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Mr John Pettit

photograph of John Pettit, Institute of Educational Technology

Profile summary

  • Visiting Informal Academic
  • Honorary Associate
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies
  • LTIA
  • Institute of Educational Technology
  • john.pettit

Professional biography

I joined IET as an academic in 2001, and divide my time between teaching and research.  Over the years, I've also worked closely with other faculties, providing leadership as they innovate in their own teaching. And until 2014 I was the Arts 'Data Wrangler' - writing reports and recommendations based on an analysis of their VLE Usage Data and End of Module Survey Data.

My current teaching roles are:

  • Chair of H800 Technology-enhanced learning: practices and debates. I work with colleagues in IET and other areas of the OU - and with Associate Lecturers. Associate Lecturers have responsibility for fostering the social and learning climate for their group of students, leading web-conferencing discussions, grading and commenting on assignments, providing invaluable feedback from the front line, and so on.
  • Programme director of IET's innovative Masters in Online and Distance Education. I work with all IET's other teaching staff and with colleagues across the university.

My teaching work contributes to my scholarship and research into teaching and learning. Currently I am particularly interested in student-only sessions in live online conferencing; see also the 'Research Activity' tab. 


Research interests

My research focuses on innovative ways in which tools and devices are adopted and used for teaching and learning. Specifically:

Real-time web-conferencing for teaching/learning

  • Researching learners’ use of student-only spaces within a VLE (LMS), and the role of these sessions within formal credit-bearing programmes
  • Researching the nature of learner-learner interactions within such student-only sessions.


Teaching interests

I chaired the production of Technology-enhanced learning: practices and debates, and am leading its evolution as we develop it from year to year.

Before that I wrote about innovation and about web-conferencing for Innovations in e-Learning, and for 6 years I chaired Implementing Online, Open and Distance Learning.

With Dr Susie West of the Arts Faculty, I co-led the introduction of Elluminate in Heritage teaching, following a successful bid to the OU's PBPL Centre of Excellence for Teaching and Learning; see our report and related website.

Before that, I led the introduction of an in-house real-time conferencing tool (Lyceum) in an Arts Faculty module, Europe: culture and identities in a contested continent.

In 2010 I received an OU Teaching Award for leadership in technology-enhanced learning and teaching.

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Technology and Learning Research Group (TLRG)GroupInstitute of Educational Technology


‘Partly self-made niches’? Student-only spaces in an LMS (2014)
Pettit, John
Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 30(1) (pp. 16-30)
Mature students using mobile devices in life and learning (2011)
Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes; Pettit, John; Bradley, Linda; Carvalho, Ana A.; Herrington, Anthony; Kennedy, David M. and Walker, Aisha
International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 3(1) (pp. 18-52)
Semi-formal learning communities for professional development in mobile learning (2008-11)
Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes and Pettit, John
Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 20(2) (pp. 35-47)
Going with the grain: mobile devices in practice (2007-03-08)
Pettit, John and Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes
Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 23(1) (pp. 17-33)
Designed and user-generated activity in the mobile age (2007)
Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes; Traxler, John and Pettit, John
Journal of Learning Design, 2(1) (pp. 52-65)
Conferencing and workshops: a blend for staff development (2005-11)
Pettit, John
Education, Communication and Information, 5(3) (pp. 251-263)
Mobile 2.0: crossing the border into formal learning? (2011)
Pettit, John and Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes
In: Lee, Mark J.W. and McLoughlin, Catherine eds. Web 2.0-Based E-Learning: Applying Social Informatics for Tertiary Teaching. Information Science Reference (pp. 192-208)
ISBN : 978-1-60566-295-4 | Publisher : IGI Global | Published : Hershey & New York
Best Practices (2010)
Arnedillo-Sánchez, Inmaculada; Arrigo, Marco; Crehan, Freida; Dal Grande, Paola; Di Giuseppe, Onofrio; Farrow, Robert; Fulantelli, Giovanni; Gabor, Andras; Gentile, Manuel; Kismihok, Gabor; Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes; Merlo, Gianluca; Peasgood, Alice; Pettit, John; Seta, Luciano and Taibi, Davide
In: Arrigo, M.; Di Giuseppe, O.; Fulantelli, G.; Gentile, M.; Merlo, G.; Seta, L. and Taibi, D. eds. MOTILL Mobile Technologies in Lifelong Learning: Best Practices (pp. 34-37)
ISBN : 978-88-903133-4-9 | Publisher : Italian National Research Council - Institute for Educational Technology
Practitioners as innovators: Emergent practice in personal mobile teaching, learning, work and leisure (2009-03)
Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes and Pettit, John
In: Ally, Mohamed ed. Mobile Learning: transforming the delivery of education and training. Issues in Distance Education (pp. 135-155)
ISBN : 9781897425435 | Publisher : Athabasca University Press | Published : Athabasca
Students’ writing in the virtual university: an investigation into the relation between online discussion and writing for assessment (2004)
Goodfellow, Robin; Morgan, Michael; Lea, Mary and Pettit, John
In: Snyder, Ilana and Beavis, Catherine eds. Doing Literacy on Line: Teaching, Learning and Playing in an Electronic World. New Dimensions in Computers and Composition (pp. 25-44)
ISBN : 1-57273-540-6 | Publisher : Hampton Press | Published : Cresskill, NJ
Virtual space, real learning: an introduction to VLEs (2002-12-01)
Pettit, John and Mason, Robin
In: Fry, Heather; Ketteridge, Steve and Marshall, Stephanie eds. A Handbook for teaching and learning in higher education: enhancing academic practice (2nd ed.) (pp. 148-161)
ISBN : 749438770 | Publisher : Kogan Page | Published : London, UK
The cachet of constraint: Learners, ownership and power (2009)
Pettit, John
In : Same Places, Different Spaces: Ascilite 2009 Conference (6-9 Dec 2009, Auckland)
An international survey of mature students' uses of mobile devices in life and learning (2009)
Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes; Pettit, John; Bradley, Linda; Carvalho, Ana A.; Herrington, Anthony; Kennedy, David and Walker, Aisha
In : Proceedings of 8th World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning (26-30 Oct 2009, Orlando, Florida)
Do smart devices make smart learners? (2008)
Pettit, John and Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes
In : Proceedings of the MLearn 2008 Conference (7-10 Oct 2008, Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire, UK)
Technology that enhances without inhibiting learning (2007-05-02)
Adams, Anne; Scott, Peter; Pettit, John and Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes
In : CTSS Conference (1-2 May 2007, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK)
Self-service education: Smartphones as a catalyst for informal collective and individual learning (2007)
Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes and Pettit, John
In : Mlearn '07 mobile learning conference (16-19 Oct 2007, Melbourne, Australia)
Helping themselves to audiographics: students lead their own learning (2007)
Pettit, John
In : World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (26-29 Jun 2007, Vancouver)
Going with the grain: mobile devices in practice (2006)
Pettit, John and Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes
In : 23rd Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (Ascilite): 'Who’s Learning? Whose Technology?' (3-6 Dec 2006, Sydney)
Practitioners as innovators: emergent practice in personal mobile teaching, learning, work and leisure (2006)
Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes and Pettit, John
In : Mlearn ’06 mobile learning conference (23-25 Oct 2006, Banff, Canada)


OU student wins Care Apprentice Award

Heather always wanted to be a mental health nurse, having worked as a carer for a number of years. When she was given the chance by her employer to study for an Open University course in Health Care Practise, she grabbed the opportunity. Earlier this year, Heather was awarded the Care Apprentice Award at the National Care Awards, as Carers Week begins, she talks about her journey with The OU.

10th June 2019
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