Meet the Subject Specialists’ Digital Practice team!

We provide direct support to education institutions right across the UK on transforming practice through the use of technology. A typical day for us might include providing advice and guidance to Jisc members over the phone, delivering training face to face or online or acting as consultants on members’ change projects. We also spend a lot of time speaking at conferences and other events.

We use this blog to share what we’re thinking, what we’re up to and what we’ve discovered. A lot of this is work in progress so we’d love to get your input. Please comment on our posts. If you want us to help you directly then you can either talk to your Jisc Account Manager if you’re a member or call the Jisc contact centre.

Chris ThomsonChris (team leader) – I’ve worked in the field of education technology since 2005. Before joining this team I was a consultant trainer at Netskills and before that I supported a partnership of schools in Sheffield in developing elearning. In the distant past I studied Geography at St Andrews (and nearly became a teacher – long story) so I’m naturally interested in digital mapping  but you can also talk to me about digital storytelling and other creative uses of technology. I’m quite active on Twitter.

Pic of Esther Barrett

Esther (programme lead, Wales)Having trained as an English teacher, I realised the power of technology to support learning providers when I became an eLearning advisor supporting the ACL and voluntary sectors in Wales. Now I focus on teaching, learning and assessment working across the tertiary sectors in the UK. My main interests are in digital literacy / capability development, engaging blended learning tools and techniques, coaching and neurodiversity. I sometimes share interesting stuff on Twitter.

John Sumpter

John (leadership) I have fifteen years experience of digital pedagogy, strategy, and implementation working across a variety of sectors including business delivery and education. I have led teams and worked at a senior level to successfully scope, design and deliver many high-quality learning and development activities that utilise blended and distance learning approaches. These experiences have incorporated technology appropriately to enhance inclusivity while ensuring barriers to learning remain low.


Lis (libraries and learning resources) I’m subject specialist for libraries and digital resources. I’ve worked in and around Jisc and libraries in HE, FE and research for 30 years, in a variety of roles. I’m particularly interested in how digital technology can help improve and enrich library and learning resources services for students. I joined the student experience team in late 2016 and this has given me a chance to renew my longstanding interest in digital capability for libraries. One of the highlights of my job is travelling the country, discovering the ways that libraries constantly reinvent themselves (often with technology) and sharing these on Twitter @lisparcell.

Scott - informal

Scott (online learning) I initially studied Classics and Philosophy in Wales, so although I have a passion for technology I also enjoy exploring the ruins of ancient Greece and Rome (sometimes without wifi – can I say that?!). After university I started my career as a librarian and later moved into teaching on a variety of education and IT related subject areas.  My main interests include areas such as digital capability, online delivery and social media to bring communities together (I blog here too and you can also catch up with me on Twitter).

Zac Gribble
Zac Gribble

Zac (platforms) – I’ve worked in HE for over 10 years as a developer and leader in eLearning before joining Jisc.  From working with students through to senior management, my passion for digital tools and user/student experience has played a huge role in this adventure.  I’m a big user of technology in music as well as learning, design and developing.  I’m just as happy to chat about sounds, microphones and hearing through spine  conductivity for drummers!

Debbie (digital leadership) – I’ve worked in HE for over 25 years with a background in learning technology and the student and staff experience. I’m a part-time PhD Student in E-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning and my research interests include social support & wellbeing in social network sites. I am a keen sketchnoter and enthusiastic about open digital badges. I’m on twitter @debbaff

Pic of Cathie Evans

Cathie (digital pedagogy, Wales) – I have worked in further education for 20 years and have a passion for digital pedagogy. I have taught a variety of subjects, but my favourite has always been “teaching how to teach”. My previous roles have included supporting teaching practitioners to develop their pedagogical skills including their blended/online delivery. I now focus on digital teaching, learning and assessment primarily in Wales. You can find me on Twitter.


Blog header image: UFV Graphic and Digital Design program by University of the Fraser Valley CC-BY 2.0