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OxTalent awards ceremony

OxTalent Awards CeremonyLast week I had the pleasure of attending the 2014 OxTalent Awards to receive an award for Univ’s online outreach initiative, www.staircase12.org. The OxTalent Awards are part of the University Teaching Awards Scheme, and are given to staff and students who have been innovative in their use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. Staircase12.org received a runner-up award in the category Use of Technology to Support Transition for its efforts to support 14-18 year olds to transition from the school curriculum to more independent university style learning using content from staff, students and tutors at University College.

The Awards ceremony was held at IT Services, and there was a great buzz at the drinks reception before the event began as guests enjoyed the exhibits of work receiving awards and admiring the stylish OxTalent themed decorations that had transformed IT Services for the evening.

The Isis Lecture Room was packed as we took our seats for the ceremony, and everyone was intrigued to see a table at the front laden with beautifully presented gift bags. Melissa Highton, Director of Academic IT, presented each award with a summary of the work that had won it, and in doing so gave the audience an overview of the incredible range of innovative work being done across the University. Short speeches of encouragement from Pro- Vice Chancellor (Education) Sally Mapstone, the University’s Chief Information Officer Ann Trefethen, and Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science Marcus du Sautoy added further to air of celebration, as did the champagne reception which followed the event!

It was truly inspiring to be gathered in a room with so many people who had used technology in so many different ways and for so many different purposes. I particularly enjoyed the quotes from winners about their experiences of their projects, and in particular the frequency with which we heard that the creators of such accomplished work had started out with only an idea and a can-do attitude. Many had taught themselves along the way, and in seeing their work and hearing about their trials, errors and successes I was filled with ideas and enthusiasm for future endeavours.

Thank you to everyone on the OxTalent Committee and at IT Services for all their hard work on this uplifting event. As well as being a great occasion for celebration, it brought together a group of people with shared interests from so many different areas of the University: I will now know where to turn when looking for advice and encouragement with the next project!

Published: 25 June 2014

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