IET was established in 1970 by the Open University Senate in response to the realisation that it was crucial to have an expertise resource within the University that could show faculties how to teach using various alternative media in addition to the traditional book and face-to-face lecture model used by conventional Universities. Therefore the focus initially was on teaching, rather than research. Educational Technology and computer instruction was underway elsewhere and the first IET staff members came from these fields.
From the very beginning IET staff realised the importance of learning from the student perspective, working with course teams on course design and teaching methods and supporting students with disabilities. Although our centres and research groups have evolved over the years, we continue to explore and promote innovative methods of supporting teaching and learning.
In 1997 we introduced the first course of our MA in Open and Distance Education programme, and later the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice based on our cumulative expertise. Both programmes are groundbreaking and very successful. We have a thriving and stimulating PhD programme.
In 2008 IET moved from the Geoffrey Crowther offices into the purpose built Jennie Lee Building which it shares with Computing.
See 'The History of the OU' project blog for the wider context of IET's history within The Open University.