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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Speaker: Will Hutton

Mr Hutton is an economist and leading public intellectual whose career began in the City, but who is best known for his work in journalism.

He was editor-in-chief at The Observer from 1996 to 2000 (where he continues to write a column), when he joined The Work Foundation. His review ‘Fair Pay in the Public Sector’ has just been published, and he has conducted independent reviews into Britain’s education and training compared to EU countries, the BBC’s charter renewal, and the creative industries. He is currently chairing the Ownership Commission, an independent commission has been established to monitor the impact of increased university fees and the Big Innovation Centre.

Mr Hutton spoke to the OxTALENT audience and winners about transformative technology and openness of innovation. He presented the ecosystem of innovation, individual light bulb moments, networks and peers the drivers, funders and sponsors who provide spaces for innovation to grow, and the University as the crucible of innovation.
- Lets celebrate OxTALENT as a different story about what Oxford is. (Will Hutton)

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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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Student IT innovation

The award for Student IT Innovation is advertised widely across the University and in the student press. In the past winners have been students who have developed various apps for mobile phones or to solve a technical problem they have encountered in their studies.  This year our winners again show creativity, originality, impact and sustainability. This year’s entries are judged by last years winners.

First prize went to Mihran Vardanyan (Department of Physics and Christ Church) for his development of the iCosmos cosmology calculator. This innovative web-application allows researchers, educators and learners to compute different cosmological quantities and visualise a graphical representation of these quantities with a selection of cosmological parameters. iCosmos is being actively used in Cosmology research all over the globe, and is referenced in many Masters and PhD thesis’ to crosscheck results and compute theoretical values. Using a combination of advanced web technologies, the web app provides an efficient and speedy user experience, an invaluable tool for those in the field of Astrophysics and Cosmology.

Two runners up have also been awarded in this category. LHSee, developed by Chris Boddy (Department of Physics and Brasenose College), is a Smart Phone App that visualises collisions from the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s biggest scientific experiment. Users of the app can find out about more about the Large Hadron Collider, learn how the ATLAS experiment works, view live 3D displays of collisions direct from CERN, and play the ‘Hunt the Higgs’ game. Making an astonishing and complex process accessible to everyone the App is a novel way of attracting people into the world of Partical Physics.

Joshua  Chauvin (Department of Experimental Psychology and New College) showed originality in his use of applied artificial neural networks to aid in the classification of children affected with Autism Spectrum disorders. ‘Neural Network Classification of Syndromic Facial Dysmorphology: Autism Spectrum Disorders’ collected image data from participants using a 3D photogammetric device to compile a facial image database of children unaffected with ASD. This was then compared with a facial image database of children diagnosed with ASD. The ANN exhibited strong predictive capabilities, suggestive of differences in facial morphologies. The success of this study provides evidence to support the hypothesis that there are differences in facial morphologies between children affected with ASD and children unaffected, and that ANNs are capable of recognizing these differences. Ongoing research is being carried out to further examine the potential clinical application of such computational models that has the potential to span philosophical, psychological, neurological, medical and social disciplines.

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Innovative use of technology in the classroom

In this category we celebrate colleagues who have made innovative use of technologies during face to face teaching or who teach in technology-enhanced classrooms. previous winners have made use of voting ‘clickers’, mobile phone polls and google maps for teaching.

This year’s winner is Dr Robert Belshaw from Biological Sciences (Brasenose College) for his use of agent-based models in a  2-hour practical session for his Infectious Disease Control course.  Students build and analyse an ABM where they can measure the effect of different vaccination strategies on the spread of a virus through human populations with different social network structures. To run this session Robert used the Behaviour Composer (a web-based tool for constructing NetLogo models), developed within Oxford’s Learning Technologies Group and available as a new WebLearn tool. You can read more about this innovative classroom session on the LTG Case Studies Blog.

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Open educational resource projects

This year we have awarded prizes for projects engaging groups of staff in ongoing activities which produce work explicitly licensed as ‘open for sharing’  using creative commons licensing (Open Educational Resources). This years winners are a team from the Bodleian Libraries for  23 Things Oxford, a  self-directed learning programme to introduce library staff to Web 2.0 technologies.

Also awarded is a team of academic bloggers from the Department of Politics and International Relations  who, along with student editors and colleagues from Cambridge University, write a shared blog  ‘Politics in Spires’ which comments on current events.

As part of their 23 things course, librarians 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 university and public libraries across the UK, 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. The 23 Things team at OULS are Laura Wilkinson, Penny Schenk, Jane Rawson, Emma Cragg & Angela Carritt. Read a SCONUL article about 23Things Oxford 138 members of OULS library staff registered to take part in the programme and set up blogs to record their progress. Of these, 82 participants successfullycompleted the programme.

‘Politics In Spires’ is a similarly influential community resource. Researchers and students are regularly blogging into a shared resource, with their writings publicly available and licened for re-use. Kate Candy has worked hard along with her team of students and colleagues to make the project a success. Scot Peterson of the Oxford Politics in Spires Oversight Committee says, ‘The blog is really interesting, original and thought-provoking It is well argued and incorporates material from students’ field work for their degrees.  This is exactly what we are looking for!’ You can find out more about the ‘Politics in Spires’ project on the LTG YouTube Channel.

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Research digital image

Three prizes were awarded this year for Best Research Image. The 1st prize went to Agnese Abrusci (Department of Physics)  for her striking photograph of multicolor solar cells using dyes as light antenna. The reduced thickness of this photovoltaic technology allows them to be integrated into the glass windows in buildings. The photograph depicts this state of art material in the foreground, and ultimate application in the background. The judges’ commented this was ‘a colourful image that is technically excellent with a good use of depth of field.

2nd prize went to Lindsay Percival  for her eye catching image of the Ordovician trilobite Trinucleus abruptus from the University’s Museum of Natural History. The image was taken for the JISC-funded project GB/3D Fossil Types Online. The aim of the project is to produce a unified web database of all British type specimens held in British collections, with high quality photographs and 3D digital models. Most images will supplement those in existing publications, but in some cases specimens will be photographed for the first time. The Oxford University Museum of Natural History is currently undertaking work to document the 2000 type specimens held in our palaeontology collection.

Traditionally fossils photographed for publication may have included a stereopair (two offset images) to create the perception of 3D depth when optically fused by means of a stereoscope. This project is diverging from tradition and using stereo anaglyphs instead, a more accessible option. The anaglyph images are produced by photographing the specimen in two slightly different attitudes on a tilt board, at an angle of rotation of 8°. The photographs are then processed in Adobe Photoshop; the left eye image is filtered to remove blue and green, and the right eye image is filtered to remove red and green. The resultant photographs are then merged together creating a 3D image when viewed with red-blue glasses.

The 3rd prize in this category went to Ian Cartwright (School of Archaeology) for a technically excellent image with great detail and colour, captured for Professor Helena Hamerow’s research The Origins of Wessex.  The image was part of a traveling poster and artifact display touring around Oxfordshire Museums. The Ashmolean will host the display later in 2012.

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