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Educ. Sci., Volume 3, Issue 2 (June 2013), Pages 75-221

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Research

Open AccessArticle Fuzzy Logic and Education: Teaching the Basics of Fuzzy Logic through an Example (by Way of Cycling)
Educ. Sci. 2013, 3(2), 75-97; doi:10.3390/educsci3020075
Received: 24 December 2012 / Revised: 19 March 2013 / Accepted: 21 March 2013 / Published: 8 April 2013
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Abstract
Fuzzy logic dates back to 1965 and it is related not only to current areas of knowledge, such as Control Theory and Computer Science, but also to traditional ones, such as Philosophy and Linguistics. Like any logic, fuzzy logic is concerned with argumentation,
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Fuzzy logic dates back to 1965 and it is related not only to current areas of knowledge, such as Control Theory and Computer Science, but also to traditional ones, such as Philosophy and Linguistics. Like any logic, fuzzy logic is concerned with argumentation, but unlike other modalities, which focus on the crisp reasoning of Mathematics, it deals with common sense reasoning; i.e., with approximate reasoning. Although the teaching of logic has formed part of mainstream education for many years, fuzzy logic is a much more recent inclusion. In this paper we emphasize the desirability of having illustrative examples related to students’ everyday activities, such as sports, in order to introduce fuzzy logic in higher education. Taking an example from cycling, we show, step by step, how to model an approximate reasoning regarding the choice of a ratio (a combination of freewheel and chainring) in order to advance more or less with each rotation of the pedals. Led by this example, a number of alternatives attending to the formal representation of the premises and the ways of inferring a plausible conclusion are analyzed. The choices made between alternatives are justified. We show that the conclusion inferred in the example is consistent with the models selected for premises and fuzzy inference and similar to that concluded by a human being. Full article
Open AccessArticle How Data Are Used and Misused in Schools: Perceptions from Teachers and Principals
Educ. Sci. 2013, 3(2), 98-120; doi:10.3390/educsci3020098
Received: 12 February 2013 / Revised: 15 March 2013 / Accepted: 22 March 2013 / Published: 12 April 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (105 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Education reform efforts have mandated the use of student achievement data in schools. This Q-methodology study investigates the perceptions of principals and teachers about how data are used or misused. Principals in the sample were found to use data mostly to evaluate the
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Education reform efforts have mandated the use of student achievement data in schools. This Q-methodology study investigates the perceptions of principals and teachers about how data are used or misused. Principals in the sample were found to use data mostly to evaluate the school, make improvements, and model best practices of data use. Teachers used data to improve instruction and outcomes for students. Results indicate a need to create an assessment savvy environment where data are used to improve practices. Full article
Open AccessArticle Reliability and Validity of the Multidimensional Scale of Life Skills in Late Childhood
Educ. Sci. 2013, 3(2), 121-135; doi:10.3390/educsci3020121
Received: 7 September 2012 / Revised: 27 March 2013 / Accepted: 2 April 2013 / Published: 12 April 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (450 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study investigated the reliability and validity of the Multidimensional Scale of Life Skills in Late Childhood, an instrument designed to measure a concept similar to “zest for living” in late childhood. A total of 1,888 elementary school students in the 4th, 5th,
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This study investigated the reliability and validity of the Multidimensional Scale of Life Skills in Late Childhood, an instrument designed to measure a concept similar to “zest for living” in late childhood. A total of 1,888 elementary school students in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grades residing in urban and suburban areas as well as in remote islands of 3 prefectures (Okinawa, Kagoshima, and Nagasaki) were surveyed. On the basis of our analysis, 24 items and seven factors were extracted. These factors are problem-solving/synthesis, relationship with friends, personal manners, decision-making and future planning, self-learning, collecting and using information, and leadership. Cronbach’s alpha reliability coefficients were computed for each subscale and ranged from 0.71 to 0.87. Test-retest reliability coefficient values ranged from 0.68 to 0.79. To examine the construct validity of the scales, a goodness-of-fit model was determined by confirmatory factor analysis, and satisfactory values were found (GFI = 0.952, AGFI = 0.937, CFI = 0.966, RMSEA = 0.016). The validity of the goodness-of-fit model and the reliability of the scales indicate that the Multidimensional Scale of Life Skills in Late Childhood is an effective assessment tool. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Use of a Learning Management System (LMS) to Serve as the Virtual Common Space of a Network for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in an Academic Department
Educ. Sci. 2013, 3(2), 136-146; doi:10.3390/educsci3020136
Received: 29 January 2013 / Revised: 1 April 2013 / Accepted: 23 April 2013 / Published: 15 May 2013
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Abstract
Traditionally, undergraduate curriculum committees, consisting of appointed faculty and student representatives, have served as the sole departmental vehicle for investigating, discussing and promoting the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) within an academic department. However, with the universal demand for greater accountability on
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Traditionally, undergraduate curriculum committees, consisting of appointed faculty and student representatives, have served as the sole departmental vehicle for investigating, discussing and promoting the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) within an academic department. However, with the universal demand for greater accountability on all aspects of evidence-based teaching and on the totality of student learning and career outcomes, some academic departments have encouraged the formation of additional organizations to support their SoTL mandate. In the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, the approach taken was to combine the interests of the faculty who had a sustained interest in the “scholarship of knowledge translation and transfer” in the health sciences with those who had a developing interest in SoTL. These faculty members would then form the foundation of a “network” which has been called the K*T3net. The virtual common space of the network is on a Learning Management System (LMS) site which is accessed by all faculty members in the network and by a growing number of staff and senior PhD students in the department. The features and potential uses of the K*T3net website will be discussed. The development of the K*T3net has already supported the proposal for a new undergraduate course on SoTL and is opening the possibility for graduate students to add a SoTL component to their thesis research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Learning Technologies and Interactive Designs)
Open AccessArticle Teaching HR Professionals: The Classroom as a Community of Practice
Educ. Sci. 2013, 3(2), 147-157; doi:10.3390/educsci3020147
Received: 8 March 2013 / Revised: 7 May 2013 / Accepted: 8 May 2013 / Published: 17 May 2013
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Abstract
This paper introduces an innovative course design incorporating both communities of practice and reflective practice as a learning strategy for part-time learners in higher education. The new design has been applied to teaching HR practitioners in a UK-based business school. Findings indicate that
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This paper introduces an innovative course design incorporating both communities of practice and reflective practice as a learning strategy for part-time learners in higher education. The new design has been applied to teaching HR practitioners in a UK-based business school. Findings indicate that the suggested way of organizing teaching and learning for part-time professionals is very informative and facilitates a richer engagement with theory whilst addressing issues of practice. Full article
Open AccessArticle Learning Systems Biology: Conceptual Considerations toward a Web-Based Learning Platform
Educ. Sci. 2013, 3(2), 158-171; doi:10.3390/educsci3020158
Received: 12 November 2012 / Revised: 21 March 2013 / Accepted: 30 April 2013 / Published: 17 May 2013
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Abstract
Within recent years, there is an increasing need to train students, from biology and beyond, in quantitative methods that are relevant to cope with data-driven biology. Systems Biology is such a field that places a particular focus on the functional aspect of biology
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Within recent years, there is an increasing need to train students, from biology and beyond, in quantitative methods that are relevant to cope with data-driven biology. Systems Biology is such a field that places a particular focus on the functional aspect of biology and molecular interacting processes. This paper deals with the conceptual design of a web-based course and its content for educating students in systems biology. We discuss several learning strategies and problems when dealing with structural hypertext patterns that might occur in the context of web-based learning platforms. Finally, we explain the content of the course modules and its features such as its usability and the impact on the learner. Full article
Open AccessArticle Improving Science Assessments by Situating Them in a Virtual Environment
Educ. Sci. 2013, 3(2), 172-192; doi:10.3390/educsci3020172
Received: 22 January 2013 / Revised: 2 April 2013 / Accepted: 22 May 2013 / Published: 30 May 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (494 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Current science assessments typically present a series of isolated fact-based questions, poorly representing the complexity of how real-world science is constructed. The National Research Council asserts that this needs to change to reflect a more authentic model of science practice. We strongly concur
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Current science assessments typically present a series of isolated fact-based questions, poorly representing the complexity of how real-world science is constructed. The National Research Council asserts that this needs to change to reflect a more authentic model of science practice. We strongly concur and suggest that good science assessments need to consist of several key factors: integration of science content with scientific inquiry, contextualization of questions, efficiency of grading and statistical validity and reliability. Through our Situated Assessment using Virtual Environments for Science Content and inquiry (SAVE Science) research project, we have developed an immersive virtual environment to assess middle school children’s understanding of science content and processes that they have been taught through typical classroom instruction. In the virtual environment, participants complete a problem-based assessment by exploring a game world, interacting with computer-based characters and objects, collecting and analyzing possible clues to the assessment problem. Students can solve the problems situated in the virtual environment in multiple ways; many of these are equally correct while others uncover misconceptions regarding inference-making. In this paper, we discuss stage one in the design and assessment of our project, focusing on our design strategies for integrating content and inquiry assessment and on early implementation results. We conclude that immersive virtual environments do offer the potential for creating effective science assessments based on our framework and that we need to consider engagement as part of the framework. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Learning Technologies and Interactive Designs)
Open AccessArticle Applying Models to National Surveys of Undergraduate Science Students: What Affects Ratings of Satisfaction?
Educ. Sci. 2013, 3(2), 193-207; doi:10.3390/educsci3020193
Received: 25 February 2013 / Revised: 21 May 2013 / Accepted: 22 May 2013 / Published: 30 May 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (466 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many countries use national-level surveys to capture student opinions about their university experiences. It is necessary to interpret survey results in an appropriate context to inform decision-making at many levels. To provide context to national survey outcomes, we describe patterns in the ratings
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Many countries use national-level surveys to capture student opinions about their university experiences. It is necessary to interpret survey results in an appropriate context to inform decision-making at many levels. To provide context to national survey outcomes, we describe patterns in the ratings of science and engineering subjects from the UK’s National Student Survey (NSS). New, robust statistical models describe relationships between the Overall Satisfaction’ rating and the preceding 21 core survey questions. Subjects exhibited consistent differences and ratings of “Teaching”, “Organisation” and “Support” were thematic predictors of “Overall Satisfaction” and the best single predictor was “The course was well designed and running smoothly”. General levels of satisfaction with feedback were low, but questions about feedback were ultimately the weakest predictors of “Overall Satisfaction”. The UK’s universities affiliated groupings revealed that more traditional “1994” and “Russell” groups over-performed in a model using the core 21 survey questions to predict “Overall Satisfaction”, in contrast to the under-performing newer universities in the Million+ and Alliance groups. Findings contribute to the debate about “level playing fields” for the interpretation of survey outcomes worldwide in terms of differences between subjects, institutional types and the questionnaire items. Full article
Open AccessArticle Fuzzy Logic as a Tool for Assessing Students’ Knowledge and Skills
Educ. Sci. 2013, 3(2), 208-221; doi:10.3390/educsci3020208
Received: 6 February 2013 / Revised: 21 May 2013 / Accepted: 22 May 2013 / Published: 31 May 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (480 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fuzzy logic, which is based on fuzzy sets theory introduced by Zadeh in 1965, provides a rich and meaningful addition to standard logic. The applications which may be generated from or adapted to fuzzy logic are wide-ranging and provide the opportunity for modeling
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Fuzzy logic, which is based on fuzzy sets theory introduced by Zadeh in 1965, provides a rich and meaningful addition to standard logic. The applications which may be generated from or adapted to fuzzy logic are wide-ranging and provide the opportunity for modeling under conditions which are imprecisely defined. In this article we develop a fuzzy model for assessing student groups’ knowledge and skills. In this model the students’ characteristics under assessment (knowledge of the subject matter, problem solving skills and analogical reasoning abilities) are represented as fuzzy subsets of a set of linguistic labels characterizing their performance, and the possibilities of all student profiles are calculated. In this way, a detailed quantitative/qualitative study of the students’ group performance is obtained. The centroid method and the group’s total possibilistic uncertainty are used as defuzzification methods in converting our fuzzy outputs to a crisp number. According to the centroid method, the coordinates of the center of gravity of the graph of the membership function involved provide a measure of the students’ performance. Techniques of assessing the individual students’ abilities are also studied and examples are presented to illustrate the use of our results in practice. Full article

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