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Web 2.0 reading list wins university agile development competition

Basheera Khan

Developers at the University of Kent picked up £5,000 prize money this week after winning a competition to encourage innovation and collaboration among Higher Education (HE) software developers.

The dev8D 'Developer Happiness' event sponsored by Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in February gathered developers from HE and commercial backgrounds, put them in a room with sugary snacks and bottomless coffee, and encouraged them to use agile development methodologies to solve common problems in the education sector.

The winning team developed a Web 2.0-friendly reading list prototype, called List8D, which helps academic staff create and manage module and course reading lists more easily. It would also deliver personalised reading lists to students, with direct links to catalogue items and Amazon listings. The team will reinvest its winnings into turning the prototype, demostrated below, into a working application.

List8D from Mark Fendley on Vimeo.

Second prize went to 'Lazy Lecturer', a tool making it easier for teaching staff to prepare presentations using Internet resources which can be tagged and shared with students; potentially doing away with the need for PowerPoint.

Andy McGregor, JISC programme manager and co-organiser of the event, commented: ""The event has produced a number of very useful prototypes that present some really interesting ideas for the future of software in HE."

JISC is a publicly funded organisation supporting technological innovation in the education sector. It also provides JANET, the high speed broadband network used by universities and schools around the UK.

Photo credit: RM Lowe from flickr

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