Category Archives: Research

Modern technologies and distance learning in science didactics

The availability of online video and increasing student access to technology has paved the way for “flipped classroom” models. In such a model, traditional teaching methods are inverted and instruction and lessons are delivered online outside of class moving homework into the classroom. (…) Many instructors have pointed out as well the benefits of a model called “peer instruction” and essentially based on an interactive learning principle, developed by Harvard Professor Eric Mazur in the early 1990s and used in the beginning to improve learning in introductory undergraduate physics classes at Harvard University. (…) In the present article, such modern teaching methods and their possible application to distance learning scientific courses will be discussed, emphasizing how the interplay between the two could allow distance learning teaching to close the gap with respect to traditional didactics, as well as possibly permitting to surpass its limits.

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New challenges to promote a deeper interaction between e‐learning and research: Practical approach and virtual lab to provide an overview of what really happens in a laboratory of radiobiology

With the aim to illustrate to the students what really happens in a radiobiology’s laboratory, a virtual lab was created.

Through an interactive simulation of both X-ray generator and mouse models, the students can expand their knowledge about the biological effects induced by ionizing radiation using new pedagogical and technological strategies.

The realized multimedia product has also been inserted as a case study to promote a deeper interaction between e-learning and research.

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Teaching, researching and learning in a technology‐based environment

This paper analyses the relationship between teaching, researching and learning in the current wired-society.

Nowadays the technology of online communications is having an impact on the way people access to information and culture. Hence, we will show how education industry can take advantage of this “network society”, to tackle ancient problems, and then to build a better course design and to share knowledge more efficiently.

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A powerful learning object based on Multiple Answer Test

One of the principal, and still unsolved, problems for the worldwide university system is the high drop-out rate that is observed especially for STEM courses. The causes of this trend are various but many of them are directly related to the sense of abandon felt by students especially during first years. This trend can be inverted providing a set of self-assessment activities to organize students personal study-method and to transmit them a proper self-government. In this context, we realized a self-assessment activity for Physics courses based on Multiple Answers Questionnaire. (…)

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Smart University: the sustainable vector of knowledge

The term smart has been increasingly used to refer to a process of rethinking and modernization in different areas and contexts, covering the use of innovative technology solutions, sharing networks and data, and access to goods and services. That’s all feasible thanks to multi-stakeholder participation at different levels, and access through the use of ICT. (…)

This work, by considering a smart society unavoidably aimed to sustainability, particularly highlights the close link between smart university and sustainability.

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A technological enhanced self-assessment activity to reduce university drop-out

Passage from secondary school to university can be difficult for our students if they are not properly followed by instructors. To curtail the high university drop-out rate detected in various countries, a set of self-assessment activities must be devised by teachers to furnish students an important help in organizing their personal study-method and to gain a proper self-government.

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Trends in distance education research: A content analysis of journals 2009-2013

This study intends to explore the current trends in the field of distance education research during the period of 2009-2013. The trends were identified by an extensive review of seven peer reviewed scholarly journals: The American Journal of Distance Education (AJDE), Distance Education (DE), The European Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning (EURODL), The Journal of Distance Education (JDE), The Journal of Online Learning and Technology (JOLT), Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning (OL) and The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL). A total of 861 research articles was reviewed. (…)

Article first published in “International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning IRRODL”, V. 16 (2015), n. 1 as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Distribution License 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1953

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Learning innovation: a framework for transformation

Learning with and through technological enhancements operates in a landscape unrecognizable only a few years ago. Focusing on Higher Education, this article shows how to capture and model complex strategic processes that will move the potential of online and blended learning in universities to new stages of development. It offers the example of a four quadrant model created as a framework for an online and blended learning innovation strategy, and its successful implementation in practice.

Article first published in “Eurodl”, V. (2014), n. 2
http://www.eurodl.org/?p=current&article=665#ref32
Reprinted with permission.

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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), https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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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 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/965495

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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, http://ascilite.org/ajet/submission/index.php/AJET/issue/view/78 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 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).

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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 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) DOI 10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.241101.

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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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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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Editorial

This issue of FormaMente comes out before and after two international events organized by GUIDE Association in Latin America: the VII Conference on Culture in the Midst of Global Modernization: The Role of Distance Education, which took place last April at the Central Campus of the Panamerican University in Guatemala City, and the VIII Conference on Science and Technology, Management and Quality: the future of higher education in Brazil and around the world, which is scheduled to take place next November at the Universidade Tiradentes (Aracaju).

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Actual requirements regarding the intellectual capital at an european and international level. The assessment of quality management systems in organisations providing instruction services

The European Union Council had and still has in view the profound changes taking place in society: globalization represents for Europe a competitors intensification in all the economical sectors, while the developing and the diversification of the information technologies can lead to a radical change of the whole learning and educational system, opening the perspectives for learning possibilities and accumulating knowledge during all one´s life.
The topic actuality of this article consist in the fact that, due to the globalization and the international competition intensification, the request for workers with a low qualification level decreases; the new jobs presuppose high performances, flexibility, stress on qualities such as: high level of performance, creativity, openness to change, initiative. People will be obliged to possess much more knowledge, competences and they will have to work in multi spheres teams. Of course not all the people can become conceptual analysts, but an adaptation to the new system, to the new economy is required.
At present, more and more people work in domains in which information is created. In the future this percentage will grow. The use on a large scale of machines and installations will determine that even workers from the basic domains to be better and better prepared. In the countries OECD the unemployment rate is higher for the persons with a second education, unlike the persons with a higher education, the manpower being in this way forced to become more qualified. On the other hand, as more and more work is taking place at an intellectual level, the detaining and manipulating of information becomes an essential quality for each employee. This article has as a main objective the highlighting of actual requirements regarding the quality assurance in instruction services at an European and international level. Thus, the permanent learning strategies from the European Union are presented, which aim at realizing a European space of knowledge. The concept of permanent learning is being analyzed as a new vision in the instruction domain, which is centered on the individual. An important aspect is the developing of basic personal competences and the validation of these through flexible qualification structures.
Due to the complexity of the processes and the context in which they are functioning, the instruction organizations should orient themselves to the models TQM, even though the standard ISO 9001 offers advantages at implementation, connected especially with the processes management, the document control and registrations. The proposed model being a TQM model adapted to the instructional domain and integrated with ISO 9001, can be easily utilized by these organizations.

Article first published in the Annal of the University of Oradea: Economic Science, V. 1, n. 2, pp. 782-787. Reprinted with permission

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Imitation system for humanoid robotics heads

This paperpresents a new system for recognition and imitation of a set of facial expressions using the visual information acquired by the robot. Besides, the proposed system detects and imitates the interlocutor´s head pose and motion.

Copyright2013 Felipe Andres Cid, Jose Augusto Prado, Pablo Manzano, Pablo Bustos, PedroNunez. Article firstpublished in Journal of Physical Agents, V. 7, n. 1, as open access articledistributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence.

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Effects of culture and education on ethical responses on our global society

Two trends that affect communications are prevalent today: a focus on ethics in the U.S. business operations and an increasingly global society and marketplace. This research project brings together these trends to gain a more in-depth understanding of the impact of culture on ethical education. By surveying students in six countries around the globe, this study was able to get at the divergent cultural frameworks utilized in ethical decision-making. The results offer a significant contribution to our understanding of the cross-cultural implications on ethical values in the business context. This understanding provides unique insights into ethics education and the need for a contextual understanding of applied ethics.

Article first published in Global Advances in Business Communication, V. 1, n. 1, Article 5. Reprinted with permission

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Tertiary education and the crisis of public finance

Turbulent economic environment after overwhelming the last crisis period is typical for present days as well as permanent increasing dependability of all our activities on information and communication technology (ICT). Although the global economic crisis was the reason for disinvestment into ICT in 2009 there is expected that ICT will generate almost 5.8 million new jobs in Europe till year 2013 and they have to be saturated also by adequately qualified ICT specialists.
This contribution presents the research in the progress focused on the tertiary education system in the Czech Republic. We are predicting trends in education and especially in ICT education in Europe and in the Czech Republic as well for next ten years. We can expect that future ten years period will be critical not only for the Czech tertiary education system, but also for the Czech Republic because number of ICT students will be decreasing and number of ICT specialist demanded by labor market will be increasing. From macroeconomic point of view we can expect that also state subventions into state governed tertiary education system will decrease in the whole Europe.
Some recommendations, proposals and forecasts for further development of education system are presented at the end of this contribution.

Copyright 2012 Milos Maryska, Petr Doucek. Article first published in Journal of Sistems Integration, V. 3, n. 2, 2012, pp. 74-87. Reprinted with permission

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Funding crisis in higher education institutions: rationale for change

An important priority of public policy is to ensure that higher education institutions contribute to economic growth and social progress as a whole, especially in the context of today´s globalised markets and knowledge economy. It is crucial for any nation to have a good education system and strategic planning to improve learning outcomes, access to facilities, and efficient use of resources. This paper explained the rationale for change in funding higher education with comparison made based on previous literature in developed and developing countries.

Article first published in Asian Economic and Financial Review, V. 2, n. 4, pp. 562-576. Reprinted with permission.

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Education far from equilibrium: chaos philosophy and the quest for complexity in education

It would be futile, John Dewey argued in 1902, to think that we have to choose between child-centered, progressive education and traditional, subject-matter-oriented approaches. Calling for adaptivity, he stressed that we need the act of balancing the one with the other. The tendency in current educational policy to lean in favor of traditional, disciplinary modes of control appears to lose sight of this need. The aim of this paper is to reconnect to the task of maintaining a balance between educational freedom and structure, using a variety of theoretical resources such as complexity science, and the philosophies of Deleuze and Guattari, Schiller, and Nietzsche. Based on these resources, the authors also discuss Steiner Waldorf education as an example of how educational practice may approach, and integrate the significance of chaos in the form of a “virtual pedagogy”.

Article first published in “Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education”, V. 9 (2012), n. 2, pp. 1-14. Reprinted with permission.

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Circuit Theory extended: the role of speculation in crises

This paper asks why modern finance theory and the efficient market hypothesis have failed to explain long-term carry trades; persistent asset bubbles or zero lower bounds; and financial crises. It extends Godley and Lavoie (Monetary Economics: An Integrated Approach to Credit, Money, Income, Production and Wealth, 2007) and the Theory of the Monetary Circuit to give a mathematical representation of Minsky’s Financial Instability Hypothesis. In the extended circuit, the central bank rate is not neutral and the path is non-ergodic. The extended circuit has survival constraints that include a living wage, a zero interest rate and an upper interest rate. Inflation is everywhere. The possibility of stable carry trades emerges. In high interest rate, hedge economies, powerful banks invest surplus loan interest. With speculation, banks lobby to enter investment markets and the system is precariously liquid/illiquid. In a Ponzi economy, where loans never get repaid, solvency is a balance between increasing reserves, reducing interest rates and rebuilding banks’ balance sheets during systemic crises. Simulating bank bailouts, household bailouts and a Keynesian boost suggests that bank bailouts are the least effective intervention, exerting downward pressure on wages and household spending: austerity.

Article first published in “Economics: The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal”, V. 6 (2012), n. 34 as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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Creating values for sustainability: stakeholders engagement, incentive alignment, and value currency

A shareholder theory of firm and a stakeholder theory of firm may differ in their respective evaluation method of firm performance may differ in their respective evaluation method of firm performance. Both theories however recognize the importance of value creation as the economic role of firms as institutions. The New Institutional Economics (NIE) emphasizes incentives alignment, while also viewing stakeholder engagements as methods to expand the boundaries of firms.

Article first published in “Economics Research International”, 2012, Article Id. 142910, doi: 10.1155/2012/142910, as open access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative

Commons Attribution License.

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Implementing the Principles for Responsible Management Education into Management and Business Courses

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Responsible Management are now becoming new challenges for business and government policy both in the United States and in Russia. Therefore, the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) unveiled at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit in July 2007 must be new priorities and key words for business education programs. In this regard, Higher Education Institutions and academic community are expected to adopt a leading role.

Received: 30 October 2012
Revised: 6 November 2012

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