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Lesley Boyd shares pride as OU PhD has ‘crossed many boundaries’

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Dr Lesley Boyd discusses how technology-enabled learning networks can develop internal capabilities for organisational learning, during her doctoral research at The Open University (OU).

Earlier this year, Dr Lesley Boyd concluded a six-year journey by completing her PhD at OU’s Institute of Educational Technology (IET).

Lesley’s PhD research took an action-oriented and theory building combined approach to the collaborative use of technology for organisational learning.

In her research, Lesley explored how 'learning networks' can be implemented to achieve practical organisational improvements.

Reflecting on completing her PhD, Lesley said:

“I am pleased and proud to have completed this demanding PhD which has crossed so many boundaries. I was privileged to have worked with Rob Janes as my eSTEeM project co-leader, and the dedicated and professional participating tutors of S215. Together we followed an interesting and productive path of inquiry, to collaboratively drive improvements for students.”

Prior to embarking on the PhD, Lesley studied with the OU whilst living and working between the UK and South Africa. In 2009 Lesley joined the first cohort of IET’s Masters in Online and Distance Education H800 module, a programme which has supported educators and researchers to develop in distance learning and teaching. Lesley achieved a postgraduate certificate in technology enhanced learning (TEL), and in doing so, she recounts that “I was able to apply TEL to my professional area of quality improvement and enhancement”.

Living the ethos of lifelong learning, Lesley returned to study at the OU a few years later, graduating with a second Masters in Research Skills in 2017 before having her PhD conferred in October 2022.

Research excellence and future steps

While completing her doctorate, Lesley has presented her PhD research at a range of well-established university platforms, including:

Lesley has also been published in the Journal of Interactive Media in Education (JIME) and is looking at developing her publication record after her PhD.

In 2019 Lesley wrote about her experience of being a mature student, describing it as a “huge turning point in her life” and one that she has been grateful for, providing a pathway to express her passion and drive while making “a wonderful network of contacts across the OU”; with special mention to Dr Carina Bossu, Senior Lecturer in Academic Professional Development in IET and Lead Supervisor during her PhD.

Being involved in the student community has been an important feature of Lesley’s journey during her PhD. She added:

“As a key part of the PGRS community, I served for two years as representative on the Concordat Steering Committee, and successfully motivated for PGRS student representation in OUSA and the PGRS common room. I have helped at PGRS induction events, and in many mock vivas for my student colleagues.”

Image of Lesley Boyd with her PhD examiners [Left to Right - Phil Wood, External Examiner, Lesley Boyd, Alison Fox, Internal Examiner, Maggie Preedy, Chair.
Image of Lesley Boyd with her PhD examiners [Source: Image taken by Carina Bossu] (Left to Right: Phil Wood - External Examiner, Lesley Boyd, Alison Fox - Internal Examiner, Maggie Preedy - Chair)

In 2022, Lesley was recognised at The Open University Research Excellence Awards, receiving runner-up award in the Post Graduate Research category. The awards were conceived to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions to research from across the OU’s research environment.


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In closing, Lesley looks ahead to applying her research in further contexts. She said:

“I am looking forward to further developing the theory-building and action-oriented approach, to maximise its reach and impact, and to help address complex fragmented societal challenges in HE and beyond. “


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    Lesley Boyd