10 Jan 2014

Open University underlines innovation credentials with appointment of new director

Prof Patrick McAndrew is new Director of Institute of Educational Technology

The Open University has appointed Patrick McAndrew, Professor of Open Education, as the director of its flagship Institute of Educational Technology (IET.

A prominent expert in the field of open and flexible learning, Patrick has been at the OU since 1999 and takes over from Josie Taylor who retired last year.

IET is widely regarded as a leading centre for open education and how new technology can be deployed to support learning. It also offers post-graduate qualifications in online and distance education.

The Institute’s programmes include developing learning analytics and learning design to drive quality and enhance the student experience. It also has a major role to play in accessibility for disabled students, ensuring their learning experience remains rich and varied and enables them to achieve their goals.

Professor Patrick McAndrew, Director of IET, said:

“IET is rightly regarded very highly across the sector in terms of its expertise in supported distance learning and I am very proud to be appointed its new director. There are many exciting things happening across the OU and the Institute is home to many of them - especially in terms of how we provide innovative ways of breaking down the barriers which can prevent some people from learning. This is an exciting challenge and I look forward to building on the great history of the Institute and the work of my predecessor.”

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research, Scholarship and Quality, Professor Tim Blackman, said:

“Supporting students and enabling access to education is what The Open University is all about. While IET has a key role in helping the OU achieve its own goals, its expertise and ideas are felt right across the sector. Patrick has a great track-record in this area and has worked on some of our biggest projects over the years. Under his leadership, I look forward to seeing IET go from strength to strength.”

In his own research, Patrick has taken a leading part in the development of approaches to open and free learning. His recent projects in this area include OpenLearn – the OU’s home of free learning and the OER Research Hub, which brings together experts in the field of open education. He has had an active role in over 40 funded projects across technology-enhanced learning.

Professor McAndrew has a degree in Mathematics from the University of Oxford and a PhD in Computer Vision from Herriot-Watt University.

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