Sir Tim OShea

Education visionary joins leading EdTech firm as Academic Advisor

  • Education pioneer Sir Timothy O’Shea – known for applying artificial intelligence to learning – takes up an advisory position with digital platform Kortext.
  • The former principal of the University of Edinburgh has led tech advances in Higher Education since 1970.
  • Sir Tim is excited by the opportunity for EdTech to greatly increase opportunities for disadvantaged students to attend some of the world’s most elite universities.

(Wednesday 31th March, 2021) Today, Kortext, the leading EdTech provider, announces that it has appointed Sir Timothy O’Shea as Academic Advisor, to advise on strategy and policy.

The former University of Edinburgh principal has been at the forefront of technology advances in Higher Education since the early 1970’s. He notably founded and led the Open University’s digital learning capabilities for over 19 years and more recently positioned Edinburgh as the UK’s strongest university in the domain of online learning.

James Gray, CEO of Kortext said:

Sir Tim’s stellar career at the cutting edge of educational technology is unrivalled. Even after all he has achieved in revolutionising the way university education is delivered around the world, he has more to give and we’re glad that he’s joining forces with us to make change happen.

The education sector has transformed so much over the past year and we’ve seen some great examples of how technology can help educators teach and inspire students without traditional restrictions of time, place, and resources. We hope that the sector continues to build on that momentum and revolutionises how it educates students in more personalised and engaging ways.


Those challenges require insight and vision, direction and assuredness and that’s why we are so delighted to welcome the UK’s most important influencer in contemporary EdTech to Kortext. With Sir Tim’s appointment, we are even better placed to listen to the sector’s demands, and deliver a learning platform that meets the challenges of 2021 and beyond.

Sir Tim O’Shea said of his appointment:

I am very excited by the capacity the Kortext learning platform has to address some fundamental and long-standing challenges we face in our sector, including making it possible for many more students from disadvantaged backgrounds to get into Russell Group and Ivy League universities.

If we look beyond education, people are starting to realise how combining better technology and data with talented and passionate people can make an organization excel. And it’s this commitment to developing technology that partners rather than replaces people that I find so inspiring about the Kortext platform.

For example, the digital nature of eTextbooks mean educators can see who is falling behind with their reading, and specifically identify where students are losing motivation. This means we can provide personalised support in real-time to those that need it, and review our own teaching by knowing where our existing lessons are failing to inspire.

I’m also drawn to Kortext’s vision for a more connected world of education. If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that change can be challenging, but always offers opportunities to make the future better.

After all, what’s to stop a student in Syria from earning a degree from Oxford without leaving their country? Why should universities limit their vision, when they can run digital learning exchanges with other institutions around the world, and bring new ideas and experiences to their own students? I’m excited to be working with Kortext on how we adapt as a sector to that new world.”


About Sir Timothy O’Shea

Sir Timothy O’Shea’s stellar academic career spans six decades, and has seen him take up research and leadership roles in prestigious universities, including 16 years as Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh.

Known as one of the most important influences in contemporary educational technology, Tim received his PhD for the application of machine learning to a computer tutor for mathematics. He then spent 19 years founding and revolutionising digital learning for the Open University, where he became Pro-Vice-Chancellor before leaving to become Master of Birkbeck, Provost of Gresham and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of London.

His expertise spans mathematics, experimental psychology, computer based learning, and artificial intelligence, and his academic output includes ten books, 22 BBC television programmes, and over 100 journal articles.

Tim has just stepped down after 9 years as Chair of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and he continues to serve on the Governing Council of the University of the People which provides online learning for refugees and asylum seekers around the world.

He was knighted in 2008 for his contribution to the education sector.


About Kortext

Kortext is the UK’s leading digital textbook and learning platform, providing access to over a million digital textbooks from over 4000 publishers such as Pearson, McGraw Hill and Wiley.

Rather than being just a simple eReader, the Kortext platform provides an enhanced learning experience, with access to powerful study tools that are highly valued by students. Meanwhile, the platform’s insightful learning analytics helps educators deliver more personalised student support, providing universities with better student outcomes and enhanced reputations.

Kortext is the eTextbook platform of choice for over 100 UK HE institutions including Said Business School Oxford and the Universities of Manchester, Exeter, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Aston and Middlesex.

Outside of the UK Kortext reaches a further 80 countries in establishments such as Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport, Egypt and British University Vietnam.