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Ms Irina Rets

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Professional biography

Dr Irina Rets is a Doctoral Researcher in educational technology, based at the Institute of Educational Technology (IET), the Open University (OU), UK. She also holds a doctorate in applied linguistics from Volgograd State University (Russia). Irina's research interests lie at the intersection of education, technology-enhanced learning, and applied linguistics. 

As part of her PhD, she investigated the accessibility of online education to English learners. Irina has used a variety of methods to explore this topic, as well as the topics of other research projects she has provided research consultancy for: eye-tracking, online measures of learner behaviour; statistical modelling, advanced qualitative analysis of the data from over 40 interviews she has conducted to date; cluster analyses; analysis of longitudinal reflective learner diaries; analysis of surveys; participatory research. 

Irina is a Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Before her PhD at the OU, Irina taught a variety of academic university courses to undergraduate and graduate students in English-medium settings. She was involved in all stages of the teaching of these courses: from course design to course delivery and assessment.

Research interests

human-computer interaction, technology-enhanced learning, accessibility of education, computer-supported collaborative learning, literacy

Teaching interests

TESOL, applied linguistics, academic skills, technology-enhanced learning, blended learning, research methods in social sciences (qualitative and mixed methods)  

Impact and engagement

To date, Irina has obtained two grants as a PI. 

2020 - pres. 'Exploring engagement of OU students with learning analytics dashboards', funded by OpenTEL, the Open University (UK);

2018 - 2019  'Investigating cognitive processing of test task completion with eye-tracking', funded by Praxis-WELS, the Open University (UK);

2018 Irina was awarded the WELS ‘research degree student prize for research excellence’ .

Irina is a member of Computers and Learning Research Group (CALRG) organising committee. She assisted CALRG in organising cross-faculty weekly research and training events, as well as an internatinal academic research conference.

Irina helped organise over 60 faculty-wide weekly training workshops for the IET PhD students. 

External collaborations

Irina has extensive experience of doing research collaboratively. In the course of her PhD, Irina has provided research consultancy for a number of other funded projects:  

2019 – 2020 an international project 'Evaluating and Upscaling Telecollaborative Teacher Education' (externally funded by Erasmus+ Key Action 3);

2018  a university project 'Unpacking UK experts’ perspectives of the impact of OU learning analytics' (externally funded by Jisc, UK);

2017 – 2018  a cross-faculty project 'One model, three scenarios: integrating PDP into three OU modules' (internally funded by Praxis-WELS)


Accessibility of Open Educational Resources: how well are they suited for English learners? (2021)
Rets, Irina; Coughlan, Tim; Stickler, Ursula and Astruc, Lluïsa
Open Learning: The Journal of Open and Distance Learning ((Early Access))

The Impact of Virtual Exchange on TPACK and Foreign Language Acquisition: Reviewing a Large-Scale Implementation Across 23 Virtual Exchanges (2020)
Rienties, Bart; Lewis, Timothy; O'Dowd, Robert; Rets, Irina and Rogaten, Jekaterina
Computer Assisted Language Learning ((Early access))

Transforming pre-service teacher education through Virtual Exchange: a mixed-method analysis of perceived TPACK development (2020)
Rets, Irina; Rienties, Bart and Lewis, Timothy
Interactive Learning Environments ((Early Access))

To simplify or not? Facilitating English L2 users’ comprehension and processing of Open Educational Resources in English using text simplification (2020)
Rets, Irina and Rogaten, Jekaterina
Journal of Computer Assisted Learning ((Early Access))

Eliciting ELT students’ Understanding of Plagiarism in Academic Writing (2018-09-26)
Rets, Irina and Ilya, Ali
Eurasian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4(2) (pp. 193-211)

Vocabulary Retention and Concordance-based Learning in L3 Acquisition (2017)
Rets, Irina
Eurasian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 3(2) (pp. 313-324)

Guidance on how Learning at Scale can be made more accessible (2020)
Papathoma, Tina; Ferguson, Rebecca; Iniesto, Francisco; Rets, Irina; Vogiatzis, Dimitrios and Murphy, Victoria
In : Proceedings of the Seventh ACM Conference on Learning@ Scale (Aug 12-14, Georgia Tech, Atlanta, GA) (pp. 289-292)