Innovative reading list wins ‘Developer Happiness' prize
An innovative, web 2.0-friendly reading list prototype has won first prize in a JISC competition designed to encourage innovation and collaboration among Higher Education (HE) software developers.
The competition stemmed from the dev8D ‘Developer Happiness’ event in February, the first JISC-sponsored event of its kind to gather software developers from HE as well as commercial backgrounds, to collaborate and work on innovative ideas for solutions to common educational issues.
The winning entry, from a team at the University of Kent, is a reading list prototype called 'List8D'. This innovation would help academic staff create and manage web 2.0-friendly reading lists more easily. It would also allow the delivery of personalised reading lists to students, with direct links to catalogue items and books for purchase via Amazon. The team will reinvest its £5,000 prize money into developer hours and the specific hardware and software needed to turn this prototype into a working application.
Short film describing the ‘List8D’ prototype
One of the judges on the panel said: ‘This is an excellent prototype. It clearly demonstrates what the user would see, and clearly demonstrates the applicability of the solution, both immediately and in the foreseeable future. As a lecturer, I would have loved a system like this.’
Second prize went to 'Lazy Lecturer', a tool to assist teaching staff in collecting and assembling learning objects from Internet resources, facilitating tagging, downloading into presentations and subsequently sharing with students. The team behind ‘Lazy Lecturer’ included developers from Australia and the commercial and museums sectors, who worked on an idea inspired by interaction with a lecturer at the event itself.
Narrowly missing out on a prize, 'Sh!' was a prototype that focuses on the Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC). ‘Sh!’ aims to connect those searching their local OPAC with others sharing their interests, connecting librarians and users in an immediate sense, and allowing the sharing of experience and insight.
Andy McGregor, JISC Programme Manager and co-organiser of the event, was delighted with the standard of entries, saying: ‘The top three teams were particularly close. We’re pleased with the teams’ varied membership and how well the event worked to enable the sharing of skills and ideas in an open and collaborative environment. The event has produced a number of very useful prototypes that present some really interesting ideas for the future of software in HE.’
JISC plans to build on the success of Developer Happiness Days with a project dedicated to supporting, promoting and enabling the software development community in HE and exploring links to other relevant sectors. Details will be announced here in the summer.
Visit the Dev8D project website or the Twitter and photo streams about the event
Watch a short film concerning the winning entry, 'List8D'
Link to all the competition prototypes on the dev8D blog