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Emeritus Professor Roger Hartley

Colleagues will be sorry to learn of the death, on 30 October 2022, of Emeritus Professor Roger Hartley, former Director of the Computer Based Learning Unit in the School of Education.   Roger enjoyed a long and distinguished career at the University, with wide external recognition for his research and scholarship, and admiration for his teaching and administrative drive.

Roger graduated in Mathematics and Physics with the Diploma in Education (Distinction) from the University of Manchester.  He was awarded the Advanced Diploma in Education (Platt Prizewinner) at the University of Manchester in 1961, and the MA (Education) by research thesis at Keele University in 1965. From 1956-1960 he was a teacher at the Manchester Grammar School, and appointed Head of the Division of Science and Mathematics at Dover College in 1960. In 1964 he became Research Associate at the University of Manchester, and in 1967 he came to Leeds as a Lecturer in the School of Education. The Computer Based Learning Unit (CBLU) was established in 1969, and Roger was appointed as its Director in 1971.  He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1972 and to a Chair (Computers and Education) in 1992, retiring in October 1997 at which time the title and status of Emeritus Professor was bestowed upon him.

The success and world-wide reputation of CBLU can be directly attributed to Roger, who led it for over 25 years through its various phases. Early research involved experimental work on the role of feedback and learning incorporating the results into adaptive teaching systems. This led to research into generative computer based learning in which computer programs composed or generated training tasks. Work on the formulation of intelligent teaching and learning systems began in the early 1970s and continued with a move towards the study of cognitive models, particularly for knowledge acquisition and problem-solving. The research developed methodologies for knowledge representation and problem solving skills, and for designing teaching and learning systems, together with supporting software tools and environments. Work also devised communicative languages through which differing knowledge systems could engage. To support his research, Roger was involved in grants totalling over £3M from UK and international sources including directing several large collaborative research projects within Europe and in the UK. Roger's scholarly writings and publications accompanied this research, which established CBLU in general, and Roger in particular, as major forces in this field.

Throughout his University career, Roger’s vision and innovative research was acknowledged both nationally and internationally, not least through his influence on, and supervision of, many researchers who became high profile pioneers in the field of educational technology. CBLU was the home and visiting place of many outstanding scholars, and a string of research students honed their skills under Roger's expert eye. All would acknowledge the debt they owe to Roger in fostering their careers.  Prior to retirement Roger was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship which he established in CBLU, and this Award enabled him to focus on his personal research and further develop work at the cutting edge of the use of computers in education.

Roger was viewed by his colleagues within the School of Education as someone who not only has set the highest academic standards in moving CBLU forward, but also as a humane, supportive and splendid colleague to work with, having a dry sense of humour and pragmatic outlook on life.