4. Research areas in IT within the University

Departments within the University undertake research relevant to OUCS. Research in these departments should not be duplicated by OUCS, but collaboration and joint working are possible. OUCS has strong research links with several departments such as OeRC, Libraries, and Education. Firstly OeRC has research topics such as e-Health, climate, virtual reality, embedding e-Science and the digital economy. OUCS are already collaborating with OeRC on projects such as the Low Carbon ICT project, e-IUS and the Digital Repositories project (also run by the Library Service). Secondly, the Libraries Service (OULS) has close connections with OUCS and runs digital preservation projects, the Oxford-Google Digitization Programme, the Oxford Research Archive (ORA) and the BRII project, among others. Thirdly, there are links with the Department of Education with teaching on the Masters in e-Learning and with specific Education projects.

The Office of the Director of IT (ODIT) runs projects that seek to make optimal use of IT and collaborates with other departments, e.g. OeRC on the Digital Repositories project. The Oxford Internet Institute has a specific research brief on the societal implications of the Internet. Some of these areas are out of scope for OUCS but research areas covering areas of mutual interest include digitised resources, Government/Governance, Information Exchange and social science computing, with projects such as Cybertrust, the Learner and their context, the Open Net initiative and the World Internet Project. There are several groups, including the centralised services, looking at research related to administration activities. Examples of these are: using Web 2.0 technologies in graduate recruitment, student portals, assessment and gateways, the alumni office. OUCS is already collaborating on a number of different projects with UAS. There are links to the English Faculty and to Linguistics, with TALL (Technology assisted Lifelong Learning Unit) in the Department for Continuing Education, with the Oxford Learning Institute, and with the Computing Laboratory which runs the undergraduate and postgraduate academic computing courses.

Research on e-learning within the University should primarily be carried out within the University’s traditional tutorial framework for undergraduate study, but should also take into consideration other models of learning at both undergraduate and taught postgraduate levels. This includes the tutorial system which is already being investigated within Weblearn in order to facilitate both academic and student use for scheduling, distribution of learning support material, and online learning activities. OUCS research in this area will follow the recommendations of the education committee and will be followed up by a series of OUCS e-learning activities within the Learning Technologies Group at OUCS. OUCS must also take the lead on projects that meet its overall mission statement and seek to develop its service provision, by researching into the underlying technology or new technologies. Where the project is more applied to a specific academic discipline then OUCS should work in collaboration with the faculty, department, or the OeRC and the project should be based outside of OUCS.

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