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.
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, 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.
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 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.
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, 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.