The University of Southampton

ECS research project nominated for prestigious THE award

Published: 1 September 2011

An ECS research project has been nominated for the prestigious title of Outstanding ICT Initiative of the Year in the annual Times Higher Education Awards.

Synote, devised and developed by a team led by Dr Mike Wald of the Web and Internet Science research group in ECS-Electronics and Computer Science, is an open-source Web application which transforms learning for all students, including those with disabilities.

Dr Wald has already won a series of awards for Synote, which makes multimedia resources widely used in teaching – 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 synchronized to any part of a recording, such as a lecture.

Synote has also incorporated crowdsourcing to provide a sustainable method of making audio or video recordings accessible to people who find it difficult to understand speech through hearing alone.

Dr Wald comments: “Automatic captioning of lectures is possible using speech recognition technologies but it results in recognition errors requiring manual correction and this is costly and time-consuming.

“'Crowdsourcing' the corrections of speech recognition transcription errors is a sustainable way of captioning lecture recordings.”

"I am delighted that Synote has been appreciated and used throughout the world and has won and been nominated for so many awards since the first version was made available in 2008," said Dr Wald.

The Times Higher Education Awards will be announced at a ceremony in London at the Grosvenor House Hotel on 24 November.

The University of Southampton has received two other nominations: for the prestigious title of ‘University of the Year’, recognizing the University’s bold and imaginative initiatives such as taking a leading role in curriculum innovation, pioneering the next generation of Internet infrastructure and new multidisciplinary ventures in life science, marine technology and biomedical research; and for 'Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development' – for the ‘Uni-Cycle’ project, which enhances the University’s commitment to increase recycling and reduce its environmental impact by refurbishing unwanted and donated bikes from around Southampton and putting them back into active use.

Professor Don Nutbeam, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, says: “The University of Southampton is exceptionally proud and delighted to have received three nominations. This is a reflection of the outstanding effort and continual dedication of our staff, and the pioneering work going on in Southampton.”


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

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