8 May 2017
The Department of Educational Research celebrated the tenth anniversary of the PhD programme in e-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning in April 2017. Much has changed in those ten years, both in advances in digital technologies and in the international context in which all the Department’s study programmes operate.

The PhD programme in e-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning is open to anyone in the world wishing to develop their e-learning research and practice and, as with all our doctoral programmes, students come from the UK and overseas.  Doctoral researchers and our increasing number of alumni all work in a wide variety of educational contexts. 

The PhD in e-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning is an international programme, and this international focus will continue to be enabled in the future, despite recent events worldwide, including those that have raised concerns about the UK’s position. In case of any uncertainty, there is a strong commitment from all involved in this programme to ensure its international future.

What the future will hold in this respect is clearly of interest and important to us. International concerns have, since the outset of this programme shifted – opportunities and perspectives have been opened up by uses of digital technologies, and while we would all like to see these uses being deployed for positive purpose, unfortunately negative uses have undoubtedly shaped some of our current concerns about the future applications of technologies and will continue to shape our future positions in a number of ways. Having research in these fields is crucial and critical, and I am thankful to all those willing to take their time and commitment in doing this. While we have been able to support those who wish to research in this field, and while the last 10 years have seen our programme flourish, we cannot as a programme afford to be complacent. We will indeed need to look at emerging issues in the context of this programme, and engage with contemporary concerns such as big data, learning analytics, digital ethics, and blended learning.

On this tenth anniversary I would like to acknowledge the significant contributions made by the programme team both past and present, with Alice Jesmont (programme co-ordinator) playing a pivotal role from the outset.  The initial programme director in 2007 was David McConnell, who was followed in this role by Mike Reynolds and Mary Hamilton.  Gale Parchoma, Julie-Ann Sime, Steve Wright and Maria Zenios worked with David to establish the programme alongside Bob Kemp who taught on the programme until 2013.  Current teaching staff on the programme are Brett Bligh, Sue Cranmer, Kyungmee Lee, Murat Öztok, Don Passey and Julie-Ann Sime. The tutors are admirably supported by Alice Jesmont, and by Rebecca Marsden, the Online Learning Support Officer.