Dr Matthew Nicholls

As an ancient historian, Dr Matthew Nicholls is particularly interested in researching and creating digital models of ancient Rome, its buildings and urban environment. He has developed this interest, in partnership with students, into unique award-winning undergraduate teaching.

Matthew has developed an international profile as a leader in digital visualisation and virtual reality for education. He has been recognised by the British Academy and works with universities and industry organisations around the world to drive forward the potential for inclusive, immersive digital visualisation.

Matthew is also Reading’s Director of Open Online Courses, leading a hugely successful programme of free MOOCs. This growing portfolio of online courses, in a wide range of subjects, has so far welcomed over 800,000 learners worldwide. He thoroughly enjoys the challenges of leading the development of these pedagogically diverse courses

Impact of work

Matthew’s work has had a tremendous impact, most directly on his own students but also on academic colleagues worldwide and on the commercial and heritage sectors. He is regarded as an international leader in technology-enhanced learning and visualization and regularly shares his teaching experience at Reading and in institutions around the world through lectures, seminars, blogs, workshops, and interactions with peers. Video presentations, like this one, increase the impact of his work.

His outreach and public work on ancient Rome has reached worldwide audiences in the millions through broadcast and publication, and is now the subject of a ground-breaking MOOC at Reading whose first run attracted around 13,000 learners and tens of thousands of interactions. 

His team’s work on the wider programme of MOOCs has enriched the lives of around 800,000 learners worldwide.

Plans for the future

Matthew looks forward to keeping pace with the fast-moving developments in visualisation and virtual reality hardware and software, bringing them into University education and disseminating his findings among peers and industry colleagues. As Director of Open Online Courses at Reading, he will continue to lead Reading’s highly successful venture in opening up excellent teaching to global audiences of learners, and helping lead the strategic development of this exciting new area across the University. 

Job title: 
Associate Professor, Ancient History
Institution or Organisation: 
University of Reading
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