Stephen Powell Biography

Professional Autobiography – who am I?

The past 13 years of my working life have been spent helping both children and adults to achieve their full life potential through learning in work settings and through formal education in schools and at University. I have a passionate belief in the power of learning as a means to freedom and empowerment for individuals, groups and society at large.

For the past 6 years I have worked for Ultralab , an Information Communication Technology (ICT) research outfit based at Anglia Polytechnic University (APU) in Chelmsford, Essex. In this role, I develop and research projects that utilise web technologies to build online communities.

Currently, I am project leader for the Ultraversity project where we are developing and researching a fully online, workplace based, undergraduate action research degree. This project currently has over 300 full-time students and is supported by a staff of 20 including academics, student liaison officers, and software developers. The first 6 graduates completed their studies in 2005 and we anticipate around 150 more graduates in 2006 when the first large cohort completes the degree.

I spent a large part of 2004 working with CORE – Education helping the team setting up the organisation and working on projects including the Wananga o Aotearoa (Maori tertiary institution) development and validation of an undergraduate mixed mode delivery, early childhood, online degree.

In 2004 I completed my Masters in Education and have just stated my PhD studies with Professor Bob Fryer. This will be an inquiry into how the Internet is impacting upon society looking at issues of democratization and control, identity and reputation, and equality of opportunity for life chances at an individual, national, and international level.

Prior to working at Ultralab, I taught in state secondary schools for 6 years as a Geography specialist, Humanities generalist, ICT enthusiast, and Special Educational Needs Coordinator. For 5 of these years I was at Brooke Weston City Technology College.

I started my professional working life as Geologist working briefly in the oil exploration industry and then for three years as a geotechnical engineer for a Allott and Lomax consulting engineers, based in Manchester.

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