Structure and modules
The programme lasts a minimum of four years, and is divided into two parts. Part One consists of four compulsory modules aimed at offering you guided study in important and topical areas of technology enhanced learning and e-research. There will be two four-day compulsory residential meetings in Part One. In Part Two you will carry out an original piece of research under the supervision of a member of staff.
|Part 1 Modules||Timetable|
|Module One (45 credits)||January - June (Year 1)|
|Year One Residential||March or April (Year 1)|
|Module Two (45 credits)||July - December (Year 1)|
|Module Three (45 credits)||January - June (Year 2)|
|Year Two Residential||March or April (Year 2)|
|Module Four (45 credits)||July- December (Year 2)|
Specific dates to be confirmed.
There is a four week break in August of Years 1 & 2.
|PhD Thesis||January of Year 3 Onwards|
The University closes for Christmas/New Year & Easter.
Part One (Years 1 and 2)
Module One (ED.S881): Becoming an educational researcher: Researching the self and others as educational subjects
This introductory module on online doctoral study and research methodology will prepare participants for their transition into the educational and social science research community as a doctoral researcher.
The purpose of this module is to provide participants with solid foundations for planning, conducting, and evaluating an educational research project in the context of e-research and technology enhanced learning. The module will offer a range of opportunities to learn and discuss different philosophical traditions and methodological approaches that underlie educational research projects. Participants will be guided to plan and conduct a small-scale research project in this module. The module will also offer a range of resources that participants can draw on in their own research that will help them understand different methodologies and methods, theoretical models and conceptual models, and their application in educational settings.
The module will cover key issues for those starting this journey: what is involved in doing a PhD and becoming an educational researcher; what the major philosophical and methodological approaches to educational research are; how the roles of researchers are positioned in those approaches; how educational research projects can be planned and conducted so that they are meaningful – personally, professionally and academically; what the value/power of researching the self (and personal experiences) as an educational subject are; and how rigour/validity can be promoted in interpretivist/subjectivist educational research.
The four day Residential meeting (in March or April) in Part One is compulsory. It is designed to allow us to get to know each other and form a learning community, and for us to introduce you to wider thinking about e-Research and TEL research, the upcoming programme and modules, the virtual learning platform and associated technologies.
Assessment will be in the form of two equally-weighted submissions: two 3,000 word written assignments on a topic falling within the remit of the module.
Module Two (ED.S882): Researching contemporary questions concerning education and technology
This module will cover four key topics, that are fundamental elements when considering research within the field of technology enhanced learning. These are: basic concepts and foundations; context, space and time; learning as a cultural process; and methodologies, theoretical and conceptual models. Students will be encouraged to take critical and analytical approaches, rather than just descriptive approaches, when exploring these fundamental elements.
Basic concepts and foundations will explore two different perspectives. Looking back will focus on the history of educational technology. Current perspectives will explore situated learning and networked learning.
Context, space and time will provide opportunities to consider three current crucial areas. These are technology for knowledge construction, media and mobile learning, and informal learning.
Learning as a cultural process will allow deeper insights into two areas. These are identity and subjectivity, and power and social justice.
Methodologies, theoretical and conceptual models will cover a range of possibilities. Two key areas of contemporary concern to be covered are discourse analysis, and data-mining and learning analytics.
An empirical study will be based on the conceptual backgrounds that form the earlier part of the module.
Assessment will be in the form of a single assignment, a 6,000 word written assignment whose format should be of a publishable-style outcome (but not requiring publication).
- Module Three (ED.S883): Social practice, practitioner and institutional change in technology enhanced learning
Module Four (ED.S884): Researching emerging technologies and inclusive education
This module will introduce participants to the principles of emerging technologies, their roles in inclusive education and concerns for universal design for learning. Researching emerging technologies is often needed, given that technology development is ongoing. There are important principles to consider when undertaking research in an emerging rather than a static environment, and these include the important need to consider inclusive learning and related practices. Students will explore how emerging technologies have effects on pedagogy and assessment, and how pedagogy and assessment can be designed to meet the needs of all students, considering how inclusion can be identified and developed in the context of technology enhanced learning. Perspectives on inclusion, and the moral and legal imperatives that exist to ensure that teaching-learning is inclusive and accessible at every level of education and in the workplace will be considered. There will be a focus on how to research uses of emerging technologies in the context of innovation, from technology enhanced learning and pedagogical perspectives. Students will be introduced to mechanisms for investigating educational uses of emerging technologies, to critically evaluate benefits and challenges. Students will draw on innovative and evolving e-research approaches – such as learning analytics –alongside related ethical concerns to understand how emerging developments can underpin inclusive teaching-learning generally.
The module will enable a range of methodological approaches, theoretical and conceptual models to be explored, and used as appropriate. Case study approaches will be discussed in terms of emerging technologies; mixed methods and inclusive methods will be introduced that include participatory, emancipatory and arts-based methods, such as visual and narrative approaches.
Assessment will be in the form of two equally-weighted submissions: two 3,000 word written assignments, the first of which can be based on empirical (newly gathered or existing) data. and the second of which will be a draft research proposal that focuses on a future longer study. The assignments may relate to each other or not.
Part Two (Year 3 Onwards)
Preparing for and writing the thesis.
Your thesis represents the culmination of your studies and is the final step to becoming an autonomous researcher in technology enhanced learning. The thesis is a challenging but rewarding 50,000-word project. Supported by your supervisor, you will have the primary role in choosing a topic for your project – typically, this will relate to your own professional concern, or the concerns of your institution, or employing authority. The qualification awarded is a PhD (subject to confirmation of PhD status in Part 2).
The thesis will represent a significant contribution to knowledge and will contain material which is of publishable quality. It will be comparable, in its presentation of the results of your work, to any PhD thesis at Lancaster University. It will also demonstrate some broader aspects of your capacity to pursue scholarly research or scholarship in your field of study, though this demonstration of competence will be made in conjunction with your assessed work on the five modules in Part One of your studies.
Most of the work on the thesis will be carried out during Part Two of the programme (Year 3 onwards) though you will be guided to make a start on defining research objectives and a research plan during year two. The thesis will be similar in form to and at least as rigorous in intellectual demands as any conventional PhD thesis. It will be more concisely written and presented as it will not have to demonstrate the full range of competences and achievements, as these are also partially documented through the module assessment tasks.