Helen Walmsley-Smith

Academic Developer

Academic Quality and Development

I’m based in Academic Development and work with staff across the university to develop academic practice and support the use of technology to enhance learning in the classroom and online. I lead the Portfolio Route to HEA Fellowship, academic induction and deliver a wide range of workshops for staff at the University and at our partners.

My background is English teaching and the use of technology to support and enhance teaching and learning in the classroom, as well as blended and distance learning. I have also worked with JISC’s Regional Support Centres to support the use of technology in further and higher education across the North West of England.

I work on a range of projects including support for our NTF/CATE nominations, SCoLPP Fellowships, teaching observation and academic mentoring. I’m the lead on our Evasys module evaluation surveys that take place online every semester.

I’m particularly interested in learning design for blended and distance learning and have completed a funded SEDA project to explore the use of an innovative tool to evaluate online learning designs.

Professional memberships and activities

  • Senior Fellow of AdvanceHE

Academic qualifications

  • EdD, ‘Creating the e-design assessment tool (eDAT) to represent and evaluate online distance learning designs: A mixed methods study’, Staffordshire University
  • HEA Senior Fellowship
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education (FE), Bolton Institute
  • MA Contemporary Literary Studies, Lancaster University
  • BA(Hon's) English with Politics, Lancashire Polytechnic



  • MA Education


Book chapters:

Hindmarch, D., Machin, L., Murray, S., Richardson, T., Walmsley-Smith, H. (2020) A Concise Guide to Lecturing in Higher Education and the Academic Professional Apprenticeship. St Albans: Critical Publishing.

Walmsley, H. (2015) The e-Design Template: A Pedagogic Guide for e-Learning Designers. In M. Maina, B. Craft, & Y. Mor, eds. The Art & Science of Learning Design. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Walmsley, H., Yorke, J. (2010) eLearning Models: a Web 2.0 approach to staff development in Higher Education. In D. Parkes, L. Hart, & G. Walton, eds. Web 2.0 and Libraries: Impacts, Technologies and Trends. Oxford: Chandos Publishing Ltd.


Walmsley-Smith, H., Machin, L., Walton, G. (2019) The E-Design Assessment Tool: An evidence-informed approach towards a consistent terminology for quantifying online distance learning activities. Research in Learning Technology. 27.

Persico, D., Pozzi, F., Anastopoulou, S., Conole, G., Craft, B., Dimitriadis, Y., Davinia, H.-L., Kali, Y., Mor, Y., Pérez-Sanagustín, M., Walmsley, H. (2013) Learning Design Rashomon I – Supporting the Design of One Lesson Through Different Approaches. Research in Learning Technology. 21.

Walmsley, H. (2012) Case study: A community of practice for constructivist professional development in e-Learning. Innovative Practice in Higher Education. 1(2), 1–11.

Conference presentations:

SEDA May 2018 Using teacher perspective metrics to reflect and improve learning designs

ALT C Sep 2017 Using the eDAT (e-Design Assessment Tool) to Analyse Online Learning Designs

LDCIN 2016 Issues in categorising Learning Design

LDCIN 2017 Review of Learning Design tools

Funded projects:

SEDA Small Grant Project 'Helping designers design: Proving learning designs using eDAT and Learning Analytics methods' https://www.seda.ac.uk/2018-grant-holders

Book reviews:

Walmsley, H. (2013) Book Review of Social Media for Academics: A Practical Guide edited by Diane R Neal. Innovative Practice in Higher Education. 1(3).

Online resources:

Walmsley, H. (2019) eDesign Assessment Tool (eDAT). Staffordshire University. [online]. Available from: http://blogs.staffs.ac.uk/bestpracticemodels/edat/ [Accessed October 29, 2020].

Walmsley, H. (2017) Best Practice Models for e-Design. Staffordshire University. [online]. Available from: http://blogs.staffs.ac.uk/bestpracticemodels/ [Accessed October 29, 2020].

Top 15 for Teaching Quality

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

6th for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022

Midlands University of the Year

Midlands Business Awards 2020