It is a pleasure to join the BDRA as a PhD research student, having started less than one month ago. Living in Edmonton, Canada, I am registered part-time and for distance studies. There are two questions I am already receiving, and I’m sure they will continue: Why distance, and why BDRA?
My formal distance studies began with my undergrad at a time when it was called ‘correspondence.’ Fortunately, we had excellent telephone tutors that aided the learning process. I later completed a Master of Distance Education (MDE), studying about distance learning while at a distance, with online conferencing in addition to the readings, papers, and projects. As I contemplated doctoral studies at several times in the past years, it became obvious that I should build from the MDE, and a distance programme was the natural choice. It was time to look beyond my alma mater for a varied experience.
I became familiar with the University of Leicester a number of years ago, in relation to the subject area in which I was teaching. The university’s reputation for research was strong and respected, and I talked to a couple of Canadians whom had completed degrees by distance or in residence. When serious about postgrad training, I was pleased to find the PhD in E-learning and Learning Technologies available through the BDRA. My discussion with Dr Armellini commenced in the latter part of 2009. While other avenues were considered, my comfort with the BDRA remained. I visited in October 2010, following which I confirmed my interest with an application. Drs Armellini and Edirisingha agreed to be my supervisors.
My field of study is e-learning and learning technologies in informal and self-directed work-based learning. I will share more as I settle in and progress in my development as a researcher. Asked what one of my challenges will be, I have to say it will be developing the theoretical framework and methodologies for the study. This will come through extensive reading and critical analysis.
Perhaps worthy of note, I am British, but I had not returned prior to October since my early childhood when my family emigrated from England to Canada. It feels good to be connected though a UK programme, and I look forward to visits in addition to the ongoing contact with my supervisors, student colleagues, researchers, and others in the BDRA.
A.E. (Tony) Ratcliffe