KMi Celebration

20 Years of Knowledge Media - Looking ahead

On Wednesday, May 20th we reflected on how far we've come as a lab and discussed what's next for Knowledge Media. We were joined by guests and former colleagues from a range of academic institutions to celebrate this wonderful milestone for KMi. The event was opened by the OU's new Vice Chancellor, Peter Horrocks and special guests included some of KMi's founders: Marc Eisenstadt, Tom Vincent and Kitty Chisholm.

Guest speakers reminisced over the achievements of the lab over the years and looked to the future. The talks concluded with a panel discussion, chaired by John Domingue KMi's Director-designate, on the future of Knowledge Media. Next, our Master of Ceremonies, Enrico Motta steered everyone to the Library for a buzzing exhibition of our current hot projects.

Watch the replay

Vice-Chancellor Peter Horrocks

Sir John Daniel

Professors Marc Eisenstadt and Tom Vincent

Professor Peter Scott

Prof Frank van Harmelen

Prof Dr Marcus Specht

What Next for Knowledge Media

View all videos uploaded to our YouTube channel

Photos from the event

The Founders Return

Professor Marc Eisenstadt

Professor Marc Eisenstadt
"Loop: Get great resources, attract great people, do great work together, repeat. It was my good fortune to stumble upon the resources and the people, and then things started happening..."

Marc Eisenstadt co-founded KMi in 1994 with Tom Vincent and Kitty Chisholm, served as KMi Director until 2000 and became Chief Scientist until his retirement in 2007.

Professor Tom Vincent MBE

Dr. Tom Vincent MBE

Tom Vincent headed the Multimedia Enabling Technologies Group (METG). The focus of METG's research was on applications of information technology for teaching and learning that drew on innovations in multimedia and enabling technologies. A central theme of this work was the use of technology to address the individual learning needs of students with physical, sensory or learning disabilities.

Lady Kitty Chisholm

Lady (Kitty) Chisholm

Lady Kitty Chisholm was the Director of Development at The Open University when she helped to bring KMi into existence.

She was involved in pioneering work in corporate learning with the Open University. She is now Director of Boardwalk Leadership, a boutique research and training company specialising in women in leadership. Kitty has just co-published a book on Neuroscience for Leadership.

Special Guests

Peter Horrocks

Vice-Chancellor of The Open University Peter Horrocks, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University
"I have seen first-hand the transformative power of learning around the world, especially when coupled with technology. The Open University has been making a life-changing difference to hundreds of thousands of people by providing them, through distance learning, with an education that may otherwise have been unattainable."

Peter Horrocks is the new Vice-Chancellor of The Open University.

He joins the OU from the BBC, where he was the Director of the World Service. During his time there he was responsible for overall editorial leadership of the international broadcasting arm of the corporation. He is also the chairman of the BBC Media Action Board of Trustees. In the course of his BBC career Mr Horrocks has been the Editor of both Newsnight and Panorama, the former leading to a BAFTA win in 1997. He went on to win another BAFTA in 2005 for producing the documentary series The Power of Nightmares.


Sir John Daniel

Vice Chancellor of The Open University (1990-2001) Sir John Daniel
"Throughout the history of education there has been an insidious link between quality and exclusivity in education... the good tidings is that technology has shown that it can break that insidious link once and for all."

Sir John Daniel was the Vice Chancellor of The Open University between 1990 - 2001 and was instrumental in setting up KMi in 1995.

His career has taken him on a variety of international appointments and the three countries where he has lived and worked the longest have recognised his contributions with national honours.

He now works on various international projects: as Education Master in the Beijing DeTao Masters Academy, China; Senior Advisor to Academic Partnerships International; and Chair, pro bono, of the UWC (United World Colleges) International Board.

Professor Marcus Specht

Prof. Dr. Marcus Specht

Prof. Dr. Marcus Specht is Professor for Advanced Learning Technologies and Chairman of the Welten Institute (Research Center for Learning, Teaching and Technology) at the Open University of the Netherlands and director oft the Learning Innovation Labs. He received his Diploma in Psychology in 1995 and a Dissertation from the University of Trier in 1998 on adaptive information technology. From 2001 he headed the department "Mobile Knowledge" at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT). His research focus is on Mobile and Contextualized Learning Technologies and Social and Immersive Media for Learning. Prof. Specht is an Apple Distinguished Educator and since 2013 President of the International Association of Mobile Learning.


Professor Frank van Harmelen

Professor Frank van Harmelen

Frank van Harmelen is a Professor in Knowledge Representation and Reasoning in the Computer Science department (Faculty of Science) at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. After studying mathematics and computer science in Amsterdam, he moved to the Department of AI in Edinburgh, where he was awarded a PhD in 1989 for his research on meta-level reasoning. While in Edinburgh, he co-developed a logic-based toolkit for expert systems, and worked with Prof. Alan Bundy on proof planning for inductive theorem proving. After his PhD research, he moved back to Amsterdam where he worked from 1990 to 1995 in the SWI Department under Prof. Wielinga, on the use of reflection in expert systems, on the formal underpinnings of the CommonKADS methodology for Knowledge-Based Systems. In 1995 he joined the AI research group at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, where he leads the Knowledge Representation and Reasoning Group.


Time Speaker
14:00 Peter Horrocks
14:10 John Daniel - The Open University and Knowledge Media: Pioneering Progress and Institutionalising Innovation
14:35 Marc Eisenstadt - KMi's Secret Sauce
15:00 Peter Scott - A state of the art
15:25 Refreshment break
15:50 Frank van Harmelen - "A dance of theory and practice"
16:15 Marcus Specht - Chaos and Structure in Technology Enhanced Learning

Panel - What next for Knowledge Media?

Chair: John Domingue
John Daniel, Marc Eisenstadt, Frank van Harmelen and Marcus Specht
17:25 Closing Address
17:30 Exhibition and Refreshments in the OU Library
19:00 Close



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Knowledge Media Institute
The Open University
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