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 oxtalent@oucs.ox.ac.uk

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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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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