Simon Thomson

Professor of Hybrid Learning

You can often find me online as “digisim” which is a persona I have been using for a number of years. It stems from being referred to as “Digital Simon” through my work within digital education.

I am currently Professor of Hybrid Learning and Director of Flexible Learning at the University of Manchester (UK). 

I have an academic background originally in broadcast engineering and now more so in blended/online/hybrid (mixed-modal) education with senior level experience in Higher Education relating to educational development, curriculum design, digital education and blended/online learning.

Having worked in both Post-92 and Russell Group Universities I am familiar with the variations and similarities which exist across the breadth of higher education institutions and I have experienced first-hand the ambitions and associated challenges of mainstreaming digital education, online and blended learning and mixed-modal education

I am able to work both strategically and operationally (having experience of both) and although a pragmatist at heart my work is deeply rooted in research informed approaches and drawing upon lived experiences of myself and others to maximise impact.

I am a passionate supporter of ‘open education’ and as such, most of my work is freely available for others to use through my websites or through open access publications.

Ultimately, I aim to be a ‘lightener of loads’ – so if I can help you or your organisation in any way please get in touch.

Say hello. Feel free to get in touch.

University of Manchester

Current role: Director Flexible Learning

This role is incredibly nuanced, with high requirements of technical competency, expertise in digital learning and coordination and implementation of new technologies in support of the Flexible Learning Strategy.

The Director works closely and with the Associate Vice President (Blended and Flexible learning) to develop and embed flexible learning at the University.

University of Liverpool

In my previous role as Director of the Centre for Innovation in Education I worked with a team of educational developers and content developers in supporting the University in on-campus and hybrid curriculum enhancement and innovation.

During this time I led the development of the University’s Hybrid Active Learning (HAL) approach and was institutional led on a British Council funded project supporting Peruvian Universities to transition to online teaching.

Leeds Beckett University

In my previous role as Head of E-Learning and subsequently Head of Digital Pedagogy I developed the University’s first strategy on digital education as part of my work in the Centre for Learning and Teaching supporting embedding of digital education into learning and teaching activity.

I initially led on the University’s first online portfolio development as well as developing the institutions first blended learning course. 

Apple distinguished educator

In 2006 I was recognised as an Apple Distinguished Educator in relation to my pioneering work with using podcasts instead of lectures for teaching in Higher Education. (This being before podcasting became mainstream).

This accolade provides me with opportunities to connect and work with the global ADE network, supported by Apple.

National Teaching FELLOW

In 2014 I was awarded an AdvanceHE National Teaching Fellowship which recognises excellence in Learning and Teaching.

The Association of National Teaching Fellows is a vibrant community of experts who I often draw upon for inspiration and guidance.

Principal Fellow ADVANCE HE

In 2022 I became a Principal Fellow of the AdvanceHE recognising my strategic leadership of digital education.

My Principal Fellowship was awarded based on my strategic leadership of curriculum innovation within UK Higher Education institutions. 

News Articles

An article for Times Higher Education on our experience of ‘block teaching’.

Article for Research Professional News the flexible future of education.

Interview with Times Higher  Education on Hybrid Learning

Orcid ID

ORCID, which stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID. ORCID’s vision is a world where all who participate in research, scholarship, and innovation are uniquely identified and connected to their contributions across disciplines, borders, and time.

Below is a link to my orchid profile.