of Learners using OER. Commonwealth of Learning, July 2013.

Murphy, A. and Witthaus, G. (2013). 'Findings from a survey of openness in assessment and accreditation practices in post-secondary institutions'. Working paper commissioned by Athabasca University.


Bird, T. and Witthaus, G. (2012). 'iTunes U and the OERu: Two Different Ways to Reach the World'. Unpublished paper for Higher Education Academy and JISC.

Witthaus, G. (2012) The OER university: from vision to reality. In Okada, A. (ed) (2012) Open Educational Resources and Social Networks: Co-learning and Professional Development. Scholio Educational Research & Publishing. Milton Keynes. Creative Commons License 3.0. Available from .

Hawkridge, D.,  Armellini, A., Nie, M., Witthaus, G. & Padilla Rodriguez, B. C. (2012). Digital audio for asynchronous interactive learning in curriculum design at an English university. In Jia, J. (Ed.) Educational stages and interactive learning: from kindergarten to workplace training (pp. 468-484). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.


Nie, M., Armellini, A., Witthaus, G. & Barklamb, K. (2011). How do e-book readers enhance learning opportunities for distance work-based learners? ALT-J, Research in Learning Technology, 19(1), 19-38.

Nikoi, S., Rowlett, T., Armellini, A. & Witthaus, G. (2011). CORRE: A framework for evaluating and transforming teaching materials into Open Educational Resources. Open Learning, 26(3), 191-207.


Hawkridge, D., Armellini, A., Nikoi, S., Rowlett, T. & Witthaus, G. (2010). Curriculum, intellectual property rights and open educational resources in British universities-and beyond. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 22(3), 162-176.


Hawkridge, D. and Witthaus, G. (2009). 'Review of "Rethinking e-learning research" by Norm Friesen'. British Journal of Educational Technology 40(6), 114301144

Witthaus, G. (2009). The Implications of SCORM-Conformance for Workplace Learning. Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 7 (2), 183-190

Presentations/ conference papers


Conole, G. and Witthaus, G. (2014). ‘The 7Cs of Learning Design – a new approach to rethinking design practice’, in Networked Learning Conference Proceedings, April 2014.

Witthaus, G. (2014). 'It's a Jungle Out There! Staff Development for Online Tutors.' Presentation for Unisa, 24 Feb 2014.


Bacsich, P., Nie, M., Jeans, N., Schuwer, R., Karran, T. and Witthaus, G. 'Elevator Pitch: 26 Countries in 26 Minutes', OER13, Nottingham, 27 March 2013.


Nie, M., Witthaus, G., Conole, G. and Armellini, A. (2012). The 7Cs: a learning design intervention at Leicester. ALT-C annual conference, Manchester, UK (11-13 Sept). Programme available from

Witthaus, G. and Armellini, A. (2012). UK Higher Education Institutions and the OER University: Snog, Marry, Avoid?. Higher Education Academy Annual Conference, 3-4 July, Manchester, UK.


Witthaus, G. (2011). Invited keynote: Open to Sharing in Higher Education. 11th Annual E-learning Festival of the Durban University of Technology. Durban and online (23-25 Nov 2011).

Witthaus, G. (2011). 'Introduction to OERs: A Workshop for Kabul University, Afghanistan'.

Armellini, A., Witthaus, G., Prior, J. and O’Neill, S. (2011) Developing workflow models for the creation of sustainable Open Educational Resources. OER11 Annual Conference, Manchester, UK.


Armellini, A., Davies, E., Mobbs, R., Nikoi, S., Rowlett, T. & Witthaus, G. (2010) CORRE: A framework for transforming teaching materials into OERs. ALT-C 2010: Into something rich and strange - making sense of the sea-change, Nottingham, UK. Association for Learning Technology, available from pp.16-17 (accessed 2 February 2011).

Nie, M., Witthaus, G., Barklamb, K. & Armellini, A. (2010) Does the e-book reader make distance learners’ lives easier? ALT-C 2010: Into something rich and strange - making sense of the sea-change, Nottingham, UK. Association for Learning Technology, available from p.18 (accessed 2 February 2011).

Witthaus, G., Armellini, A. & Barklamb, K. (2010) A Second Life pilot in two online M-level programmes ALT-C 2010: Into something rich and strange - making sense of the sea-change, Nottingham, UK. Association for Learning Technology, available from p.123 (accessed 2 February 2011).


Armellini, A., Witthaus, G., Mobbs, R., Rowlett, T. and Nikoi, S. (2009). Out in the Open: Beyond Distance and Open Educational Resources - an online workshop. Learning Futures Festival Online, Beyond Distance Research Alliance, University of Leicester, 9 Jan 2009.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Witthaus, G. with South African Institute for Distance Education, (2009). Supporting Distance Learners. Available at

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