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O x T A L E N T 2010 Winners

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1. Use of WebLearn to support a course or programme of study

Winners: Victoria Brown & Rachel Woodruff

Project: A dynamic WebLearn presence for History of Art and visual culture

After consulting academic colleagues and students on their needs, Victoria and Rachel created a set of WebLearn sites using a multiple-site model. This model has proved a key means of making students active participants of smaller class-based communities through the teaching sites, whilst also unifying the art historical community and collaborative research activities through the joinable sites. WebLearn has also provided a platform for consolidating the image-based learning experience in a way that was not previously possible.

Winner: Benjamin Spagnolo

Project:Undergraduate intercollegiate mooting competition

The Legal Research & Mooting Skills Programme (LRMSP) is a compulsory part of the degree for all undergraduates – about 220 each year. The innovative use of WebLearn is to support the mooting component of the programme. Ben took a creative leap with the Forums tool to repurpose it for submission of court documents that can only be seen by those in the relevant courts (the counsel and the judge). In combination with extensive use of the Groups tool, this sophisticated system has allowed the programme team to organise 60 courts, each with four counsel and a judge, and to ensure that the right documents go to the right people at the right time.

Winners: Dr Elizabeth Frazer & Dr Scot Peterson

Project:WebLearn for teaching Politics
To make teaching and learning Politics more effective and enjoyable for students and tutors, Scot and Elizabeth have integrated WebLearn into coursework administration and delivery of course materials, formative and summative evaluation and record-keeping and reciprocal learning. Both Scot and Liz have experimented with different tools to see what works best. The site statistics show that the site has attracted a large number of visits by students who interact and engage with the learning tasks actively.

2. Academic Podcasting

Winners: Dr Emma Smith

Project:Not Shakespeare: Elizabethan and Jacobean popular theatre

One of the key reasons Emma has won this award is that she’s shown herself to be completely self-sufficient in producing her podcasts. Emma does all of the work herself; she organises her lectures, she records them with her own equipment, creates her own mp3 files which she then uploads to her WebLearn site. She even delivered a photograph to be used as an iTunes U album cover, and provided detailed descriptions of all her talks. This meant that the series could be added to iTunes U quickly and subsequently raced into the Oxford top ten. With 700 downloads a week at peak.

3. Student Podcasting

Winner: OUCS Student Web Media Team

The Student Web Media Team programme has just completed its second successful year. The team comprises a small group of enthusiastic Oxford University students who are eager to learn about the possibilities that the new medium of podcasting can offer. Over the past 9 months, the Student Web Media Team have created audio and video podcasts which are available for anyone to download from the Oxford iTunes U website. They include a series of videos about the recent Oxford Museum of History and Science Steampunk exhibition with its curator, interviews with Rupert Shepherd in the Ashmolean Museum on John Ruskin, audio recordings of discussions between experts of J.R.R. Tolkien, videos about Native American coats at the Pitt Rivers museum, a series of interviews for the Department of Anthroplogy, and the filming of the inaugural Oxford Climate Forum, which was organised by students and attracted speakers from across the globe.

4. Student Projects

Winners: Bryce Goodman Alastair Cruickshank

Project:Belooga media

"We have developed a new webcasting player with the power to integrate background and supplemental media into video lectures to increase learning potential for novices and experts alike.”
The three interactive features that distinguish our media player from standard online video players are:
1) Digital footnotes - Appear where links to supplementary material are embedded. The user has the ability to click and access paper abstracts, data charts, news articles, wiki's etc. all without leaving the video player. 2) Synced Slides - Separate, expandable display of slides synchronized with video; by not filming the speaker and slides in one shot we can ensure far better video quality. 3) Timeline Indexing - The timeline is indexed to allow the user to jump easily between sections, allowing for a customized learning experience and immediate overview of the lecture content.

Runner up: Henry Stead

Project:London poetry systems (LPS)

LPS aims to offer a resource site for contemporary poetic performance in the form of web videos and a platform for the exhibition of and experimentation into poetic uses of digital media. It aims also to improve the reach and breadth of poetry in the digital age. Henry and his team created (and will continue to create) live multimedia poetry events, recorded them and presented them in an edited online format. This developed into the creation of an IPTV channel hosted by Vimeo and a central "hub" website, displaying other kinds of digital poetry including picture poems and AV poems. The team has captured some historic performances especially by younger poets. The team has managed to maintain a stable web presence and attracted exciting poetic acts. They have showcased types of poetic performance that would not have been possible without the unique platform and encouraged collaboration between artists of many different styles and genres.

Runner up: Tomas Malinauskas

Project:Drug discovery on a personal computer

Molecular docking is a computational method which predicts the preferred orientation of one molecule (e.g. drug molecule) to a second (e.g. human target protein) when they bind to each other. High throughput molecular docking is an important tool in drug discovery. It is used to identify possible drug compounds to be investigated in the laboratory and has been applied in a numerous medically important programs. Publicly available databases of chemical compounds (e.g. ZINC), protein structures (e.g. Protein Data Bank) and molecular docking algorithms (e.g. Lamarckian genetic algorithm implemented in the program AutoDock) have to be integrated in order to perform high throughput molecular docking. To meet this challenge, a program (script) called Docker 1.0 that uses AutoDock as the internal docking engine to dock possible drug compounds to protein structures was developed. Docker 1.0 can dock thousands of possible drug compounds to a protein structure on a single processor computer per day automatically. It can serve as a simple tool in drug discovery. Docker 1.0 was enthusiastically accepted by numerous scientists interested in computational docking and drug discovery.

Docker 1.0 was released to the public use:

A step-by-step guide how to use free tools (publicly available databases and programs) was written:

A step-by-step guide how to install a program package AutoDockTools on Ubuntu Linux operating system was written:

5. Academic conference posters

Winner: Ariel-Y-J Liu

Poster:Adding value to the museum learning experience - [ full scale of the poster ]

Runner up: Hannah Grainger Clemson

Poster:First year experiences of doctoral research - [ full scale of the poster ]

Joint 3rd place: Roger Mills

Poster:Trapped in the web - [ full scale of the poster ]

Joint 3rd place:Shamal Faily

Poster:Context sensitive requirements and risk management with IRIS - [ full scale of the poster ]

6. Academic research digital images

Winner: Leticia Ochoa
Image: Anotheca spinosa - [ full scale of the image ]

Runner up: John Elliott
Image: Ground deformation in Haiti - [ full scale of the image ]

3rd place: Adele Powell
Image:Radio tagging woodcock - [ full scale of the image ]

7. Use of Technology in Learning Spaces

Winner: Dr Barbara Gabrys

Project:Use of clickers to enhance teaching and learning

The aim of the project was to test whether the use of clickers could enhance teaching and learning at undergraduate level. Recently there has been an increase in the number of published case studies on using technology to improve deep understanding and learning. Whereas clickers seem to be very popular in the United States (for different purposes, from recording course attendance to encouraging peer-to-peer learning), we could not find relevant examples in the UK. Dr Gabrys experimented using clickers in teaching several courses at undergraduate level and also evaluated the results. The students had the chance to use the clickers during lectures, both individually and paired up, which was found to enhance peer-learning and stimulate discussion and debate.