Category Archives: Issues

New results on νμ → ντ appearance with the OPERA experiment in the CNGS beam

The OPERA neutrino experiment is designed to perform the first observation of neutrino oscillations in direct appearance mode in the νμ → ντ channel, via the detection of the τ-leptons created in charged current ντ interactions. The detector, located in the underground Gran Sasso Laboratory, consists of an emulsion/lead target with an average mass of about 1.2 kt, complemented by electronic detectors. It is exposed to the CERN Neutrinos to Gran Sasso beam, with a baseline of 730 km and a mean energy of 17 GeV. The observation of the first ντ candidate event and the analysis of the 2008-2009 neutrino sample have been reported in previous publications. This work describes substantial improvements in the analysis and in the evaluation of the detection efficiencies and backgrounds using new simulation tools. (…)

@ The authors. Article first published in JHEP11 (2013) 036, and erratum JHEP04 (2014) 014, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY 4.0),

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Waiting for the X International GUIDE Conference “Optimizing Higher Education for the Professional Student: A balance of flexibility, quality and cultural sensitivity”, to be held from the 16th to the 18th of September 2015, the new issue of Formamente presents recent articles concerning the incremental relationship between technological innovation and online education.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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tuBEMATES project: towards a competitive European Higher Education

tuBEMATES project is a transnational venture started in 2012 and focused on the promotion of European Higher Education (EHEs) and intercultural exchange with Third, in particular, Asian countries. It is aimed at enhancing the attractiveness of international studies as well as the visibility of European brand characterized by an innovative and competitive identity.

Received: 30 April 2014

Revised: 5 May 2014

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PBL working environment: an expert system for teachers, trainers and headmasters who want to understand and apply the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) pedagogy in their own classroom

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is perhaps the most innovative instructional method conceived in the history of education. The PBL is a student-cantered pedagogy where learners are actively engaged in real world problems to solve or challenges to meet. Students develop problem-solving, self-directed learning and team skills.

Received: 20 May 2014

Revised: 29 May 2014

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Is Finnish higher education a model or a myth? The case study of Erasmus mobility from Italy to Finland

The top ranking of Finland in OECD’s statistics seems not to affect the destination choices of Italian students going abroad. Finnish leadership in Higher Quality Education seems neither a significant aspect nor a decisive element in choosing to study in Finland.

Received: 24 July 2013

Revised: 12 September 2013

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PowerPoint: It’s not yes or no, it’s when and how

A great deal of research has been done on the use of PowerPoint in the classroom. Most of it has used student acceptance of PowerPoint as the measure of its effectiveness, and these results have overwhelmingly shown that students like PowerPoint. However, most studies measuring PowerPoint’s impact on learning have not shown any benefit from its use, and there is no shortage of articles blaming PowerPoint itself for these results. In this paper we show that the problem lies in the way in which PowerPoint is used rather than with the technology itself, and that more information is needed to fully understand how and when to use PowerPoint to enhance learning.

Article first published in “Research in Higher Education Journal”, Vol. 22 (2013), December. Reprinted with permission.

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The system learning. Rethinking structures, role and functions of the virtual communities of knowledge and learning

The technological changes, that have been taking place long since, have not only modified the learning forms of the complex organizations, even within them, but in the large, all forms of social aggregation, generating brand new phenomenologies.

Received: 17 April 2014

Revised: 8 May 2014

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B-learning quality: dimensions, criteria and pedagogical approach

Measuring the quality of a b-learning environment is critical to determine the success of a b-learning course. Several initiatives have been recently conducted on benchmarking and quality in e-learning. Despite these efforts in defining and examining quality issues concerning online courses, a defining instrument to evaluate quality is one of the key challenges for blended learning, since it incorporates both traditional and online instruction methods.

Article first published in “EURODL”, 2014, n. 1 (Brief items) as open access article. Reprinted with permission.

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Tablets (iPad) for M-learning in the context of social constructivism to institute an effective learning environment

With the proliferation of mobile devices, educational institutions have experimented with various mobile devices to implement mobile learning (M-Learning). Mobile devices have been used to facilitate, support, and enhance and extend the reach of teaching and learning. Although there are very few empirically evaluated studies on M-Learning projects, these studies reported that mobile devices brought a transformation to the educational process.

Article first published in “International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies (iJIM)”, V. 8 (2014), n. 2, as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License

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Adapting Grounded Theory in qualitative research: reflections from personal experience

Grounded theory is one of the methodologies that have been widely used in qualitative research. However, researchers, especially inexperienced ones have not been sure about its use in the process of the data collection and analysis. The uncertainty arises mainly from the differences that have emerged between Barney G. Glaser and Anselm L. Strauss who previously pioneered grounded theory together.

Article fist published in “International Research in Education” V. 2 (2014), n. 1, as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license.

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From research assistant to researcher: being wakeful in a mentorship journey about methodology, poverty, and deficit thinking

This article explores how insights and new knowledge were incorporated about narrative inquiry methodology, poverty, and deficit ways of thinking through a journey of mentorship. The experiences of a graduate student, as she journeys through the roles of a research assistant and graduate researcher, all the while being part of a positive mentorship experience, are relayed. The article describes the journey of an evolving researcher who becomes wakeful through the narrative inquiry methodology while engaged as a research assistant as well as a graduate student alongside her supervisor.
Keywords: qualitative research; narrative inquiry; education and training; research mentoring; poverty; deficit thinking

Article first published in “Journal of Research Practice”, V. 9 (2013), n. 2, Article M7. Reprinted with permission.

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Effectiveness of critical thinking instruction in higher education: a systematic review of intervention studies

Promoting students’ critical thinking (CT) has been an essential goal of higher education. However, despite the various attempts to make CT a primary focus of higher education, there is little agreement regarding the conditions under which instruction could result in greater CT outcomes. In this review, we systematically examined current empirical evidence and attempted to explain why some instructional interventions result in greater CT gains than others.

Article first published in “Higher Education Studies”, V. 4 (2014), n. 1. Published by Canadian Center of Science and Education and reprinted with permission. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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