Student-designed feedback software wins share of Jisc funding

Unitu development led by Southampton graduate

November 30, 2014

A digital system designed to help university staff to collect and act on student feedback is one of two student-designed technologies to win £25,000 in funding from higher education technology body Jisc.

The program, called Unitu, is designed to integrate with any university structure, and aims to help lecturers manage the student feedback process. Staff, course representatives and students can all access a central issues board, where problems can be raised and, hopefully, resolved in a transparent and streamlined way. Its development was led by Ignacio Willats, who graduated from the University of Southampton this year.

In addition to the £25,000, Jisc will now support the project’s development. It is part of the technology charity’s Summer of Student Innovation programme, which sets out to find student-developed technology solutions to improve education, research and student life.

The second winning project, called Lingoflow, was designed by brothers Lukas and Kamil Ondrej from Sussex Downs College. The application is intended to help learners master foreign languages by letting them create collections of vocabulary.

Paul Bailey, senior co-design manager at Jisc said: “We are committed to supporting ideas that have the potential to make a tangible difference to learners and teachers by enhancing their experiences of academic life, such as these do.

“The two projects we are taking forward demonstrate some of the fresh and innovative thinking coming from students in the UK. We have been hugely impressed, not only by the initial ideas that were first brought to us, but also as they have evolved to become fully-fledged, workable solutions.”

The funding was announced at the Summer of Student Innovation showcase, which took place at the University of Reading on 26 November, and featured the 20 hopeful teams from the 2014 cohort. 

This is the second year that Jisc has run the event.  One of the ideas to be put forward for last year’s Summer of Student Innovation was Call for Participants, which has since become one of the world’s largest open platforms where researchers can promote their studies and connect with participants for free. 

Matt Terrell, one of the co-founders of Call For Participants and a PhD student at the University of Nottingham, said the backing from Jisc had allowed them to develop the product at “a much quicker rate, and with the input of mentors with proven expertise in the sector”.

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