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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.