University of Oxford wins UCISA Award for Excellence
17 February 2011
The 2010 UCISA Higher Education Award for Excellence, sponsored by Eduserv, has been won by the University of Oxford. The Award seeks to recognise and highlight levels of excellence and best practice that currently exist and are demonstrated by UCISA members within the UK higher and further education sectors.
The submission for Mobile Oxford focused on the development of an applications information service for mobile devices. Aimed at staff and students of the University, and the general public in Oxford, the service employs geo-location functionality to give users real-time transport information and help them find the local amenities and leisure facilities that are nearest to them.
Other features of the service include location-sensitive library searching, access to the University’s iTunes U podcast catalogue and notification of when exam results are released. In its first year of availability Mobile Oxford had over a million distinct visitors. A related open source project is allowing other higher and further education institutions to develop their own mobile portals, and a pilot deployment has already been installed at Oxford Brookes University.
On hearing of the University’s success, Dr Stuart D Lee, Director, Computing Systems and Services commented, “We are thrilled at Oxford to receive such an award as it shows that our work has been valued by our peers. We hope that this leads to more people looking at the free source code behind the project, and would like to thank JISC and the funders within the University for allowing us to take this innovative service forward."
Stephen Butcher, Chief Executive of sponsors Eduserv, commented, “Eduserv is delighted to be associated with this award, which recognises the real difference the University of Oxford’s mobile initiative can make not just to their own members but to students and citizens across Oxford.”
Kathy McCabe, UCISA Secretary, and a member of the judging panel for the Award for Excellence, added, “Mobile Oxford stood out because it is a good example of using new technology to deliver useful services and information to students in a way they will find convenient whatever their location. For me, it was a bonus that some of these services would be equally useful to the general public in Oxford, thereby sharing some of the sector’s knowledge and expertise.”
Submissions from the University of Nottingham and Oxford Brookes University were highly commended by the judging panel. The University of Nottingham’s Award entry focussed on the implementation of an automated process to manage the identity and access requirements of all associates of the University (such as visitors and consultants). The submission from Oxford Brookes University described the implementation of a student placement management system.
Kathy McCabe concluded, “The quality and range of submissions were impressive, demonstrating thoughtful application of technology to a variety of operational business needs.”
All Award for Excellence submissions are available from the Awards section of the UCISA website. The Mobile Oxford team will give a University Showcase session at the UCISA Annual Management Conference (23-25 March, Edinburgh).