Introduction to AWESOME and AWESOME-Computing

AWESOME-Computing builds on the JISC-funded AWESOME (Academic Writing Empowered by Socially Mediated Online Environments) project which ends in March 2009. AWESOME has developed a new social virtual environment to support dissertation writing by utilising Web 2.0. collective intelligence technologies such as MediaWiki and Social Semantic Web. The AWESOME dissertation writing environment was piloted within two subject domains at Leeds University (Education and Fashion and Design), two academic writing centres at the universities of Coventry and Bangor, and the HE subject centre in Philosophy and Religious Studies. The initial feedback from users and stakeholders is encouraging, pointing that AWESOME may provide new ways to enhance the dissertation writing experiences of both students (addressing student frustration, isolation, and lack of holistic support) and tutors (facilitating the monitoring of the dissertation process and the delivery of helpful feedback).

AWESOME-Computing explores the feasibility of adapting the AWESOME dissertation environment to the Computing domain through a case study within the ALiC-CETL project. The following questions will be addressed: (a) What are the core categories in the dissertation writing process in the Computing domain and how they relate to the categories identified in the other domains AWESOME is being piloted in? (b) Can existing electronic repositories of dissertation materials be integrated seamlessly in the AWESOME environment and how can this process be automated? (c) What are possible usage scenarios to empower students and tutors in Computing by facilitating social scaffolding activities with AWESOME.


The aim of the project is to pilot a dissertation environment for Computing undergraduate students which has the following characteristics:

  • is based on the latest advancements in the AWESOME platform;
  • is tailored to the practices of dissertation writing in Computing;
  • provides appropriate integration of the current information and electronic repositories of Computing dissertations;
  • is instantiated for the School of Computing at the University of Leeds;
  • is portable, with appropriate configuration, for other Computing departments.


To achieve the project aim, the following objectives will be addressed:

  • Create a core ontology that captures the common aspects of dissertation writing in the participating computing departments and develop the main structure for AWESOME-Computing;
  • Implement appropriate mechanism for automatic integration of the existing dissertation corpus at the SoC-Leeds (see within the main AWESOME-Computing environment;
  • Prepare an installable core version for deploying at other institutions and provide appropriate instructions for the configuration process [ Instructions (doc) ];
  • Develop appropriate usage cases for seeding the AWESOME-Computing environments with examples and questions of the core ontology categories (e.g. how to choose a topic, how to manage the project), use information from, past UG students (e.g. who are doing PhD at Leeds now), 2nd year UG students (e.g. placement students and intenships who can be available in the summer);
  • Develop representative test cases for AWESOME-Computing based on current dissertation projects;
  • Use the test cases to (a) check the usability of the environment and made appropriate improvements and (b) identify appropriate pedagogical activities to facilitate social scaffolding


  • Core categories of dissertation writing in Computing derived from experiences of School of Computing, University of Leeds;
  • Usable version of AWESOME-Computing piloted at the School of Computing, University of Leeds;
  • Comparison between AWESOME-Computing and the other AWESOME instances;
  • Report on results and recommendation for possible deployment in the undergraduate learning and teaching practices at the School of Computing, University of Leeds.

The University of Leeds, School of Computing, AWESOME use case is currently located at the following link AWESOME-Computing

Research Questions

  1. What can we do with existing repository? (How to automatically integrate in AWESOME)
  2. What is it about writing up that students find it difficult? (what can we articulate)
    • process
    • product
    • style (scientific)

Active Learning in Computing

ALiC: Leeds The ALiC (Active Learning in Computing) CETL (Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning) focuses on increasing the level of student engagement within the computing curriculum. ALiC is led from Durham University with the University of Leeds, University of Newcastle and Leeds Metropolitan University.

ALiC aims to increase levels of student engagement in the curriculum, better quip students for employability, better integrate research and teaching activities, and revolutionise the learning environment.