The University of Southampton

Synote: Web-based annotation tool wins international award

Published: 29 June 2009

Synote, an innovative Web-based annotation tool developed in ECS by a team led by Dr Mike Wald, has won the EUNIS Dorup E-learning Award 2009.

The prestigious award was presented to Dr Wald at the EUNIS (European University Information Systems) 2009 conference ‘IT: Key of the European Space for Knowledge’, held last week at Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

‘The judges said that Synote won because it is incredibly innovative and they could see that it brought lots of new opportunities for students,’ said Mike.

‘Getting the Award and having it presented at the conference is great publicity,’ he added. ‘Synote is freely available and we want as many people as possible to try it out.’

Synote makes multimedia resources such as video and audio easier to access, search, manage, and exploit. Learners, teachers and other users can create notes, bookmarks, tags, links, images and text captions synchronised to any part of a recording, such as a lecture. ‘Imagine how difficult it would be to use a textbook if it had no contents page, index or page numbers,’ said Mike. ‘Synote actually provides the way to find or associate notes with a particular part of a recording.’

Synote’s synchronised transcripts can be produced manually or automatically using IBM speech recognition technologies. Synote has a whole range of useful features. It enables learners or teachers to read and search text transcripts and slides and replay recordings to support learning style preference, deafness, disability or English as a second language; to bookmark, tag and highlight and link to or from sections of recordings for indexing, revision, clarification or feedback; and to collaboratively annotate recordings with notes and URLs of related resources.

Synote can play most audio and video formats on most browsers and computers. Evaluations have shown that students like using Synote, find the synchronised transcripts and note-taking facility useful and want more recordings and lectures to be available in this way. Synote has been developed with the support of JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) and is being used in the European Net4Voice project.

For further information contact Joyce Lewis; tel. +44(0)23 8059 5453.

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