Category Archives: Applications

Statistical education in the 21st century: a review of challenges, teaching innovations and strategies for reform

Over the past few decades there has been a large amount of research dedicated to the teaching of statistics. The impact of this research has started to change course content and structure, in both introductory and advanced courses for statisticians and those from other disciplines. In the light of these changes future directions in the teaching and learning of statistics must take into account new innovative pedagogical instructions, educational technologies and the abundance of Web resources that are now available. This article examines different aspects of currently identified challenges in the teaching and learning of statistics and gives an overview of useful strategies and innovations for developing research-based statistics courses in the context of recommendations for reforms, outlining the place of information technology within this framework. The article presents a review of the literature on the topic of statistics education and gives instructors a set of guidelines for generating new and effective teaching material. The summarised recommendations incorporate many innovations employed in a variety of successful statistics classes today. The review is complemented by a collection of statistics related online resources currently available on the Web.

Article first published in “Journal of Statistics Education”, V. 20 (2012), n. 2, Copyright © 2012 by Svetlana Tishkovskaya and Gillian A. Lancaster all rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

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A coterminous collaborative learning model: interconnectivity of leadership and learning

This qualitative ethnographic study examines a collaborative leadership model focused on learning and socially just practices within a change context of a wide educational partnership. The study analyzes a range of perspectives of novice teachers, mentor teachers, teacher educators and district superintendents on leadership and learning. The findings reveal the emergence of a coalition of leaders crossing borders at all levels of the educational system: local school level, district level and teacher education level who were involved in coterminous collaborative learning. Four categories of learning were identified as critical to leading a change in the educational system: learning in professional communities, learning from practice, learning through theory and research and learning from and with leaders. The implications of the study for policy makers as well as for practitioners are to adopt a holistic approach to the educational environment and plan a collaborative learning continuum from initial pre-service programs through professional development learning at all levels.

Article first published in “Brock Education”, V 21 (2012), n. 2, as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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Role of ICT-enabled visualization-oriented virtual laboratories in Universities for enhancing biotechnology education – VALUE initiative: Case study and impacts

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) – enabled virtual labs have been setup in order to facilitate and enhance higher education. VALUE Biotechnology virtual labs were implemented as part of an ICT initiative and tested between several student and teacher groups. In this paper, we discuss about the application of virtualizing concepts and experiments in biotechnology, one of the fundamental area of biological sciences to impart quality education to meet the necessities of students. We found virtual labs, enhanced attention and student performance in biotechnology courses. The paper reports on applying virtualization techniques, biotechnology education could be intensified in terms of student attention and virtual lab can served as an effective teaching pedagogy. The paper shows how virtual labs in biotechnology can be exploited to improve teaching and student performance. This study analyzes the trends of user behavior towards virtual laboratories and the usability of these laboratories as a learning and curriculum material. Findings from indicated biotechnology virtual laboratories encompass all the core subjects of their curriculum materials in an easy and understandable way with user-interaction and serve to reduce the problems of laboratory education especially in economically challenged and geographically remote areas. Virtual laboratories target a user-friendly outlook to modern laboratory education, aiding as an optional evaluation component for University teachers.

Received: 17th April 2012
Revised: 26th April 2012

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Experiences of operating and studying in Second Life: conclusions for training design

The Educational Association Citizens´ Forum SKAF ry is an educational institution for non-formal education. The Citizens’ Forum has been an active Second Life participant since 2007, researching its potential and challenges in educational use and non-governmental organisation activities. The first training sessions were organised in 2008 on a block of land rented from EduFinland I island. Later, ownership was acquired of the Suomi ry (Finland ry) island, which was customised to serve Finnish organisations and non-governmental organisations (further NGO). The Citizens’ Forum’s training courses have covered training in Second Life and the organisation of cooperative meetings and various other events in Second Life. The overall length of training sessions has been one month. Each course has consisted of 3-5. 1.5 hour meetings in Second Life and interim tasks completed either individually or in small groups. In addition to Second Life, Moodle, an online learning environment, has been employed in which tasks, experiences and feedback have been gathered and which has also contained written summaries of what was learned during the Second Life meetings. The Second Life environment has also been regularly utilised in Citizens’ Forum staff and various other work group work related meetings.Funding and ventures 2008: Ministry of Education special funding, Initiation of Second Life courses and construction of environment 2009-2010: ESF programme Open Learning Environments-AVO venture, development and implementation of Second Life educational programmes. This article is based on practical experiences gained from:
- suitability of cooperative educational processes for Second Life
- constructing a Second Life environment for educational use
- suitability of Second Life technology and tools for education and team work
- practical methods related to educational situations.

Article first published in “Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education TOJDE”, V. 12 (2011), n. 3-2, Special Issue on Second Life Applications in Distance Education, Article 3. Reprinted with permission.

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Design and implementation of a 3D multi-user virtual world for language learning

The best way to learn is by having a good teacher and the best language learning takes place when the learner is immersed in an environment where the language is natively spoken. 3D multi-user virtual worlds have been claimed to be useful for learning, and the field of exploiting them for education is becoming more and more active thanks to the availability of open source 3D multi-user virtual world development tools. The research question we wanted to respond to was whether we could deploy an engaging learning experience to foster communication skills within a 3D multi-user virtual world with minimum teacher´s help. We base our instructional design on the combination of two constructivist learning strategies: situated learning and cooperative/collaborative learning. We extend the capabilities of the Open Wonderland development toolkit to provide natural text chatting with non-player characters, textual tagging of virtual objects, automatic reading of texts in learning sequences and the orchestration of learning activities to foster collaboration. Our preliminary evaluation of the experience deems it to be very promising.

Article first published in “Educational Technology & Society”, V. 14 (2011), n. 4, pp. 2-10. Reprinted with permission.

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Interactive lab to learn radio astronomy, microwave & antenna engineering at the Technical University of Cartagena

An initiative carried out at the Technical University of Cartagena (UPCT, Spain) to encourage students and promote the interest for Scientific and Engineering Culture between society is presented in this contribution. For this purpose, a long-term project based on the set-up of an interactive laboratory surrounding a small Radio Telescope (SRT) system has been carried out. The main novelty is that this project is entirely being developed by students of last courses of our Telecommunication Engineering Faculty, under the supervision of four lecturers. This lab offers the possibility to remotely control the SRT, and it provides a set of multimedia web-based applications to produce a novel, practical, multidisciplinary virtual laboratory to improve the learning and teaching processes in related sciences and technologies.

Article originally published in “International Journal of Online Engineering”, V. 7 (2011), n. 1, pp. 10-18 as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence

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Sensor models and localization algorithms for sensor networks based on received signal strength

Received signal strength (RSS) can be used in sensor networks as a ranging measurement for positioning and localization applications. This contribution studies the realistic situation where neither the emitted power nor the power law decay exponent be assumed to be known. The application in mind is a rapidly deployed network consisting of a number of sensor nodes with low-bandwidth communication, each node measuring RSS of signals traveled through air (microphones) and ground (geophones). The first contribution concerns validation of a model in logarithmic scale, that is, linear in the unknown nuisance parameters (emitted power and power loss constant). The parameter variation is studied over time and space. The second contribution is a localization algorithm based on this model, where the separable least squares principle is applied to the non-linear least squares (NLS) cost function, after which a cost function of only the unknown position is obtained. Results from field trials are presented to illustrate the method, together with fundamental performance bounds. The ambition is to pave the way for sensor configuration design and more thorough performance evaluations as well as filtering and target tracking aspects.

Article first published in “EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking”, V. (2012), n. 16, doi: 10.1186/1687-1499-2012-16, as open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence

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MAPISA: a web based framework for structural health monitoring

The paper describes a Multi Plug-In Software Architecture, MAPISA, designed mainly to enable users and researchers involved with sensor network data to manage relevant information, thereby improving process interoperability, composition and heterogeneity. MAPISA can easily be extended to support new types of sensor data sources in such a way that is completely transparent for end users.
MAPISA functional characteristics enable professional users to perform various specific tasks on a given sensor dataset, such as mathematical model uploading to perform simulations on different, dynamically selected datasets and data visualization.
Even non-expert users can utilize applications based on MAPISA, since it stores all significant data collected from monitored sites which can easily be read and visualized in summarizing reports.
The entire framework has been designed by applying the fundamental principles of software engineering; in particular, modularity and interoperability concepts have been given a fundamental role in order to facilitate the implementation of new features into the platform. In particular, MAPISA is ideal as a base framework for web 2.0 applications.
Therefore MAPISA functions as a middleware that enables stored data to be exchanged between potential users and fully deployed sensor networks so that relevant information can easily be accessed. In order to demonstrate the advantages of this framework, this study presents the development of a web application together with a plug-in and also the integration of a mathematical model. The latter application will also show the output graphs resulting from the running of the mathematical model.

Received: 11 October 2011

Revised: 27 October 2011

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An empirical study of impact of green retailing on customers buying behaviour

Retailing is an age old business. The new retail formats are available now to provide better services and products to customers, this has transformed our traditional, un organised retailing to organized retailing, due to changing demographics, nuclear families, higher disposable income and improved agri-produce realisation have made smaller cities and rural areas the future hotbeds of growth. Green retailing practices adopted by retailers as corporate social responsibility are becoming area of concern. Green retailing practices in the organizations need to follow regulatory compliances and practice conceptual tools such as corporate social responsibility, product stewardship and pollution control practices. Previous studies have paid much attention on product quality, corporate image, customer satisfaction, and customer loyalty, but none have explored them about green innovation or environmental management aspects.
This research intends to identify the impact of customer demographics on buying behaviour of customers for ‘green products’ in the retail outlets.
Data for this study was gathered through a five point Likert´s scale questionnaire administered personally on customers at point of purchase. Respondents for this study were selected randomly. The study reveals that demographic factors have a significant impact on the buying behaviour of the customers. Age, gender, marital status, occupation, income and family size bears upon the customer preferences for the environment friendly products.

Received: 2 August 2011

Revised: 25 October 2011

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Activity-based costing models for alternative modes of delivering on-line courses

In recent years there has been growth in online distance learning courses. This has been prompted by new technology such as the Internet, mobile learning, video and audio conferencing: the explosion in student numbers in higher education, and the need for outreach to a world-wide market. Web-based distance learning is seen as a solution to problems of outreach and course delivery.
This paper considers module costing models to compare the costs of delivery of:
- a traditionally delivered face-to-face module
- a web-based distance learning module delivered by inhouse academic staff
- a web-based distance learning module delivered by external contracted staff.
The model uses Activity Based Costing (ABC) utilising data from HEFCE and other sources, and with assumptions made from practice at Leeds Metropolitan University from over ten years experience of delivering web-based distance learning courses.
Using the models different scenarios can be run. The paper concludes that there are savings to be achieved by utilising Webbased distance learning. This saving could, in turn, be passed on to students. Furthermore, the student experience, in terms of contact does not have to suffer and may in fact be enhanced by utilising Web-based distance learning.

Article originally published in “European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning – EURODL”, V. (2011), n. 2, as open access article. Reprinted with permission.

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If You Build It, Will They Come? An Inside Look at a Small Art Market

Discussions of art are often linked to cities such as New York, London, and Paris, though art is also negotiated within small markets. This paper investigates the ways in which gallery owners and artists in a small art market think about the role of art in urban sustainability and social engagement. Through semi-structured interviews, we discovered that many individuals were finding it difficult to maintain an economically feasible business, while also saying that the community supported the arts at various levels. Much of the art that would be considered socially engaged consisted of political caricatures, and typically did not sell very well. We also found that the market functioned as a zero sum game for many of the actors, though there was little evidence that this needed to be the case. Finally, surveys results from two socially engaged art shows are provided to show how patrons for the arts think about the economic importance of the arts at the local level.

Article originally published in “The Open Sociology Journal” V.3 (2010), pp. 1-8, as open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence. Reprinted with permission.

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Added value model of collaboration in higher education

An important factor for developing quality multimedia materials is that future developers should know the learning preferences and applicable strategies of potential students in depth and should also be able to look critically on the products developed by others and to be able to evaluate the added value of their own and others contributions. This paper describes our teaching strategy using an online collaborative methodology with added value based on: (a) generating student profile, (b) online knowledge building and (c) evaluation strategy. The applied methodology integrates e-learning preferences of different learning style dimensions and takes into consideration students´ expectations in learning situations as well as their background knowledge and skills. Knowledge building was realised by means of oral presentations and discussions and finalised within the online learning environment. Developing critical thinking and monitoring this learning progress was carried out by self-evaluation and peer-evaluation of one´s own products and those created by others and final evaluation required summed performance to be divided among students upon negotiated merits.

Article first published in ‘Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning and Learning Objects’, V. 6 (2010), pp. 203-215. Reprinted with permission of the Informing Science Institute

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Effect of unconstrained walking plane with virtual environment on spatial learning: an exploratory study

We have integrated the treadmill-style locomotion interface, called the unconstrained walking plane (UWP), with virtual environment (VE) to enable non-visual spatial learning (NSL). This setting allows for a new type of experience, whereby participants with visual disability can explore VE for NSL and to develop cognitive maps of it. Although audio and haptic interface has been studied for NSL, nothing is known about the use of locomotion interface for supporting NSL. We report an experiment that investigates the efficacy of UWP for NSL, formation of cognitive maps, and thereby enhancing the mobility skill of visual impaired people (VIP). Two groups of participants – blind-folded sighted, and blind – learned spatial layout in VE. They used two exploration modes: guided (training phase) and unguided (testing phase). In unguided exploration mode, spatial layout knowledge was assessed by asking participants to perform object localization task and target-object task. Results reveal that the participants have benefited by the learning, i.e. there were significant improvements in post-training navigation performance of the participants.

©CIS Journal. Article first published in ‘Journal of Emerging Trends in Computing and Information Sciences’ V. 1 (2010), n. 1 Reprinted with permission

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Advancing large interactive surfaces for use in the realworld

Interactive surfaces are only just beginning to break into the market, and they still do not offer the advanced functionality demonstrated with many lab prototypes. The path from a prototype system to a finished product for use in real-world scenarios is a long one, and many obstacles must be overcome. The design of an interactive multi-touch table had to address issues like optical recognition, hardware design, and ergonomics. This paper describes in detail the construction of a large, robust multi-touch table called mrT (mixed reality Table). It will show how to solve major problems of the diffuse illumination technique and other challenges of constructing a large-screen, high-resolution, self-contained interactive multitouch surface that not only serves as a development system but can be deployed in the real-world. Additionally, to further motivate some of the design decisions, especially why the diffuse illumination technology was chosen, this paper will discuss related on-going research projects on the application side.

© 2010 Jens Teichert et al. Article first published in ‘Advances in Human-Computer Interaction’, V. (2010) Article ID 657937, as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License

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Problem solving and creativity in engineering: conclusions of a three year project involving reusable learning objects and robots

The necessity for creative problem solving skills within the sciences and engineering are highlighted in benchmark and policy statements as essential abilities. None of these statements, however, offer any guidance on how these skills might be fostered, let alone ossessed
This paper presents findings from the second cycle of an action research project to develop a dedicated creative problem solving module for first year engineering undergraduates. In the module problem based learning (PBL) techniques have been used with Lego Mindstorm NXT robots to develop creative problem solving skills. The focus of the module has been on developing process skills as opposed to the simple methodical solving of routine problems. Process skills have been introduced and mediated by the use of reusable learning objects (RLOs) within a virtual learning environment (VLE). Separate RLOs have also been used to develop skills in using the robots.
The action research cycle has been informed by a parallel project involving interviews designed to explore the perceptions of students, academics and professional engineers of creative problem solving. Phenomenography has been used as the main research tool.
Student feedback through online questionnaires, focus groups, classroom-based observation and interviews indicates that the module, and its means of delivery, has proven successful in improving creative problem solving skills. It also highlights the value of developing process skills within a practical and motivational environment.

© The authors. Article first published in the ‘Engineering Education: Journal of the Higher Education Academy Engineering Subject Centre’, V. 5, n. 2 (2010), as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License

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A study on the relationship between six-years-old children’s creativity and mathematical ability

Creativity is defined as a totality of processes and a way of attitude and behavior which exists in every child to a different extent. Every child is creative owing to their nature and their perspective on life. Offering children creative environments, especially during early childhood education, affects their mathematical abilities and supports their creative thinking. The aim of this study is to investigate whether children´s creativity and mathematical abilities vary with respect to their gender and whether there is a relationship between creativity and mathematical ability. The study population includes six-year-old children attending independent kindergartens affiliated with the Ministry of Education in Ankara city center. The sampling consists of 80 six-year-old children in total, attending Sevgi Kindergarten, which was chosen randomly from among the kindergartens in the population. Data were gathered by using several instruments. These included a ‘General Information Form’ prepared by the researchers to gather information about the children, ‘Torrance Test of Creative Thinking – Figural Form A ‘to assess children´s creativity, and the ‘Test of Early Mathematics Ability-3 (TEMA-3)’ to assess children´s mathematical ability.
While t-test was used to determine whether children´s creativity and mathematics scores differed with respect to gender, Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficient was used to analyze whether there was a relationship between creativity and mathematical ability. The results showed that children´s creativity scores differed significantly with respect to gender, but not their mathematics scores. Also, it has been found that there is no relationship between the creativity and mathematical ability of children.

Article first published i’International education Studies’, V. 4 (2011), n. 1, as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License,

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Intelligent Wireless Sensors with Application to the Identification of Structural Modal Parameters and Steel Cable Forces: From the Lab to the Field

Wireless sensing systems have been proposed for structural heath monitoring in recent years. While wireless sensors are cost-competitive compared to tethered monitoring systems, their significant merit also lies in their embedded computational capabilities. In this paper, performance of the two embedded engineering algorithms, namely the fast Fourier transform and peak-picking algorithm implemented in the wireless sensing nodes codeveloped at Stanford University and the University of Michigan is investigated through laboratory and field experimental studies. Furthermore, the wireless sensor network embedded with the engineering algorithms is adopted for the identification of structural modal parameters and forces in steel bridge cables. Identification results by the embedded algorithms in the intelligent wireless sensors are compared with those obtained by conventional offline analysis of the measured time-history data. Such a comparison serves to validate the effectiveness of the intelligent wireless sensor network. In addition, it is shown that self-interrogation of measurement data based upon the two embedded algorithms in wireless sensor nodes greatly reduces the amount of data to be transmitted by the wireless sensing network. Thus, the intelligent wireless sensors offer scalable network solutions that are power-efficient for the health monitoring of civil infrastructures.

© The authors. Article first published in the ‘Advances in Civil Engineering’, V. (2010), as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License

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The organizational dynamics of knowledge and IT-enabled innovations

The paper presents an integrated framework for IT-enabled organizational innovations. The framework highlights the factors that affect the effective introduction of knowledge and information systems to become organizational innovations. It conceptualizes the innovation process as an open system and takes into consideration knowledge management and performance evaluation. The rationale for this framework is that because of the narrow scope of current frameworks, managers and IT personnel often fail to see the whole picture of their organizations. This difficulty reduces managers´ ability to understand the interrelationships between IT-based innovations and business processes. Consequently, introducing IT/IS into an organizational context doesn´t achieve its intended objectives and often fails entirely. The framework will be useful to managers in their efforts to transform their organizational operations with the use of IT applications.

© 2010 The Author. Article originally published in ‘Journal of Technology Research’, V. 2 (2010),
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Concept Mapping in Introductory Physics

Concept mapping is a meta-learning strategy based on the Ausubel-Novak-Gowin theory of meaningful learning. In a concept map, concepts are related with linking words to form propositions. By expanding this concept-proposition link, one eventually forms a web of concepts whose meanings are embedded in the presented map. The paper describes the author´s experience with students´ use of concept maps and how concept maps are scored. The strategy was utilized as an advance organizer and as an assessment tool (for diagnostic and summative purposes). Sample concept maps constructed by students taking up Introductory Physics are presented.

© 2010 The Author. Article originally published in ‘Journal of Education and Human Development’, V. 3 (2009), n. 1, Reprinted with permission

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On the Measurement of the (Non)linearity of Costas Permutations

We study several criteria for the _non_linearity of Costas permutations, with or without the imposition of additional algebraic structure in the domain and the range of the permutation, aiming to find one that successfully identifies Costas permutations as more nonlinear than randomly chosen permutations of the same order.

© 2010 The Author. Article first published in ‘Journal of Applied Mathematics’, V. (2010) as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License,

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Exact Decomposition Approaches for Markov Decision Processes: A Survey

As classical methods are intractable for solving Markov decision processes (MDPs) requiring a large state space, decomposition and aggregation techniques are very useful to cope with large problems. These techniques are in general a special case of the classic Divide-and-Conquer framework to split a large, unwieldy problem into smaller components and solving the parts in order to construct the global solution. This paper reviews most of decomposition approaches encountered in the associated literature over the past two decades, weighing their pros and cons. We consider several categories of MDPs (average, discounted, and weighted MDPs), and we present briefly a variety of methodologies to find or approximate optimal strategies.

© 2010 The Authors. Article first published in ‘Advances in Operations Research’, V. (2010) as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License

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Including personality in e-learning design

Despite the advances in the context of Adaptive and Intelligent Web-Based Educational Systems, currently, almost all software for e-learning usually present contents in exactly the same fashion to all users, without taking into account their different learning styles. As a result, unstructured teaching models might gradually lead users to a chronic process of exclusion from the traditional approach to learning based on the interaction between the preceptor and the student. This paper introduces a novel approach that includes individuals´ psychological characteristics in e-learning, so that applications can adapt the information presentation layer to the cognitive, perceptual and attitudinal requirements of each user. The design of the proposed framework is based on three major psychological theories, and it is consistent with current models of Adaptive e-learning applications. Our system aims at enriching the interaction dialogue by tailoring applications on individual styles. This may allow users enhance their learning performances and it may help them achieve better results, more quickly.

Revised version of the paper presented at GUIDE International Workshop Rome, 19-19 March 2010, Rome, Italy. Reprinted with permission.

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Designing online learning communities: lessons from Ekşisözlük

Lack of student participation and intrinsic motivation in online learning environments is a challenge to instructional design. There are some online communities which overcome this challenge by attracting participants from diverse backgrounds to engage, learn, and share information within their context.
Ekşisözlük, an online collaborative dictionary, is one of these communities. In this study we inquire for the unique characteristics of Ekşisözlük that can be applied to online learning environments to increase student motivation and participation. Study data were collected through online surveys and one-to-one interviews.
Study findings show that the unique characteristics of Ekşisözlük include a community history, individual identities evolved through participation, an effective search facility, and representation of multiple perspectives. In the implications for practice section, we discuss the identified characteristics and address some strategies to implement them in learning environments.

Article originally published in ‘EURODL European Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning’, October 5, 2009. Reprinted with permission.

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Incremental development of a shared urban ontology: the Urbamet experience

Thesauri are used for document referencing. They define hierarchies of domains. We show how document and domain contents can be used to validate and update a classification based on a thesaurus. We use document indexing and classification techniques to automate these operations. We also draft a methodology to systematically address those issues. Our techniques are applied to Urbamet, a thesaurus in the field of town planning.

Article originally published in ‘Tcon – Journal of Information Technology in Construction’ V. 15(2010), Special Issue: Bringing urban ontologies into practice, pp. 132-139. ©The authors. Distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution Licence 3.0 unported.

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Managing the platform higher education and the logic of Wikinomics

The success of Wikipedia and wikinomic has led to a reassessment of distance learning universities, especially with reference to their structure. Such university model is being considered increasingly important in creating and disseminating knowledge. If comparing traditional universities with the basic
features of Wikipedia, it is possible to envisage a new structural model melting the positive aspects of both structures in a single system.

Article originally published in ‘Educause Review’ v. 44(2009), n. 1, pp. 36-47. Reprinted with permission.

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A neuro-fuzzy controller for collaborative applications in robotics using labVIEW

A neuro-fuzzy controller was designed and implemented using LabVIEW over a mobile robotic platform. The controller is based on fuzzy clusters, neural networks, and search techniques. Also, wireless communication with Bluetooth protocol was used to communicate the robot with the controller running in LabVIEW, allowing a simple collaborative task that consisted in pick and place objects, through knowing the position of the robot and measuring the distance to the objects. The neuro-fuzzy controller was split in two parts: the position controller and the evasion controller against collisions.

Article originally published in ‘Applied Computational Intelligence and Soft Computin’, V.1(2009). ©2009 Hiram E. Ponce et al. Distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution Licence.

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Genome Island: A Virtual Science Environment in Second Life

Second Life virtual environment has particular implications for science education as it fosters a sense of play in the virtual laboratory. Genome Island is a laboratory environment of genetics builded in the virtual world of Second Life supported by the Biology Department of Texas Wesleyan University and by a Sam Taylor Fellowship awarded by the Division of Higher Education, United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Genome Island is a didactic area in the virtual world of Second Life where students can perform a lot of genetic simulation experiments. The four activities described below (Bacterial Transformation; Monohybrid Pea Cross; X-Linked Inheritance in Cats; Message in a Bottle) illustrate some of the data that can be collected on Genome Island and the learning objectives addressed by aech experiment. Virtual worlds offer a learning environment that conbines active engagement with the convenience of online access. Students analysed came from two classes of Texas Wesleyan University. Student performance on Second Life learning objectives was assessed as part of the final laboratory exam, which included material covered in Second Life activities. Actually is available for public access.

Article originally published in ‘Innovate Journal of Online Education’,  V.5(2009), n.6,  Reprinted with permission

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Faculty Development E-Module for Professional Acculturation in Canadian Higher Education

Global education in a global world means increased professional mobility. An important source of new professors in Canada is new immigrants, but an academic career in a Canadian post-secondary institution can be very challenging for internationally trained faculty, limiting their potential and reducing their willingness to persist.  The goal of the project presented in this study was to explore the issues, challenges, and barriers to success for international faculty in Canadian post-secondary institutions, and to develop an online professional development module offering resources and hands-on tools and activities to all members of the academic community willing to create and reinforce an inclusive academic environment. Funding for this project was provided by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration as part of the Bridge training programs to help internationally trained professionals get the skills and knowledge they need to practice in Ontario.

Received: 2 March 2009
Revised: 28 September 2009

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The contribution of linguistics towards transdisciplinarity in organizational discourse

This article focuses on the potential of linguistics to produce mode-2 knowledge in organizational discourse (OD) as a field of study. Mode-2 knowledge is an organizational´s means to perform more productively. The realization of this potential, rests with both linguistics and organizational scholars. Linguistics can contribute by informing organizational scholars of the metirs of post-classical linguistics which has been increasingly adopting a transdisciplinary perspective through viewing language as integrated with society and world knowledge. Organizational scholars, on the other hand, can contribute by changing their attitude towards linguistics from perceiving it as a vague, chaotic and resistive to accepting it as reliable, orderly and supportive. However, to a large extent, the ‘marriage’between linguistics and ODL is, inevitably, a political issue.

Article originally published in ‘International Journal of Transdisciplinary Research’, V.4(2009), n.1, Reprinted with permission

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Pragmatic Research Design: an Illustration of the Use of the Delphi Technique

The creation of wealth is an important issue in any society, and entrepreneurship is regarded as an important catalyst in the creation of new wealth. This presents a challenge to develop entrepreneurship successfully. An important site for the development of entrepreneurship is higher education. The challenge however, is that there is a lack of a general understanding on how to educate students for entrepreneurship. In addition, current thought and practice on entrepreneurship education is historically biased, implying that graduates are essentially prepared for the past instead of for the future. From the perspective of higher education, the problem is how to develop current students to be entrepreneurial in the future. What is needed is to project into the future and then to develop an understanding of what should be taught as well as how it should be taught today.

A versatile research technique that can assist in achieving this objective is the Delphi technique, as it is used to conduct futures research or research into areas where knowledge is incomplete. The Delphi method is a type of group interview, using the collective opinion of knowledgeable experts. The technique makes use of several rounds of data collection and feedback to create a consensus of opinion.

Making use of the Delphi technique, research is being designed that will formulate expert-based strategic guidelines on entrepreneurial education within the South African higher education sector. The aim of this paper is to illustrate the research design considerations that arise in the use of the Delphi technique for this purpose and how they are addressed.

The main characteristics of the Delphi are presented and arguments for the use of the Delphi within a constructivist paradigm are discussed. Practical issues related to the design of the Delphi, panel-member selection, and the formulation of panel questions, are examined. In illustrating these design considerations, the paper demonstrates a pragmatic approach to research design as well as the importance of creating coherence between the research question, the research paradigm, the research method and its use, encouraging research practitioners to adopt a more systematic, deliberate and philosophically-based approach to research design.

Article originally published in ‘The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods’, V. 6 (2008), n. 2, pp. 95-102,

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