IT Services

Learning Technologies at IT Services


1. Featured Stories

Remembering ‘the War to End All Wars’

2706On the centenary of Britain’s entry into the First World War we remember the combatants and civilians who died or suffered during that terrible conflict, as well as those soldiers who returned to pick up their lives – often bearing the scars both outside and within. During the lead-up to the anniversary a number of Academic IT Services projects (and their international partners) have digitised and crowdsourced materials for educational use. From one of those collections, here is the diary entry for 4th August 1914 by the young Vera Brittain. She writes about the international declarations of war and Sir Edward Grey’s speech in Parliament, and the enlistment of acquaintances in the reserves, as well as the implications for their families.

Digital Humanities at Oxford Summer School 2014

DHOxSS poster sessionJames Cummings and colleagues in Academic IT Services are busy during the week 14th-18th July with the Digital Humanities Summer School (DHOxSS). This annual training event introduces researchers, project managers, students, and anyone interested in digital humanities to a range of topics including the creation, management, analysis, modelling, visualization, and publication of digital data. Each delegate follows one of a set of five-day workshops and supplements this experience with guest lectures. Also featured is a poster session giving delegates a chance to share their digital humanities with each other. This year the event has gone mobile with an app for smartphone tablet, and web platforms.

DHOxSS is a collaboration led by IT Services, the Oxford e-Research Centre (OeRC), the Bodleian Libraries, the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), and The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities.

Goodbye to Melissa Highton

Pitt Rivers - Party view Lo resAt the end of June we said goodbye to Melissa, who after six years in Oxford has moved to a new post at the University of Edinburgh. Melissa joined as Head of the Learning Technologies Group and subsequently became Co-Director of Academic IT Services with responsibility for learning and teaching after the LTG merged with the Research Support team. We will be forever appreciative of the energy with which Melissa drove the production and promotion of open educational resources at Oxford and built the OxTALENT awards from a low-key lunchtime event to the high-profile ‘red carpet’ ceremony which is one of the high points of the Academic IT year. With characteristic originality and aplomb, Melissa chose the Pitt Rivers Museum for her leaving party, with guests sipping Prosecco and nibbling tasty cup-cakes while browsing the cabinets of curiosities. We send every good wish to Melissa as she embarks on the next exciting stage of her career.

OxTALENT: a bumper crop of entries and awards

OxTALENT 2014 Red CarpetThe OxTALENT awards for innovation and creativity in the use of digital technology in the University were presented in a packed Isis room at IT Services on Wednesday 18th June. This has been a particularly fruitful year, with the number of categories expanded to 11, including awards for the use of technology to support students in transition. In all, 27 prizes were given to individuals and teams, and you can read about the winners here.


IMG_1717Come along to our red carpet event to celebrate how we use digital technology to support learning and teaching.

We will be giving prizes to more than 20 winners from across the collegiate University. We will be live tweeting as each of the winners is announced. Follow this blog and #oxtalent2014

At the ceremony we will showcase work done by staff and students this year. Our guest speakers include Professor Marcus Du Sautoy, Professor Anne Trefethen and the event is hosted by Melissa Highton, Director of Academic IT.

2. About us

The Academic IT Services group includes learning technology support to facilitate learning, teaching, and research, and the overall digital experience of students and academics within Oxford University. We aim to:

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3. Favourites

Oxford & the Great War: Scholars’ View

war_memorial_oldOn the centenary of Britain’s entry into the First World War, the University has released a short video in which two distinguished historians – Professor Margaret MacMillan and Sir Hew Strachan – speak about the public’s understanding of the War and the role of academics in dispelling myths and misunderstandings.

Squawk! @morethanadodo notches up its 5,000th follower

dodopaint1Congratulations to our digital feathered friend from the University Museum of Natural History on reaching a big milestone in his?/her? social media activities! You can read all about @morethanadodo and how colleagues from the Museum maintained a lively outreach programme during the Museum’s year-long closure in one of our many case studies of innovative practice with digital technologies at the University.

Research-intensive universities and online learning

LERU logoA new advice paper, Online Learning at Research-Intensive Universities, has been published by the League of European Research Universities (LERU). Co-authored and edited by Professor Sally Mapstone, Oxford’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education, it states that research-intensive universities must both embrace and strongly influence the online future of education. Professor Mapstone comments: ‘Intelligent scenario planning, underpinned by a willingness to think radically where necessary, will be key to the future provision of a successful learning experience for the next generations of students.’ Regarding quality control, she adds: ‘Research-intensive universities should take the lead in defining standards and expectations for quality assurance in online education. Online offerings should always be subjected to the same rigorous evaluation as traditional course offerings.’

European Recollection

IMG_1722German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel talks about Europeana 1914-1918 and the importance of the remembrance of ‪the First World War‬: ”I am happy that many people participate and that history also becomes more comprehensible. … This is a great thing”.

Student Innovation

proofJISC summer of innovation will fund student teams to develop novel ideas on how to use technology to improve student life. If  an idea proves popular (achieves 250 votes from at least 10 institutions) they  will consider it for funding.  Here’s an idea from students at Oxford. Vote now.