Dec 16. Cabinet of (Christmas) curiosities

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IT Innovation Challenges advent calendar 2019

The online platform Cabinet, built by researchers at the Oxford Internet Institute and supported by the IT Innovation Challenges, holds a number of intriguing entries associated with Christmas.

Screenshot of a 3D model of the Princess Mary Gift Tin 1914

View the 3D model on Cabinet by clicking on the image.

One of them is this 3D model of the Princess Mary Gift Tin box, which was digitised using photogrammetry at one of the University’s Lest We Forget roadshows.

The Princess Mary Gift Fund box is an embossed brass box that originally contained a variety of items such as tobacco and chocolate. It was intended as a Christmas present to those serving at Christmas in 1914 and was paid for by a public fund backed by Princess Mary.

The 3D model reveals the embossing through the play of light on the object’s surface and gives a sense of the object’s age by showing small scratches on its back – a detail usually not visible in photographs.

Other objects on Cabinet that relate to Christmas  include

Find out more about Cabinet

Cabinet is designed to support the use of objects and images in teaching and its ultimate aim is to make material culture as accessible for learning as traditional text-based sources. If you are interested in using Cabinet in your teaching, take a look at the Centre for Teaching and Learning website.

The Cabinet team is also working on an Augmented Reality extension of the platform to be used in museums. Read more about Open Cabinet on this blog.

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Dec 15. Not another Christmas movie

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IT Innovation Challenges advent calendar 2019

Oxford is beautiful and quaint, but have you ever thought about what the historic features, narrow pavements and cobbled streets mean for a wheelchair user? The Oxford Accessibility Project offers you the opportunity to see Oxford from a different angle by following A Day in the Life of a Wheelchair User.

We challenged a non-wheelchair user to get around Oxford in a wheelchair for the day. Let’s see how they did!

The short film was created by the team behind the Oxford Accessibility Project, a student-led initiative creating a free, online guide with college accessibility information. An audio described version as well as a longer version can also be found through the project’s YouTube channel.

 

The Oxford Accessibility Project is supported by the IT Innovation Challenges (student call). It is working with the University of Oxford and the Conference of Colleges to create a comprehensive accessibility resource for Oxford’s colleges and permanent private halls. See also the Oxford Access Guide https://college.accessguide.ox.ac.uk/.

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Dec 14. Video recording made easy

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IT Innovation Challenges advent calendar 2019

You may have to wait another ten days for your Christmas presents but it is now quicker and easier than ever to create a video for your course website, conference or research. Thanks to the ‘Instant Video Creation’ project, the University now has a number of video creation booths where users can come in and quickly and easily record their video to a memory stick, ready to be published on the VLE, website or simply shown at a conference or in a lecture.

The Instant Video Creation project was based at the Said Business School and supported by IT Innovation Challenges. You can find out more about it through the ‘Instant Video creation with RapidMooc’ blog post, or the video created using the new facility.

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Dec 13. Access all areas?

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IT Innovation Challenges advent calendar 2019

Oxford colleges and halls have amazing spaces. Whether they are in old, historic buildings or new, modern constructions they play a central role in students’ lives and are a key component of the Oxford student experience. But have you ever thought about how you can get to them? Here we are not thinking about whether you are allowed to go in but whether you are able to. Would you be able to go to a talk or visit the common room if you use a wheelchair or cannot walk up or down stairs? Are there toilets that you can get to and could you reach to open the doors? Thanks to the student led Oxford Accessibility Project, you can now find answers to those questions and much more via the College Access Guide

By making accessibility information more readily available, we’re empowering present and future generations of Oxonians to engage with college life more fully, and socialise with greater confidence, purpose and ease. Oxford Accessibility Project   

The free guide, available online, is now also part of the University’s Access Guide. It will be updated further, with more information added. If your college isn’t listed, why not contact the project and take part in helping current and future students get the information they need to be able to take part in University – and college – life.

The Oxford Accessibility Project was supported by the IT Innovation Challenges (student round)

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Dec 12. Digital makers

Looking for something to do over the holidays? Want to be creative and learn new skills? Why not try some digital making?

‘Digital Makers’ is an IT Innovation Challenges project looking at how affordable and flexible small computers, such as the micro:bit and Raspberry Pi, can be used to create new and rich experiences for museum visitors. By adding a technology aspect to more traditional craft activities, the team are allowing visitors to quickly acquire enough coding skills to add light, sound, movement and interactive elements to models or projects. While technology can supply the mechanism for digital making, the inspiration is provided by the rich collections held within GLAM. The first trial workshops have generated very positive feedback, suggesting it is something for both young and old to look out for.

‘Different, fun, mind boggling, ..’

‘very 21st century, fascinating… ‘

 

‘I will tell people I really enjoyed today and it’s worth going’ (child)

If you want to explore some digital making of your own, why not visit the micro:bit and Rasberry Pi websites where you can find out more about the technology. And keep an eye out for new museum workshops and activities by the ‘Digital Makers’ team.

Participants in the first Digital Maker workshop using technology, including Raspberry Pis and Micro:bits creatively

GLAM Labs Digital Makers team at work. Photo by O. Bridle

‘Digital Makers’ is joint project between the Ashmolean Museum and Bodleian Libraries, funded by IT Innovation Challenges.

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Dec 11. Looking for ideas?

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IT Innovation Challenges advent calendar 2019

Whether you are looking for Christmas gifts to buy, new treats to make for Christmas dinner or opportunities to be part of the Summer of Innovation, coming up with A Good Idea is crucial. The IT Innovation Challenges team are happy to talk to you about your innovation thoughts, but when it comes to preparations for your Christmas you will have to manage that yourself. We will not completely abandon you though, but suggest that you look at our ‘What is an Idea’ blog post which offers suggestions for how to come up with new ideas. We are sure yours will be brilliant and we are looking forward to hear about those that relate to digital innovation. Happy innovating!

Image by Elijah O’Donnell on Unsplash.

The What is an idea and how do I come up with ideas? post was  first posted here on January 16 2019 by Michelle Stork. 

 

 

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Dec 10. Oxford Stories

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IT Innovation Challenges advent calendar 2019

What do medieval churches, celebrating diversity, and new library readers have in common? They are all the focus in one of the free tours created with the Oxford Stories application.

Discover some of the alternative stories connected to Oxford’s buildings, streets and collections as told by researchers, community members, and students. https://oxfordstories.ox.ac.uk/

Oxford Stories is a collection of tours, the site where the tours can be found, and the tool used to build them. The tool was initially created by the Software Solutions team at IT Services as part of the Diversifying the University Voice project (supported by IT Innovation Challenges). It has since been developed further and can now be used to easily create tours that feature text, images, audio and video. Visit Oxford Stories on a mobile device and take a guided tour along the trail. You can also explore the tours from the comfort of your chair, using the maps, text and media resources to show you new and exciting aspects of Oxford.

A list of all current tours can be found on the Oxford Stories site https://oxfordstories.ox.ac.uk/. The list will grow as more tours are added but currently include:

  • Medieval Churches of Oxford: an interactive tour of medieval churches and spaces
  • Taylor Institution Library: a tour for new readers and anyone who wishes to see the library from the inside
  • Reformation Walking Tour: walk in the steps of graduates and faculty who became martyrs and leaders
  • Pitt Rivers Museum: discover new stories about museum artefacts
  • Out in Oxford: celebrate diversity through alternative insights into our shared, queer heritage
  • Torch: a number of Oxford Alternative Stories with themes such as: Black History, Colonialism, Religion, Refugee, and more.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITY:  Do you have an idea for a tour? Why not join the Summer of Innovation challenge which is funding a number of students to work on innovative digital projects. Call for ideas opens in January (see http://blogs.it.ox.ac.uk/innovation-challenges/summer-of-innovation-2020/).

 

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Dec 9. An immersive Christmas

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IT Innovation Challenges advent calendar 2019

‘Immersive technologies’ such as augmented and virtual reality are not only found in computer games but something that is increasingly used for research and other purposes across the University. The Oxford X-Reality Hub is a network for people interested in these technologies. It developed out of a student-led project, supported by the IT Innovation Challenges, focused on bringing together people from within and beyond the University with a shared passion for immersive technologies. Since its conception in 2017, the group has arranged a series of events, including networking opportunities, demonstrations, training courses, two summer schools and a yearly showcase event.

“The Oxford X-Reality Hub facilitates and promotes activities that leverage immersive technologies across all divisions of the University of Oxford. This is where people meet to: discuss ideas, present their work, develop projects, gain skills and access powerful capabilities. The network is all about the people and their passion for Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and other immersive technologies”.  (The Oxford X-Reality Hub website http://immersivetech.eng.ox.ac.uk/)

As the New Year is beckoning, the network is releasing a new and enhanced website and a new programme of events. Visit the site http://immersivetech.eng.ox.ac.uk/to learn more about past events and future opportunities, projects, courses and more. Join the network of researchers, students and industry leaders exploring the use of cutting-edge technology within and beyond academia.

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Dec 8. Naughty or nice? Better Research Ethics Application Process

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IT Innovation Challenges advent calendar 2019

Naughty or nice? When it comes to research ethics, the question is not quite so simple. An important consideration for research at the University is that it is “conducted in a way that respects the dignity, rights, and welfare of participants, and minimises risk to participants, researchers, third parties, and to the University itself.” (https://researchsupport.admin.ox.ac.uk/governance/ethics). Therefore, projects that involve human participants have to go through an ethical review. The review examines the processes used to keep everyone safe, looking at the way participants are informed about the project and protected from harm, the way collected information is stored and managed so that it doesn’t get lost or fall into the wrong hands and a number of other aspects.

Many find the process of applying for ethical review difficult and time-consuming and a considerable proportion of applications are incomplete when first submitted, often because the applicant had not realised what information they needed to supply. The ‘Better Research Ethics Application Process’ project is looking to help both applicants and reviewers by creating a dynamic online system for ethical review. Applicants will be guided through the application process and the answers they give to one question will decide what kind of information they are asked to provide next. Reviewers will be able to assess the applications quicker and better when all the relevant information is provided. The system will be piloted in the Computer Science Department, and hopefully be made available to the whole University by June 2020.

#TheOnlyWayIsEthics

The ‘Better Research Ethics Application Process’ project is based in the Department of Computer Science with support from the IT Innovation Challenges.

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Dec 7. A different kind of present.

Garland with bulbs, lights and bells

IT Innovation Challenges advent calendar 2019

Looking for a different kind of present this year? Why not support one of the crowdfunding initiatives run at the University through OxReach? By sponsoring a project, you help students, academics and staff to translate the ideas that they are passionate about into reality. You can donate as little or much as you like, knowing that the funds you give support Oxford research which can make a difference.

Some successful projects that could run thanks to crowdfunding through the OxReach platform include:

  • LIFE: using low-cost smartphones to give healthcare workers in Africa the knowledge they need to provide life-saving treatment to mothers and newborns. https://oxreach.hubbub.net/p/LIFEproject/
  • Greater Change: developing a mobile phone app that will enable the general public to make secure, cashless donations to support the homeless. https://oxreach.hubbub.net/p/GreaterChange/
  • ‘Lest We Forget’: saving the past for the future by helping local communities capture objects and memories from the First World War. https://oxreach.hubbub.net/p/lestweforget/
  • Africa Clubfoot Training Project: transforming the lives of children in Africa through clubfoot training for healthcare workers https://oxreach.hubbub.net/p/clubfoot/
  • Smart Handpumps: improving the sustainability of water supplies in rural Africa by developing infrastructure to captureand share information about broken handpumps via 4G.

Members of the University can use OxReach to seek financial support for high-impact philanthropic projects and ideas that they are most passionate about. In addition to the actual platform, OxReach also provides advice and guidance for how to run a successful campaign. The OxReach panel selects the projects that can use the platform based on a number of factors including suitability, goals, and commitment by the project team. More information on the OxReach site: https://oxreach.hubbub.net/ 

OxReach was established by Oxford University Innovation, with the support of IT Innovation Challenges.

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