OxTALENT 2017: winners’ roll call

The sixteenth annual OxTALENT awards ceremony was held at the Oxford Martin School on Wednesday 14th June. In total, 87 entries had been received (a record!), and their quality was reflected in the number of awards made: 23 across the seven categories.

This year the entries in each category were co-judged by a member of Academic IT and an expert from elsewhere in the University. A number of the specialist co-judges were able to attend the ceremony and announce the award-winners; we thank Dr Julia Horn (Innovative Teaching & Learning), Tom Fuller (Digital Media), Lesley Paterson (Public Engagement) and James Slattery (Outreach & Widening Participation).

Invited talks were given by Professor Sir Paul Collier, Professor Emma Smith and two of the winners: Dr Janet Smart (Innovative Teaching & Learning) and Dr Niall Winters (Outreach & Widening Participation). (Read about the guest speakers.)

Sir Paul drew powerful comparisons and contrasts between the classroom programmes run by Workers’ Education Association, which enabled his father to gain the education that he had missed by leaving school at 12, and the MOOC which Sir Paul led earlier this year and enabled over 47,000 learners in 196 countries to undertake studies that might otherwise have been impossible. It’s worth pausing to reflect that 47,000 is more than twice the total student population of Oxford University. Furthermore, Sir Paul had been approached by total strangers as far afield as Nairobi and Berlin to express their appreciation of the MOOC.

In her closing talk, Emma thanked everyone involved in organising both the competition and the awards ceremony, and set the award-winners a challenge: to extend their innovative work to at least one other person in their workplace. Innovation comes not only from initiatives at the top, but also – and importantly – from the sharing of ideas and successes at the grass roots.

The official photo call for the winners and guest speakers at the OxTALENT 2016 awards ceremony (unofficial photo by Liz Masterman)

Below we list all the winners, runners-up and recipients of honourable mentions. To read more about the entries in a particular category, click the heading. We will also add many of the winning entries (and others too) to Academic IT’s collection of case studies in due course.

Planning for next year’s OxTALENT competition will get under way during the autumn, and the launch will be announced in Hilary Term. To stay informed, subscribe to News from Academic IT and follow @acitoxford on Twitter.

This is a general category in which we have previously recognised staff who have made creative use of digital technologies in their teaching. This year we have broadened its scope in two ways. First, we have brought WebLearn (previously a separate category) under its umbrella. Second, we opened up the category to students as well.

It’s always an exciting category to judge because it reveals the many initiatives at the departmental and individual levels that complement provision from the centre.

Winner: Janet Smart for Using film in an undergraduate Technology and Operations Management course
Joint Runners-up: Nicola Barclay, Simon Kyle, Colin Espie, Christopher-James Harvey, Sumathi Sekaran & Damion Young for The Oxford online programme in Sleep Medicine
Joint Runners-up:
Michael Panagopulos, Rebecca White, John Ingram, Saher Hasnain, Rosina Borrelli & Roger Sykes for Innovative Food Systems Teaching and Learning Programme (IFSTAL)
Honourable Mention: Jennifer Brown for Development of ‘Virtual Microscopy’ and online assessment modules for the Laboratory Medicine course

Digital media

Previously titled ‘Academic Podcasting’, this category has been expanded to reflect the variety of forms that media artefacts can take: podcasts, animations, short videos (stills and/or moving images), as well as more substantial documentaries. Media artefacts can have been developed to support academic practice or any other purpose relevant to life at the University such as student wellbeing, clubs and societies.

Winner: Tim Knowlson for Take 5 for Exam Panic
Runners-up: Suzanne de la Rosa, Dan Q, Elizabeth McCarthy, Jennifer Townshend & Kath Fotheringham for In-gallery interactives for Bodleian’s ‘Shakespeare’s Dead’ exhibition

Public engagement

With evidence of impact a key requirement of many funders, and with global reach a major priority of the University, it is unsurprising that researchers are devising creative ways to ensure that their work reaches the widest possible audience. This category recognises initiatives that have used technology to engage audiences beyond the University in a two way process of enhancing knowledge and understanding.

Winners: Andrew Pollard, Sarah Loving & Yama Farooq for The Vaccine Knowledge Project
Runners-up: Scott Billings, Ellena Smith, Kate Nation, Jacqueline Pumphrey, Zoltan Molnar & Holly Bridge for Brain Diaries
Honourable Mention: Chris Paton, Mike English, Hilary Edgcombe, Niall Winters, Anne Geniets & Jakob Rossner for LIFE: Life-Saving Instruction for Emergencies

Outreach and widening participation

Outreach and widening participation activities deliver an important dimension of the University’s work in raising aspirations, promoting diversity and encouraging people from non-traditional backgrounds to enter higher education. This category recognises staff and students who have made innovative use of technology to deliver exceptional widening participation activities and to support learners from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Winners: Niall Winters, Melanie Jewell, Anne Geniets, Paula Fiddi, Paige Mustain, Ashmita Randhawa, Tracey Calabrese, Isobel Talks, Sabbah Bakhtiar, Laura Hakimi & Emily Winstanley for go_girl: code+create
Runner up: Yiu-Yin Tong for PhyWiz — Physics Solver
Honourable Mention: Jo Murray for LMH Snapchat Takeover Campaign

Data visualisation

An excerpt from Otto and Vili’s winning visualisation, Online Labour Index

Software is making it easier to create data visualisations that are interactive and can be shared via the web. In this category of OxTALENT we were looking for visualisations that tell a story, provide an insight, make the complex simple or illustrate a beautiful pattern in a data set. 

Winners: Otto Kässi & Vili Lehdonvirta for the Online Labour Index
Runners-up: Alfie Abdul-Rahman, Nicholas Cole & Olivia Griffiths for The Quill Project: Modelling and visualizing the creation of the American Constitution

Research posters

This category showcases some of the creative poster designs that are produced around the University in support of teaching, research and outreach. With a wider acceptance of posters in all disciplines, including the Humanities, the designs submitted are very wide-ranging. Once again, it was thought appropriate to award prizes additionally for the most innovative posters.

Best poster:

Winner: Hanna Smyth for The Material Culture of Remembrance and Identity
Runner up: Susila Davis for Where are we going and how do we get there?

Most innovative poster:

Winner: David Lo for Main group compounds for activation of small molecules
Runner up: Hannah Allum for So… You want to move your collections

The winning entries: best poster (L) and most innovative poster (R)

Innovation Challenges

This year, OxTALENT has recognised for the first time projects funded through the University’s IT Innovation Challenges scheme. The projects listed below have resulted in a product or solution that shows considerable realised or potential benefit to the University. There are two sub-categories: staff projects and student projects.

Staff projects:

Winners: Kathryn Eccles, Jamie Cameron, Silke Ackermann, Sarah Griffin & Howard Hotson for Cabinet
Runner-up: Jon Mason for Chooser: Simple, flexible option choosing

Student projects:

Winners:  Anita Paz, Naomi Vogt, Jessica Hutchens & Nina Wakeford for The Oxford Artistic and Practice-Based Research Platform (OAR)
Runner-up: Greg Auger for Alternative prospectus online

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