School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


Dr Melanie King BA (Hons), PhD

Photo of Dr Melanie King

Lecturer in Systems Engineering


Dr King attended the University of Plymouth as an undergraduate in Architecture and Loughborough University where she received her doctorate in Computer Science.

After periods of working as a software developer and Computer Aided Design (CAD) technician, she joined the Department of Design & Technology at Loughborough University (1998), working as a research assistant on CAD practices and pedagogy.  Between 2001 and 2010, she worked as a Learning Technologist within the Faculty of Engineering.  From 2011 and 2016, she was the Head of Loughborough’s Centre for Engineering and Design Education (CEDE) where she managed a highly successful team comprising technologists, educationalists, researchers and students delivering enhancement projects locally and nationally through internal, research and enterprise income.

Dr King is a creative and highly competent researcher, technologist and designer of digital products such as; laboratory simulation software, integrated information systems, web applications, data architectures and digital services.  She also is an experienced IT and Project Manager with certifications as an Enterprise Architect (TOGAF 9.0 Certified), DSDM Agile Project Manager and Scrum Master.


PhD, Department of Computer Science, Loughborough University (2017).  ‘The realist evaluation of Educational Technology’ (

Key Awards

2014 – Times Higher Education Leadership & Management Awards 2014, winner of the ICT Initiative of the Year.  The Co-Tutor System (co-developed by Dr King) won the prestigious Sector THELM Awards.

2010 - IMS Global Learning Impact Award: Co-Tutor.  The Co-Tutor system won a prestigious International leadership award.  Dr King was presented with this at the Global Learning Impact conference in California, USA.

Main Research Interests

  • Evaluation & realist methodologies - Understanding ‘what works’ (or what does not work) in the lifecycle of complex socio-technical integrated systems.  Methods specifically to address complexity issues, in relation to development and embedding of socio-technical systems, into organisational and social systems that are in constant flux.  Dr King’s PhD is on the application and tailoring of Realist Evaluation (RE) for complex socio-technical systems.
  • Diagnostic evaluation - Realist research is in the early stages of being tested as a diagnostic method to evaluate complex problems or policy issues during the initial phases of exploration and design.  Dr King is researching this as an approach to help develop integrated solutions for complex real-world problems that involve multiple stakeholders.
  • Co-design and co-production practices in complex environments - Adopting a critical realist as well as systems thinking perspective in developing an understanding of the attributes and methods of a successful development and integration team, as a system of interest.  For example, studying co-design and co-production practices and how requirements are generated and knowledge is managed during iterative phases of design and development.
  • Human and contextual factors and how they link to our understanding of emergence - Using critical realist and systems thinking in studying significant human and contextual factors within Internet of Things applications, urban systems or issue-based information systems, and how this links with our understanding of emergent properties of the whole system.
  • ‘What works’ evidence bases - Establishing a cross-disciplinary shared evidence base that can be utilised by practicing system engineers and policy makers in any sector to develop better systems, policies and programmes.  Most importantly to understand the application and value of systems engineering adoption.


Grants and Contracts

  • 2012 – 2016 (£333k from HEIF & Jisc) – Development of a commercial version of the Co-Tutor software for the UK HE Sector.
  • 2012 (£50k from EPSRC) – Co-investigator on the collaborative UNIQUIP Project with Southampton, Bath and Leeds.  The aim of the project was to establish an open data standard for the description and sharing of information about research equipment and facilities in the UK HE Sector, to create a national portal of research facilities 
  • 2012 (£5k HEA) - Commissioned by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) to undertake a National survey of HE STEM teaching academics.
  • 2011 (£60k Jisc) – Primary investigator for the Jisc ‘Pedestal for Progression’ project.  The aim of this project was to explore the application of a Service Design methodology in order to enhance the student experience for final year students and aid their progression to next stage - either employment or further study.
  • 2011 (£40k Jisc) – Primary investigator for the Jisc ‘Kit-Catalogue’ project. The aim of this project was to create an open source equipment catalogue software which is now in use around the world.
  • 2008 (£5k OSS Watch: UK Open Source Advisory Service) Funded a visit to the University of Queensland, Australia, in order to support the tailoring and adoption of the open source WebPA software.
  • 2006 – 2008 (£200k Jisc) Primary investigator in a consortium project with the University of Hull and the HEA to create an open source version of the WebPA (peer moderated marking) software and conduct pedagogic research to support its development and ongoing use.
  • 2005 – 2006 (£167k Jisc) Co-investigator in the ‘Rights and Rewards’ project with the Department of Information Science and the University Library.  The aim of this project was to establish a blended institutional repository containing teaching and research materials. Also, to investigate the associated technical, copyright and organisational barriers as well as incentives.





Current Teaching Responsibilities

ELA007 – Introduction to Systems Engineering for Projects
ELD002 – Group Project (project support team)


Recent Publications

  • King, MRN (2017) The Realist Evaluation of Educational Technology, PhD Thesis.  Full text:
  • King, MRN, Dawson, R, Rothberg, S, Batmaz, F (2017) Utilizing a realist evaluative research approach to investigate complex technology implementations: an e-learning lecture capture exemplar, Journal of Systems and Information Technology, DOI: 10.1108/JSIT-04-2017-0027.  Full text:
  • King, MRN, Rothberg, S, Dawson, R, Batmaz, F (2016) Bridging the edtech evidence gap: A realist evaluation framework refined for complex technology initiatives, Journal of Systems and Information Technology, DOI: 10.1108/JSIT-06-2015-0059.  Full text:
  • King, MRN and Willmot, P (2014) A Blueprint for Success: A Model for Developing Engineering Education in the UK, International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy, 4(2), pp.18-22, Full text: