Category Archives: 2014/3-4


This issue of FormaMente comes out almost together with the new journal Digital Universities: International Best Practices and Applications, promoted by GUIDE to foster good practices and their applications to teaching methodologies and didactics at university level, with a special focus on distance learning, in an international and inter-disciplinary perspective. Since its foundation, one of the main objectives of the Association of Global Universities in Distance Education has been to support research and cooperation in the e-learning sector, with particular attention to the relationships between scientific research, didactic research and technological innovation.

As FormaMente is in the first place an observatory on cutting-edge research, the more advanced international scientific production has been analyzed, outlining an original and interlaced design of knowledge.

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Detection of B-mode polarization at degree angular scales by BICEP2

We report results from the BICEP2 experiment, a cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarimeter specifically designed to search for the signal of inflationary gravitational waves in the B-mode power spectrum around ∼ 80. The telescope comprised a 26 cm aperture all-cold refracting optical system equipped with a focal plane of 512 antenna coupled transition edge sensor 150 GHz bolometers each with temperature sensitivity of ≈300 μKCMB square-s. BICEP2 observed from the South Pole for three reasons from 2010 to 2012.

Article forst published in “Physical Review Letters”, V. 112 (2014), n. 20 by the American Physical Society under the terms of the Creative commons Attribution 3.0 License ( DOI 10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.241101.

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Medium of natural phenomena

Looking for the deeper essence of natural phenomena and minimal number of physical laws describing them, a hypothetical vacuum medium is stratified into structural layers, as the levels of observation of respective processes. Instead of a fluidic, the dielectric medium successfully explains all EM phenomena at least. More or less convincingly, inertia and gravitation are explained on EM bases, and the speed of light propagation, with respective reference frame, is conditioned by gravitation itself. The unification of physics is thus initialized, just on the advanced classical bases.

Article first published in “International Journal of Theoretical and mathematical Physics”, V. 4, pp. 143-150 doi:10.5923/j.ijtmp.20140404.01 Reprinted with permission.

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Bridging differing perspectives on technological platforms: toward an integrative framework

An integrative framework is proposed to advance management research on technological platforms, bridging two theoretical perspectives: economics, which sees platforms as double-sided markets, and engineering design, which sees platforms as technological architectures. While the economic perspective informs our understanding of platform competition, the engineering design perspective informs our view of platform innovation. The article argues that platforms can be usefully conceptualized as evolving organizations or meta-organizations that: (1) federate and coordinate constitutive agents who can innovate and compete; (2) create value by generating and harnessing economies of scope in supply or/and in demand; and (3) entail a modular technological architecture composed of a core and a periphery. In support of this conceptualization, a classification system is presented, indicating that technological platforms appear in a variety of organizational forms: within firms, across supply chains, and across industry innovation ecosystems. As an illustration, the framework is then applied to derive a simple model highlighting patterns of interaction between platform innovation and competition, yielding hypotheses that could be tested empirically by future scholars.

Article first published in “Research Policy”, V. 43 (2014), n. 7, pp. 1239-1249 as open access article funded by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 Unported (

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Quality experiences of inquiry in blended contexts: university student approaches to inquiry, technologies, and conceptions of learning

Evaluating the quality of inquiry using technology in blended contexts at university is a complex phenomenon as there are many variables which could account for qualitative variation in the experience. This study looks at reasons for qualitative variation in the university student experience of inquiry using technologies. It considers approaches to inquiry and technologies, conceptions of learning and academic achievement. The results identify which aspects of the experience account for relatively more successful learning and which aspects of the experience tend to be related to less successful experiences. It offers a nuanced understanding of the contribution of technology to successful experiences. The results have implications for the design of activities which involve class and on-line contexts and the way we help students to be successful.

Article first published in “Australasian Technology”, V. 30 (2014), n. 3, Reprinted with permission.

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A game theory based strategy for reducing energy consumption in cognitive WSN

Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are one of the most important users of wireless communication technologies in the coming years and some challenges in this area must be addressed for their complete development. Energy consumption and spectrum availability are two of the most severe constraints of WSNs due to their intrinsic nature. The introduction of cognitive capabilities into these networks has arisen to face the issue of spectrum scarcity but could be used to face energy challenges too due to their new range of communication possibilities. In this paper a new strategy based on game theory for cognitive WSNs is discussed. The presented strategy improves energy consumption by taking advantage of the new change-communication-channel capability. Based on game theory, the strategy decides when to change the transmission channel depending on the behavior of the rest of the network nodes. The strategy presented is lightweight but still has higher energy saving rates as compared to noncognitive networks and even to other strategies based on scheduled spectrum sensing. Simulations are presented for several scenarios that demonstrate energy saving rates of around 65% as compared to WSNs without cognitive techniques.

Article first published in “International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks”, V. 2014, Article ID 965495 and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 Unported (

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Ghosts, stars, and learning online: Analysis of interaction patterns in student online discussions

Discussions are commonly used in online teaching and have been shown to foster student learning and collaboration. This case study uses content analysis to explore the interaction patterns of student online discussions during a semester-long teacher preparation course using concepts from sociometry. Findings suggest that interaction patterns were influenced by the content of student posts. Online discussions in this case were found to be an equitable form of collaborative learning, enabling each student to have a voice. There were, however, indications that gendered ways of knowing may play a role in the content of interaction, if not in the patterns themselves.

Article first published in “IRRODL The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning”, V. 15 (2014), n. 3, as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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Increasing quality in large scale university courses. E-flashcards as an approach to support active learning and individual facilitation

Quality of education should be stable or permanently increased – even if the number of students rises. Quality of education is often related to possibilities for active learning and individual facilitation. This paper deals with the question how high-quality learning within oversized courses could be enabled and it presents the approach of e-flashcards that enables active learning and individual facilitation within large scale university courses.

Article first published in “eleed”, n. 9, Reprinted with permission.

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A multiclass-based classification strategy for rethorical sentence categorization from scientific papers

Rapid identification of content structures in a scientific paper is of great importance particularly for those who actively engage in frontier research. This paper presents a multi-classifier approach to identify such structures in terms of classification of rhetorical sentences in scientific papers. The idea behind this approach is based on an observation that no single classifier is the best performer for classifying all rhetorical categories of sentences. Therefore, our approach learns which classifiers are good at what categories, assign the classifiers for those categories and apply only the right classifier for classifying a given category. This paper employsk-fold cross validation over training data to obtain the category-classifier mapping and then re-learn the classification model of the corresponding classifier using full training data on that particular category. This approach has been evaluated for identifying sixteen different rhetorical categories on sentences collected from ACL-ARC paper collection. The experimental results show that the multi-classifier approach can significantly improve the classification performance over multi-label classifiers.

Article first published in “Journal of ICT Research and Applications”, V. 7 (2013), n. 3, pp. 235-249. Reprinted with permission.

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Private label electrical goods and Indian consumers

Organized Retailers use private label brands to compete with the national brands by setting competitive price for products. Determining customer perception towards private label brands is an essential part of a retailer’s marketing strategy formulation process. To gain this understanding with respect to Indian customers, present study was conducted by using the personal survey method on respondents from the northern part of India. Study conducted through structured undisguised questionnaire, using 5 – point Likert scale. Hypothesis framed for the research work have been tested with the help of t-test and Chi-square test. Study reveals that parameters like scheme, brand design and price shows different opinion of respondents.

Received: 10 March 2014
Revised: 10 June 2014

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The collaboration between Unimarconi and ENEA: multidisciplinary aspects

On November 18, 2014, the University Guglielmo Marconi held a half-day symposium marking the first five years of collaboration with the ENEA’s Laboratory of Radiation Biology and Biomedicine. The title of the event was: “The Collaboration between Unimarconi and ENEA: Multidisciplinary aspects”. This paper gives a summary of the scientific presentations.

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