Hands-on learning




email: helen AT
DOT com



Helen Whitehead: writer, editor and e-learning consultant

Professional biography

Helen Whitehead is a writer, editor and project manager specialising in technology, online community and elearning. She has been working with online media since 1983 both creatively as a digital writer and artist and in the context of online information and elearning.

She holds a BSc in Biochemistry, and an MA in Writing from The Nottingham Trent University, where she specialised in hypertext fiction on the Web. After several years as Manager of Education and Training for the trAce Online Writing Centre and Writing School at The Nottingham Trent University, she worked as an E-Learning Facilitator at the National College for School Leadership. She also runs an educational website, Kids on the Net and its sister site for teachers, the eTeachers' Portal. She is currently a freelance e-learning specialist, editor, writer and web developer, and a learning technologist at the University of Leicester in Professor Gilly Salmon's Beyond Distance Research Alliance.

Courses, presentations and workshops given

· Forthcoming: Tutor: Season of Inspiration online writing course, February-April 2006
· Workshop facilitator, course redesign workshops and e-moderating courses, University of Leicester

· Workshop Leader, Narrative Lab, De Montfort University, June 2006
· Tutor, Online Facilitation and Tutoring, online course for NCSL: February-March 2006 (Later rewrote this course.)
· Trainer: Using talk2learn (f2f) workshops (several): training beginners in use of online community software

· Tutor, Season of Inspiration, online course in the trAce Online Writing School, June-August 2005
· Transition Workshops for teachers in Lambeth LEA: using the Adventure Island online tool, 18 & 24 May 2005
· Presentation to MA in Creative Collaboration, 14 April 2005
· Getting On Online: Engaging students in collaborative elearning: series of workshops for NTU staff on facilitating discussion amongst students, 13 April & 17th March 2005
· Contribution to first year ENGL120 Introduction to Literary Studies II: Critical Approaches to Literature, March 2005
· Tutor, Online Writers’ Workshop, online workshop in the trAce Online Writing School

· Adventure Island: Writing Workshop for Year 10, Foxford School, Coventry, December 2004
· TextLab – Writers for the Future residential workshop, trAce Online Writing Centre Nottingham, November 2004
· MA Core session 15th November
· Speaker, NAWE National Conference, York, October 2004
· Season of Inspiration, 6-week online course in the trAce Online Writing School, with Sharon Rundle, Aug-Sep 2004
· Chair (Teachers’ Seminar), Panel Chair, Conference committee member, Incubation Symposium on Writing and the Internet, Nottingham, July 2004
· Online Writers’ Workshop, 6 weeks online workshop in the trAce Online Writing School, with Sharon Rundle
· Invited lecturer, Creative Writing Module (First Year), Faculty of Art & Design, Nottingham Trent University, February 2004

· Tutor, Arvon Foundation: Creative Writing for the Internet, December 2003
· Web Writers' Day, Channel 4 Ideasfactory, Glasgow, UK (one day), December 2003
· Tutorial, Is it literature? Is it art? How artists and writers use hypertext, hypermedia and associative navigation to create new avenues for expression. Hypertext '03, Nottingham, UK (half day), August 2003
· Kids on the Net presentation, South West ICT Teachers' Conference Bristol 16-Jul-03
· Invited lecturer, Creative Writing Module (First Year), Faculty of Art & Design, Nottingham Trent University, March 2003
· Workshop, Action for Children's Arts Conference, March 2003

· “Crime Online”, presented at the SOLON Who Dunnit? Conference 11-13th September 2002
· Commissioned columnist, "Off The Page", Radio 4, September 2002
· Panel Chair, Conference committee member, Incubation Symposium on Writing and the Internet, Nottingham, July 2002
· A View of Leicester: 6 workshops including one online for Everybody’s Reading Leicester project, Spring 2002
· Panel member "Accessibility and Diversity", and Web Warp & Weft shown in the Gallery, of ELO State of the Arts Symposium, Los Angeles, USA, April 2002

· “Learning Lessons: The first six months of using WebCT for exclusively online writing courses”, WebCT user conference, 10–12 December 2001
· Speaker, NTU E-innovation symposium 7th December 2001
· Writing Online, workshop, Cheltenham Festival of Literature, October 2001
· Tutor, Arvon Foundation: Creative Writing for the Internet, August 2001
· WebCT User Forum 4 July 2001
· “Online creativity: What can the Web do for you to help you learn creative thinking and develop skills?” Roffey Park Management Institute, Horsham, Sussex, UK (half-day workshop) July 2001
· “Learning at Length: Elements of designing courses for the exclusively Distance Learner at the trAce Online Writing School” NTU Learning and Teaching conference, April 2001

· Cyberfest organiser, Cheltenham Festival of Literature, October 2000 The Internet For Writers , including An Introduction to the Internet for Writers, a summary of Collaborating and Workshopping on the Internet, and a discussion of New Forms of Writing on the Web.
· “Online Creative Practice: Appreciation, Participation and Web-Literacy”; Panel session by Sue Thomas, Helen Whitehead and Elizabeth James at Digital Resources for the Humanities, Sheffield, UK, September 2000
· Tutor, Arvon Foundation: Writing for the Internet, August 2000
· Presentation at Incubation Conference on Writing and the Internet, Nottingham, UK, July 2000
· Panellist, Hypertext ’02, San Antonio, TX, USA, June 2000
· “Creativity, Collaboration, Collective Learning”, at Computers and Writing Conference, Fort Worth, Texas, USA. Also “Some techniques for working with children to produce creative writing on the Web”, part of a panel presentation, “Of Carpets and Kids, 1000 Collaborators” May 2000
· The trAce Online Writing Community: Some aspects of writers online, given at
Creative Writing, Sheffield Hallam University, UK, April 2000
· Creative Collaboration: Some techniques for working with children to produce writing on the Web. For Stories From the Web, Birmingham Libraries (one day) March 2000

· “Thinking in hypertext” and web writing workshop, Keystroke, for DA2, Bristol
· Creativity on the Internet for artists and teachers: Croydon Arts Education
· Black Writers and Readers Introduction to the Internet (Nottingham)

· Derbyshire Libraries: Introduction to the Internet for Writers (in 8 libraries)
· Nottinghamshire Readers and Writers Day: Introduction to the Internet
· Introduction to writing on the Internet for schools (INSET)

· (trAce workshops for writers) Writing Hypertext, MOOing, Collaboration and Workshopping on the Web
· National Association of Writers in Education, lecture on writing for the Internet

Project management

1996-date: Kids on the Net
Spring 2004 Project Manager, Farewell to Margaret Glen-Bott (for Creative Partnerships)
2003-2004 Assistant Project Manager, Writers for the Future (NESTA funding)
2002-2003 Assistant Project Manager, project development (NESTA)
2000 Assistant Project Manager, Migrating Memories (European Culture 2000)

Print writing

Book chapter
‘Communicating Online in text’ in As Others See Us: selected essays in human communication, ed. by Philip Hills (Norfolk, UK: Peter Francis Publishers 2004) pp 142-159

Book (Editor)
Whitehead, Helen & Byrne, Sue (eds.), Farewell to Margaret Glen-Bott, (Nottingham, trAce 2004) for Creative Partnerships, Nottingham


Society of Authors
Association for Learning Technology

Contracts and Employment

Learning Technology Developer, Project Adelie
Beyond Distance Research Alliance, University of Leicester

Adelie (Advanced Dsign for E-Learning, Institutional Embedding) is a Pathfinder project funded by the HEA. The e-learning benchmarking pilot at University of Leicester identified two key challenges associated with building capacity among university teachers:

* designing for e-, m- and blended learning;
* teaching online with and through student activities.

Adelie aims to support development in these areas across the University. Adelie website

E-Learning Facilitator
National College for School Leadership, Nottingham

Part of a team providing specialist elearning consultancy within the College, in the context of programmes of fully blended learning. Instructional design including evaluation and redesign of learning materials. Support of users and those setting up new learning communities (including important partners and stakeholders), including by writing user guides and developing and teaching training courses for online learners and tutors particularly in content development and elearning facilitation. Liaison with technical experts and elearning developers: creating an overview of elearning development in the College in the context of commissioning.

fulltime contract September 05-August 06

Manager (Education and Training), trace Online Writing Centre, Nottingham Trent University

I worked for trAce freelance as Editor of Kids on the Net and an IT trainer from February 1998, gradually taking over more responsibility for training and community projects, and working with writers to develop their online skills.

In Nov 00 I became employed as Website Editor. My duties included writing and updating copy, creating and maintaining web pages, managing contributions, page layout and development, including some cold fusion programming. I managed a part-time editorial assistant. I helped set up the Writing School and continued to develop Kids on the Net.

As Manager (Education and Training) I was responsible for project management within education, training and community aspects of the work of trAce, particularly the trace Online Writing School and Kids on the Net. I liaised with sponsors and funders, external literature and arts bodies and commercial clients and partners. I managed a staff of freelance tutors, and an admin assistant, also occasional freelance editors, writers or designers, and, for a year, a full-time teacher-in-residence. I helped plan and deliver other trAce projects, including research, in association with the trAce team.

I edited the websites for Kids on the Net and the eTeachers’ Portal (and still do) and the trAce Online Writing School and the main trAce website. I was responsible for the Writing School’s elearning policies, including choosing and administering its Virtual Learning Environment. I trained and supported our online tutors. I taught and continue to teach occasional online courses in writing. I was a member of the University’s expert elearning team and compiled a major resource on Content and Copyright in Elearning for the University. I assisted in archiving the trAce website, specifying and creating XML metadata.

February 1998-August 2005 (various contracts)

Self-employed writer, editor and IT trainer

May 1989 - November 2003


I wrote user manuals, computer-based training materials, courseware and associated publicity materials. One of my self-paced elearning courses was distributed with every BBC Acorn computer sold for over a year.


I wrote and delivered short courses in word-processing, searching online databases, DTP, writing on the Internet, new media writing, writing for the Web.
I taught three week-long residential courses on Writing for the Internet for the Arvon Foundation.

Copywriting/Technical Writing/Commercial Editing

I worked both directly for companies and through agencies on projects including advertising, marketing and publicity materials in a variety of industries, for clients ranging from Experian and Seafish to family solicitors and small graphic design houses. I produced adverts, leaflets, newsletters and manuals for the computer industry.

Print Publishing

I worked as writer, editor and/or proofreader for a variety of clients in the publishing industry (educational, scientific and academic) including The Royal Society of Chemistry, Chapman and Hall, John Murray, Stanley Thornes (now Nelson Thornes), Headline Communication, Elsevier Science Publishers, John Wiley and Rapid Science Publishers.

The Royal Society of Chemistry, Nottingham (now Cambridge)
Senior Information Scientist (Analytical Abstracts)

I carried out production work on this academic abstract journal, involving abstracting, copyediting, and proofreading.

I was responsible for aspects of marketing including writing customer documentation (using a DTP system), attending trade shows as an exhibitor, giving presentations and running training workshops in online searching techniques.

I was coordinator of the online database equivalent of the journal, involving development work and liaison with the computer department and online hosts. I operated a telephone Help Desk for users of the online database.

Creative Digital Writing

Accessible via helenwhitehead.com

Online writing projects

Farewell to Margaret Glen-Bott
Commissioned by Creative Partnerships, producing an online quilt and book of memories of the school before its closure. Included workshops with staff and pupils and online submission by former staff and pupils. Mar-July 2004

Daisy and the Intergalactic Travelling Salesmen
(with Jamila Gavin) Commissioned for the 1999 Cheltenham Festival of Literature. A website story written with classes from 26 schools in the UK, USA and Australia. October 1999.

Kids on the Net
a trAce interactive website for children with contributors and participants (writers and children) worldwide. From May 1998 to date.