Staff profile

Paula Shaw

Academic Manager for Healthcare and Education

Paula Shaw


Health, Social, and Community Work, Teacher Training


University of Derby Online Learning


All my adult working life has been spent delivering education and training to adults of varying ages. I began 30 years ago in Further Education, in 1998 I moved into Higher Education and from 2000 I began to specialise in online education. In 2011 I began working as an Academic Manager for the newly formed department UDOL (University of Derby Online Learning) through which I have significantly influenced UDOL’s expansion from 7 programmes to 40 programmes of which I currently manage approximately 13 programmes in 6 disciplines with a roughly equal split between UK and International students. Through my research I have developed and presented my ‘PROPHET Framework’ (Pedagogic Realignment with Organisational Priorities and Horizon Emergent Technologies), ensuring that horizon scanning, pedagogy and educational planning are integral to online students’ experiences. Through application of this model I demonstrate my ability to respond efficiently and effectively to societal expectations including changes in technology and models of education that place increasing demands on finite resources. This work was recognised in the Vice Chancellor Excellence Awards; in 2008 for Innovative methods and approaches and in 2014 where I was awarded the Excellence Award for Outstanding Personal Impact of the year.

As a lifelong online learner I am able to demonstrate that online learning can offer a rich and rewarding, equivocally different HE experience. My pedagogic influence, modelling and training academics in the art of online social learning, has led to an impressive 95.5% retention rate for online part time students, and all of the UDOL programmes have either been rated Gold or Silver when TEF metrics have been applied. Reaching beyond my role I have influenced the University’s ‘Centre for Student Life’ to support us in providing a ‘virtual campus’ and not a deficit model of University Education.

As we move into a new era of blended experiences my tenacity for championing the marginalised will ensure that transitioning between study modes won’t compromise students’ experiences; acknowledging that University life may be experienced in different ways but all students should feel welcome, supported and valued irrespective of their study mode. I will continue to apply myself with honesty, integrity, confidentially, morality, respect and compassion to the art of developing others (staff and students) to serve their professions and the public with confidence and competence.

Professional interests

Online pedagogy. Improving the learning experience, measuring success in online learning, understanding the student experience, digital literacy, internationalisation of the curriculum.

I enjoy learning online and where possible I engage with educational and training programmes to enhance my knowledge and my career. My hobbies mirror my enjoyment of web-based learning, I enjoy creating new artifacts using web 2.0 technologies and engaging with professional online communities of practice.

Membership of professional bodies


Recent conferences

Sutherland, S., Jubb, E., Owen, E., Shaw, P. (2013). University of Derby Online Learning Academic Framework University of Derby.

Shaw P. (2013). Rules, Tools and Communities Presented to Innovative Learning conference, Central Hall Westminster, London (July 2, 2013) 

Shaw, P. (2013). Digital Bookmarking Presented at the University of Derby LTA Conference 2013 the University of Derby-Buxton (July 1, 2013) 

Shaw, P. (2013). The Online Student Journey Presented to Stenden University, Leeuwarden, Netherlands (December 4, 2013) 

Shaw, P. (2014). Personal Development Planning in the Digital Age Workshop at University of Derby LTA Conference 2014, the University of Derby-Buxton (June 31, 2014)

Shaw, P. (2014). How to Catch a Cloud and Pin It Down Presented to University of Derby LTA Conference 2014, the University of Derby-Buxton (June 31, 2014)

Shaw. P. (2014). Enhancing Employability and Career progression through Engaging Social Learning in Online Degrees Presented to Military eLearning and Smart Devices Conference London October 2014

Shaw. P. (2014). Investing in local talent in emerging markets Panel representative for online learning at World Travel Market 4th November 2014

Shaw, P. (2015). Personal Development Planning in the Digital Age Presented to University of Derby Strategic Student Leadership Action Research Group, University of Derby, Derby (July 2, 2015) 

Shaw.P. and Robertshaw, D. (2015). Using and creating Open Educational Resources. Presented to University of Derby LTA Conference 2015, the University of Derby-Buxton (July 6, 2015) 

Shaw, P., Gardener. C. and Gration, M. (2017). Micro-Lectures: How to Teach Online. Presented to University of Derby LTA Conference 2017 the University of Derby-Buxton (July 1, 2017) 

Shaw, P., Green, P. and Cockerill, V. (2018). Bringing the student experience framework alive with authentic activity. Presented to UDOL Academic Conference March 2018 the University of Derby, Derby (5 March, 2018) 

Kotera, Y., Cockerill, V., Green, P., Hutchinson, L., and Shaw, P. (2018). Towards another level of borderlessness: Qualitative investigation into online learning experience of students with disabilities. Presented at the LTA Conference 2018, the University of Derby-Buxton (July 2, 2018) 

Shaw, P. (2018). A practice orientated framework to support successful higher education online learning. Presented to European Distance and E-Learning Network Conference 2018, University of Genoa, Italy (June 24, 2018) 

Shaw, P. and Stone. J. (2019) Exploring a Framework for Shaping Tomorrow Tacking Emerging Challenges Today. Presented to EDUCAUSE Education Learning Initiative, Anaheim, USA (February 20, 2019)

Additional interests and activities

I enjoy gardening and a range of health and fitness classes; maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a good work/life balance is important to my family and my wellbeing.

Recent publications

My blog is retweeted and has appeared on the OER Research Hub - Three key issues about Open Educational Resources (OERs)