March 15th, 2012
Imagine a World Where Technology Helps Solve the Toughest Problems. Every year, student competitors present creative technology solutions that address real-world challenges, and many of those solutions are in use today. The competition was organized from Microsoft Corporation in Tirana and this year, was Epoka University’s turn.
Epoka University was the only University in Albania who participated in the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012 competition with two teams which makes us proud. In the end of the competition Epoka University team won the second prize.
In ten years, the Imagine Cup has grown to be a truly global competition focused on finding solutions to real-world problems. Since 2003, over 1.4 million students have participated in the Imagine Cup with 358,000 students representing 183 countries and regions registering for the Imagine Cup 2012 competition.
Pocket Emergency Project
Supervisor: Elton Hoxha
Along with the Imagine Cup, we started to imagine a better world too, imagine a world where technology could help people in need, those who cannot communicate naturally. Thinking of an emergency, the first thing coming to mind was a call to 127 (911), but this would not be so easy for a certain group of people. It was this fact that led us to develop a solution to enable the communication with emergency services of the people with communication disabilities.
Emergency Pocket is a system that enables people in need, especially the ones with communications disabilities to report an emergency simply by pressing the corresponding emergency button on the phone screen. The application is linked with the police departments, hospitals and firefighters. Having calculated the location of mobile device, the application reports in real-time a detailed emergency to the nearest point. Each department follows and monitors related emergencies through a web application and can access not only the emergency location information but also information of the person. The operator assigns emergency to the team to handle the situation, transferring emergency details through the system. Last link of this process ends with updating and reporting on system status after emergency is handled.
The application enables a chain of information transfer with zero time delay. No need to show to the operator an address or to find one, because everything is correct, simply follow the directions to reach the destination.
Pocket Emergency is an extendible and applicable E-government Emergency System Management that could link not only the police departments, hospitals and firefighters but also any other interested institution.
Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012 Winners- Albania
First Prize: Tirana University
Second Prize: Epoka University
Third Prize: Tirana Polytechnic University
Speech of the Rector at Microsoft Corporation Competition
Dear Rectors and Deans,
It is indeed a great pleasure for me to address this event, also on the capacity of the Rector of a University, which is participating in this competition.
We all notice nowadays, the continuous developments, in the area of Information and Communication Technology, and often even struggle to cope with such rapid changes. Unfortunately, many times it is forgotten, that the principal objective of such technological innovation, should be to bring a substantial, and meaningful improvement to human life, and that technological developments per se, do not carry any importance. It is my deep belief, that the value of this competition, rests in affirming the importance of the connection, between the “means” and the “end”, between technological developments and innovations on one hand, and the objective to which they should serve, which is the improvement of human conditions, on the other hand.
In this context, allow me to share with you, some of the developments in the field of Information and Communication Technology, at Epoka University and also the impact that such innovations have had on the functioning of our institution.
At its establishment stage, Epoka University placed a special emphasis, on the widespread use of information technology in the daily operations of the institution. To this end, up-to-date web-based services, were adopted and implemented, concerning both students and academic staff. In this framework, students can reach their course program, course curriculum, absence rate, as well as, their grades both through computers, and electronic information kiosks located at the University, by the username and password provided to them at the time of enrolment at University.
On the other hand, lecturers can enter through their accounts, all information on the curriculum, student absences and grades; they can also follow the performance of each student. Members of the academic staff, who also act as advisors, have additional access in order to monitor the academic performance of students under their supervision. In addition to this, the widespread use of smartboards, especially by members of the academic staff lecturing engineering and other applicative courses, has had a great impact in the further improvement of the teaching process at the respective departments.
The implementation of web-based services, also enables the Registrar’s Office, to provide transcripts, certificates and other documents, in a timely and efficient way. We believe that these interactive systems, have provided a crucial contribution to ensuring, student satisfaction in line with our objective of being a student-centered university.
Furthermore, through the “Moodle” application, lecturers are enabled to place all the course materials, they have delivered, on an electronic database, shared with their students or even with other interested persons.
At the same time, through the Educational Information System, it has been ensured that detailed information on each course is entered, such as course objectives, content, weekly topics, as well as the contribution of the course to achieving the established course competencies. All this, in line with the international best practice, according to which, the teaching process should take into consideration the learning outcomes. This information is open to all members of the academic staff, students and other stakeholders.
Furthermore, the electronic cataloguing of all sources at our Library, has been completed, resulting in both an increase in the accessibility of information by all interested parties, and in an enhanced effectiveness of operations, by substantially reducing paperwork.
It is evident, that this automation has enabled the offering of high-quality services, to students and other stakeholders, in a timely and transparent manner, also ensuring an efficient and optimal use of human, financial and physical resources by the University.
The widespread use of information technology, is one of the reasons that our University has ranked highly among Albanian universities, in the various widely cited web rankings, most notably Webometrics, but also 4ICU. Based also on our experience, it is my deep belief that Albanian universities, should place even more emphasis on the information technology aspect, of their activities, to ensure both an improvement of their operations, as well as to gain more international visibility.
In conclusion, I would like to express my strong appreciation for this competition, and I am confident that it will contribute to foster social responsibility, among the student community. Indeed, raising students, with high sensitivity to social problems, should be one of the most important objectives of our universities, and in this context, I believe that the outcome of this competition will serve as a very beneficial feedback, in order to give more emphasis to the “social responsibility” dimension, in the curricula and teaching process of our Engineering and other applicative study programs. In a sign of the importance that Epoka University attaches to this competition, our university is participating in this event with two teams and projects.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to once again congratulate the organizers on this very valuable initiative and also wish every success to all participating teams.