Southampton team tackles Open Data Mashup Challenge for the student journey
Southampton was one of five universities selected to participate in the first Open Data Mashup Day, themed on 'Enhancing the Student Journey', and held in London last week.
The event, organised by Universities UK in partnership with the Open Data Institute (ODI) and JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee), challenged developers in universities and digital industries to produce a demo of a mobile app that used open data to help university students through their learning journey.
Southampton was represented by Llorenç Vaquer (PhD student) and Dr Luis-Daniel Ibañez (Research Fellow) of the Web and Internet Science (WAIS) group in Electronics and Computer Science. Their app - 'Find my Uni Match’ - focused on one of the most fundamental aspects of the university experience: choosing your course.
The app provided users with information on universities that best fulfilled their preferences from a range of both academic and non-academic variables. “Events like this, with ideas pushed forward by university students and staff, help to make the case for opening universities’ data," said Dr Ibañez.
Other apps from the five universities represented - Coventry, Sheffield Hallam, Leeds, Lancaster and Southampton - helped users find somewhere to live, identify books needed for their course, manage their timetable, and find job opportunities. During the challenge each team developed an elevator pitch for their idea with the help of members of the audience.
The full-day workshop also featured keynote addresses from Sir Nigel Shadbolt (University of Oxford), Chris Gutteridge (Southampton), Tony Hirst (Open University), and Jonathan Waller (Higher Education Statistics Agency), as well as hands-on sessions with experts from the Open Data Institute. The workshop concluded with a panel on Open Data in universities led by Sir Ian Diamond (Aberdeen University) and Paul Feldman of JISC.
The prize of £5000 of development support was won by the ‘Bookmarket’ app from the University of Lancaster.
Dr Elena Simperl, Director of ODINE, the Open Data Incubator for Europe, and associate professor in the Web and Internet Science group in ECS, commented: “Southampton has always been an open data pioneer. Our own data.southampton.ac.uk portal was one of the first to open up some of our administrative data to the public and it's great to see that something we've been advocating for a long time is gaining momentum.
“The challenge offers our team, as well as other researchers in the UK, the opportunity to demonstrate that opening up data can have tremendous advantages in terms of transparency and efficiency. “