Browse/search for people

Dr Kieren Pitts


I'm a Senior Web Developer/Researcher within the Internet Development group; part of IT Services R&D/ILRT. I am the main developer on BOS - an online survey tool used by approximately 300 institutions and with more than 35,000 registered users (survey authors, admins etc).

I have a passion for Web development, Web standards, accessibility, mobiles and online gaming.

Skills, Knowledge & Experience

I joined the Institute for Learning and Research Technology (ILRT) in 2001 and was employed as a Web developer on Biz/ed - an educational web site for lecturers and students of business, economics, accounting, leisure and recreation and travel and tourism. During my time with Biz/ed I worked on a wide range of projects using a variety of technologies including Perl, PostgreSQL, Flash, XML, podcasting and streaming video. Biz/ed won a number of awards including being made an honoree of the Webby Awards in early 2006.

Biz/ed launched in 1996 and became a JISC funded service in 2002. Funding came to an end in 2006 and Biz/ed was sold to Thomson Learning (now Cengage Learning) at the end of 2006. During 2006 I managed the project, a team of three (two content specialists and a content developer) and helped negotiate the sale and subsequent transfer of the project's technical assets. Biz/ed remains an important and innovative online resource and was short-listed for a BETT Award in 2008.

Following the sale of Biz/ed I moved in to the Internet Development group within the ILRT. Within the Internet Development group I worked on a number of projects including the development of Web sites using the Plone content management system. However, my primary focus is Bristol Online Surveys (BOS) - a bespoke web application written in Perl and using PostgreSQL. BOS is used by more than 300 institutions and is a critical component of several nationally important benchmarking surveys (surveys run by 100+ HEIs at the same time and then benchmarked anonymously). Although BOS is used within the University of Bristol the service is primarily an externally facing Software as a Service (SaaS) solution for other HEIs, commercial organisations, charities, NGOs and research councils.

As the main developer on the BOS project I planned and implemented many additions to the functionality offered by the service. I also made numerous improvements to the security, accessibility, interoperability and reliability of the service.

BOS was launched in 2002 and continues to grow in popularity. To meet growing demand and implement some exciting new features work the service was completely redeveloped over a period of two years and the replacement service launched in 2014.

Conferences & teaching

I am an Associate Lecturer for Birkbeck, University of London. I have taught on the Postgraduate Diploma in Web Design and Development for more than 10 years and also teach on the Digital Media Management diploma and have acted as an external examiner.

My teaching includes a wide variety of topics ranging from Accessibility to Database-backed web sites and Copyright to e-Commerce.