Digital Capability


About Us

Part of the Learning Enhancement and Academic Development (LEAD) directorate, we are integral to the implementation of the University’s Digital Strategy. Our major responsibilities include setting the strategic direction for Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) at the University, providing development opportunities around Digital Capability to staff and students, supporting the development of the student online experience, identifying and disseminating good practice related to technology in teaching and learning, and undertaking research to ensure that the development of TEL at Sheffield Hallam University is forward-looking, yet based on sound evidence of benefit.

We work with faculties and central directorates to inform the current and future use of TEL at the University in cross-institutional projects and more focused initiatives. In particular, we work closely with Digital Technology Services (DTS) to ensure an appropriate infrastructure for technology enhanced learning that meets current requirements from staff and students and anticipates future ones, including ensuring that teaching and learning is a primary consideration in developments around core technologies such as Blackboard.

Meet the Team

Brian IrwinHead of Digital Capability0114 225 2979Untitled-1linkedintwitter
BIBrian has worked at Sheffield Hallam University encouraging the use of technology enhanced learning since 2005, with a strategic role leading technology enhanced learning since 2010. He has led on many strategic initiatives for the university, such as the Refreshing e-learning initiative, development of the TEL Strategy, the introduction of Blackboard Collaborate, and consistency projects.

Brian was part of the team for the HEA-funded research project Technology, Feedback, Action!, the Changing the Learning Landscape project team for SHU which developed the Teaching Approaches Menu, and recently co-lead a QAA-funded research project on the intersection of Digital Capability and Teaching Excellence. He received an MSc in e-learning with distinction from the University of Edinburgh in 2010. He is a Principal Fellow of the HEA.
Dr Ian GloverSenior Lecturer in Academic Development (DC) 0114 225
ian-thumbIan has worked in the TEL field for over a decade, in various capacities at various UK universities. He joined SHU in early 2013 and has worked on a number of projects, including co-leading the Changing the Learning Landscape project with Stuart Hepplestone, raising the profile and supporting the piloting of Open Badges, chairing the group tasked with making the PebblePad e-portfolio system available across the institution, and participating in the projects to support the centralised management of mobile devices. He has also been involved in the planning and delivery of TEL related events and workshops. He has been a member of programme committees for several conferences, including the annual conference of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT-C), and has reviewed papers for a variety of journals, including the British Journal of Educational Technology (BJET) and Computers & Education.

Ian holds a PhD in the development of online collaborative learning systems and is currently involved in research related to how the Internet of Things (IoT) can support learning and teaching. He is a Senior Fellow of the HEA.
Helen RodgerSenior Lecturer in Academic Development (DC) 0114 225 4136Untitled-1
HR2Helen developed guidance for Sheffield Hallam students on the use of social media ( designed to reinforce institutional behaviour codes, raise awareness of the breadth of opportunities, and encourage strategic, constructive actions. This was followed by a resource to guide teaching staff through some of the key considerations and processes that arise when planning to use social media in teaching (a current version can be found at, though this is about to be significantly reviewed). In 2015 Helen established and ran the inaugural Social Media for Learning in Higher Education conference #SocMedHE15, a hugely successful event that attracted 170 delegates from 60+ world-wide HE institutions. Preparations are well underway for #SocMedHE16 (

In recent years with colleagues, Helen has established the Threshold Standards policy on the use of technology in all taught modules; managed an overhaul of student facing information on the student portal to ensure clarity, usability and accessibility; piloted emerging technologies in a learning context and established mechanisms for the sharing of good practice. She is a Senior Fellow of the HEA.
Stuart HepplestoneSenior Lecturer in Academic Development (DC) 0114 225 4744Untitled-1
SHStuart has supported the use of technology in learning and teaching in higher education for over 15 years. Stuart’s main area of work is to promote and empower staff in the use of technology in assessment and feedback (including electronic feedback, online assignment management, and originality checking of student work), while his main research interest focuses on student engagement with their feedback and the role that technology can play in enabling this.

Currently Stuart is seconded to the Assessment Journey programme where he is leading on staff development and training for online management of assessment, but also supporting the various projects and work streams within the programme to deliver process improvements and system changes in collaboration with colleagues across the University. He also recently co-lead the Changing the Learning Landscape Project to develop and roll out the ‘menu’ of teaching approaches and the technologies that support them in order to enhance teaching at the University.

In addition, Stuart also chairs the fortnightly TEL Operational Team meetings, and takes an active role in co-ordinating the testing for the annual VLE upgrade. He is a member of the newly convened Assessment and Feedback Advisory group to inform the Higher Education Academy’s development work in this area. He is a Senior Fellow of the HEA.
Sam SmithLearning Technologist (Multimedia)0114 225 5948Untitled-1twitter
SS2Sam graduated from Sheffield Hallam University with a degree in Combined and Media Arts with Computer Applications, specialising in photography and film. After almost a decade working in the mobile technology industry, and as a freelance photographer, he returned to the university in 2008.

Since then he has used his experience to lead on several projects across the university and helping other people to develop their skills, creating content, and supporting all aspects of digital media production relating to Learning, Teaching and Assessment.

He is currently working towards CMALT accreditation and Associate HEA Fellowship.
Claire HannahLearning Technologist (Multimedia)0114 225 5702Untitled-1
CHClaire previously worked in the TEL (Technology Enhanced Learning) team in the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, working closely with academic staff to help improve LTA (Learning, Teaching, and Assessment) through the integration and use of TEL.

Claire's role within LEAD involves the creation of multimedia resources that support LTA across the university and expanding development opportunities to help build digital capabilities. Claire is a Fellow of the HEA.

To discover more about the LTA multimedia services offered, examples of previous projects and to request multimedia support see:

The team has employed current students and recent graduate interns as an essential part of our team for many years to provide a valuable student perspective for our work. Past student employees include:

  • Rob Webster, learning enhancement assistant, 2016-18
  • Riyukta Raghunath, research assistant, 2016-18
  • James Cutts, e-learning student assistant, 2013-15
  • Nick Wellings, e-learning student assistant, 2013-14
  • Melissa Timmins, e-learning student assistant (social media), 2013-14
  • Holly Ormrod-Stebbings, e-learning student assistant, 2011-13
  • Andy Ironmonger, e-learning student assistant, 2011-12
  • Jenny Cable, student researcher, 2011-2012
  • Charles Hague, shuspace and e-learning assistant (placement) 2009-10; e-learning student assistant 2010-11
  • Claire Burn, students communications support assistant, summer 2009
  • Katie Shimwell, Content Collection e-learning assistant, 2008-9
  • Thomas Thorpe, e-learning student assistant, summer 2008
  • Ellie Caldwell, e-learning student assistant, 2006-8
  • Mark Walker, e-learning student assistant, 2005-7, 2008-9
  • Robin Gissing, e-learning student assistant, 2005-6 & 2007-8
  • Hema Dhangar, e-learning student assistant, 2004-5
  • Marc Wells, e-learning student assistant, 2004-5

In addition to these e-learning roles for students, we have employed many others over the years to work on specific technology and learning projects.