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Originally from the USA, David Webb is Chief Learning Officer for the Middle East region for an international company. Currently based in the United Arab Emirates, he is studying online for a Doctor of Education – Higher Education (EdD) degree from the University of Liverpool.

What attracted you to studying online with the University of Liverpool for this doctorate?

Liverpool was the first institution I found that offered the online delivery modality I wanted, backed up by the power of a historically established and respected university.

Why did you choose to study for a professional doctorate instead of a PhD? For example, does it give you a higher return on investment or wider professional networking opportunities?

My background is in running successful training businesses, and in working for or consulting with universities around the world. I'm particularly interested in those areas where the academy and industry come together to forge great partnerships.

Throughout my career, I have worked to bridge the gaps between the academy and industry. I find that I bring the most value to organisations where I can synthesise business acumen and educational ideas. The appropriate degree for experts in educational practice is the EdD.

What are you enjoying most about studying online with the University of Liverpool?

My writing has improved. I have met colleagues in the programme whom I really respect and whose input I highly value. I am getting a chance to realise my academic potential.

How do you fit online study into your life? How does it work out in practice?

The working week in the United Arab Emirates is Sunday to Thursday, which matches up very nicely with the University’s online study week. I devote my weekends to the readings and preparing initial contributions for the week, and spend evenings studying during the working week.

What are your top tips for others?

I did my M.Ed. also online, and the old correspondence school tip also applies even in today's world: treat your studies like housework and do a little bit every day. If you do a little bit every day, it becomes a good habit. If you leave it all to the weekend or to one big day, it's easy to get discouraged by the amount of work. Climb that mountain a step at a time.

How useful and relevant is the EdD programme for your current and potential future roles?

Sometimes I wonder if terminal degrees don't close more doors than they open. My reasons for being in this programme are primarily intrinsic and if career benefits follow, so much the better. I am a bit of a curiosity because I am currently in the private sector, so questions about the applicability of the EdD to that role are legitimate. However, I believe that intelligently structured cooperation between industry and academia can be extremely powerful and transformative, so in that sense I think that the study is relevant.

What are your hopes and expectations upon graduating?

That I will spend some stress-free Sunday and Wednesday nights (no school deadlines)!

I would recommend the University of Liverpool because...

...for completely online EdD studies, there is no "university brand" which enjoys the legitimacy that the University of Liverpool does.


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