Colleen McKenna

Dr Colleen McKenna, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , is a HEDERA founding partner and has been working in Higher Education for 18 years. She has extensive experience in the areas of academic literacies, academic practice, student writing, digital literacies and e-learning.  Her experiences and interests lie in HE project development, open education, academic practice, HE research, academic literacies, eLearning and digital texts. She is also a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Education in the Department of Lifelong and Comparative Education.

Colleen McKenna photo

As part of HEDERA, Colleen has worked with the University of Bath, UCL, JISC, the HEA,  SEDA, the MRC, Queen Mary University of London, St Mary's University College.


From 2000- 2011, she was a lecturer at UCL, where she led the Academic Communication Programme in the Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching (CALT). She was part of the PGCLTHE teaching team, has taught undergraduates and masters students and supervised PhDs.

Colleen regularly collaborates with colleagues in cross-disciplinary projects related to teaching and learning. Along with Phyllis Creme, she ran the Writing and Learning Mentors programme at UCL. She was a member of the UCL CPD4HE JISC project steering group and she has been a steering group member for the JISC Coventry Online Writing Lab (COWL) project and the ESRC Digital Literacies project. She is currently the external examiner for both the MSc in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh and the MSc in e-Learning at Dublin Institute of Technology.


Current projects include

  • Co-director – Exploring Identities and Locations of Educational Developers (ExILED) a SEDA Legacy grant project.
  • Co-director - Sustainable Texts and Disciplinary Conversations JISC/HEA project which involves the development of an eBook of collected academic narratives. The project entails supporting institutional policy development surrounding Open Education. The project is a collaboration between Hedera llp and UCL.

Recently completed roles with Hedera:

  • Consultant researcher – UKPSF Impact Project funded by the HEA and led by SEDA.
  • Consultant - Disciplinary Thinking JISC/HEA OER project at the University of Bath. This work involved developing a suite of open materials (OER) for academic practice/ PGCert type courses and workshops
  • Consultant researcher – User-needs analysis study for Phase I of the UCL Public-facing E-learning Platform.
  • Consultant- UCL e-learning strategy
  • Consultant - Bath Teaching Development Fund formative evaluation. This work has involved gathering data through interviews, focus groups, questionnaires and desk research and reporting findings to the university.
  • Workshop leader - I run workshops on a range of topics in academic practice and writing development.

Selected recent publications

  • McKenna, C. (2013, in press) Digital writing as transformative: instantiating academic literacies in theory and practice. In Lea, M., Lillis, T. and Mitchell, S. Eds. Parlor Press.Working with academic literacies: Research, theory, design.
  • McKenna, C. and Hughes, J. (2013) ‘Values, digital texts and open practices - a changing scholarly landscape in higher education’ in Robin Goodfellow and Mary Lea, eds. Literacy and the Digital University: researching and teaching academic knowledge in the internet age. London: Routledge.
  • Turner, N., Oliver, M., McKenna, C., Hughes, J., Smith, H., Deepwell, F., and Shrives, L. (2013) ‘Measuring the impact of the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supporting learning’. Commissioned report for the HEA.
  • Hughes, J. and McKenna, C. (2012) The impact of developing Open Educational Resources (OERs) on novice OER developers. Journal of Interactive Media Education
  • McKenna, C. (2012) "Digital texts and the construction of writerly spaces: Academic writing in hypertext". Pratiques special issue ‘Academic Literacies: International Perspectives’.
  • McKenna, C.  with Fergie, G.; Beeke, S. and Creme, P. (2011)  ‘Designing, piloting and evaluating a module to support doctoral research students in speech and language therapy’. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Volume 23, Issue 2.
  • McKenna, C. and McAvinia, C. (2011) Difference and discontinuity: making meaning through hypertexts. In Digital differences: perspectives on online education. eds. R. Land and S. Bayne. Rotterdam: Sense.
  • McKenna, C. (2011) “A History of The Gallery Press’.  In The  Oxford History of the Irish Book in English, Volume 5, 1890-2000. Ed C. Hutton. Oxford University Press.
  • Creme, P. and McKenna, C. (2010) Developing writer identity through a multi-disciplinary programme. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education. 9:2.