Dr Jim Petch (James Petch) was until late 2007 the head of the Distributed Learning Centre at the University of Manchester, at which point he took early retirement in the light of a reorganisation of e-learning at the University. He is now operating as an independent consultant.
Formerly he was head of the team at the University responsible for managing and coordinating distributed learning (including distance learning) activities and for advising the university on policy and strategy in this area. He provided specialist advice on educational design, on quality assurance and on the management of distributed learning and related projects as well as on all aspects of planning and delivering distributed learning.
From September 2003 to the end of 2005 he was is co-director of the UKeU Research Centre, a joint venture with the University of Southampton and UKeU. The centre undertook research into pedagogic and process aspects of e-learning. In 2006-2007 his team was heavily involved in benchmarking e-learning, using the eMM methodology.
He is honorary senior research fellow in the Department of Planning and Landscape at the University of Manchester and is involved with a number of European projects on distance learning and use of the web.
He is a specialist in Central and Eastern Europe, in Geographical Information Systems and has long-standing scholarly interests in the philosophy of science and in research and management methodologies.