Cover Sheet for Proposals Capital Programme

Cover Sheet for Proposals
(All sections must be completed)
Name of Capital Programme:
Capital Programme
Users and Innovation
Next Generation Technologies and Practice Phase 2
Please tick ONE BOX ONLY, as appropriate
a)Small-scale pilots
b)Large-scale institutional demonstrators
Name of Lead Institution:
University of Leeds
Name of Proposed Project:
Academic Writing Empowered by Social Online Mediated
Environments (AWESOME)
Coventry University; Bangor University.
Name(s) of Project Partner(s):
Full Contact Details for Primary Contact:
Name: Dr Rebecca O’Rourke
Position: Senior Lecturer
Email: r.k.o’[email protected]
Address: Room 7.57, EC Stoner Building, Lifelong Learning Institute, School of Education,
University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT
Tel: 0113 343 3181
Fax: 0113 343 3246
Length of Project:
15 months
Project Start Date:
1 January 2008
Total Funding Requested from JISC:
Project End Date:
31 March 2009
Funding Broken Down over Financial Years (Apr–Mar):
Apr07 – Mar08
Apr08 – Mar09
Total Institutional Contributions:
Outline Project Description: The distinctive contribution of this institutional demonstrator is
that it adopts a user-centred methodology, actively engaging users (students, lecturers, staff
developers, and student support) to tailor technology to the widespread pedagogic challenge
of developing expertise in writing undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations. We propose
to design, develop, and evaluate the AWESOME-Dissertation environment (ADE); a novel
social virtual environment to support dissertation writing based on sound pedagogical models,
using authentic examples, and following Web 2.0. tenets, notably collective intelligence and
active engagement of users in creating and sharing content. The project will be conducted by
an experienced interdisciplinary team and will be embedded in institutional practices. The
potential for sustained and extensive take up across the sector ensures value for money.
I have looked at the example FOI form at Appendix
A and included an FOI form in the attached bid
(Tick Box)
I have read the Circular & associated Terms &
Conditions of Grant at Appendix B (Tick Box)
We do not require the JISC to withhold any information
FOI Withheld Information Form
We are not requesting that any information contained in this bid be withheld
Section / Paragraph No.
Relevant exemption from
disclosure under FOI
Please see for further information on the Freedom of Information Act and the
exemptions to disclosure it contains.
Section / Paragraph No.
Relevant exemption from
disclosure under FOI
s.43 Commercial Interests
Contains detailed description of
our proposed system design
which would damage our
commercial interests if
disclosed, by making this
information available to
AWESOME: Academic Writing Empowered by Social Online Mediated Environments
Lead Institution:
University of Leeds
Bangor University, Coventry University
Association for Learning Development in Higher Education, De Montfort University,
Emerge CoP, Manchester University, Salford University.
Writing a dissertation is both unique and central to higher education. It is a multi-stage project usually
consisting of an independent research phase accompanied by the writing of a substantial document: in the
case of MA students, this may be up to 15,000 words. It requires sustained and complex demonstration of
expertise in academic writing, thus condensing many of the anxieties about this area of academic practice and
pedagogy (Ganobscik-Williams 2006, Royal Literary Fund 2006, Ivanic and Clark 1997, Lillis 2001,
Bartholomae 1985, Elbow 1973 ). The challenge, long-standing and seemingly intractable, is currently a
particular concern due to the expansion and changing composition of the university student population: the
Bologna agreement and internationalisation increases the number of L2 students; UK widening participation
policies increase non-traditional students; and changes in workbased learning increase the number of students
following professional rather than scholarly routes into PG study. Many technological solutions for writing
development have been tried with varying degrees of success. However, a solution known to be effective is
explicit pedagogy and social scaffolding. It is well-established that inexperienced writers who can support each
other and work in collaboration with explicit models and processes show characteristics of more mature writers
(Lillis 2001; Coffin et al 2003 ). Social collaboration is also at the heart of Web 2.0 technologies. Because of its
multi-stage nature, the dissertation is particularly suitable for support through a range of social technologies
such as blogs during the project phase and wikis for writing the report. More importantly, however, the
dissertation has been identified by a number of user-group representatives at Leeds as a part of the student
experience that is especially challenging and where students often lack appropriate support. This view is not
unique to Leeds; it pertains throughout higher education.
A recent JISC report shows the extent to which modern learners make use of technology in every aspect of
their work and expect technology to be integrated into the learning experiences provided for them by their
institutions. Of particular relevance to this project are the findings that social software, such as blogs, can
encourage reflection and the emergence of a critical voice. The study underpinning the report also shows the
value of community in the student experience of today and the way in which technology maintains and
facilitates learning communities (JISC 2007, Conole et al 2006 ).However, whilst students can skillfully draw on
a full range technological tools and networked community support, traditional assessment processes expect
students to work without this support. The dissertation, a crucial point in the HE experience is a notable
example of this, ADE will create a step change here by making use of social software to both promote the
development of a reflective, critical voice and to provide networked social support.
Our project – AWESOME-Dissertation Environment [ADE] - aims to develop, deploy and disseminate a social
virtual environment to support UG and PG dissertation writing that is based on sound pedagogical models,
uses authentic examples, and follows Web 2.0 tenets. We will extend a Web 2.0. wiki tool suitable for writing
and successfully adopted in HE (MediaWiki) by integrating a range of social technologies and relevant open
software tools to support the processes associated with dissertation writing, including: developing an idea and
sharing with others (e.g. by using blogs or engaging in argumentative dialogues); developing bibliographies and
review of literature (e.g. by using social tagging and bibsonomies); receiving feedback on writing style (e.g. by
using annotation tools and web stickies); using examples of good and bad academic writing practice (e.g. by
maintaining a community directory);gaining an understanding of dissertation writing from example use cases
(e.g. by using podcasts). This holistic environment will be designed to embody the pedagogy of social
scaffolding and actively engage users in collaborative creation and sharing of content. (See appendices B and
Ganobscik-Williams, L ( 2006) Teaching Academic Writing in UK Higher Education, London: Palgrave; Royal Literary Fund (2006),
Writing Matters; Ivanic and Clark (1997), The Politics of Writing, London: Routledge; Lillis, T (2001) Student Writing:
Access, Regulation, Desire, London: Routledge, Bartholomae, D (1985) ‘Inventing the University’, Journal of Basic Writing, 5:1, 4 –22;
Elbow, P (1973) Writing without Teachers, New York: Oxford University Press
Coffin, C et al (2003) Teaching Academic Writing: A toolkit for academic literacies, London: Routledge
Conole, G., de Laat, M., Dillon, T. & Darby, J. (2006) JISC LXP Student experiences of technologies:Draft final report; JISC (2007) In Their Own
Words: Exploring the learner’s perspective on e-learning
C for scenarios). However, we recognise that some of these tools do not have the full range of functionaliities to
provide optimum support to students. For example, the functionality in wiki tools tends to be extremely limited
when compared to a full-featured word processor. Our project will investigate the functionality most appropriate
to academic writing and add this to an open-source wiki program such as MediaWiki (already in use at Leeds).
(a) Develop technology that utilises effective writing development pedagogy to address a significant
concern in contemporary UK HE - dissertation writing skills
(b) Actively involve users (students, lecturers, staff developers, and student support) in the design and
development of technology to appropriately support learning
(c) Deploy ADE at Leeds University (as part of the Blended Learning Futures Group’s 5 year vision),
partner and collaborator institutions, Emerge and Learning Development networks
(d) Integrate with relevant open software platforms (Mediawiki), existing academic writing tools (InterLock,
Compendium, Wrasse )
(e) Actively involve users – through partners and collaborators - in the evaluation of ADE
(f) Disseminate findings to UK and International academic development and learning technology networks
Illustrative Scenario
To illustrate the vision, below is a snap-shot of how a final year design student, Susan, uses the ADE
(Appendix C gives complete description). Susan has to hand in a literature review chapter in a few days.
It’s Wednesday 2 pm, Susan picks up her project folder to continue her work that she has left off since Sunday.
From previous feedback from her supervisor, she needs to be more ‘critical’ in her review and the quality of
some of her sources was also slightly dubious. Susan logs onto the ADE and clicks on ‘Investigating Problems’.
Looking at the ‘Bibsonomy’ there is a big display of the tag ‘problems in literature review’ which reassures
Susan that this is a hot topic and she is not alone in wanting to learn more about it. After noting some pointers,
Susan goes into ‘Communicating Ideas’ area to see if there are any examples of good or bad writing for
literature review…but there is none. Desperately wanting to get some quick pointers, Susan writes in her blog
about the difficulties she is facing, points to the wiki page which she has used to build up her review chapter,
and put in a plea for a concrete example to show her the difference between a good and a bad literature
review. Susan then moves on and follows up the pointers that she has noted from the bibsonomy. While
reading through the second article, an alert shows that a fellow student in her ‘circle of friends’ has responded
to her plea and has highlighted a couple of problem areas on her wiki page from a reader’s viewpoint. She also
subsequently gets a message from her supervisor that an example is now put into the ‘communicating ideas’
area so she quickly goes there and checks that out.
By 4pm Wednesday, Susan logs off for a break, but now she knows exactly what she needs to do and is
confident that she can complete the task on time and to the standard she wants.
The project will develop a methodology for innovative applications of technologies which complies with the
objectives of “Next Generation Technologies and Practices”, to address a complex and persistent challenge
in higher education: how to develop student expertise in writing dissertations. Although there is strong
evidence to believe that Web 2.0 technologies can facilitate some aspects of academic writing, the existing tools
appear to offer only partial solutions to this complex problem. Our hypothesis is that a major paradigm change is
needed to move from the current fragmented technological settings to holistic social online environments, where
all aspects of the practice of academic writing are taken into account.
AWESOME is firmly situated within the institutional priorities of Leeds University, the lead institution. The
University of Leeds is currently carrying out a large scale project to develop a virtual learning environment to
support institution-wide blended learning. The virtual learning environment will include Blackboard Academic
Suite, Luminis Portal, a range of home-grown e-learning tools and Web 2.0 applications including Mediawiki,
Elgg and The institution has established 2- and 5- year visions for this project in line with its Learning
and Teaching Strategy. The University of Leeds has established a Blended Learning Futures Group to
oversee the development and use of web 2.0 tools on campus and to horizon-scan for future developments.
This group is charged with the piloting and evaluation of new tools and to establish systems to embed those
found to be useful. The group includes representation from each of the faculties, central computing services and
InterLoc ( is a tool for teaching argumentation skills, students engage in dialogue games aimed at helping them improve
the structure of their arguments. The system is developed at London Metropolitan University by Andrew Ravenscroft and colleagues funded
by JISC.
Compendium is a knowledge-mapping tool helpful for structuring the argument. Wrasse is a LearnHigher CETL project Writing for
Assignments E-Library repository project.
learning and teaching support. Both the VLE Project and Blended Learning Futures Groups report to the
Learning and Teaching Systems Steering Group chaired by the PVC Learning and Teaching. Project
members serve on each of these three groups. Our partners and collaborators can demonstrate similar
integration into their institutional strategies for blended learning (confirmed with support letters) This
ensures that the project is adequately scoped and scaled to fully capture the complex, multi-dimensional
issues surrounding development of undergraduate and postgraduate dissertation academic writing skills across
institutions and that the findings will be reliable.
We will build on previous JISC work in the area of Academic Discourse, in particular the InterLoc project
which gives us a tool that can be used for the argument building phase of academic writing. We will be
integrating this tool within an overall methodology that combines a wide range of other social tools into a
coherent whole, including collaboration with the proposed project on Personalised Learning Environments from
Manchester. We also build on and benefit from innovation and research in related fields: Coventry’s
expertise in writing development and institutional-wide pedagogic change; Bangor’s expertise in dispersed
learning with non-traditional students. Apart from the three partner institutions, the project will involve close
collaboration with several UK HE institutions – the universities of Manchester, Salford, Manchester
Metropolitan University and De Montfort University.
The project will target the JISC aims of developing “innovative and sustainable ICT infrastructure, services
and practice that support institutions in meeting their mission” and “promoting the development, uptake
and effective use of ICT to support learning and teaching”. Improving the arrangements for assessment,
especially enabling students to get more and better feedback on their work and integrating new technologies
into teaching and learning are two of the three elements of the lead university’s learning and teaching strategy,
and echoed in those of our partners and collaborators.
Finally, the project complies with the JISC strategy for wide dissemination of technological solutions and
best practices to the academic community. The strong support from the lead and partner academic
institutions and the active engagement with the Staff and Departmental Development Unit and the Association
of Learning Development in Higher Education guarantees quick and extensive dissemination of the results of
this project to the academic community. We will contribute to the e-Framework portal taking part in the
development of: (a) domain maps for academic writing and social software to capture consensus-based
practices across the sector; (b) scenarios and use-case models for the use of Web 2.0. technology in HE
practices; (c) software demonstrator delivered as open source and applicable to a wide range of academic
practices; (d) good practice and process models for supporting academic writing.
AWESOME follows closely the Users and Innovation Development Model (UIDM). In the initial exploration
stage (March 2007 - September 2007) we examined how current Web 2.0 tools were being used through the
institution and how they met the needs of specific aspects of academic writing. This helped us identify user
needs and determine the focus and scope of the project. During the starting period of this proposal (January
2008 – March 2009), software developers will work together with pedagogical experts and users to design and
develop a social medium that facilitates the dissertation writing process. The system will be integrated within
institutional structures and deployed in representative use cases, which will allow us to evaluate the
effectiveness of the software solution in situ and to make conclusions about the adoption of the approach in
wider academic contexts.
Agile software development methodology (Beck et al., 2001) will be adopted to: (i) allow rapid development
and quick deployment of innovative software solutions; (ii) ensure active involvement of users throughout; (iii)
establish an effective collaborative team of developers, pedagogy experts, students, and tutors; (iv) follow an
evolutionary development model to enable frequent changes of the application to accommodate changes of
user requirements. The Adaptive Software Development (Highsmith, 2002 ) will be adopted following the
guidelines in (Scott, 2007) which will be synchronised with the timing of UG and PG dissertation writing
activities, see Figure 1. To start the implementation, we will follow a scenario-based approach while in the later
stages user studies will be conducted to gather feedback.
Beck, K. et al. (2001). Agile Manifesto, available at;
Highsmith, J (2002). Agile Software Development Ecosystems. Addison-Wesley, Boston, MA.
Scott Wilson, E-Framework 2007 Agile development,
Chris Fowler, Scenario-based design, Chimera: Institute of Social and Technical Change University of Essex,
Figure 1. Outline of the overall AWESOME project methodology.
Phase 0 (May-Sept 2007, completed): Understanding the users and identifying needs [UIDM Stage 1]
Interdisciplinary collaboration between the schools of Education and Computing, and the Staff and
Departmental Development Unit formed the core of the AWESOME teamand identified the scope of the project,
user needs and institutional embedding requirements, Table 1 presents a summary. A small scale project
‘Focus on Feedback’ (funded by Leeds University) brought together staff and students to examine how blogs
and wikis could support academic writing, particularly focussing on tutor feedback on academic writing for
assessment. It enabled us to develop our methodology for a more coherent approach to the use of Web 2.0
tools (Appendix A). In a study funded by the Staff and Departmental Development Unit, Leeds University staff
already using the institutional Web 2.0. tools were interviewed in order to map the way that such technologies
were currently used on campus and to identify their potential use to support academic writing processes
(Appendix C). Critical for the technological choice were discussions with the Pro-Deans and Pro-Vice
Chancellor for learning and teaching at Leeds University who stressed the importance of building on tools
already adopted by the institution. A follow-up interview with the software manager for the institutional Web 2.0.
installations, clarified that MediaWiki would be most appropriate as the base platform and confirmed the
feasibility of integrating additional functionality and synchronising the installation with institutional settings.
Through participation in the Emerge community, we created links with relevant projects, clarified the focus of
our project, and confirmed potential interest in the problem AWESOME team identified for this proposal. We
held a project working day which included usergroup representatives, potential steering group members, and
representatives from relevant Emerge projects. This stimulating event refined our focus on UG and PG
dissertations, helped identify user communities, planned the methodology, and produced several initial
scenarios that gave an overview of the required functionality. (see Appendix B). With this in place, we sought
external partners for trialling who had not been part of Emerge in order to genuinely test usability and relevance
to the wider academic community.
Table 1. UIDM Stage 1 (AWESOME Phase 0 Mar – Sept 2007) activities and findings
Workshops (‘Focus on Feedback’ project)
[Jan – Sept 2007]
Workshop with institutional stakeholders and
Emerge partners [19 July 2007]
Pedagogic model identified, technology drawbacks pointed
out [Appendix A]
Problem/domain clarified, focus on UG and PG dissertations,
user involvement confirmed [Appendix B]
Questionnaires & interviews with Leeds
University users of institutional Web 2.0 tools
– Elgg & MediaWiki [Aug-Sept 2007]
Engage in Emerge CoP, via the blog,
Manchester, Nottingham & Leeds events.
Consult on institutional strategies (Leeds) –
the Pro-deans and PVC for learning and
teaching, Leeds University Union Education
Officer, Blended Learning Futures Group
Identify Partners and Collaborators
Technology identified, drawbacks pointed out, commitment to
the project expressed [Appendix C]
Technology feasibility confirmed, interest in the problem
expressed, collaboration identified.
Ensuring the bid has institutional support and is sustainable;
high level institutional support, architecture clarified, risks
identified and mitigation strategies discussed.
Partners chosen are outside Emerge but inside the problem
and bring added value – pedagogic knowledge, sources for
dissemination – with strongly aligned institutional priorities.
Collaborators from Emerge bring affinity and complementarity.
Following is an overview of the continuation of the project including the work plan for the main phases in this
proposal and the timing of the deliverables (R1: Project Implementation Document. P1: Prototype 1with three
releases - P1a, P1b, P1c. P2: Prototype 2 with three releases - P2a, P2b, P2c. R3: Final project report):
Figure 2. Project work plan for the duration of this proposal (Jan 2008 – Mar 2009),
including phases 1-4, as described below.
Phase 1 (Jan-Feb 2008) – Transition and decisions [UIDM Stage 2]
In this phase we formally establish the steering group and select specific individual students and tutors to be
initial users of the ADE methodology. With users, we clarify the scenarios to be used for the prototyping of the
ADE in Phase 2. We also develop a detailed Project Implementation Document with clear indication of the
timing for each software release and how this will be synchronised with the time scale of UG and PG
dissertation use cases. During this phase, we create the MediaWiki installation for ADE; and identify existing
plugins that can be integrated. This enables us to prepare a matrix indicating which tools will be used or
developed to implement the main functionality of ADE.
Phase 2 (Feb-July 2008) – Initial Prototyping and Content Development [UIDM, Stage 3]
This period is the beginning of dissertation
undergraduates at Leeds University. We recruit
two groups of dissertation students, with tutors
O’Rourke and Walker, who use, shape and test
ADE. The development is coordinated by the
School of Computing and conducted in close
collaboration with the pedagogical experts from
Education. Frequent engagement with students,
partner and collaborator institutions ensures that
ADE is suited to their practices. There are two
fully integrated development activities –
software implementation and content creation
conducted by a collaborative team. MediaWiki is
extended to include the functionality presented
Figure 3. Architecture of ADE developed in Phase 2.
in Figure 3 (software releases follow the
sequential order from the figure).
Each software release includes content created by tutors and pedagogical experts (e.g. initial comments and
annotated examples). This enables us to overcome the initial lack of engagement with Web 2.0 tools due to
lack of useful content, as reported in Phase 0. Once the students are engaged in the AWESOME community,
collective content will be accumulated as the process of support is rolled out which includes the use of blogs
and collaborative bibsonomies.
In parallel with the development of the ADE prototype, we examine potential external tools, such as PLE or
Compendium, and InterLoc, to be integrated in the next phase. For this, we use a class of Walker’s MA
students, who are at the early project stage - just beginning to develop their ideas and research instruments.
Phase 3 (Aug 2008-March 2009) – Development through deployment [Stage 3-4]
This phase concentrates on developing a robust, stable and usable system in further teaching scenarios.
Additional functionality is added to
enable flexible search, e.g. using
WordNet to search for similar tags or
offering recommendations based on
identifying similarity between users
implemented in a recent MSc project
(supervised by Dimitrova) which
developed a prototype for flexible
resources, and in an ongoing PhD
project (also supervised by Dimitrova)
developing personalised access to
community resources. We also extend
ADE to integrate the external tools
identified in Phase 2. The architecture
Figure 4. Architecture of ADE developed in Phase 3. The shaded
is given in Figure 4.
areas show functionality added to the prototype from Phase 2.
4.10 Phase 4 (Sept 2008 - onwards) – dissemination and securing sustainability [UIDM Stage 4]
From December 2008 – March 2009 we concentrate on writing the project report and preparing papers to
disseminate the project findings. We will also develop and trial training materials. Dissemination and
sustainability is a critical factor for the success of AWESOME and we have prepared a strategy to address it:
4.11 Dissemination and sustainability strategy. Quality is the key to dissemination and sustainability. If the
project can build value and usability into the environment and its content creation, if it can make explicit, through
social scaffolding and explicit models, the social and intellectual practises of dissertation writing expertise and
enact the challenge set by Beetham and Sharpe, ADE will be widely taken up across the UK HE sector,
and beyond. Leeds, Bangor and Coventry provide contrasting models of development configured to
institutional learning and teaching strategies, enabling comparison and refinement in relation to self-access,
programme-led and learning support services. Bangor adds a further dimension, namely guiding and
supporting learning in the medium of Welsh, providing a testbed for deploying ADE in and through languages
other than English. The articulation of a user-led technology and methodology based on collective intelligence
and active engagement of users in collaborative creation and sharing of content ensures that ADE is both
a distinctive and discrete learning technology and one that is capable of personalisation – to the learner
discipline, programme of study or geography, language or culture. Writing development has moved from
considering events to processes; here the paradigm moves again, from process to actors and networks (Clarke,
2002 ) – enabling us to create a sustainable ecology of learning technology for writing development.
4.12 These aspirations, and our ability to deliver them through our extensive national and international networks
(across learning technology, technology, education, learning and writing development), underpins our
commitment to disseminate findings through the Emerge CoP, other JISC initiatives (e-forum) and
through conference presentations reflecting the two main disciplinary strands in this project. We will use
conference presentations developmentally to build user acceptance and support (Stage 5 of the UIDM model)
and plan presentations at Wring Development in Higher Education Conference, (25-27 June 2008, University of
Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK (to disseminate results from Stage 1); the 11th international conference of the EARLI
Special Interest Group on Writing, June 2008, the Academic Literacies Seminar, June 22, 2008, London, UK
(to disseminate interim results; and 2009 to disseminate final results); and ALT-C , 9-11 September, Leeds, UK
2008 and iPED (Innovative Pedagogies) Conference, September 2008, Coventry (to disseminate final project
PLE (Personal Learning Environment) is being developed at the University of Manchester, link established via the Emerge community
Beetham, H and Sharpe, R (2007) Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age: Designing and Delivering E-Learning, London: Routledge
Clarke, Julia (2002) A new kind of symmetry? Actor-network theories and the new literacy studies, Studies in the Education of Adults, Vol
34 No 2.
4.13 Sustainability will be ensured through the institutional take up of ADE in provision and staff development at
the partner institutions and their use as exemplars throughout the wider academic community.
The project team has substantial experience in working in multidisciplinary teams. The Project Coordinator
(O’Rourke) has engaged with relevant user communities at institutional and national level, previously
collaborated with all partners, and engaged fully with the Emerge community. She will liaise with the JISC
project manager and will coordinate the overall project implementation ensuring that users are engaged and
their needs met. The Technical Development Coordinator (Dimitrova) will coordinate the software
development tasks, the integration with institutional and external systems, and the management of a project
web site and a file repository. She has relevant experience in coordinating technology development in
multidisciplinary projects at international and national level. The User-centred implementation coordinator
(Lau) will ensure that the agile methodology is appropriately followed and user needs adequately addressed.
Lau has extensive experience in people-centred design and evaluation of collaborative systems. Critical for the
success of ADE is the active engagement of users, effective communication with user communities, and careful
planning of user studies. These tasks will be coordinated by the Deployment coordinator (Walker) who has
relevant experience in conducting user studies and contacts with the user communities established during the
‘Focus on Feedback’ project. To ensure sustainability and wider deployment, we will have an Institutional
embedding coordinator (Highton) who will monitor the effectiveness of the integration of the system within
institutional Web 2.0. strategies (including the ADE partners and UK HE in general) and will coordinate the
dissemination activities.
Figure 5. Project management structure.
The Project Management Board will meet fortnightly
f-2-f in Leeds. Monthly joint seminars involving all
people involved in the project will be conducted to
monitor progress and discuss joint work. Appropriate
f-2-f project meetings involving partners will be
conducted at key points of the project: kick-off,
interim/plan for dissemination (M9, at the ALT
dissemination (M14). Effective communication will be
ensured via project mailing list, team file
repository, and a project web site for public
dissemination. To minimise risk, ensure sustainability,
and facilitate wider deployment, a Steering Board
will be formed including representatives from partner
institutions and project collaborators.
Feedback from the steering board will be sought at critical stages of the project in M7 (on completion of Phase
2 and planning of Phase 3) and in M13 (on system deployment and project dissemination). The Steering Board
and Project Management Board will monitor the work and will formally review the project.
Project Evaluation. In line with the principles of agile methodology and user-centred design, we will be
adopting an iterative methodology for evaluation. We will develop pragmatic protocols tailored to the different
contexts of use in relation to concept, purpose, effectiveness and usability for the early stages of development,
which will utilise scenarios and paper mock-ups. As the tools are rolled out, we will develop a twin-track
evaluation method utilising expert and real-end users. In the spirit of UIDM, the precise nature of the evaluation
methodology will be devised with and for our users. Towards the end of the project we plan a symposium at the
Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University for 360° degree scrutiny of our findings.
User engagement. We bring well established user engagement to the project, from our Phase 0 activities and
from research and pedagogic practice. We will engage with the wider Users and Innovation (U&I) community
through membership of the steering board, through attendance at JISC events and by hosting two occasional
U&I working days during the life of the project where we can share ideas for further user engagement and
development of the U&I model. The role of the steering board is to: maintain user engagement with and input to
the project; ensure that the project is meeting objectives at each stage; provide an outside perspective to
ensure the ADE methodology is transferable to other institutions; design and oversee project evaluation and
Risk assessment. Following the requirements of agile models, we will conduct regular risk assessment at
each iteration (Avison & Fitzgerald, 2006). Risk will be assessed and responded to based on experience and
perception rather than by long cycles of quantitative analysis. Initial assessment given below. The project
management board will assess risk on a monthly basis.
Table 2. Risk assessment and mitigation strategy
Mitigation strategy
Delays in recruitment Probability Medium
Impact High
Key personnel leaves Probability Medium
Impact Medium
User community not Probability Medium
Impact High
Consortium is not
Probability Low
Impact High
Technology and user Probability Medium
communities conflict Impact High
Low institutional
Probability Low
Impact Medium
Scalability and code
Probability Low
Impact Medium
Plan recruitment early, alert people to the forthcoming advertisements.
The AWESOME team includes people with complementary expertise and at
least two key people are involved in each task (see role matrix table below).
Experience of engaging with the user communities over several years and in
various contexts, including Phase 0.
Project co-ordinated by manager with good leadership and conflict
resolution skills. Communication will be a priority for the project.
All members of the AWESOME team, partners and collaborators are
experienced multidisciplinary team workers and have collaborated well in
Phase 0. The technology team has a proven track record of working with
pedagogical experts and users to deliver user-centred learning technologies.
The AWESOME team and partners have received a high level of institutional
support in developing this bid. Highton and Walker are active in Web 2.0
and Blended Learning Futures strategy at Leeds and nationally.
Adding external functionality to an existing platform (MediaWiki in our case)
is prone to reduce the overall scalability. This risk will be taken into account
when deciding what plugins or external tools to integrate.
Compliance with Standards. This is an inevitable risk with Web 2.0 development – while there are existing
patterns and philosophy (O’Reilly,2005) , usually Web 2.0. tools are not linked to particular standards. To
minimise this risk, the ADE demonstrator will follow as closely as possible both the JISC and the W3C
standards with regard to accessibility and usability. Content will be delivered either as plain ASCII text,
RTF, or XML (the latter being the preferred format). Browser compatibility and compliance with the institutional
image will be followed using CSS and DOM. We will explore the REST approach followed by Web 2.0
applications (e.g. recommender systems, blogs) and will aim for service-based delivery. Compliance with
standards will be addressed in the technology audit and technical requirements, and will be included in the
evaluation stages.
Intellectual Property Management. The University of Leeds agrees to make the material developed available
on an open source, licensed basis. Under the licence users would use the material at their own risk, the
University may reserve the right to require some form of acknowledgement of authorship and may ask users to
feed back developments into the material so that in can be improved for the benefit of all users. Partners and
collaborators understand that they are working within JISC IPR guidelines as set out in paragraphs 50, 51 and
52 of JISC Circular 02/07.
We believe this project can have a significant impact on learning and teaching quality in UK HE and therefore
represents excellent value for money. The lead and partner institutions will benefit from this project in two
ways. They will have a sound and reliable means of developing expertise in student dissertation writing and
they will have a user-centred methodology for developing and embedding institutional change in relation to
blended learning. The writing of dissertations is a key skill in the higher education environment and tools
developed to support this process can be used across discipline boundaries. The sector as a whole will benefit
from the existence of these high quality exemplars and the expertise in developing pedagogy-led learning
technology which it will represent.
Staff. The main costs incurred in developing, deploying and disseminating ADE come from staff, and the
associated on-costs required under FEC. Two RA posts provide vital in-depth understanding of the challenges
posed by the web 2.0 technologies (RA1) and the pedagogic problem in academic writing (RA2). Leeds
provides a complex interdisciplinary case highly suited to undertake a large-scale institutional demonstrator.
Tim O’Reilly, What Is Web 2.0 Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software, 2007,
This is already integrated in MediaWiki.
This requires the engagement of several staff members (Dimitrova, Highton, Lau, Walker) and a significant
allocation for project co-ordination (O’Rourke). Understanding / modelling institutional embedding and
engagement with the user community is critical to the project’s success and sustainability, hence the
combination of technologists, educationalists and institutional champions in the project team (see role matrix
below). See role matrix below for further justification of staff involvement.
Equipment. The hardware costs include a computer for RA1, a laptop for RA2 and the hosting of the
environment and content on university server. We will solely open source technologies and plan no software
costs. The AWESOME survey of staff use of elgg for blogging and how blog and wiki tools might support writing
processes has been used to make the case for embedding elgg blogging tool into the learning environment on
campus and, building on this success, the work funded through this bid will deliver an institution wide trial of
an enhanced wiki tool [ADE] to be used alongside the other e-learning tools as part of our blended learning
and teaching environment. Integration and appropriate use of learning technology represents a cost-saving to
institutions and maximises their investment. The costs of trialliing are significant here. If successful, ADE will be
integrated into Blackboard as a building block and offered to the Blackboard user community. Once integrated,
ADE will be supported and offered to academic staff via the academic staff development programme which
includes support for e-learning tools and professional standards in university teaching.
Evaluation, Dissemination, Travel. The costs of dissemination should be read in light of the iterative
evaluation, regularly feeding out tools and strategies and refining them in the light of feedback. We require
travel costs to ensure that e-based networking is supported and enhanced by face to face meetings and
discussions with users, and to ensure that we can see the partner trials in situ. Dissemination through existing
JISC channels is essential for the project to be configured with other JISC initiatives. The paradigm shift at the
heart of this project needs to be secured in the wider HE community, so we prioritise dissemination through
conference and networks which shape decision making in the two central domains – writing development and
learning technology. (see dissemination strategy above).
Table 3: AWESOME Dissertation Environment Project Budget
Directly Incurred Staff
Researcher, grade 6, 100% FTE for 14 months
Researcher, grade 6, 100% FTE for 14 months
Total Directly Incurred Staff (A)
Apr 07– Mar 08
Apr 08– Mar 09
Travel and expenses: 2 x Steering board,
Project team, Partner Visits
Hardware: pc/laptop and server hosting
Dissemination: Conferences, Training
Materials, 2 x U&I events
Evaluation: 1 x Steering board, Evaluation with
project users, De Montfort University event
Other: recruitment costs, partner trialling costs
Total Directly Incurred Non-Staff (B)
Directly Incurred Total (C=A+B)
Apr 07– Mar 08
Apr 08– Mar 09
Directly Allocated
Rebecca O’Rourke (PI, 20% FTE)
Aisha Walker (CI, 10% FTE))
Vania Dimitrova (CI, 10%FTE)
Lydia Man Shan Lau (CI, 10%FTE)
Melissa Highton (CI, 10%FTE)
Apr 07– Mar 08
Apr 08– Mar 09
Directly Allocated Total (D)
Indirect Costs (E)
Total Project Cost (C+D+E)
Amount Requested from JISC
Institutional Contributions
Percentage Contributions over the life of
the project
80 %
20 %
This is a fully interdisciplinary team of researchers and practitioners from Education (Walker / O'Rourke),
Computing (Dimitrova / Lau) and Educational Development (Highton). The University of Leeds is ideally placed
to offer resources to become an early adopter testbed and institutional demonstrator for research into uses of
Web 2.0 social and collaborative writing technologies because we already have a track record in this area. The
University has been hosting Elgg as a learning and teaching tool on campus since Summer 2005 and now has
more than 1600 users and 60 registered communities. In 2006/7 we are piloting the use of mediawiki on
campus for educational projects, supported by staff development workshops on tools for e-learning and
personal development planning.
The team has already been involved in previous technology development projects which followed the open
source development models. Dimitrova coordinated the Leeds team in the EU Edukalibre project which
created Moodle-integrated tools for community-based development of educational resources . Lau has been
involved in the design and evaluation of the Virtual Knowledge Park at Leeds University.
We can offer a variety of user groups including undergraduates, postgraduates and work-based learning and
the range and scale of disciplines available at Leeds ensures that academic writing support can be firmly
embedded within individual disciplines. The University of Leeds strives to provide high-quality support for
writing through the Skills Centre and the Language Centre, with both of which team members have excellent
collaborative links. The team also benefits from the expertise and networking of the University Teaching
Fellowship scheme: O’Rourke recently completed a cross-institutional project on Academic Literacies and
Highton recently commenced one on personalised learning environments.
The involvement of the central staff development unit in this project ensures that implications for good
practice in pedagogy arising from the project will feed directly into the teaching of the University’s postgraduate
certificate in learning and teaching in higher education programme (PGCLTHE) / professional standards
programme (PSP) which is compulsory for all new academic staff from 2007/8, thereby ensuring that the
project will benefit users as swiftly as possible. Any developments or additional functionality which arise out of
this research will be rolled out as appropriate across campus as part of the ongoing development of our elearning tools through the Blended Learning Futures Group.
The depth and range of experience brought by the Leeds team is complemented to the partners and
collaborators, extending the scope of the project in Education (Bangor) and Computing (Manchester), Writing
Development (Coventry), Learning Technology (Coventry, De Montfort, London Met, Manchester, Salford),
Learning and Staff Development (Association of Learning Development in HE, Bangor, London Met).
Table 4: Role Matrix. Dark colour – high involvement, light colour - low involvement, - leading role
RA1 RA2 Cov Ban DM
Man Sal
Engagement of user community
Deployment and user trials
Integration with external partners
Technology development
Project management
Pedagogical insight
Institutional embedding
Platform integration
Agile methodology implementation
Engagement with Emerge CoP
Dissemination and sustainability
Project evaluation
Gonzalez-Barahona, J.M; Dimitrova, V. Community-driven development of educational materials: the Edukalibre approach in:
Nejdl,W &Tochtermann, K (editors) Innovative Approaches for Learning and Knowledge Sharing, pp. 125-139 Springer, LNCS. 2006.
AWESOME project
Support Letters
Leeds University
§ Prof. Vivien Jones, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Learning and Teaching
(and coordinator of the Blended Learning Futures Group – institutional embedding of the
§ Tom Roper, Head of School of Education
(the department of the PI for the project)
§ Chris Butcher, Principal Academic Staff Development Officer, Staff and Departmental
Development Unit
(critical dissemination channel for AWESOME)
§ Susan Nash, Education Officer, Leeds University Union
(user engagement, dissemination, sustainability)
§ Maggie Boyle, Leeds University Skills Centre
(user engagement, dissemination, sustainability)
§ Jeremy Harmer, Web master, technical manager for Leeds institutional installation of
Web 2.0. tools
(technological feasibility, platform integration)
§ Prof. Miriam Zukas, Director of Life Long Learning Institute
(support for the project)
Bangor University
§ Prof. C.R. Barker, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Teaching and Learning
(project support, confirmed expected impact)
§ Dr. Brec’hed Piette, Head of Life Long Learning
(significance of problem, user engagement, evaluation, dissemination)
Coventry University
§ Prof. Donald Pennington, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Learning and Student Experience
§ Dr. Lisa Ganobcsik-Williams, Coordinator, Centre for Academic Writing
(user trials, user engagement, evaluation, dissemination, impact);
Manchester University
§ Dr. Mark van Harmelen, Coordinator of the PLE project
(cross-project collaboration);
London Metropolitan University
§ Dr. Andrew Ravenscroft, Deputy Director, Learning Technology Research Institute
(director of JISC funded Digital Dialogue Game project, integration with the InterLoc tool)
Salford University
§ Dr. Frances Bell, Salford Business School
(director link with the CABWEB project)
Association for Learning Development in Higher Education
§ John Hilsdon, Chair, ALDinHE Steering Group
(dissemination, prepare wider deployment, project evaluation)
Staff and Departmental
Development Unit
Learning & Teaching Team
JISC Executive
Northavon House
Cold harbour Lane
JISC Capital Programme
Users and Innovation: Next Generation Technologies and Practices
Academic Writing Empowered by Social Online Mediated Environments (AWESOME) Dissertation
Environment (ADE)
Leeds University in partnership with Bangor, Coventry, De Montfort, Manchester and Salford Universities and the
Learning Development in Higher Education Network.
Following their success in Phase 1 of this call, the AWESOME team at Leeds are now proposing a project to
develop academic writing by extending MediaWiki, a Web 2.0. wiki tool suitable for writing and successfully
adopted here at Leeds and elsewhere in higher education, by integrating a range of social technologies and
relevant open software tools to support the processes associated with dissertation writing into a virtual environment
to support dissertation writing (AWESOME-Dissertation).
As Head of the Learning & Teaching Team in the Staff and Departmental Development Unit, I have been fUlly
supportive of the project and especially the involvement of Senior Staff Development Officer Melissa Highton, who
has a background in educational development and the use of technology in teaching. In SDDU she is responsible
for staff development in the use of C&IT in learning, teaching and assessment. She runs the open programme of
C&IT in teaching workshops and is module leader for module 4 of the PGCL THE. This will ensure that
development of the AWESOME Dissertation Environment is thoroughly informed by the practices and needs of
users across the whole institution and that its development and deployment will be equally extensive, with partner
institutions also benefiting from the staff development insights and experiences she brings.
Chris Butcher
Principal Academic Staff Development Officer
Leeds University Library
Univeristy of Leeds
Leeds LS2 9JT
T +44 (0) 113 343 5306
F +44 (0) 113 343 4095
27 September 2007
To Whom it May Concern
Awesome Dissertation Environment
As Head of the Skills Centre at the University of Leeds I am delighted to support colleagues at Leeds and
elsewhere in developing and deploying the AWESOME Dissertation Environment. Writing a dissertation is
unique to the higher education experience and condenses many of the issues in learning support and writing
development which a Centre such as this deals with on a daily basis. Adequate support for this process, for
home-based and International UG and PG students is a pressing issue. AWESOME Dissertation
Environment is distinctive because it puts equal emphasis on the pedagogic soundness of the content
created for and delivered through the learning technology, as well as seeking to successfully harness
Web2.0 technology and principles which may well be more advantageous to students in HE because the
advice and examples they provide are not time and place specific.
I have worked with the AWESOME Team in Phase One of their project, and with several members of the
team on numerous projects over several years. I have every confidence that their work will be designed and
delivered to the highest standard: innovative, original and theoretically grounded. I have been impressed by
their commitment to consulting and involving students and staff in the development of their project. If they
are successful in Phase Two, I am confident that their work will continue to reflect these high standards of
design, development and evaluation. I look forward to continuing to work with them, especially in the
dissemination and promotion of AWESOME Dissertation throughout the UK HE sector through our
connections with the AIM HIGHER CETL and the Association for Learning Development in Higher
Your sincerely
Leeds University Library
From [email protected] Fri Sep 28 21:33:16 2007
Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2007 21:33:15 +0100
From: Jeremy Harmer <[email protected]>
To: Rebecca O'Rourke <R.K.O'[email protected]>
Cc: Vania Dimitrova <[email protected]>
Subject: Support letter for the AWESOME project
JISC Executive
Northavon House
Coldharbour Lane
BS16 1QD
27th September 2007
JISC Capital Programme
Users and Innovation: Next Generation Technologies and Practices
Indication of support from the University of Leeds
Academic Writing Empowered by Social Online Mediated Environments
(AWESOME) Dissertation Environment (ADE)
The University of Leeds in partnership with Bangor, Coventry, De Montfort,
Manchester and Salford Universities and the Learning Development in Higher
Education Network.
Following their success in Phase 1 of this call, the AWESOME team at Leeds
are now proposing a project to develop academic writing by extending
MediaWiki, a Web 2.0 wiki tool suitable for writing and successfully
adopted here at Leeds and elsewhere in higher education, by integrating a
range of social technologies and relevant open software tools to support
the processes associated with dissertation writing into a virtual
environment to support dissertation writing (AWESOME-Dissertation).
I currently work within the Web Solutions Team in Information Systems Services
(ISS). My primary role is that of University Webmaster, and I also work
heavily in web development and in particular in the introduction of Web 2.0
technologies. My responsibilities include the authorisation
of all websites and webspace within the domain. I am the main
site contact for all web-related issues. I can confirm that the AWESOME
team have discussed the technical arrangements for the AWESOME
dissertation demonstrator with me and I am confident that the technology
development plan in the bid is feasible. The choice of MediaWiki as the
base platform for AWESOME dissertation is appropriate, and is in line with
the institutional use of Web 2.0 tools. The Awesome team's planned wider
deployment of the tool as part of the Web 2.0 suite is feasible and
supports institutional priorities. I am very happy to support their bid.
Jeremy M. Harmer
University of Leeds
[email protected]
School of Computer Science
The University of Manchester
Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9PL
Tel:+44(0)161 275 6209
Email: [email protected]
27 September 2007.
JISC Executive
Northavon House
Coldharbour Lane
BS16 1QD
Dear Sirs
Re: Using the outputs of the AWESOME Project
I would like to trail the outputs of the AWESOME Project in the School of Computer Science at
the University of Manchester during the project in order to provide feedback to the project.
If my proposal to JISC for further development of the Manchester Personal Learning
Environment (PLE) is funded, I would like to consider how AWESOME materials and methods
could be embedded in our PLE. I believe that there is a natural fit, and that AWESOME could
benefit our project and its use by students.
Yours faithfully
Dr. Mark van Harmelen
Honorary Research Fellow
Combining the strengths of UMIST and
The Victoria University of Manchester
From: Frances Bell [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thu 27/09/2007 17:17
To: Maggi Savin-Baden; Rebecca O'Rourke
Subject: Participation in CABWEB
I am delighted if you take up the offer to host a discussion event on CABWEB
HELP Network - for tutors and learning technologists who are interested in
international student online collaboration. I believe that your work will be of
enormous interest to our members and that they will bring insights based on
their diverse expereinces and perspectives.
Frances Bell,
CABWEB, Salford Business School,
University of Salford,
Salford M5 4WT
The CABWEB portal for international student collaboration
online, was developed in the Socrates-Minerva Collaboration Across Borders
project using the Open Source Software Moodle. As well as hosting collaboration
spaces for student collaborative activities, the portal is home to a Community
of Practice for tutors and learning technologists called HELP, Higher Education
Learning Professionals. There have been 10 discussion events on HELP,
facilitated by a range of international contributors, including Jan Visser a
former UNESCO Director. CABWEB HELP will be an excellent venue to test ideas
and products from Users and Innovation projects in a rich international dialogic
context, with a more diverse set of potential users. Contacts formed on CABWEB
have fordmed the basis of project partnerships for bidding for European and
International funds.
From: John Hilsdon [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Sat 29/09/2007 17:25
To: Rebecca O'Rourke
Subject: RE: Request for help
31st September 2007
JISC Capital Programme
Users and Innovation: Next Generation Technologies and Practices
Indication of support from John Hilsdon, Chair of ALDinHE (the Association for
Learning Development in Higher Education) and Convenor, JISC Mail list Learning
Development in Higher Education Network
Academic Writing Empowered by Social Online Mediated Environments
(AWESOME) Dissertation Environment (ADE)
The University of Leeds in partnership with Bangor, Coventry, De Montfort,
Manchester and Salford Universities and the Learning Development in Higher
Education Network.
Following their success in Phase 1 of this call, the AWESOME team at Leeds are
now proposing a project to develop academic writing by extending MediaWiki, a
Web 2.0 wiki tool suitable for writing and successfully adopted in higher
education, by integrating a range of social technologies and relevant open
software tools to support the processes associated with dissertation writing
into a virtual environment to support dissertation writing (AWESOMEDissertation). Content creation for the MediaWiki will be informed by the
Awesome team's considerable experience of teaching in higher education and
participating as research practitioners in learning and writing development
networks. This will ensure that that the project is shaped by sound pedagogical
I can also confirm that their decision to focus on dissertation writing - for
undergraduate and postgraduate students - is timely and appropriate. Students,
lecturers and learning development staff alike are aware that while all students
must necessarily struggle with the writing of a dissertation - that is part of
the educational experience - there are many instances in which the struggle
between the student and the writing is unevenly matched, creating problems for
how the text communicates, and potentially for how it is assessed. I very much
support the work of this project in making opportunities for students to engage
in activities to develop academic writing skills for dissertations.
I would be very happy for the AWESOME Dissertation Environment project to
collaborate with the Association and Mail List of Learning Development in Higher
Education Network in whatever ways seem mutually beneficial.
John Hilsdon
Co-ordinator, Learning Development
University of Plymouth
Drake Circus, Plymouth, PL4 8AA
01752 232276
[email protected]
Lecturer, School of Computing, University of Leeds
Role in the project
• Coordinate software development and platform integration;
• Take active part in integration with external partners;
• Contribute to project management, agile methodology implementation, dissemination and
Personal Information
Date of birth: 04/09/1965
Address: School of Computing, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
Phone: +44 (0)113 3431674
E-mail [email protected] Web:
PhD in Artificial Intelligence in Education, (1997-2001) Computer Based Learning Unit, Leeds
University: "Interactive Open Learner Modelling" [ORS Award]
MSc in Computer Science, (1987-1989), University of Sofia, Bulgaria.
Higher Degree Diploma in Mathematics (= BSc & MSc in Mathematics), University of Shoumen,
Bulgaria, [Distinction for high achievements from the Bulgarian Ministry of Education]
Nov 2001-present, Lecturer, School of Computing, University of Leeds.
Sept 2005-Dec 2005, Researcher, Intelligent Interfaces Group, DFKI (The German AI Centre),
April 2001-Oct 2001, Research Officer, Computer Based Learning Unit, Leeds University, LArflast EU (F5).
July 1989-August 1997, Assistant Professor in Computer Science, University of Shoumen, BG.
Skills and Experience
Strong theoretical and practical background in the design, development, and evaluation of interactive
learning environments which promote novel ways of learning and teaching. Co-authored some 60 papers
and served on the programming committees of international conferences about intelligent learning
environments, personalisation, and web-based technologies. Lead researcher from the Leeds team in the
Larflast project (EU, Oct 1998 – Nov 2001) which developed an intelligent learning environment to assist
with acquiring a technical vocabulary in a foreign language. Co-ordinated the research and technical
activities within the joint UK-NL SWALE project (British Council, Apr-Dec 2004) which developed reusable
semantic-enhanced tools and integrated them in an advanced user-adaptive environment for recommending
research articles to university students. Co-ordinated the Edukalibre project (EU, Oct 2003 - Dec 2005) that
produced a collaborative writing environment by reusing open source tools and methods. Currently involved
in two EU Networks of Excellence – Prolearn (novel ways of technology-enhanced professional learning)
and REWERSE (rules and semantics for reusable web services). Past and current PhD students have
examined the design and development of novel web-based interactive personalised learning environments;
currently supervise MSc and UG dissertations examining Web 2.0. tools for personalised access to digital
Relevant Recent Publications
Dang, T.M., Dimitrova, V. & Djemame, K. (2007). Personalised Mashups: Opportunities and Challenges. In
Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on User Modeling, Springer, Lecture Notes in
Computer Science.
Dimitrova, V. Tzagarikis, M. & Vassileva, J. eds. (2007). Proceedings of Int. Workshop on Personalisation
and Adaptation in Groups, Teams, and Communities, SociUM2007.
Kosba, E., Dimitrova, V. & Boyle, R. (2007). Adaptive Feedback Generation to Support Teachers in WebBased Distance Education. User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction Journal, Springer.
Gonzalez-Barahona, J., Dimitrova, V., Chaparo, D., Tebb, C., Romero, T., Canas, L., Matravers, J.,
Kleanthous, S. (2006). Community-driven development of educational materials: the Edukalibre
approach in: Nejdl,W &Tochtermann, K (editors) Innovative Approaches for Learning and Knowledge
Sharing European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning EC-TEL 2006, pp. 125-139
Springer, Lecture Notes in Computer Science.
Senior staff development officer, Staff and Departmental Development Unit, University of Leeds
Role in the project
• Coordinate institutional embedding;
• Coordinate project dissemination and sustainability;
• Takes active part in engagement with user community through existing SDDU contacts and staff
• Takes part in project evaluation and pedagogical insights.
Skills and Experience
Melissa has 10 years experience in staff and educational development and the use of technology in
teaching. At University of Leeds she is responsible for staff development in the use of C&IT in learning,
teaching and assessment. She runs the open programmme of C&IT in teaching workshops and is module
leader for the ‘Teaching with Technology’ module of the postgraduate certificate in learning and teaching in
higher education (PGCLTHE) which is offered to all new academic staff at the University. She was awarded
a University Teaching Fellowship award in 2006 to explore the application of Web2.0 technologies to
teaching and learning.
Melissa has previously worked for Royal Holloway University of London, Napier University in Edinburgh and
City University in London. She has qualifications in teaching with technology and online tutoring and a
master’s degree in Education. She is also a member of the HEA.
She regularly speaks at national and international events including, most recently, ElearningAfrica2006 and
HEA Blended Learning Conference. In October this year she co-authored a book ‘Designing Learning’ as
part of the Routledge series of key guides to teaching. At the University she sits on a number of project
teams and steering groups which inform and develop University strategy in the use of technology for
teaching on campus.
Lecturer, School of Computing, University of Leeds
Role in the project
• Leading the user-centred approach in the implementation of agile methodology;
• Contributing to the design and development of the collaborative software and project evaluation;
• Contribute to user trials, as well as to dissemination and sustainability.
Personal Information
Date of birth: 29/11/1958
Address: School of Computing, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
Phone: +44 (0)113 3435454
E-mail [email protected]
PhD in Information Systems, University of Leeds, 1987.
BSc in Computational Science and Management Studies, University of Leeds, 1981.
A full member of the British Computer Society and a Chartered IT Professional.
Sept 1987 - present, Lecturer, School of Computing, University of Leeds.
Oct 1984 – Aug 1987, Teaching Assistant, School of Computing, University of Leeds.
Skills and Experience
My special interest is in collaborative computing, user requirements capture and evaluation. I am currectly
involved in a project SeCE (Scientic e-Community Environment) which aims to provide a sustainable and
flexible infrastructure for the Chemical Kinetics research community to share resources and knowledge. I
was principal investigator for a two-year KTP project (2002-2004) entitled “Integration of Human Factors into
the Design of Virtual Project Management Software. I designed and conducted several evaluation exercises
(1999-2003) for the Univeristy of Leeds’s Virtual Knowledge Park (formerly Virtual Science Park). I also
delivered a pilot study on an intranet system for the University’s Press Office using Lotus Notes (1998) which
operated for a number of years.
Selected Publications
Lau, Lydia M.S. Scenarios are only part of a story? In Ned Kock (ed.) Encyclopedia of E-Collaboration,
USA, Idea Group Inc. (to be published in 2008).
Lau, Lydia M.S. & Dew, Peter M. A Reflection on E-Collaboration Infrastructure for Research Communities.
In Ned Kock (ed.) Encyclopedia of E-Collaboration, USA, Idea Group Inc. (to be published in 2008).
Lau, Lydia M.S. Articulating a Grass-root View of Research Communities. International Workshop on Virtual
Research Environments and Collaborative Work Environments, e-Science Institute, Edinburgh, 23-24 May
Pham, Tran Vu; Lau, L.M.S.; Dew, P.M. An ontology-based adaptive approach to P2P resource discovery in
distributed scientific communities. International Transactions on Systems Science and Applications, vol. 2,
pp. 391-404, 2007.
Pham, Tran Vu; Dew, P.M.; Lau, L.M.S.; Pilling, M.J. Enabling e-Research in Combustion Research
Community. In proceedings of e-Science 2006 – 2 IEEE International Conference on e-Science and Grid
Computing, Dec, 2006.
Le, Duc Minh & Lau, Lydia. An Open Architecture for Ontology-enabled Content Management System – a
Case Study in Managing Learning Objects. In On the Move to Meaningful Internet Systems 2006: CoopIS,
DOA, GADA, and ODBASE, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Volume 4275/2006, pp. 772-790, Springer
Berlin / Heidelberg, 2006.
Tian, Yang; Lau, Lydia; Dew, Peter. Importance of mutual benefits in online knowledge sharing communities
in Remenyi, D (editors) Proceedings of the 4th European Conference on Knowledge Management, pp. 823831 Academic Conferences International. 2004.
Lau, Lydia M S; Adams, Craig A; Dew, Peter M; Leigh, Christine. Use of scenario evaluation in preparation
for deployment of a collaborative system for knowledge transfer in: 12th IEEE International Workshops on
Enabling Technologies (WETICE 2003): Infrastructure for Collaborative Enterprises, pp. 148-152 IEEE
Computer Society Press. 2003.
Senior Lecturer, Life Long Learning Institute, University of Leeds
Role in the project
• Lead, co-ordinate and manage the project
• Expertise in academic writing development and pedagogy to oversee content creation
• Ensure user engagement in design, deployment and evaluation of project
• Contribute to dissemination and sustainability
Personal Information
Date of birth: 10/8/1955
Address: Lifelong Learning Institute, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
Phone: +44 (0)113 3433181
E-mail r.k.o’[email protected]
PhD Creative Writing Policy and Practices, University of Birmigham, 1999
PGCTLHE, University of Leeds, 1994
MA in Cultural Studies, University of Birmingham, 1977
BA English Language and Literature, University of Hull, 1973
2005 – present, Senior Lecturer, Lifelong Learning Institute, University of Leeds
1994 – 2005, Lecturer/Snr Lecturer, School of Continuing Education, University of Leeds
1992 – 1994, Research Fellow, School of Continuing Education, University of Leeds
1991 – 1992, Research Associate, Community Education, Goldsmiths’ College
1980 – 1991, Various adult education and community arts post in London
Skills and Experience
Excellent leadership and management skills first developed in the voluntary sector (regularly bidding for and
managing project funds, chairing voluntary organisations and managing developmental projects) and
consolidated by managing University of Leeds Adult Centre in Cleveland (1994-2003) (managing an
academic programme promoted and developed in partnership with regional providers and competitors, a
building, its budget and staff). Held research assistant and research fellow posts (1991- 1992, 1992 – 1994)
using participative and action-research methodologies. Awarded and successfully completed a University
Teaching Fellowship (2002 - 2006) 'Academic Literacies: Raising the Profile, Researching the Practices'.
Awarded and directed a successful ESRC Research Seminar Series, Rurality, Regeneration and Lifelong
Learning, in 2003. Worked with writers and writing development in a variety of settings - adult basic
education in community and prison settings, community writing and publishing projects, access and return to
learning – which demand a user-centred approach and successfully adapted this pedagogy to academic
writing development and qualitative research in higher education. Active member of national and
international networks in lifelong learning and writing development, including the European Association of
Teachers of Academic Writing, the Writing Development in Higher Education network, the European
Association of Research on Learning and Instruction Writing Special Interest Group and the Standing
Conference on University Teaching and Research into the Education of Adults.
Selected Publications
O’Rourke, R (2007) Creative Writing as a Site of Pedagogic Identity and Pedagogic Learning, Pedagogy 7:3
(In Press)
O’Rourke, R (2005) Creative writing: education, culture, community, Leicester: Niace
Senior Lecturer in ICT in Education, School of Education, University of Leeds
Role in the project
• Coordinating deployment and user trials and takes active part in agile methodology implementation;
• Leading integration with external partners;
• Leading (together with Highton) dissemination and sustainability;
• Provide pedagogical insights.
Skills and Experience
• Research Group Coordinator– ICT in Education
• Programme Leader – MA ICT and Education
• Faculty representative to University Blended Learning Strategy Group
• Teaching includes: Modules “Learning with Virtual Worlds”; “Design and Evaluation of Web-based
Learning Environments”; “Language Learning and Teaching with ICT” and academic writing
workshops for MA students.
PhD University of Leeds. 2003 – The Contribution of Computer-mediated Communication to the
Development of Argument Skills and Writing-related Self-esteem
MEd (Educational Technology and TESOL) University of Manchester
PGCE (Primary Education) Bradford College 1988
BA (Hons) Linguistics University of Lancaster 1980
Recent Relevant Publications
Walker, S. A. (2005) “Is s/he really necessary? The effect of tutor presence before and during synchronous
CMC discussion” in A. Méndez Vilas, B. Gonzalez Pereira, J. Mesa González and J. A. Mesa González
Recent Research Developments in Learning Technologies Proceedings of III International Conference on
Multimedia & ICTs in Education, Caceres, Spain, 7-10 June 2005 pp 516-521
Walker, A., & Pilkington, R. M. (2005). “Using Computers to Assist in Developing Key Literacy Skills”. In M.
Monteith (Ed.), Teaching Secondary School Literacies Maidenhead, UK & New York: Open University
Press, McGraw Hill Education pp 71-96
Walker, S. A. (2004) “Socratic Strategies and Devil’s Advocacy in Synchronous CMC Debate” Journal of
Computer Assisted Learning 20/3 pp 172-182
Walker, S. A. (2004) “Social Strategies and Group Development in Discourse for e-Learning” in P. Isaias, P.
Kommers and M. McPherson Proceedings of IADIS e-Society 2004 Conference, 16-19 July 2004, Avila,
Spain pp.251-258
Pilkington R M and Walker S A (2003a) “Facilitating Debate in Networked Learning: Reflecting on Online
Synchronous Discussion in Higher Education” Instructional Science 31 pp. 41-63
Externally Funded Projects
December 2006 – December 2009: Building Capacity in Visual Methods funded by ESRC Researcher
Development Initiative
Jan 2006 – Sept 2006: Construct Relevance of Sources of Difficulty in Information Technology Testing at
Key Stage 3 funded by Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.
Leeds University Funded Projects
Education, Social Sciences and Law e-Learning Network 2007, Focus on Feedback 2006-7
Development of Online Learning and Teaching Research Methods 2004-6
Start 1 Feb 2008 – End 31 March 2009
Grade 6, up to spine 25 (currently 24,403)
Role in the project
• Coordinates (together with Dimitrova) technology development and platform integration;
• Develops the software produced in the project;
• Takes active part in agile methodology implementation;
• Takes active part in the user trials;
• Involved in project dissemination and evaluation;
Job summary: The RA will be expected to coordinate the design and implementation of the core platform for
the AWESOME dissertation tool in close collaboration with the AWESOME team and the university Web 2.0.
emergent technologies group. Requirements: (a) to undertake research in collaboration with other members
of the project team and with users in line with the aims and objectives of the project; (b) to undertake
software design and implementation in line with the objectives of the project and to coordinate the integration
of all components in a flexible architecture; (c) to contribute to the dissemination of the project results via
presentations and publications at relevant events; (d) to attend and contribute to regular project meetings.
Essential: Degree in Computer Science related subject
Desirable: MSc or PhD in a relevant subject
Desirable: Relevant research or industrial experience
Skills & Experience:
Essential: Relevant computer programming experience
Essential: Experience in Web 2.0 development
Essential: Good organisational skills and ability to meet deadlines
Essential: Good communication skills including written
Desirable: Ability to work in a multidisciplinary team and collaborate successfully with co-investigators and
project partners
Desirable: Knowledge and experience in Web 2.0 standards
Desirable: Knowledge and experience in developing learning environments
Desirable: Experience in usability and user interface design
Desirable: Ability to write up research findings for academic publications.
Start 1 Feb 2008 – End 31 March 2009
Grade 6, up to spine 25 (currently 24,403)
Role in the project
• Coordinates (together with Walker) deployment and user trials;
• Produces content, as appropriate;
• Facilitates active user engagement;
• Takes active part in agile methodology implementation;
• Contributes to engagement with partners and wider user community;
Job summary: The RA will be expected to coordinate the content creation, user involvement, evaluation and
dissemination of the AWESOME project. Requirements: (a) to undertake research in collaboration with other
members of the project team and with project users (students and staff involved in dissertation writing) in line
with the aims and objectives of the project; (b) to identify and develop learning materials to support
dissertation writing which will be integrated in the AWESOME dissertation environment; (c) to coordinate the
involvement of users from AWESOME partners in the design and evaluation of the learning environment
developed in the project (d) to contribute to the dissemination of the project results via presentations and
publications at relevant events; (d) to attend and contribute to regular project meetings.
Essential: Degree and relevant experience in teaching/supporting academic writing
Desirable: Postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject
Desirable: Relevant research or learning development in HE experience
Skills & Experience:
Essential: Relevant experience of working in the UK HE environment
Essential: Relevant experience of using technology to support and develop learning
Essential: Knowledge of current practices in academic literacy and learning development
Essential: Good organisational skills and ability to meet deadlines
Essential: Excellent written and interpersonal communication skills
Desirable: Relevant experience of writing development / academic literacy
Desirable: Ability to work in a multidisciplinary team and collaborate successfully with co-investigators and
project partners
Desirable: Relevant experience in using technologies to support academic writing
Desirable: Knowledge of user-centred technology design
Desirable: Ability to write up research findings for academic publications.
Desirable: Excellent presentation skills.
Role in the project:
• User engagement defining appropriate support
• Piloting and evaluating the ADE demonstrator
• Contributing to dissemination and sustainability
Coventry University's Centre for Academic Writing (CAW), founded in 2004, is the first UK university centre
dedicated to teaching and researching Academic Writing. CAW offers students individualised advice on
writing essays, reports, dissertations, theses, exams and other assignments. Help is available on topics
ranging from how to organise an academic argument to how to improve grammar and sentence
structure. CAW offers staff individualised support in designing writing assignments and in teaching writing
within subject courses. Advice is also available on writing grant proposals, journal articles and other types of
academic prose. Many CAW staff are members of iPED, the Inquiring Pedagogies Research Network,
which is a major Coventry University initiative offering an encouraging environment in which critical inquiry
can take place and facilitating a research community.
CAW will contribute to the Awesome Dissertation Environment project by:
• trialling students’ use of the tool under the guidance of Academic Writing tutors during one-to-one
• making the tool available for student self-access via the CU Student Portal,
• running seminars on how to use the tool for academic staff across the disciplines
• offering expert advice on the development of the content and scope of the ADE
• contributing to the evaluation and dissemination of the project
• joining the Project Steering Group
CAW Staff in the AWESOME Project Partnership
Dr Lisa Ganobscik-Williams founding Co-ordinator of the Centre for Academic Writing. She has taught and
tutored writing in US universities and, since 1999, has had input into the Royal Literary Fund Fellowship
Scheme for writing tuition in UK universities. Published in Rhetorica, The Writing Center Journal, and
Computers in Composition. Recent publications include an edited book, Teaching Academic Writing in UK
Higher Education: Theories, Practices and Models (Palgrave Macmillan 2006), and A Report on the
Teaching of Academic Writing in UK Higher Education (2004). In 2005, Lisa serves on the board of the
European Writing Centers Association and the European Association for the Teaching of Academic Writing.
Dr Mary Deane has been a Lecturer at the Centre for Academic Writing (CAW) since January 2005. Her
research specialisms Academic Writing tuition and online peer review. Currently, Mary is leading Coventry’s
contribution to an international research project called Developing Academic Literacy in Context
(DALiC). Key partner institutions include the University of Wollongong, Australia, Cornell University, US,
Queen Mary University of London, UK, and the Open University, UK.
Erik Borg heads CAW’s writing component of the University’s Pre-Masters programme. He works in a
consultancy role with staff in the disciplines to cascade strategies for teaching Academic Writing, and he
offers advice to colleagues on their own scholarly writing. Erik was formerly a Lecturer in Applied Linguistics
at Northumbria University. He has published articles in Art, Design and Communication in Higher Education,
ELT Journal and the Journal of English for Academic Purposes, and given presentations at conferences on
topics related to intertextuality and plagiarism, the assessment of writing and writing in art and design.
Ray Summers is Learning Technologist at the The Centre for the Study of Higher Education. Ray is
interested in interactive media and developing electronic media as a teaching and learning resource for
students and staff at Coventry and works across the institution to promote and develop this field. He is chief
technical advisor for the Coventry University Harvard Style Project and a founding member of the Harvard
Style Working Party, collaborating with members to design and construct e-resources which are used by
undergraduate and postgraduate students to enhance their research and academic writing abilities.
Role in the project:
• User engagement defining appropriate support
• Piloting and evaluating the ADE demonstrator
• Contributing to dissemination and sustainability
The School of Lifelong Learning, at the University of Wales Bangor, provides high quality and
flexible educational opportunities across North Wales - from NVQ to Masters level study. It has centres at
Bangor, St Asaph, Wrecsam and Mold with teams working to develop stimulating and relevant lifelong
learning programmes, through the medium of English and Welsh, which are delivered in communities and
workplaces across North Wales. The development of distance learning also allows students to study in their
own homes - whilst fully supported by the School. The School works with a number of partners including
local authorities, statutory and voluntary organisations and community groups across North Wales and
operates as a portal into the University. It is also a key player in the Community university of North Wales: a
partnership of further and higher education institutions that are working together to develop a network of
educational opportunities for the people of North Wales.
In addition to community programmes, the School offers Undergraduate Studies, awarding Diplomas and BA
Degrees in socal studies, Literature with Creative Writing, Combined Studies and Fine Art. It runs
Foundation Degrees in Community Development, Early Childhood and Learning Support Studies and
Management of Care. Higher Education Certificates are offered in Socal studies, Literature with Creative
Writing, Combined Studies, IT & Community Enterprise, Local History, Open Studies, Personal and
Professional Skills and Fine Art. Postgraduate Studies (PG Cert and MA) are offered in Community
Development. Women’s Studies and Writing.
The School of Lifelong Learning, Bangor University will contribute to the Awesome Dissertation
Environment project by:
trialling students’ use of the tool under the guidance of module and programme leaders
running training and awareness sessions for staff and students as the tool is developed
offering expert advice on the development of the content and scope of the ADE
advising about how to adapt the tool for use in mutli-lingual contexts
contributing to the evaluation and dissemination of the project
joining the Project Steering Group
Staff in the AWESOME Project Partnership
Dr Brech’ed Piette, Acting Director of School of Lifelong Learning
Dr David Sullivan, Academic Co-ordinator, Undergraduate Programmes
Dr Zoe Skoulding, Academic co-ordinator, Writing Programmes
Ms Delyth Murphy, Academic co-ordinator, Community Programmes