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Higher Education Hackathon

Technical Services / News / General Updates / Higher Education Hackathon

Technical Services return from Higher Education ‘Hackathon’ with a new vision for the future for the University.


The Higher Education Hackathon hosted by ANS was one-day event that took place in Birmingham, on Thursday November 29. Five members of University of Sunderland staff attended the event, where they met with staff from a variety of UK universities’ gather to network and find out about the future of technology within higher education.

Paula Bass, deputy director of Estates and Facilities, said, “I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the event. The Hackathon really opened my mind to the possibilities that Digital Technology can deliver in terms of maximising the use of the data we hold, connecting systems and the ultimate impact on student experience.”


To start the day off Microsoft introduced their vision of how robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be used in the future. What their future career prospects are, and what our future would look like as a result of automated technology joining the work force.


Daniel Wilson, solutions analyst for Technical Services, said, “I really enjoyed the event. Seeing what amazing things other universities are doing was really eye opening, especially University of Staffordshire’s presentation.”


University of Staffordshire’s presentation showcased their vision for a Bot/AI they plan to launch soon which will help students make decisions around what courses/modules to take and how to get support whilst being a student. The event hosted a competition, giving the universities attending the chance to team up and compete to create the best innovative way to use AI and future technology that may not exist yet in HE. University of Sunderland staff the opportunity to work with like-minded people from the University of Staffordshire.


Sam Seldon, information governance manager and data protection officer, said, “We came up with a ‘Life Long Virtual Life Coach’ to help you make important career and university decisions based on what it knew about you. It would appear as a hologram, and be a companion to children from the age of 13 so it can gather enough personal data.”


We came close second in the competition, the team who won came up with an idea similar to Tinder, except to match graduates with any potential employers. This event proves the forward thinking talent we have in Technical Services and across University of Sunderland, and makes us think what further ideas we could introduce here to improve both staff and student life.


Oliver Pritchard, deputy director of Student Journey, said, “It was a great opportunity for some fresh and ambitious thinking. The rapid developments in technologies, including AI, offer exciting opportunities for Universities. Opening up new approaches in learning delivery and how we support our students.”