Category Archives: Issues

Curriculum evaluation in online education: the case of teacher candidates preparing online for public personnel selection examination

ABSTRACT. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the efficiency of an online curriculum based on the views of lecturers and students enrolled in the program. The study is mainly based on survey method. In order to collect qualitative data, interviews forms developed by the researcher were used.

The reliability and validity of the interview forms were checked by experts of the field. The qualitative data was analysed through content analysis. In the first place, data was coded, the themes emerged, the codes and themes were arranged by the researcher. As a final step, the findings were coded and interpreted. Based on the findings of the study, the strengths and weaknesses of the online curriculum were identified and a number of suggestions were offered based on the findings.

The results of the study indicate that both learners and lecturers believe that online education is beneficial as well as productive and they are satisfied with the process. Online education was found to be preferable because it is time-saving, more economical, and flexible. On the other hand, limited interaction, unsustainable motivation, and problems caused by insufficient infrastructure were found to be negative aspects of online curriculum.

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Dialogue, thinking together and digital technology in the classroom: some educational implications of a continuing line of inquiry

ABSTRACT. This article describes a continuing programme of school-based applied research. The basis of this research, which originated in a project called ‘Thinking Together’, lies in the relationship between language and cognitive development postulated by sociocultural theory. The research has developed and tested methods for improving the quality of classroom interaction amongst teachers and students, looking for improved levels of collaboration, reasoning, and academic attainment as the desirable outcomes. A key strand of this research concerns the use of digital technology for supporting classroom dialogue and students’ emerging thinking over time. As we will explain, the outcomes of several research projects pursuing this line of enquiry have yielded positive results, which have direct implications for classroom pedagogy and practice.

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A possible tool for the territory regeneration – Organization and digitalization of the building process through BIM

ABSTRACT. The digitalization of processes in the rather backward construction sector is a fundamental and strategic step forwards that can no longer be postponed. Inasmuch, there is no doubt that it will bring about a full-scale revolution affecting every player in the building process: clients, builders, professionals, property managers and users, the credit system, the insurance system, etc. However, the broadness and impact of this cultural leap, this change of paradigm, cannot spread among building process stakeholders in a rapid, complete and uniform way. This difficulty seems already to emerge from the initial complicated attempts in the public works sphere where the process of change, which ought to be generated starting from full awareness by Contracting Stations, is only now taking its first steps. The recent ratification of the so-called “BIM Decree” (as envisaged in Article 23 paragraph 13 of the Tender Procurement Code/Legislative Decree No. 50/2016) however, at least confirms the mandatory launch of this approach in coming years for Public Works. The BIM may come forward as an “influential epi-phenomenon of digitization” (A. Ciribini). The way forward towards digitization should therefore embrace organization as an essential element for effective application in processes involving the construction sector, where digitization really should play an increasingly decisive role. Such awareness would also allow designers or small design organizations to approach specific individual aspects, that could be tackled by applying innovative logics, thereby helping to promote necessary widespread distribution of experiences dealt with in a more modern manner. In conclusion, the Italian route towards to digitalization may well start from the organized juxtaposition of individual experiences, thereby stimulating the transition into the future from the particular to the general. The task, therefore, is to identify feasible operational practices rather than improbable and abstract complex theoretical models (as already mentioned, not readily applicable in the Italian context) that are probably premature at the present time. Such operational practices will naturally have to be clearly defined and refer to a broad scenario where university research and the world of standardization are reliable landmarks. This research describes and analyzes some of these practices, which seem to confirm the practicability of this pragmatic approach that, as already mentioned, is perhaps unique in the particular Italian scenario and based on incremental organization and digitalisation of the process or, as suggested, specific parts of it.

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Google’s GSuite applications in Open University system’s perspective

ABSTRACT. Online Learning is one of the needed requirement for distance education. Electronic learning plays a vital role in education nowadays. Electronic learning with the use of computers plays an important role in modern education. Its contribution lies in the fact that content is available at any place and device from a fixed device to mobile device. The requirement of the PSU Open University Systems to conduct blended learning is a learning management systems or another platform that is available online. Google released tools available under GSuite for Education. Since 2012, Pangasinan State University is subscribed to GSuite for Education, and recently Google introduces several applications for an educational institution such as the Classroom. The main objective of this research is to identify the usability and evaluation based on the teacher’s perspective on the use of GSuite applications such as Google Classroom, Hangouts, and other application.

This study also measures the problems encountered and the satisfaction level in the use of applications based on the result of the study, the respondents agreed that GSuite application such as Classroom and Hangouts is recommended to use as a tool in blended learning education, but it was found out that the applications are all suitable to the needs of the Open University Systems. The result of this study is significant in order to adopt the GSuite application only in the blended learning approach for Open University Systems.

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The teaching of classical literary subjects – The use of new technologies for distance learning

ABSTRACT. This paper suggests a reflection on the educational potential offered by new technologies applied to the field of modern and classical literature, not only for study and scientific research, but also for academic education. Study and scientific research about humanities have greatly changed their physiognomy in recent years. The use of methodologies, logics and technologies is, in fact, associated with various kinds of media and digital resources. After an initial phase of conservatism, academic teaching of humanistic disciplines has increasingly adopted multimedia and e-learning strategies. I will therefore analyze some multimedia teaching tools for classical subjects as effective means for teaching, which do not simply constitute a transposition of the content, but are used as an equally effective method of transmission of the ancient literary heritage. The conclusion will focus on the heated debate about the relationship between humanistic literary culture and digital culture.

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Unaffiliated researchers: a preliminary study

ABSTRACT. This paper aims at exploring the apparently rising trend of unaffiliated researchers. It does so by analyzing a set of scholarly publications where the authors states to be an “independent researcher” in place of the affiliation. Some of the characteristics of this set are explained along with directions on how to expand research on this topic.

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Editorial

This issue of Formamente concludes the year 2018, focusing essentially on long distance learning, on e-learning, on open access resources and on the pervasiveness of Google’s applications in reference to the curriculum, and to professors evaluation and training.
The publication opens with a preliminary case study on the new emerging trends amongst research professionals: independent researchers, unaffiliated to public entities, those favoring new technologies and network systems, and self-financed researchers.
In the Research section, in the realm of open access resources, there is an interesting study regarding modern and ancient literature training material available online, including digital and multimedia. Despite the initial reluctance towards e-learning methodologies, classical civilization professors integrated these innovative strategies to favor the transmission of the immaterial cultural patrimony.
In the Application section, the Pangasinan State University in the Philippines highlights the results obtained by the GSuite of Education application adopted in 2012 for distance learning and blended learning formats. Complementary to this global scholastic approach are several projects including the training project Thinking Together, relative to the use of new technologies in class; interview as a research approach for the evaluation of professor’s curriculum that practice online learning. Nonetheless, in the same section, the BIM (Building Information Modeling) article evaluates territorial regeneration through the organization and the digitalization of the construction process.
The Highlights section traces the captivating story of the Campagna romana, from the urban invasion at the beginning of the 20’s to the modern urban explosion of Rome, with the consequential fragmentation and degradation of the city. In this respect, the agricultural environment is undergoing an ecological regeneration to increment urban sustainability. To conclude, the publication ends with a thought-provoking reflection on the Geopolitical revival, extrapolated by the volume Reflections on Geopolitics by the selfsame author.

A post-seism rebuilding proposal for civil masonry buildings – A case study

ABSTRACT. The seismic events which affected Central Italy in the last ten years, in the city of L’Aquila 2009 and Amatrice in 2016, had catastrophic consequences, in particular concerning the loss of human lives and buildings in old towns. The use of good masonry was not sufficient and the building materials, in many cases of low quality, did not resist strong shakings, crumbling and causing the sudden collapse of the buildings. The real problem for small villages having an historic importance, like in Abruzzo municipalities, was rebuilding, in particular civil houses with one or two overground floors. The case study treated in my master thesis consisted in designing a low-cost wood house, energetically self-consistent, simple and easily assemblable, for the post-seismic phase. This should be exploitable not only in the emergency phase, i.e. as a temporary solution, but also as definitive solutions, which on one side does not deface the architecture of affected old towns, and on the other side does not bring to the birth of a “new town”.

This could be accomplished by preserving the external walls of a partially collapsed civil house, tying them with a new internal wood structure.

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Sustainable development and territorial regeneration in archaeological areas – The case of Apollonia in Albania

ABSTRACT. This paper examines how the revitalization of archaeological areas, might be a pivotal element to sustainable development. Following this objective, the paper explores the procedure of inserting a new function in the case of the archaeological park of Apollonia, in Albania and consists of a detailed analysis of the transformative changes brought by its spatial integration.

For this reason, the paper presents the issues and challenges of the archaeological site and explores the implications of the transformation of this area towards a ‘learning environment’. The analysis shows that public participatory activities, because of the establishment of a Creativity Center, may lead to a transformative planning process and generate, therefore, the context for the ‘territorial management planning strategies’ index. Through this instance, the meaning and value of the area becomes apparent and offers valuable insights for its future redevelopment process.

This article is the result of a research developed at the University of Guglielmo Marconi. The project involved researchers from different departments also with the involvement of postgraduate students from the International Masters in Interior Design of the same university. As such, it presents the elaboration of different themes: urban planning, territorial sustainability and socio-cultural development of the archaeological areas.

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Wearable technology and schools: where are we and where do we go from here?

ABSTRACT. The area of wearable technology is having a rapidly growing impact on society with more consumers purchasing wearable tech. At the same time, wearable technology seems to be poised to have an impact on educational settings. This paper explores the area of wearable technology related to schools. It considers how wearable technology can be used by teachers to improve instruction and by students to change how they interact with the school environment. Wearable technology applications are currently being implemented as part of the curriculum in schools were they are identified and discussed. To conclude, traits and skills that school leaders need to exhibit for a wearable technology initiative to be successfully implemented are proposed. Wearable technology has the potential to impact schools in the same way computers and mobile devices do today. This paper does not set out to provide answers but it is designed to create discussions about wearable technology and schools.

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Remote Technical Assistance to strengthen professional and economic resilience of people in war crisis A success case study by CIHEAM Bari

ABSTRACT. As part of a project to support farmers and livestock farmers living in extremely vulnerable areas in Syria, professional online technical assistance was undertaken despite considerable limitations caused by serious emergency situations. A careful analysis of exogenous (e. g. social, economic and technological context) and endogenous factors (virtual communities, cognitive needs, motivation, expectations, etc.) has been the basis (diagnostics) for the appropriate methodological and technological choices. Given the context, this paper highlights the importance of solutions related to the major aspects of inclusive teaching, methodologies and technologies suitable for adult training courses.

In conclusion, the analysis of the final evaluation data of one of the courses provided substantiates the effectiveness of this activity.

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The Power of Images – How mass media can influence the human mind

ABSTRACT. Do the mass media condition and educate their audience with clever manipulation? In the current era of expanding digital technologies, our environment is often dominated by the power of images. Human tragedy in modern society is that our scientific-technological automatisms drive us too far from real and pure authenticity of feelings and emotions of the human being. Images and mass media systems determine passivity in the human mind and they do not develop experience, real motivations, spontaneity, creativity: they are not able to form creative and critical minds. In the sociological theory of Jürgen Habermas, the mass media are seen as being controlled by political and economic forces, which have an interest in manipulating the audience. The first rule for understanding «the human condition is that men live in second hand worlds». They are aware of much more than they have personally experienced and their own experience is always indirect. The quality of their lives is determined by meanings they have received from others. As Wright Mills suggested, we do live in a «second hand world», in which many of the things we know, were learned from others rather than experienced first hand.

This means, quite simply, that more than ever we are dependent on the meanings given us by the mass media and through mass communication.

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Stephen Hawking and a new vision of the Universe

ABSTRACT. It is definitely an arduous challenge to describe in few words a person who has been considered the greatest physicist of nineteenth century. Research focused on the complexity of the Universe, Big Bang and Black Holes Theories, on the age of the Universe, on the Chronology of the Universe, on the hypothesis of Multiverse, the study of galaxy formation and evolution, as well as the cosmological inflation. His diversified activity has contributed to the scientific disclosure of several physical and astronomic theories, which have been presented in an engaging way to the audience. The essential bibliography invites the reader to appreciate the interdisciplinary and international qualities of his collaborations opened to the possibility of existence of other Universes.

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Professor Stephen Hawking: an appreciation by Lord Rees

ABSTRACT. In this paper, the Astronomer Royal and former Master of Trinity College, Lord Martin Rees, pays tribute to Professor Stephan Hawking, reminiscing the significant events of his life. The focal point of the essay is Hawking’s manifestation of willpower and determination in face of the deadly disease he was diagnosed with at the age of 22. Amongst some of the most significant achievements, Rees mentions Stephen’s ‘eureka moment’, namely when he unexpectedly discovered a link between gravity and quantum theory, predicting that black holes would not be completely black, but that they would radiate in a distinctive way. According to Hawking, this radiation is only significant for black holes because they are less massive than stars – and none of these have been found. ‘Hawking radiation’ theory had very deep implications for mathematical physics and one of the main achievements of string theory has been to corroborate his idea.

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Editorial

The Research section of Formamente opens with two commemorations on Stephen Hawking, considered one of the most important theoretical physicists of the 20th century, the robotic voice of scientific divulgation, who only recently passed away.
Lord Rees, Royal Astronomer and Master of the Trinity College at the University of Cambridge, and Professor Fabrizio Fontana, physicist at Guglielmo Marconi University, pay homage with two contributions, tracing the intricate life of the celebrated scientist.
From his eureka moment – namely his famed intuition regarding the link between gravity and quantum theories – to the elaboration of the Hawking theory, the British scientist advanced sophisticated studies on the origin of the universe, on quantum cosmology, and on black holes, divulgating comprehensibly, concepts that scientific language barriers generally render abstruse.
In the same section, Andrea Gentile’s article recalls the sociological theories of Jürgen Habermas and Wright Mills, where images and mass media systems offer mediated, second hand realties, leading to inactiveness of the mind, of emotions and of creativity. This postmodern human condition, characterizes the modern society and it forces us to reflect on Hawking’s divulgation theories, corroborating the quality of second hand learning that makes up for great part of our knowledge, as opposed to first hand experiences.
The Application section proposes original case studies that focus on present-day issues. The CIHEAM Bari (Centre International de Hautes Etudes Agronomique Méditerranéennes) article puts forth the inclusive teaching project results that support farms in war crisis zones. Whereas the Apollonian Case in Albania is a research project developed by the students of the International Master in Interior Design at Guglielmo Marconi University. The quali-quantitative case study for territorial regeneration pursues sustainable development and spatial integration of the territory, in respect with the cultural patrimony.
The Application section concludes with a case study on territorial reconstruction, from the viewpoint of the masonry works. The study focuses on L’Aquila and Amatrice, the areas of central Italy devastated by the earthquakes in 2009 and in 2016. The objective was to offer temporary wooden housing modules that kept together residual parts of collapsed civil houses.
Lastly, the Highlight section presents two experimental didactic modules: entertainment seminar cycles, divided in Art Workshops, Talks and Live Works and ESA, Engage, Study, Activate, an innovative language teaching method for adults.

Seizing the opportunities of the Industry 4.0 to invest in the future: the Career Day at Marconi University

Why a Career Day at Marconi University?

Universities and industry have been collaborating for over a century, but the rise of a global knowledge economy has intensified the need for strategic partnerships which encompass a wide range of activities. Universities role is also changing and the task to guide students in the labour market is crucial.

In this light the organization of an event offering students and graduated the chance to meet companies and make job interviews is essential in order to reinforce the link between universities and the labour market.

Taking into account those considerations, Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi, in collaboration with Manageritalia, a longstanding federation of business representatives, Porta Futuro Lazio, the employment orientation agency funded by Latium Region and Agol Association, the association of Italian young opinion leaders, organized the Career Day – Future Job 4.0 on 11th November 2016. The event was held in the historical headquarters of the university located in the heart of Rome and was addressed to students, graduated, unemployed people and all individuals wishing to re-tailor their careers.

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The XII International GUIDE Conference

The XII International GUIDE Conference “Online Learning in the 21st Century: Practice Problems and Prospects” will be held on February 15-17, 2017 at B Resort & Spa, in Orlando, Florida, United States of America.  The conference will be jointly organized by Guide Association and University of Phoenix (Central Florida).

The Conference aims to promote discussions about the current status and next evolutions of distance learning. Particular attention will be given to the new pedagogical approaches to be used for the new digital generation, innovative emerging technologies and the keys for the successful improvement of a standardized quality system in e-learning. Moreover, the congress aims to push for the creation of communities of experts sharing information and best practices. Particular attention will be given to case studies and practical experiences.

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Smartphone based laboratories: a case study to measure friction coefficients

The use of didactical laboratories is a common necessity both for distance and traditional universities. If in the first case institutions have to invest money not only in the creation but also in the maintenance of the structures, for distance learning there is an always under discussion problem related to how laboratory activities can be offered to students. In this context, smartphone applications can help both cases offering simple, low cost and didactical effective laboratories. In this paper, a review of the state of art is presented together with a case study realized during the annual internships organized by INFN-Frascati for secondary school students.

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The ACADEMICA e-course: an example of good practice to train e-learning new users

ACADEMICA – Accessibility and Harmonization of Higher Education in Central Asia through Curriculum Modernization and Development – is a three-year project co-funded by the European Commission in the framework of ERASMUS Plus Program involving 15 partners coming from Europe (Bulgaria, Italy, Austria and Spain) and Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan).
The project’s main objective is to support Higher Education lecturers in Central Asia in the improvement and modernization of scientific curricula through the introduction of new methodologies based on the use of technology, media supports and distance learning tools.
This paper describes the rationale underlying the project and provides an outline of the implementation of the planned activities. Particular attention is given to the design of the ACADEMICA e-course that represents the core element of the initiative and that, once completed, is expected to become a good practice to be transferred even to other institutions that are not partners of the project’s consortium.

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A framework for data collection, analysis and evaluation of the relationship between students’ computer interaction and course grades in laboratory courses

Big data is an emerging topic, with huge investments in IT and education worlds. Together with awareness of the knowledge discovery and education improvement progresses, big data concept has come with a growing consciousness. There are several educational data mining analysis methods created, evaluated and presented in the literature in this manner. But, how the educational big data for finding “intelligently” valuable results to benefit students, teachers and administrators will be collected, filtered and handled? In this study, a unique data collection, filtering and evaluation framework for educational data mining was designed, evaluated and presented. In this perspective, an IT infrastructure and process monitoring software for gathering client computers’ data of 3 laboratories in a public high school was developed. Time series big data was collected during 5 months from 62 computers with this back stage working software. After filtering this data with eligible methods, resultant data was evaluated with Pearson’s correlation analysis between students’ rate of interactions with computers and their exam grades on laboratory courses. Results showed that students’ computer interaction and their success in the courses are highly correlated.

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Towards a domain model for integrating competence frameworks into learning platforms

Since adoption of the Europe-wide university-reform called Bologna Process, each accredited study path, module, or course has to be provided with a summary of the conveyed competences. Until now, this additional information had little effect on the comparability of learning content, because competences are usually described in form of free text. This leaves too much room for interpretation and misunderstandings. Standardized, machine-readable taxonomies are promising alternatives, especially in combination with so-called Competence Frameworks (CFs). In this article, we introduce the Competence Based Learning Model (CBLM). Its development starts with a specific solution for the European e-Competence Framework (e-CF)  and arrives to the creation of a generalized e-CF-independent version. The resulting CBLM is the basis for our two prototypical implementations – an extension for the learning platform Ecosystem Portal (EP) and a plugin for the Learning Management System (LMS) Moodle which extends its CBE-functionality introduced with release v3.1. A short summary and an outlook on future development conclude this article which succeeds our conference paper presented at the IX International GUIDE Conference.

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1616-2016 Four hundred years that may reveal more surprises

The Tempest of William Shakespeare deserves special attention. It opens a special view of the Elizabethan age and it can act as a bridge between the magic of the real World and the powers of the human mind. This play has been differently interpreted; however, an original analysis can be developed. An analysis that takes into proper account the possible influence of Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno on the English poet he met just a short while before writing the play.

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Editorial

On the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, the relationship between the imaginary world and the real world becomes more and more evocative. One can easily recognize such relationship in the changing circumstances in society and technology, in the omnipresent and pervasive reference to robots and androids that perform more and more complex activities. It is from here that the opportunity of discovering dynamic links between Giordano Bruno’s thinking and the plays of the English playwright arises. The Tempest, the last play entirely written by Shakespeare, provides the opportunity for re-considering the importance of the character on the stage in relation to the story, as well as the great power of the human mind.
On such anniversary, the attention of Formamente is not diverted from the scientific objectives of the journal that, once more, wants to highlight the great potential of new technologies as regards the exploration of a plurality of worlds on the part of a student placed at the center of the stage in the learning process that is nowadays known as “student centered learning”, the philosopher’s stone of teaching to which such modern technologies draw us closer and closer.
In this respect, in the Research section, an analysis model based on the Big Data approach shows the complexity of thinking systems that the use of PC’s achieves between students and teachers in personalized workshops.
The Highlight section of this issue of Formamente provides an overview of the topics of the forthcoming GUIDE Conference to be held in Orlando in February 2017. The Highlight section includes also information about “Career Day – Future Job 4.0”, a project aimed at offering students cross-curricular training so that they can compete successfully in the labor market both at the national and at the international level. In addition, the Highlight section provides a detailed review of the convention “Crisi delle concezioni tradizionali delle varie discipline giuridiche” (“Crisis of Traditional Legal Concepts”) promoted by the Department of Legal and Political Sciences of Marconi University in April 2016.

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GUIDE Association next conference in Rome

The new GUIDE Association conference The Education in the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be held in Rome-Italy the 3rd and 4th May 2018 at Gugliemo Marconi University. The purpose of the conference is to provide an academic platform for researchers, scientist, professors and institutions to analyze the impact of the new technologies involved in the so called Fourth Industrial Revolution that is characterized by the new role acquired by machines, capable to do what was considered before only possible by the humans. As far as this new approach could affect all the aspects of life, society, economy, culture, education and the job market, this requires that the Universities have to adapt themselves to the new changes by creating an adequate contexts to prepare their students for the future jobs. As a consequence of a new industrial revolution, schools, colleges and Universities have to face new challenges in the field of research and applications and to analyse the new trends coming up such as: digital ubiquity, cyber-physical systems, and artificial intelligence, 3D printing, robotics, Big Data and Internet of Things (IOT) In this framework again research plays a central role in transferring students the ability to use and apply different knowledge in diversified contexts, in learning how to collaborate with their colleagues and their teachers and how to use new ways of communicating and the adequate skills to solve complex situations.

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