Keynote Speakers

We are delighted to announce the following confirmed speakers:

Rt. Hon. David Willetts (UK Minister for Universities and Science)

David Willetts is a British Conservative Party politician and the Minister for Universities and Science. He has been MP for Havant since 1992 and previously worked at HM Treasury and the Number 10 Policy Unit. He served as Paymaster General in the last Conservative Government. Willetts has written widely on economic and social policy, and is a council member of the Institute for Fiscal Studies. His book The Pinch: How the Baby Boomers Took Their Children’s Future – And Why They Should Give It Back was published in 2010.

Dr Stephen Jackson (Director of Reviews, UK Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education)

Stephen Jackson is Director of Reviews within QAA, with overall responsibility for the management and delivery of review activity. This includes universities and other higher education providers, the review of higher education in further education colleges and the review of private higher education colleges.

He joined QAA in October 2002 from Liverpool John Moores University, where he was Director for Partnerships and Widening Participation. Previously, Stephen held the post of Assistant Provost with responsibility for learning and teaching. He taught Human Geography for many years at the City of Liverpool College of Higher Education and at Liverpool Polytechnic. Before joining QAA, Stephen worked for both the Higher Education Quality Committee and QAA as an auditor and review coordinator.

Professor Andrew Ng (Co-founder of Coursera)

Andrew Ng is a Co-founder of Coursera, and a Computer Science faculty member at Stanford.  In 2011, he led the development of Stanford University’s main MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) platform, and also taught an online Machine Learning class that was offered to over 100,000 students, leading to the founding of Coursera.  Ng’s goal is to give everyone in the world access to a high quality education, for free.  Today, Coursera partners with top universities to offer high quality, free online courses.  With over 100 partners, over 500 courses, and 5 million students, Coursera is the largest MOOC platform in the world.  Recent awards include being named to the Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world; to the CNN 10: Thinkers list; Fortune 40 under 40; and being named by Business Insider as one of the top 10 professors across Stanford University.  Outside online education, Ng’s research work is in machine learning; he is also the Director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab.

Dr Sian Bayne (Associate Dean, Digital Scholarship, University of Edinburgh)

Sian Bayne is Associate Dean (Digital Scholarship) in the College of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Edinburgh. She teaches on the Edinburgh MSc in Digital Education, and is a member of the academic team running the ‘E-learning and digital cultures’ MOOC through Coursera. Her research is focused on the many ways in which the digital changes and challenges education, with a focus on distance education, higher education, MOOCs and museum learning.

Professor Russell Beale (FutureLearn)

Russell is a Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at the University of Birmingham. As the ‘Critical Friend’ to FutureLearn, he guides the development of the site from the dual perspectives of learning design and user experience. On the academic side, he helps to devise new pedagogies that are suitable for massive open online courses (moocs), and solves issues that arise around the learning design. Russell also works closely with the website’s design team to make sure learners get the best possible experience from, ensuring that their needs are central to its development.


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