About James Clay

More about James…

James Clay is and has been passionate about the use of learning technologies to enhance and enrich the learning experience since 1991. He has used, developed, managed and inspired others in a range of technologies, from DTP, CD-ROM, mobile devices, the internet, the VLE, the MLE, mobile learning through to Web 2.0, IoT, AI and analytics.

James is Jisc’s Head of Higher Education and Student Experience, he coordinates Jisc’s overall strategy for HE learning, teaching and student experience and has lead responsibility for promoting the total programme and value and impact of all HE learning, teaching and student experience products and services delivered by Jisc.

He leads the ongoing review of Jisc’s HE learning and teaching strategy, positioning this work within the organisation’s overall strategy and he ensures that Jisc’s portfolio of activity in this area remains in line with Jisc’s HE learning and teaching priorities, working closely with colleagues to develop Jisc’s understanding of the value and impact of all of our HE learning, teaching and student experience activities.

As the Head of Higher Education and Student Experience, he is also responsible for framing how current and future challenges in this area can be resolved by technological innovation and translating the key insights into actionable innovation pipelines that deliver real impact. He manages the monitoring of national and regional HE learning, teaching and student experience customer and funder priorities, and works with Jisc account managers to examine the value ascribed by customers to Jisc products and services in this area, the join up of intelligence from funders and customers and the internal sharing of this, as appropriate.

He also manages the process of directorates identifying and mapping operational activities to our HE learning, teaching and student experience priorities, and the tracking and measuring of impact, highlighting gaps, challenging work if it is not aligned to priorities and identify emerging opportunities as these materialise.

Before he was Head of Higher Education and Student Experience, James was a Senior Co-Design Manager at Jisc. In this role he worked on various exciting and interesting things including, but not limited to: intelligent campus, next general virtual learning environments, digital leadership, staff development, bluetooth beacons and then some…

He was before this, the Group Director of IT and Learning Technologies at Activate Learning which incorporates City of Oxford College, Banbury & Bicester College and Reading College, where he was responsible for ILT, IT Services, Business Systems and Learning Resources.

Previously James was ILT & Learning Resources Manager at Gloucestershire College between November 2006 and August 2013. He was responsible for the VLE, the use of learning technologies, e-learning, mobile learning, the libraries, digital and online resources and the strategic direction of the college in relation to the use of learning technologies.

James has extensive experience of mobile learning and has a vision that goes beyond mobile technologies and focuses on the mobility of the learner, blurring the demarcation between formal and informal learning. His current vision for tertiary education encompasses the use of Web 2.0 technologies embedded into an institutional VLE which can be accessed through mobile technologies. Allowing learners a focal point for their studying, whilst allowing the depth and breadth of Web 2.0 to bring a personalised learning experience to students at a time and space to suit them. For the future, James hopes that institutions and others will allow for a flexible, personalised, accessible learning experience for all.

James Clay prior to that was Director of the Western Colleges Consortium from 2001 to 2006. As Director he is responsible for the management, strategic direction and development of e-learning using a shared MLE across the four partner FE Colleges of the WCC.

Before the WCC he worked for at-Bristol, a Millennium project within the Harbourside of central Bristol – a job which involved delivering hands-on science education and designing educational websites on subjects as diverse as handheld learning experiences, via Antiguan racer snakes, through space science to the mummification process of ancient Egyptians.

Prior to the above, James spent ten years in Further Education as a lecturer in Business & Economics, employing learning technologies. His resources and websites were used extensively by students and were praised by verifiers and inspectors.

If you are interested in talking to James, then please get in touch.


James contributed to e-books in libraries: a practical guide, with a chapter on the challenges and opportunities of the technology with using e-books.

Where do e-books come from and what are the key business models that support them? What needs to change before e-books become universally and easily used? What will the e-book landscape look like in 10 years time? How can you be sure you are building a good collection that your users can access easily? What about money and budgets? Questions such as these are answered in this timely book, the first of its kind to provide a practical appraisal of e-books. The book is divided in to five parts: * where do e-books come from? * planning and developing your e-book collection * delivering e-books to readers: the practicalities * engaging readers with e-books: hearts and minds * the future of e-books. This book is a ready reference source for any library and information professional with an interest in e-books and their development. It is essential background reading for librarians wishing to develop an e-book collection from scratch or for those responsible for maintaining an existing e-book collection. It will also have plenty to interest publishers who need to be aware of the issues faced by libraries managing e-book collections and will be of great value to students of librarianship and information studies, and on publishing related courses.

You can buy the book at Amazon

ALT Learning Technologist of the Year 2009

James Clay from Gloucestershire College was ALT Learning Technologist of the Year 2009 for his contribution to changing the College, which has become a leader and an exemplar in its use of learning technologies.

James Clay of Gloucestershire College commented, “I am honoured and privileged to win the Learning Technologist of the Year award from ALT. This award not only recognises the work I have undertaken at Gloucestershire College in enabling, embedding and promoting the use of learning technologies; it is also an award for all the staff and management at the college who use learning technologies effectively to enhance and enrich the learning experience.”


The Association for Learning Technology (ALT) Learning Technologist of the Year Award is now in its third year of operation. The Award is open to individual members of ALT, and to individuals and members based in ALT member organisations. The award celebrates and rewards excellent practice and learning in the learning technology field.

12 thoughts on “About James Clay”

  1. James likes to holiday in Norfolk. He is a lifelong fan of Norwich City Football Club, admirer or Delia Smith, and scholar of Alan Partridge. James is regarded by many as an honourary son of East Anglia.

  2. Hi James

    Just noticed on flikr a phtoto of Wilsden Primary getting thier award at the ceremony on Monday night.. may we please have a copy of that picture for our website.

    Mark Ellis ICT Consultant Education Bradford

  3. Hi Mark all my Flickr photographs are CC licensed for non-commerical use, so feel free to use the photo on your website with a link back to either my Flickr feed or this blog.



    1. Hi Mark,

      I have discovered your sketch notes from the Moving target conference at the end of last year. You made notes during my session on Critical Digital Literacy. Could I use them for a publication and reference you?

      Thank you for getting back to me.


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