Heathrow to Leicester

It has been over one year that I have been talking about it, and I’m sure that some did not think I would move forward. I wasn’t always sure myself, as there were a lot of considerations including advice from people I respect. But, in the late summer I was almost certain. Planning a trip to Italy to attend a conference with my wife, I included a stop in London and a visit to the Beyond Distance Research Alliance (BDRA) at the University of Leicester. My primary meeting was with Dr Alejandro Armellini, potentially to be my supervisor. He was great, as were the others I met. Time was taken to discuss my plans and to introduce me to the projects within the BDRA.

I returned to Canada and continued working on the required research proposal. Into December, I started gathering the necessary documents that included transcripts and reference letters. Although delayed in getting the courier package sent until early January, it was received and quickly processed. In fact, it was last Wednesday when I was notified it was approved at the BDRA and sent to Postgraduate Admissions for further handling. Within a few hours, I was being asked by Admissions to complete a form to determine the fees, and at that time was advised I was being offered an unconditional place in the programme.

My official letter has now arrived. It is my intention to respond right away and register. As a British citizen, it would have been nice to have paid ‘home’ fees, but I knew I would be classified as an international student. The rules require that, even with the right of abode in the UK, I must have lived there for three years, for non-academic purposes, prior to the school year commencing.

It is a PhD in E-learning and Learning Technologies, and the BDRA is under the Centre for Labour Market Studies. My interest in e-learning and informal & self-directed work-based learning seems a perfect fit.

I look forward to commencing the programme this month, and I will share as I move forward. The photograph is of the BDRA offices. While I am not obliged to be there at any time prior to the end, I am welcome to visit and work from there. That is definitely something I look forward to doing. I have a great feel for the journey I am embarking upon.


  1. Hi Tony,

    congratulations! I share your mood because I have just started my first month in the doctoral programme in elearning at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. Like you, I will be a non residential student, but I hope to enjoy (and harness) some residential seminars and informal encounters in Barcelona. For sure a PHD is a big committment and challenge, but I think it is worth trouble. Hope I will be able to meet you in our common learning path.
    All the best,

  2. Thanks for your words, and congratulations to you. I do hope to use this as an excuse to attend conferences internationally, so perhaps we will meet. If we are not already connected, I’m on Twitter as aeratcliffe and on Skype as TonyRatcliffe.

    Saludos desde Canada

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