The Higher Education Academy Subject Network for Information and Computer Sciences is pleased to announce a national student competition in the development of Reusable Learning Objects for teaching computing.
The Software Challenge has been established to stimulate the development of high quality learning resources for computer science education and to acknowledge that such resources make a valuable contribution to computer science education. Many institutions use student projects as a mechanism for developing appropriate materials to supplement study at all levels but whilst such projects produce many valuable resources, rarely do they leave the institution of their origins.
The Software Challenge has been designed to give both students and academics recognition for their efforts. A cash prize (£700 for the student, £300 for the academic supervisor) will be awarded for the best learning object produced. Each entry will be judged on the basis of its applicability to computer science education, educational content, ease of use, innovative practice, design and portability/reuse.
In an effort to promote sharing of such resources, the Higher Education Academy will make all short-listed and highly commended submissions available via the Centre's website. The Intellectual Property Rights remain with the individual and/or institution of origin. Results of the competition will be announced and awards made at a Higher Education Academy Subject Network for Information and Computer Sciences event .
What is a Reusable Learning Object (RLO)?
Reusable learning objects are web-based interactive chunks of e-learning designed to explain a stand-alone learning objective. The fact that the learning object has been broken down to a low level of granularity facilitates its reuse in different learning and teaching situations. The Higher Education Academy have developed a guide on Creating Reusable Learning Objects see:
There were two primary concerns in developing learning objects: they should be pedagogically effective, and they should be maximally reusable. Each learning object should be characterised by being a cohesive learning resource focused on one clear learning goal .
To be eligible, entrants must be registered on an undergraduate course in a computing related discipline within a UK Higher Education Institution or a Higher Education validated course delivered in Further Education. Individual and team entries are both welcome.
All students entering the software challenge are required to be supervised by an academic (or other suitable professional as agreed in advance with the competition organisers) with knowledge of information technology/computer science who is able to confirm that the work has been undertaken by the contestant unaided.
How to Enter
Students and their academic supervisors are invited to submit an Expression of Interest Form giving brief details of the proposed development of a reusable learning object which could be embedded in an undergraduate programme of study in a computing related discipline.
Materials developed should be suitable for inclusion in virtual learning environments (VLEs), thus providing support for new patterns of learning. Furthermore, resources aimed at introductory level, and thus suitable for use in HE delivered in FE (providing much needed support for Foundation Degrees and other HE offerings in this sector) are encouraged.
The rapidly changing nature of computing means that significant emphasis will be placed on the need to future-proof any developments. Planning for delivery via mobile devices and other emergent technologies should therefore be taken into consideration.
Students will be expected to submit on 31 st March 2008:
- A completed Competition Entry Form
- A running version of the system (including source code) with emphasis on completeness. (Prototypes which are incomplete will not be considered.)
- A software CD (which should be anonymised ie no reference to author or institution)
- Short user guide (including voluntary reflective comments)
The Higher Education Academy – ICS, do not accept any responsibility for late or lost entries due to Internet or Postal Service failures. Proof of sending is not proof of receipt.
The role of the academic supervisor is to:
- Check that work submitted is the original work of the student(s) and submit a disclaimer authenticating the work.
- Ensure copyright release through institution to enable dissemination via Academy website.
- Provide a short statement outlining the student effort.
Entries must be submitted via email or by post on a CD, DVD, or Flash Memory (memory stick). The closing date is 31st March 2008.
Send your entry to:
Higher Education Academy Subject Network for Information and Computer Sciences,
Faculty of Engineering
University of Ulster
N Ireland, BT37 0QB
or email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Further information please contact Hazel White ( email@example.com )
You must download an application form to send with your entry (this includes a copyright declaration form)
You may also download the full competition details and rules
- There will be considerable prestige associated with winning a national competition (prizes will be presented at a Higher Education Academy Subject Network for Information and Computer Sciences event). The winning student will receive £700 and the academic supervising the project will receive £300.
- The prize-winner will be the one who has, in the view of the competition judges, performed the best overall at all stages. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
- Each participating student will be awarded a certificate.
The prize winner will be expected to participate in reasonable publicity activities in connection with the competition.
Indication of intent to participate from Supervisor
3rd December 2007
Submission of final materials
31st March 2008
Present winning students at Higher Education Academy event
Criteria for Making Decisions on Submissions
Well-designed and user-friendly with easy-to-use interface and documentation
Good levels of interactivity.
Flexibility of design t
o meet students needs.
Accessibility – evidence of how this issue has been considered and incorporated into the design of materials.
Pedagogic considerations – motivation, link to learning outcomes etc
Creativity – creativity of the concept/application.
Imaginative and up-to-date use of technology.
Technical merit – quality of the software design and implementation.
Functionality – robustness, portability/re-use etc.
Evidence of testing, evaluation and feedback.
All submissions should be suitable for delivery within an internet-based environment and should be IMS compliant to ensure delivery within any VLE of choice.
The judging panel reserve the right to test the application on an individual learner.
The review panel will be made up of representatives from the Subject Centre, it's Advisory Group and their representatives. Each submission will be assessed by 2 separate members of the panel plus 1 subject centre team member.