Sir Timothy O'Shea


The University of Edinburgh


Timothy Michael Martin O'Shea was born in 1949, the son of John Patrick O´Shea of Balleen Castle and Elisabeth Hedwig Oberhof from Hindenburg. Upper Silesia. He was educated in Essex and holds a BSc in Mathematics and Experimental Psychology from Sessex University and a Ph.D. in Computer Based Learning from Leeds University. Tim worked as a researcher in the Computer Science Department of the University of Texas at Austin, the Bionics Research Lab at the University of Edinburgh and the Systems Concepts Lab, Xerox PARC, California. In 1978 he founded the Computers and Learning Research Group at the Open University and was promoted to a personal chair in information Technology and Education in 1986. He was appointed ProVice-Chancellor of the Open University in 1993. In 1997 he was elected Master of Birkbeck and subsequently appointed Provost of Gresham College and Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of London. He held all three posts concurrently until he returned to Edinburgh as Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University in October 2002. His academic output, produced mainly in collaboration with others and on topics relating to computer based learning, artificial intelligence, and mathematics education, includes 10 books, 22 BBC television programmes and over 100 journal articles. He is currently researching Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and during study leave at Stanford University in early 2012 initiated a partnership with Coursera, a social entrepreneurship company that operates a MOOC plataform. In 2014 Debrett´s in association with the Sunday Times, named the top 500 most influential people in the UK and listed Tim in the top 30 in Technology.