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Dr Beck Pitt

Profile summary

Professional biography

Beck currently works as a researcher on the award winning Open Education Research (OER) Hub. The OER Hub works collaboratively to investigate the impact of open education on learning and teaching. Beck currently works across a range of projects:

  • Lead researcher for the Scottish Funding Council funded Opening Educational Practices in Scotland (OEPS) project;
  • Monitoring the delivery and development of three MOOC for Business being developed by the ERASMUS+ funded bizMOOC project;
  • Responsible for developing, recording and editing a range of assets for the Hewlett funded Global OER Graduate Network (GO-GN) in addition to contributing to the annual workshop;
  • Team lead for the development of the OER Hub led Open University training courses Twitter 101 and Open Research and June 2017's Year of Open event;
  • Beck also contributes to the Hewlett Foundation funded UK Open Textbooks for Higher Education (HE) project which will assess the viability of North American models of open textbook adoption in a UK HE setting.

During the first phase of the OER Hub, funded by the Hewlett Foundation, Beck focused particularly on informal learning and open textbooks. She was responsible for collaborative research with BCcampus, Siyavula, OpenStax, Bridge to Success, Co-PILOT and P2PU/School of Open. Beck was responsible for the delivery of both iterations of the OER Hub's award winning open course Open Research (Autumn 2014 and Autumn 2015) and the later delivery of an open textbook based around the course and participant contributions (released November 2016).

Beck previously worked on the NGLC funded Open Learning: Bridge to Success project, providing research and project support. She also supported the JISC funded Track OER and OLDS-MOOC projects and the EC FP7 JuxtaLearn project.

Prior to joining the OU, Beck worked at the University of Essex supporting the EC FP7 Council of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) Preparatory Phase Project (PPP) for its duration. 

Research interests

Beck is a trained philosopher and successfully defended her PhD entitled Jean-Paul Sartre and the Question of Emancipation in April 2012. She studied at the University of Essex and completed an MA in Continental Philosophy (Essex) in 2002, and a BA (Hons) in Philosophy (Reading) in 1999. Her dissertation topics were the Marquis de Sade and Simone de Beauvoir, respectively.

For more on Beck's academic work and publications, please visit:

Teaching interests

Beck co-authored and was responsible for the delivery of both iterations of the OER Research Hub's School of Open badged open course Open Research on P2PU (Autumn 2014 and Autumn 2015). She also led the development of an updated Pressbooks open textbook version of the course incorporating participant contributions and group activities which was published in November 2016. Aspects of this course were also integrated into H819 The Critical Researcher...  Beck was lead author for week 13 of this OU postgraduate module.

Beck was the lead author, and responsible for the development, of the OEPS project course on open educational practice (OEP) and open educational resources (OER) Becoming an Open Educator, which was released on OpenLearn Works in early September 2016. The course was awarded an 'Honourable Mention' in the Course/OCW/MOOC category of the Open Education (OE) Consortium's OE Awards for Excellence 2017.  

Beck taught The Enlightement course at the University of Essex from 2005-6. 

In February 2017 Beck was awarded Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). 

Impact and engagement


Beck was the lead author of the Opening Educational Practices in Scotland (OEPS) badged open course Becoming an Open Educator. The course was given an 'Honourable Mention' in the Course/OCW/MOOC cateogry of the Open Education Awards for Excellence in March 2017. 

The OER Research Hub (phase I) was awarded an Open Education Award for Excellence (Projects Category) for Open Research in April 2014 and an Open University Engaging Research award for our P2PU/School of Open Open Research course in February 2015.

The Bridge to Success project was awarded Distance Learning Program of the Year by Maryland Distance Learning Association (MDLA) in May 2012 and a Digital Educational Achievement Award in the Community College Digital Application Category: US Centre for Digital Education in August 2012. 


Beck has participated and contributed to a wide range of international conferences. She has also been an invited speaker at events in London, UK; Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada and St Louis, Missouri, USA. 

Beck was a successful applicant and participant in OpenCon's student and early career researcher professional conference on Open Access, Open Education and Open Data, Washington DC, USA during both November 2014 and November 2016. 

External collaborations


Beck has been an elected committee member of the UK Sartre Society since September 2010. From September 2014 she has a special responsibilty for the Society's social media and website. Beck developed the Society's new website which launched in January 2015, creates openly licensed videos of conference sessions and also runs the Society's Facebook page. 

Beck is an academic committee member for the 4th Philosophy at Play conference (April 2017) and also served on the committee for the 3rd Philosophy at Play conference (June 2015). 

Supervision and External Examination

Beck currently supervises two post-graduate students. Since May 2017 she is lead supervisor for the EdD thesis An exploration of English language teachers' use of Open Educational Resources and their Open Educational Practices (provisional title) (Patricia Daniels). Since January 2017 she has co-supervised the Leverhulme funded PhD What skills, if any, do children develop in open unsupervised technology enhanced learning environments? A case study of Project Hello World Hubs (provisional title) (Khadija Mohamud)

Beck has successfully co-supervised to completion an Open University (UK) EdD on Discourses influencing students' participation in, and engagement with, online collaborative learning (Janet Dyke).

In May 2014 Beck was appointed as External Reader for an MA Thesis in Arts in Learning and Technology (Royal Roads University, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) Title: An Examination of the Lived Experience of Eleven Educators Who Have Implemented Open Textbooks in Their Teaching (Danielle Paradis) 

Journal and Conference Reviewing 

Beck's journal and conference reviewing includes: 

JIME Special Issue of OER15, 3rd Philosophy at Play conference (Glos. UK), OER15 (Cardiff, UK), Designing Interactive Systems 2012, British Journal of Undergraduate Philosophy, ESTRO, UK Sartre Society conferences (2011-2016), International Graduate Conferences in Philosophy (Essex, 2006, 2007 & 2008), Journal of Interactive Media in Education (JIME), Open Learning: The Journal of Open and Distance Learning, British Journal of Educational Technology (ongoing).