Michael Heron
Title: Dr
First Name: Michael
Surname: Heron
Position: Lecturer
Telephone: +44 (0) 1224 262710

Duties and Responsibilities

Michael is the course leader for the following modules:  CM1021 (Software Design and Development for Digital Media), CM3026 (User Centered Design), and CM4021 (Games Development for the iPhone).

He is  an active researcher within the school, working primarily with colleagues within and without the school on social media analysis for politics and young engagement. 

Previous work on that topic has focused on the Scottish Independence Referendum, and youth engagement with the 2015 General Election

Academic Background

Michael has developed, designed and led (or team-led) modules in the various topics pitched at all parts of the higher and further education curriculum.  He has been involved in all aspects from the level of Scottish Higher to taught Masters.

My main teaching experience is in the areas of programming and software engineering with a focus on object orientation and event driven programming.  Languages for which I have developed courses include Java, C#, Visual Basic .NET, PHP, C, C++, Javascript, jQuery and Dalvik on Android.

He also has considerable experience in delivering modules on architectural issues of software engineering such as UML, systems analysis and design, component based programming, distributed architectures and UML.  Along with this he has developed modules on project management and agile methodologies.

In addition to this, he has much experience in developing content in the ‘softer’ topics such as professional issues, ethical issues and legal issues relating to computing. He has similarly developed and taught modules on issues of human computer interaction, accessibility and user interface design.

Several dozen of my lectures are available for viewing over at

Over the years he has worked as a teaching assistant, teaching fellow, lecturer or senior lecturer at the University of Abertay Dundee; what was then called Edinburgh's Telford College; the University of Dundee; Canterbury Christ Church University; and Robert Gordon University.

Research Interests

His primary research interests are in accessibility, computer games, and accessibility in computer games.  He believes inclusivity in technology to be one of the most important elements for ensuring that all members of society can participate equally within the emerging digital economy, and that lack of access to technology can be stigmatizing, especially when considering younger individuals and entertainment technology (Heron, 2012; Vickers, Istance and Heron, 2013). He is also an academic critic of video games, with some of my thoughts outlined in Heron (2015a); Heron and Belford (2015a); Heron and Belford (2014b) and Heron and Belford (2014c).

Linked to this is an ongoing interest in computer ethics, social responsibility, and professional issues. His work on that topic can be found, in part, in Heron and Belford (2014a), Heron and Belford (2015b), Heron and Belford (2015c) and Heron and Belford (2015d). Much of my work in other areas includes a strong dose of ethic and moral investigation even when it is not the primary focus.

Current Research

HIs current research focuses on expanding the technical framework described in Heron (2011) and Heron, Hanson and Ricketts (2013a, 2013b, 2013c) to include more streams of input and more configuration choices over more operating systems and contexts.  

He is also investigating issues of accessibility within modern game development, ethics and professional issues within computer science.  He is also investigating the potential of text-based systems to offer genuinely accessible environments for gameplay (Heron, 2015b; Spiel, Bertel & Heron, 2014; Heron, 2013; Heron and Townsend, 2013).

Professional Memberships

  • ACM - Association of Computer Machinery
  • DiGRA - Digital Games Research Association
  • IGDA - International Game Developers Association

External / Professional Roles

  • Editorial board of the Computer Games Journal
  • Reviewer panel for the Journal of Games Criticism
  • Principal Examiner for the National Computer Centre


  • Heron, M.J., Belford, P. (2015d). Musings on Misconduct: A Practitioner Reflection of the Ethical Investigation of Plagiarism within Programming Modules. Computers and Society. 45 (3). ACM, New York. P438-p444.
  • Heron, M.J., Belford, P. (2015c). A Practitioner's Reflection on Teaching Computer Ethics with Case Studies and Psychology.  Brooks' eJournal of Learning and Teaching.  7 (1).  Oxford Broooks, Oxford. [Available online at].
  • Heron, M.J., Belford, P. (2015b). Power and Perception in the Scandal in Academia. Computers and Society. 45 (2). ACM, New York. [Available online from
  • Heron, M.J. (2015b).  A Case Study Into the Accessibility of Text-Parser Based Interaction. The Seventh ACM SIGHCI Symposium on Engineering Interactive Computing Systems. Duisburg, Germany. [Available online at].
  • Heron, M.J. (2015a).  Everybody's Talking About Pop Music:  the Evolution of the Cinematic Video Game.  The Computer Games Journal.  Scotland. [Available online from]
  • Heron, M.J., Belford, P.  (2015a).  All of your Co-Workers are Gone:    Story, Substance, and the Empathic Puzzler.  The Journal of Games Criticism. 2 (1). United States. [Available online at]
  • Heron, M.J., Belford, P., Goker, A. (2014).  Sexism in the Circuitry: Female Participation in Male Dominated Popular Computer Culture. Computers and Society. 44 (4). ACM, New York.  [Available online at]
  • Heron, M.J., Belford, P. (2014a).  Ethics in Context: A Scandal in Academia.  Computers and Society.  44 (2). ACM, New York.  [Available online at]
  • Heron, M.J., Belford, P. (2014b). Do You Feel Like A Hero Yet?  Externalised Morality in Video Games.  The Journal of Game Criticism.  1(2).  United States.  [Available online at]
  • Heron, M.J., Belford, P. (2014c). It’s Only A Game: Ethics, Empathy and Identification in Game Morality Systems. The Computer Games Journal. 3(1). Scotland.
  • Spiel, K., Bertel, S., Heron, M.J. (2014).  Navigation and Immersion of Blind Players in Text-Based Games.  The Computer Games Journal 3 (2a).  pp. 132-154. 
  • Heron, M.J., Hanson, V.L, & Ricketts, I. (2013a). The Technical Design of the ACCESS Framework. The Fifth ACM SIGHCI Symposium on Engineering Interactive Computing Systems. London, England.
  • Townsend, J, Heron, M.J. (2013). Authorship and Autership in the Collaborative Development Process of Text-Based Games. Chercher le Text: Locating the Text in Electronic Literature. Paris, France. [Available online at]
  • Heron, M.J., Hanson, V.L, & Ricketts, I. (2013b). Accessibility Support for Older Adults with the ACCESS Framework. The International Journal of Human Computer Interaction. Seattle, Washington. [Available online at]
  • Heron, M.J., Hanson, V.L, & Ricketts, I. (2013c). Open Source and Accessibility: Advantages and Limitations. The Journal of Interaction Science. 1(1). Cambridge, England. [Available online at]
  • Heron, M.J (2013). Likely to be Eaten by a Grue. The Computer Games Journal. 2(1), Scotland. 
  • Vickers, S., Istance, H., Heron, M.J. (2013). Accessible Gaming for People with Physical and Cognitive Disabilities: A Framework for Dynamic Adaptation. Conference of Human Computer Interaction 2013. Seattle, Washington. 
  • Heron, M.J (2012). Inaccessible Through Oversight: The Need for Inclusive Game Design. The Computer Games Journal 1(1). Glasgow, Scotland. [Available online at
  • Heron, M.J., Hanson, V., & Ricketts, I. (2011). Accessibility Support with the ACCESS Framework. Digital Engagement ’11. Newcastle, United Kingdom.
  • Heron, M.J. (2011). The ACCESS Framework: Reinforcement Learning for Accessibility and Cognitive Support for Older Adults (Doctoral dissertation). [Available online at]
  • Heron, M.J. & Bown, J. (2003). Searching Trait Space. Poster session presented at the European Conference on Artificial Life ’03. Dortmund, Germany.