The distinction between a poster and an infographic is becoming increasingly difficult to draw! The judges took the view that:

  • an infographic should stand alone and not require any extra supporting explanation, and
  • the graphic should be easy to interact with, whether in a purely visual sense or in the true meaning of the word ‘interactive’.
The Google Earth globe showing markers for World War 1 cemeteries

The Google Earth globe showing markers for World War 1 cemeteries

The judges’ choice was an infographic based on the popular Google Earth software. It was created with student ambassadors who worked on the project World War One Centenary: Continuations and Beginnings, as one of  a number of visualisations of the impact of the War.

The project leader, Kate Lindsay, said:

Produced collaboratively by students, academic experts and developers, these interactive visualisations can be viewed using the Google Maps and Google Earth software. They use open data from sources such as Wikimedia, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Europeana 1914-1918, and The First World War Poetry Digital Archive, to address particular challenges in teaching the First World War: the global nature of the conflict and its impact beyond the Western Front.

Commonwealth Cemeteries of World War I enables learners to discover all of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission memorials and burial plots across the globe using the Google Earth Viewer. In this way it brings home to them the way in which the War touched both their own localities and distant corners of the world.

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Use of WebLearn to support a Course or Programme of Study

Thomas Jellis, School of Geography and the Environment: The Copenhagen Fieldclass

Dr Thomas Jellis is a lecturer in the School of Geography and the Environment and a tutor at Hertford and St John’s colleges. He uses WebLearn to support a fieldwork class in Copenhagen. Fieldwork has been construed as a key, if not the key, geographical practice. The field is supposedly the place where novices become geographers. It is field work which sets geography apart from other, arguably more mundane, intellectual pursuits.

The challenge was to build, from scratch, a ‘one-stop’ site for students who were participating in a field trip to Copenhagen. The site had to provide information before the trip, remain useful and up-to-date during the trip, and provide a repository of information afterwards. Moreover, it needed to have a coherent structure that could be easily updated for future field trips to Copenhagen.

Thomas said:

We recognised that we could use WebLearn to outline effectively the components of the course. We therefore designed a specific sub-site on WebLearn to accommodate this material. This was important in terms of enabling preparation prior to the trip, reflection on the themes and activities, and collaboration through group project wikis.

The innovative aspects of this project are simple but effective:

  • The site can scale to whatever device is used, so that students can navigate it in a meaningful way on laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
  • By creating a wiki for each group project, the site fosters cross-college communication and the development of research questions before the trip itself, and makes it easy to share material during and after the trip.

Thomas also uses WebLearn on mobile devices in ways which have surprised even the WebLearn team.  We always like to hear about novel uses of WebLearn!

IT Team,  Blavatnik School of Government: The WebLearn iPad App

The Blavatnik School of Government is a new institution, currently in its first year of teaching. Coinciding with the launch of the School, the School released a bespoke iPad app to support the delivery of course content to students and facilitate peer discussion. The developers used WebLearn to drive the back end of the app and also developed a custom theme for the Blavatnik’s WebLearn sites, in order to improve and unify the user experience when students access the service through a browser.

The development team noted that WebLearn provided tools which could be used to deliver many of the features that the School wanted in its virtual learning environment. They chose to use the resources, forums, assessments, tests and sign-up tools for the student portal, but invested in developing a bespoke ‘BSG’ interface for WebLearn and an innovative iPad app to improve the student experience.

Jeremy Howick and Lettitia Derrington, Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and Department for Continuing Education:
Evolution of Master’s Essay Writing: establishing the research-teaching link through innovative assessment with WebLearn

Jeremy and Lettitia designed a process using WebLearn forums that allowed students to interact as peer reviewers (i.e. provide formative assessment) of each other’s essay assignments. Studies indicate that when students review their peers’ work they display a greater degree of interest and engage more deeply with the learning material. Jeremy explained:

Traditional forms of summative assessment, while useful, do not optimize preparation for research, encourage ‘cramming’, and do not always encourage students to engage with all the course material. Virtual learning environments and electronic resources have evolved dramatically over the last few years and require innovative integration into core curricula. I had to map the actual process of writing a paper for peer review onto the WebLearn platform. This involved both a literature search of the reasons and advantages of student peer-review, and investigating and testing ways to facilitate and enable students to provide feedback to their peers.

At each stage of the exercise, students had to submit their work and also act as peer reviewers for other students. They communicated with each other using specially labelled WebLearn forums. The forum posts served the purpose of formative preparation for the students in writing their final essays for summative evaluation. The forums were supervised by the module coordinator, and the essays were submitted two months after the end of the course.

After the grades were given, student feedback was analysed to determine whether the process was effective. All of the students participated actively and the feedback was universally positive. One student wrote, ‘Thank you. I have never had a teacher give so much help and input before …I wish I had had teachers like you in the past.’

Other module coordinators have expressed an interest in using the model, and it is hoped that it might also be adopted across the the University.

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OxTALENT Speakers: Jonathan Healey

Jonathan Healey works on early-modern British social and economic history. As well as being a Fellow of Kellogg College, he is a University Lecturer in English Local and Social History.

In 2012 he was picked as one of the winners of BBC Radio 3′s New Generation Thinkers competition, and made  a number of appearances on the radio and the BBC website over the course of 2012-13.  He warns us that lessons drawn from the past and applied to our own world are meaningless, despite what we are told by best-selling historians and television documentaries. Healey suggests, it’s precisely because the past is a foreign country that we are able to understand what is so unique about today’s world.

He is keen to foster a public engagement with social history more generally, has recently begun a blog and some early tweeting.

He joins us at OxTALENT to reflect on his experience in balancing academia with a media profile.

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OxTALENT Speakers: Liz McCarthy

At last year’s OxTALENT award ceremony  we gave a prize to team of colleagues from the Bodleian Libraries for their open educational initiative ’23 things‘.

As part of their 23 things course,participants engage with a series of social media tools, share ideas, reflect on practice and write blog posts to contribute to a community resource for others.  The design of the course itself is a re-used learning design. The original 23 things concept was developed by librarians in the USA and has been adopted by universities across the world, with each group adding their own local spin on the tasks.

All of the courses are available to all, and all materials generated are openly licenced.

Following on from their award,  the 23 things programme ran again at Oxford  as  ’23 Things for Research‘ and was extended as part of our ‘Engage‘ programme to include many more people from inside and beyond the collegiate university.

Liz returns to OxTALENT to tell us about her experience.

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Anne Trefethen has been Chief Information Officer overseeing Oxford’s IT Services department for just over one year. This time last year she joined us at OxTALENT to give some of the awards and discover  some of the wide range of innovation to be found across the collegiate University.  She joins us again and welcomes you to the event.

Melissa Highton is Director of Academic IT and previously Head of the Learning Technologies Group. She has been hosting the OxTALENT ceremony for the last five years.

Dave Waters is Chair of the OxTALENT Committee who provide the ideas and impetus behind this awards event each year. Dave has been involved with OXTALENT for more than ten years and will, as ever, give the winners and runners up their prizes.

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The OxTALENT annual awards recognise members of the University who have made use of ICT to foster learning and academic practice at either undergraduate or postgraduate level. Awards can be given either to individuals or to teams. Applications relating to the development of more effective links between teaching and research or to improving impact and outreach will be particularly welcome.

Awards categories

Details of each category including assessment criteria and how to enter can be found by clicking on the links below.

We also give prizes each year for examples of innovation and good practice which have been identified by staff at Academic IT Services and the OXTALENT Committee during the year through our programme of events, courses, user groups, case studies, meetings, projects, services, consultancy, surveys and user engagement. If you would like to let us know about an example of innovation or good practice you think we should consider for an award please contact

Winning projects in previous years

We encourage you to publish your OxTalent entries as Open Educational Resources (OER) using an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) creative commons licence and we are able to support you in doing that. When creating and releasing a digital object under an OER licence you must check that all material can be released under the chosen licence and that it does not inadvertently contain material that is subject to copyright by third-parties.


The deadline for the competitions: Mid-day 17 May 2013

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Award winning social media

“I feel much more equipped now to talk about how to move about in the social media world. Basically before I knew and used Facebook, LinkedIn and a bit of Twitter – but now I feel like I can use and strategize with more tools, thereby expanding my network and making the information I (and others) produce more accessible and visually pleasing.”

Our ‘Engage’ programme of social media training which ran in Michaelmas term this year is now  ‘award winning’. The team have won the 1st UCISA Amber Miro Memorial Award for Technology Innovation.

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Case studies of innovative practice

We have published 25 new case studies of exemplary use of technology for teaching, learning, research and outreach at Oxford. new videos are available on our LTG YouTube Case Study playlist.

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social media mooc

The aim of  the 23 Things Oxford  programme is to introduce participants to Web 2.0 technologies – working on the principle that exposure is the first stage in learning.   It is aimed at library staff but is open to all. Over 12 weeks, the aim is for participants to spend a little time each week working on the project, building up their own skills as well as adding to their abilities at work.  23 Things Oxford is offered openly under a Creative Commons licence which  makes it  Oxford University’s first MOOC?

Watch this LTG case study video of Laura Wilkinson and Penny Schenk describing the course.

23 Things Oxford will run again during Michaelmas term as the centre piece of  the  ’Social Media Michaelmas’ programme organised by Learning Technologies Group and  Bodleian Libraries.

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take a peek at a mooc

If you are interested in the use of technology in teaching and learning at Oxford, consider signing up for one of these online courses as part of your own continuing professional development.

E-learning and Digital Cultures Jeremy Knox, Sian Bayne, Hamish Macleod, Jen Ross, Christine Sinclair

Model Thinking Scott E. Page

Gamification Kevin Werbach

Networked Life  Michael Kearns

Creative, Serious and Playful Science of Android Apps Lawrence Angrave

Game Theory Matthew O. Jackson, Yoav Shoham,

First Steps into Learning & Teaching in Higher Education The Open Line mooc – HEA/JISC/Oxford Brookes University

Open Learning Design Studio MOOC Open University

Writing to Learn    Turnitin Academy

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