Dr Karen Kear

Senior Lecturer

Karen Kear is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Computing and Communications, within the STEM Faculty at The Open University (UK).

Karen specialises in the social and communication aspects of computing and communications. Her primary research area is e-learning, with a particular focus on online communication. She has researched the use of social technologies such as forums, wikis and synchronous conferencing in educational contexts. She is the author of 'Online and Social Networking Communities: a best practice guide for educators', published by Routledge.

Karen leads the Technology and Education Research Group (TERG) and jointly leads the STEM Education Research Group.


Hilliard, Jake , Kear, Karen, Donelan, Helen and Heaney, Caroline (2020). Students’ experiences of anxiety in an assessed, online, collaborative project. Computers and Education, 143, article no. 103675.

Donelan, Helen and Kear, Karen(2018). Creating and collaborating: students’ and tutors’ perceptions of an online group project. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 19(2) pp. 38–54.

Jansen, Darco,Rosewell, Jonathan and Kear, Karen(2017). Quality Frameworks for MOOCs. In: Jemni, Mohamed; Kinshuk and Khribi, Mohamed Koutheair eds. Open Education: from OERs to MOOCs. Lecture Notes in Educational Technology. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer, pp. 261–281.

Herring, Paul , Kear, Karen, Sheehy, Kieron and Jones, Roger (2017). A virtual tutor for children with autism. Journal of Enabling Technologies, 11(1) pp. 19–27.

Kear, Karen, Jones, Allan, Holden, Georgina and Curcher, Mark(2016). Social technologies for online learning: theoretical and contextual issues. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 31(1) pp. 42–53.

Kear, Karen, Donelan, Helen and Williams, Judith (2014). Using wikis for online group projects: student and tutor perspectives. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 15(4) pp. 70–90.

Kear, Karen, Chetwynd, Frances and Jefferis, Helen (2014). Social presence in online learning communities: the role of personal profiles. Research in Learning Technology, 22, article no. 19710.