About Us

The New Curiosity Shop was established in 2003 to provide high quality online courses in a wide range of topics. We encourage learning for the pleasure of learning, and our short courses are designed to stimulate thinking, provoke questions and provide opportunities for our students to explore ideas.

Now we are taking the next natural step and bringing our philosophy into epublishing. Take a look at our first books to appear under the Curious About banner here.

Who is behind the New Curiosity Shop?

No conglomerates, corporates or multi-million dollar industry backing here. The New Curiosity Shop is the brain child of two Edinburgh educationalists, both of whom have a passion for learning, an appreciation of the technology and a desire to change attitudes in a world moving far too quickly for its own good.

They are:

Noel Chidwick and Dr W Arthur Chapman

noelNoel has many years experience in developing online learning in many guises. Before setting up the New Curiosity Shop with Arthur he was a senior lecturer in an Edinburgh College, in ICT in the Curriculum.

He created Scotland’s Virtual College, the first virtual learning environment (before the phrase was invented!) in Scottish Further Education. He was seconded to Learning and Teaching Scotland where he ran many workshops and conferences on online learning at all levels: school, FE and HE. He has also been a consultant to the Scottish Further Education Unit where he researched and developed models for online learning.

Noel has written a number of papers and made many presentations on the theme of online learning.

To relax, Noel writes short stories based on the foibles of his favourite city of Edinburgh (available in ebook format from our Books catalogue ), and is singer-songwriter with Painted Ocean.


arthurArthur taught computing for twenty years from 1984. Before setting up the New Curiosity Shop with Noel he was a senior lecturer at the same Edinburgh College where he was Course Team Leader for the HNC and HND Computing courses. He has had many years experience as an online tutor and online course developer. He has written two popular books on Programming in C and C++.

Prior to taking up FE lecturing he carried out research in atmospheric physics at Heriot Watt University. Whilst studying physics for his first degree he was introduced to the Two Cultures by C P Snow which encouraged him to develop his interest in the arts and, in particular, question the widening

gap between science and the humanities. After completing his PhD he studied with the Open University, taking courses in the humanities where he continued to develop his interest in philosophy. His experience as an open learning student has provided valuable insights into this aspect of learning and how it extends to online learning.

markWe are also joined by Dr Mark Toner, who has supported The New Curiosity Shop for many years as a tutor, course developer, sounding board and editor. He is an Astronomer by training and choice and is a mean comic artist. He too plays and sings in Painted Ocean




What they Say…

You can read some of the great things folk have said about us on our Page of Testimonials

The New Curiosity Shop is registered with the UK Register of Learning Providers UKPRN Number 10012076