About Viv

Dr Vivien Rolfe, BSc, PhD, PFHEA, National Teaching Fellow

Up to date list of papers and conference presentations –> http://vivrolfe.com/books-and-publications/


Viv Rolfe


Dr Viv Rolfe is an open educator and Director of a number of open educational resource projects (VAL, SCOOTER and BIOLOGY COURSES). She presently works at the University of the West of England and previously at De Montfort University in Leicester where much of her open education work began. As an academic, her background is in intestinal physiology, which might figure for why she doesn’t get invited to dinner parties very much.

As a researcher, Viv has won several awards for her work. Her PhD attained at the University of Sheffield enabled her to study physiological processes of diarrhoeal disease. In gaining a Research Fellowship at the Institute of Child Health in London, she looked at novel fish oil therapy for inflammatory bowel disease in children, and used fluorescent confocal microscope techniques for filming the absorptive processes in the colon. In this time she was awarded the Glaxo Wellcome Young Investigator Award, UK Physiological Society (1997) and AP Mowat Young Investigator Award, British Society of Gastroenterology (1996).

Colon Surface with BODIPY

This is the surface of the colon (large intestine) that is “live” in an incubation chamber so we can study its properties. The colon is stained with BODIPY phalloidin, a red fluorescent dye, that stains the cell’s own skeleton – called the cytoskeleton. In this photograph we are looking down onto the openings of four crypts of Lieberkuhn, which are  glands in the colon that absorb water. (The colon is a bit of a salvage yard, taking up left over nutrients and water from the faeces). The BODIPY dye also lets us see the individual epithelial cells (the cells outlined in yellow) in amazing detail.

After London, she worked as animal nutritionist for Mars Inc, Pedigree Petfoods Division. Her research explored novel functional ingredients and their beneficial effects on pet health. At this time her life began to be taken over by springer spaniels. Below is Spike.


Transition to open educator

Viv describes herself now as an open educator. She is Director of three open educational resource (OER) projects sharing science resources with global communities. Through this work she has been dedicated to supporting others as reflected in professional awards – a UK National Teaching Fellowship (2012) and Principal Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (2015). She was also recognised in the Jisc Social Media Influencers Top 50 list in 2015.

Her move from science research to open education began in 2003 at the University of Nottingham where she joined the School of Nursing Education Technology Group to make instructional multimedia resources for nursing students. The resources are now part of the HELM website and are openly licensed. In her next position at De Montfort University she took on the role of Faculty Technology Coordinator and supported staff in using tech in their teaching practice. Through developing her technology expertise and critical thinking she gained a University Teaching Fellowship (2008) – go to the animated showcase – and also was awarded the title  Learning Technologist of the Year as awarded by the Association of Learning Technology jointly with James Clay (2009).

Championing open education nationally and internationally

She passionate about the concept of opening the doors to education to enable teachers to enhance their practice, and to provide opportunities to those wishing to study or simply enquire more about a subject. She directs three OER projects that are well visited globally, and other national work includes:

5 thoughts on “About Viv

  1. Dear Vivian,

    I am writing to request that you update your Cochrane review on probiotics for maintenance of remission in Crohn’s disease. Are you able to update this review?

    This review was originally published in Issue 4, 2006 and Cochrane policy stipulates that review should be updated every two years. Ideally we should get an update done as soon as reasonably possible as the review has not been updated in seven years. We can provide assistance with the literature search if that would be helpful. We can run the searches for you and send you the results.

    The update could be as simple as running a new search that doesn’t identify any new studies. However, if the search does identify new studies these would need to be added to the review and the results, discussion and conclusions would need to be revised as appropriate.

    At this stage it would be most helpful if we could agree upon a future date when the updated searches will be run and then we can then negotiate when the draft updated review will be due at the editorial office.

    I look forward to your response. Many thanks.

    Kind regards,


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