About IET

The Jennie Lee Building

The Open University's Institute of Educational Technology (IET) is a global leader in the field of pedagogy, known for advancing open and distance learning globally.

Since IET was established in 1970 we have been central to The Open University’s mission to be the world leader in researching, innovating and delivering supported, open and distance learning. Since then we have contributed to research across many significant developments within education, driving understanding of how innovative technology can support learning, teaching and assessment. Explore our research programmes which focus on distinct areas of innovation taking place in IET.

As we operate within the OU, our academics have the capability to drive leading research through IET alongside teaching at the largest academic institution in the UK. This has allowed us to build a rich history of world-leading educational research, working with some of the pioneers in educational technology, open learning and many other areas of innovative pedagogy. Resultantly, there are a number of affiliated groups, teams and research areas associated to IET.

The history of IET covers our leadership in the most ground-breaking developments within educational technology including developments in computer-based learning, digital learning and remote learning. This has allowed us to support the advancements of The Open University, establishing how distance teaching and learning can be successful across all levels of education. More recently we have contributed research to mainstream topics such as open learning, virtually augmented reality learning and distance learning during the Covid-19 pandemic and new normal. 

In July 2020 Denise Whitelock was appointed as the new Director of IET, developing from her background of over twenty years’ experience in designing, researching and evaluating online and computer-based learning in Higher Education. Denise leads IET’s research and development strategy, responsible for academic and administrative management, planning and delivery.

IET Senior Management Team

The Senior Management Team is a management group made up of senior leaders from across IET. The role of this leadership team is to provide strategic and operational support to the Director of IET, and assist with the planning activities to ensure that the business of IET is shared, discussed and consulted upon.


Director IET, Professor Denise Whitelock

Professor Denise Whitelock​, ​​Director of IET​

Professor Denise Whitelock is responsible for providing strategic leadership to IET and is a member of the University Senior Team. She is involved in the research and development required by the University to feed into and evaluate policy, provide advice and promote an evidence-based approach for learning, teaching and scholarship. Denise is responsible for the development of IET’s internationally recognised research portfolio and cultivating innovation that builds on research and scholarship.

Associate Director of Research and Innovation, Professor Eileen Scanlon,

Regius Professor Eileen Scanlon is responsible for developing and implementing the research portfolio in IET.

Associate Director of Quality Enhancement and Innovation, Professor Christothea Herodotou

Professor Christothea Herodotou is responsible for implementing the Quality Enhancement and Innovation (QEI) Programme in IET. The QEI programme conducts large-scale interdisciplinary research and evaluation across the four university faculties, with the aim to improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment at the Open University and ensure its leading role in delivering high quality, innovative, open and distance education.

Associate Director of Curriculum, Dr Leigh-Anne Perryman

Dr Leigh-Anne Perryman is responsible for leading the academic development of IET’s postgraduate curriculum. She leads IET’s curriculum team, which is responsible for the conceptualisation, development and delivery of IET’s Masters in Online Teaching Postgraduate Certificate in Online Teaching, and our modules and microcredentials. She also has overarching responsibility for the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) and for the Applaud accreditation scheme.

Head of Academic Operations, Natalia Kiran

Awards and recognitions


IET EdTech Foundry Phase 2 Winners Selected

Earlier this year The Open University (OU) invited EdTech startups to apply to join the IET EdTech Foundry, an accelerator established to speed up the scaling-out of research and innovation through knowledge exchange, across two phases of staged development.

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Prof Anne Adams appointed to Government POST Fellowship focussed on horizon scanning

Professor Anne Adams, Chair in Engaged Research and Practice at The Open University, has been appointed a UK Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST) Academic Fellowship, developing evidence-based and systematic horizon scanning methodologies, to enable parliamentarians to think one step ahead of the next wave of change.

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OU’s augmented reality learning ecosystem project wins EU standards+innovation award

The ARETE project received the CEN/CENELEC Standards+Innovation Award 2022 for Best Research Project. Congratulations to IET and the connected consortium of international partners.

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Leading research features among IET projects shortlisted for the OU’s Research Excellence Awards

Research conducted by academic and professional staff at the OU’s Institute of Educational Technology (IET) has been recognised with seven nominations for this year’s Open University Research Excellence Awards.

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nQuire and the OU win Guardian University Award

nQuire, the OU's citizen science platform, and The Open University (OU) win Guardian University 2020 research impact award.

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GO-GN wins Open Education Award for Excellence

GO-GN wins Open Education award for Excellence by Open Education Global for its e-access Research Methods Handbook.

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