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IET research is designed to have impact on the University and the education sector. That impact can be seen in work on the role of Open Education Resources as well as influencing both technology enhanced learning practices and policies.

Professor Scanlon (awarded Regius Professorship in Open Education) has directed the Institute of Educational Technology to focus its research impact upon ‘Opening up Education’.   This was recently rewarded by a large Leverhulme-funded project reviewing ‘OWL: Open World Learning’ as well as many other research projects.  The IET’s research has been instrumental in establishing and shaping the global agenda for impact through innovating pedagogy, open education and learning analytics.


In 2014, for the first time, the impact of research was measured.  IET contributed its work on technology enhanced learning to the Open University’s Education submission:

  • 2nd in the rankings (according to its “power” factor) and 20th overall. 
  • Rated 100% 4* for the environment of its research.
  • The Open University is the leading research university with a widening access mission.
  • Two of its research impact case studies selected for the top 20 impact on global development.

These results show that the quality rating of our research has increased over the last six years and demonstrates a vote of confidence from our peers as we go forward as a broad-based research university.

3 of the 6 Education REF IMPACT accounts were supported by IET.

The Open University's OpenLearn and Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) projects have been instrumental in developing this impact, with subsequent projects including OPAL, OLnet, SCORE and FLOSScom building on developments, for example:

  • In the Educause and Gates Foundation funded project Bridge to Success, the OU partnered with two community colleges in the US to develop and adapt OER for learning to learn and maths education, for cascade within the community college sector to 750 learners.  From the initial focus on community colleges the project's impact has widened to include family support centres, workforce development agencies, high schools, and plans are ongoing for the courses to be utilised by Mayoral Employment Development Offices, prisons and Baltimore libraries.
  • Projects such as Personal Inquiry, iSpot and Out There In Here have had a significant impact in the field of participatory science. These projects have explored how technology can support personal inquiry learning, where for instance the nQuire software was used by 300 school children and their teachers and is now available as an Open Source application.  Projects also engage directly with the public through digital media and combining location-based and laboratory study through collaboration approaches, leading to national media stories such as the six-year old girl who discovered a rare moth in her home. In 2010, iSpot won the New Media category in the Panda Awards and was shortlisted for the THE Outstanding Initiative of the Year award.

Open Research Online lists IET OER publications including the following selection

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