Vice Chancellor's Awards 2024

We are delighted that colleagues from within IT Services were shortlisted as members of projects in three categories for this year’s Vice-Chancellor's Awards, and are thrilled that the Digital Synergy* project received an award. We are proud of all our shortlisted colleagues and caught up with them to find out a little about the projects they were involved with.    

Augmented reality 

Shortlisted in the Innovative Teaching and Assessment category, the First Augmented Reality Experience in MBA Course Worldwide was a collaboration between colleagues from Saïd Business School (SBS), Computer Science, IT Services (Nandy Millan, our Digital Innovation Manager), and external input from the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. 

Using augmented reality (AR), the team created a digital twin of the Saïd Business School building to create models of what the building might look like 30, 50, and 100 years from now with increased flooding due to climate change. They could also simulate what a building collapse might look like. In the future, it will be possible to add other buildings and potentially other schools, creating a repository to be used both at SBS and anywhere in Oxford and beyond.

The group has already received queries from the National Trust to explore how the app could be used to address the decay of historic buildings. A downloadable app was developed for MBA students with an individualised learning journey, helping them with finding answers, solving problems, and facilitating conversations with peers, especially across disciplines. 

The project’s success emerged from its’ diverse, inclusive, collaborative team from different backgrounds and areas of expertise. Through the Digital Innovation Lab, Nandy Millan from IT Services helped identify the right developer capability to make this possible.

*Digital synergy

Nandy was also a member of the Digital Synergy: Unleashing Dynamic and Inclusive Anatomy Education project which won an award in the Inclusive Teaching and Assessment category. Congratulations to the team! 

A collaboration between the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG), the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and IT Services, this project explored inclusive digital tools for engaging with students and presenting anatomy materials in various formats to promote inclusive understanding. The diverse team, with various skills and knowledge, from different departments was able to provide students with a supportive and easy-to-navigate learning environment, optimising learning time, connecting with students, accommodating their learning preferences, and bridging potential achievement gaps. 

The Digital Innovation team in IT Services supplied VR headsets and infrastructure for evaluating, including hosting a virtual anatomy table, offering technical advice and support on these tools.

We asked Nandy how it felt to be shortlisted as a team member in two award categories: 

It feels really amazing to be nominated and shortlisted not just for one, but for two awards. I am thrilled and incredibly honoured that the hard work of the individuals and team that have made these projects possible can be recognised in such a magnificent way. It is a pleasure to be able to inspire and support colleagues that are really driven, passionate and motivated to make things happen. Being shortlisted for these awards is a TEAM effort! I am proud and inspired by all the colleagues I have the pleasure to work with.

Delivering IT and AV Systems for Reuben College and GLAM  

The development of Reuben College, which includes occupancy by the museums and Bodleian Libraries, has been a major capital building project since 2018.  

Shortlisted in the Enhancing Oxford’s Professional Services category, the IT/AV group comprising trusted experts from IT Services, Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM), Estates Services, and Reuben College, worked together to deliver IT and AV systems for the project. The team had responsibility for all aspects of physical and wireless networking, audio-visual systems, access, security and building management systems, from design and procurement to insallation and handover. Within IT Services, Rob Jones, Jake Bevan, Patrick Frost, Marcin Wieczorek and Crispin Muncaster are members of this team. 

From an IT and AV perspective this particularly complex project - refurbishing a listed building and meeting the needs of each building tenant - only succeeded because professional IT services across UAS, GLAM and Reuben College worked successfully together. The attention to detail and tenacity of the team members was crucial. The ‘working together’ nature of the project promoted a working and learning environment for the team. The nature of the challenges, many of which were outside the control of the team itself, encouraged creative input from all members as well as an informal culture of continual learning and adaptation.

Mike Fraser (Director of Infrastructure Services in IT Services and Chair of the Reuben College Building IT and AV Working Group) who nominated the team, said:

The Reuben College project epitomised the Professional Services Together principle of how professionals from different parts of the University can work well together within a much larger programme of activity and in close engagement with the senior University stakeholders. One of the great outcomes of this project is the personal working relationships now established which are proving invaluable. From the beginning of this project, it was agreed that, from an IT and AV perspective, the building should be considered holistically. The team defined the IT & AV infrastructure that would be common across the building; the shared platforms that the occupants might configure for their own requirements; and the remaining IT requirements distinct to the College, Bodleian or Museums. This holistic starting point, known as the IT & AV Pyramid, was one of the success factors of the project and has been carried forward to other large building projects.