Use of technology for outreach and impact

This is a favorite category which enables us to celebrate the wide range of ways in which colleagues make use of technology.

Colleagues from across the University make use of web technologies to reach new audiences, communicate in new ways to students and to disseminate their research. OxTALENT prizes are given to individuals who have taken a risk, gone a little bit further and used technologies in a range of exciting ways.

This years winners are:  Professor Elizabeth Eva Leach (Faculty of  Music and St Hughs College) for her blogging and tweeting; Dr Margaret Yee (Faculty of Theology and St Cross College) for her  ‘Ultimate Origin’  event featuring the Archbishop of Canterbury, Professor Richard Dawkins and Sir Anthony Kenny streamed live from the Sheldonian; and Dr  Cedric Tan (Green Templeton College) winner of the international ‘Dance your Ph.D’ competition.

Elizabeth Eva Leach is a music theorist and musicologist, with wide-ranging interests in everything from the minutiae of musical structures and manuscripts to the broadest cultural, historical, and philosophical contexts for music. She is also one of Oxford’s best  known bloggers and tweeters.

She blogs to support not only her current students but also students who might wish to apply to study Music at Oxford and students all over the world via her open online course of tutorials. her use of twitter enables students to  follow her and send direct messages . She considers questions that can be answered in 140 characters to be much better than getting open-ended time-consuming emails.

The advice posted on her blog to support student coming to interview at St Hughs and Exeter was considered to be unique by the LTG researchers compiling  the recent ‘Student Digital Experience ‘ report.

Dr Margaret Yee  a senior research fellow at St. Cross College organised a groundbreaking debate between the Archbishop of Canterbury and Professor Richard Dawkins chaired by the philosopher Sir Anthony Kenny, entitled “The Nature of Human Beings and the Question of their Ultimate Origin”. Tickets sold quickly and in order to cope with demand not only was the debate filmed, but it was screened in the Physics department via a live video link and streamed live over the web to three parallel websites.  It gained coverage in all the national newspapers and media and during the debate the #dawkinsarchbishop hashtag was trending worldwide.  On the days after the event the recording of the debate was downloaded from Oxford on iTunes U thousands of times.

Dr Cedric Tan’s online video, ‘Smell mediated response to relatedness of potential mates’, won first prize in the Biology category of the international 2011 ‘Dance your Ph.D’ competition. Cedric says “It is  a creative competition that provides serious academics with an avenue for showcasing their research through dance. Not only does it inspire creativity, it allows non-academics and even kids to catch a glimpse of what scientists do. I have been choreographing dances on ecological and conservation themes for 6 years. Ever since I started my Ph.D, I have shifted the focus of my dance to disseminating research of fellow scientists and my research group.” winning the competition has brought a new audience to his work and this OxTALENT prize is in recognition of use of new media to disseminate research. For those interested, the closing date for the 2012 Dance your Ph.D Contest is October 1st.
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