Professor Andrew Middleton

Deputy Head of Anglia Learning & Teaching
Research Supervision:

[email protected]


Andrew is Professor of Active Learning and Deputy Head of Anglia Learning & Teaching

He is a National Teaching Fellow known for promoting academic innovation in support of a rewarding student-centred learning experience. He leads work on developing ARU’s Active Curriculum.

Andrew is a collaborator by nature and is currently co-leading developments in support of ARU’s Education, Research & innovation, and Operations strategies, including:

  • Active Learning – common to his work, Andrew advocates and supports curriculum enhancement through developments that promote learner engagement characterised by being student-centred, authentic and intrinsically rich in challenges and feedback (see Active Learning Toolkit).
  • Design for Life a collaboration to develop a structured and supported approach to Personal & Professional Development Planning, encapsulating the Anglia Ruskin Graduate Capitals.
  • Simulation-based Learning – a collaborative innovation project to establish immersive teaching and learning experiences through OfS-funded simulation facilities in Cambridge, Chelmsford and Peterborough.
  • Developing Digital Fluency – developing engagement of staff and students in the implementation of ARU’s new Digital Fluency Framework to promote the confident use of digital technologies, media, and spaces for teaching, learning, and employability. The collaboration connects colleagues and students in all faculties, SLS, ITS, and HR (see Developing Digital Fluency Toolkit).
  • Spatial Fluency – the development of spatial fluency as a concept to recognise the value of place in learning in a postdigital connected world. Working through a national University Alliance/QAA project on ‘Harnessing Multimodalities’, this person-centred view of spaces for learning contrasts with operational approaches to [sic] learning spaces. It aims to understand learning as being spatially situated across physical and digital environments. (Middleton, 2023, 2018)
  • Spaces for learning – this collaboration with Estates focuses on social learning spaces and builds upon last year’s focus on developing our classrooms. It connects to work on spatial fluency and multimodalities.
  • Course-focused development – working with the Course Leaders Network, we continue to develop the new Course Leaders Toolkit and will be considering Course Leader Induction. We are planning for a Course Leaders Forum on each campus mid-year and will plan the next Course Leaders Conference.
  • Course design and enhancement – continuing work on integrating institutional strategic priorities to answer questions like, "How can I integrate sustainability/inclusivity/employability (etc) into my curriculum and the way I teach it?"
  • Employability in the curriculum – this collaboration with SLS and RIDO will continue to develop our appreciation of Live Briefs, for example considering how they can be used for major projects at Level 6 and for the postgraduate taught curriculum (see Employability in Practice Toolkit).
  • He continues to lead METaL (media-enhanced teaching and learning) in implementing YuJa as a dimension of ARU’s LMS Ecosystem. This connects with his sector-wide leadership of MELSIG – a community of enhancement and innovative practice developing a wide range of rich pedagogies using new forms of video and audio (see METaL Toolkit).

Andrew co-hosts the Exquisite Corpse podcast with Beatriz Acevedo, which uses a novel conversational approach to explore innovative teaching. He blogs on teaching and learning at Tactile Learning. He leads ARU’s Active Learning Network with Isobel Gowers and Jamie Heywood and is a co-ordinator of the national ALN network

Research interests

Andrew maintains his scholarly profile around academic innovation and publishes regularly on his practice.

He published Reimagining Spaces for Learning in Higher Education (2018, Palgrave) which develops a holistic appreciation of space as it is experienced in the course of learning and the implications of hybrid and co-operative learning for the future of higher education. The concept of Studio for All has come from this as a focus for researching co-operative pedagogies.


PhD: The situated agency of studio learning and its value for non-studio disciplines (2017-2022)

Memberships, editorial boards

Andrew has been instrumental in developing the UK Active Learning Network and its annual Global Festival of Active Learning and Active Learning Conference, being a leading member of the ALN steering group. 

As Chair of the UK Media-Enhanced Learning Special Interest Group (MELSIG), he is known for his pioneering work on developing audio feedback, smart learning, social media for learning, future learning spaces, and digital placemaking. Andrew has led over 30 MELSIG events across the UK and Ireland.  

Selected books

Middleton, A. (2018) Reimagining spaces for learning in higher education. Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Middleton, A. (ed) (2015) Smart learning: teaching and learning with smartphones and tablets in post compulsory education. Media-Enhanced Learning Special Interest Group & Sheffield Hallam University.

Middleton, A. (ed) (2013) Digital voices: a collaborative exploration of the recorded voice in post-compulsory education. Media-Enhanced Learning Special Interest Group & Sheffield Hallam University.

Selected chapters and articles 

Middleton, A., Pratt-Adams, S. and Priddle, J. (2021) Active, inclusive and immersive: using course design intensives with course teams to rethink the curriculum across an institution. Educational Developments, 22(1), March 2021. 

Middleton, A., Hawkins, C., Acevedo, B., Scruton, A., Kite, L. and Boz, M. (2021) Making sense of employability through an active blended curriculum. B. C. P. Rodriguez and A. Armellini Cases on active blended learning in higher education. IGI Global. 

Boz, M., Acevedo, B., Middleton, A., Scruton, A., Hawkins, C., Outteridge, J. and Kite, L. (2021) Work-integrated learning as an inclusive pedagogy for employability: the case of live briefs at Anglia Ruskin University. S. Norton & R. Dalrymple (eds) Employability: breaking the mould: a case study compendium. AdvanceHE. Online at: 

Middleton, A. (2020) Using place to develop a culture for active pedagogy, in S. Pratt-Adams, U.M. Richter and M. Warnes (eds) Innovations in active learning in higher education. London: UCL Press.

Middleton, A. and Spiers, A. (2019) ‘Learning to twalk: an analysis of a new learning environment’, in C. Rowell (ed) Social media in higher education: case studies, reflections and analysis. Cambridge: Open Book Publishers, pp. 223-235.

Huntley, B., Middleton, A. and Waldock, J. (2018) Using virtual and physical learning spaces to develop a successful mathematical learning community, both for on-site and distance provision. DELTA.

Jones-Devitt, S., Austen, L., Chitwood, L., Donnelly, A., Fearn, C., Heaton, C., Latham, G., LeBihan, J., Middleton, A., Morgan, M., Parkin, H. J. and Pickering, N. (2017) 'Creation and Confidence: BME students as academic partners… but where were the staff?'. Journal of Educational Innovation, Partnership and Change, 3(2), Special Edition, Reacting to the 'Hard to Reach' through Student Engagement Initiatives.

Middleton, A. (2016) Reconsidering the role of recorded audio as a rich, flexible and engaging learning space. Research in learning technology. 24(1), pp. 28035-13.

Middleton, A. (2015) Facilitation as a personal engagement in an open space. Learning and Teaching in Action. 11(1), pp. 74-80.

Rushton, D., Malone, C. and Middleton, A. (2015) Digital posters: Talking cycles for academic literacy. T. Lillis et al (eds) Working with Academic Literacies: Research, Theory, Design. ‘Studies in Writing’ series, editor Gert Rijlaarsdam, WAC Clearing House with Parlor Press.

Nerantzi, C., Middleton, A. and Beckingham, S. (2014) Facilitators as co-learners in a collaborative open course for teachers and students in higher education. Learning in cyberphysical worlds. eLearning papers (Open Education Europa), 39, 1–10.

Middleton, A. (2014) Learning in the open: considering MOOCs, openness and social media for learning. Student Engagement and Experience Journal. 3(1), np.

Nortcliffe, A. and Middleton, A. (2013) The innovative use of personal smart devices by students to support their learning. In: L.A. Wankel and P. Blessinger (eds) Increasing Student Engagement and Retention Using Mobile Applications Smartphones, Skype and Texting Technologies. Bingley: Emerald.