The Open University’s Computers and Learning Research Group (CALRG), founded in 1978, is one of the UK’s leading and longest-running research groups in the use of technologies in education.

All research-active staff and students within IET are automatically members of CALRG, however the group is very inclusive and welcomes staff and students from across the OU who are interested in educational technology. This includes other colleagues from CREET (the Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology, which encompasses IET through its TEL [Technology Enhanced Learning] theme), science/STEM, WELS (the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies) and FASS (the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences). CALRG also works closely alongside the OpenTEL Priority Research Area and also links into OU teaching and learning (such as the MA in Online and Distance Education) where appropriate.

CALRG are internationally renowned for their work on distance and collaborative learning, evaluation, accessibility and more recently in learning analytics. The group’s work includes a wide variety of research interests and approaches and engages in a range of research activities including:

  • Learning analytics
  • Large-scale learning and MOOCs
  • Citizen science and public engagement
  • Computer supported collaborative learning (CSCL)
  • Understanding learners’ interactions and experiences (including accessibility)
  • Mobile learning
  • Effective designing for learning and learner experiences

CALRG is a very active, friendly and supportive research community and meets once a week, with different activities taking place throughout each month. These include seminars from external and internal speakers; knowledge exchange and sharing; ‘communicating research’ sessions and a cake drop (an informal catch-up over coffee and cake). CALRG also organises an annual research conference every summer, primarily focused on internally-facing institutional research but with esteemed external keynotes, many of whom are CALRG alumni. The conference attracts a diverse range of presentations and attendees. Proceedings for recent CALRG conferences can be found on the CALRG website.