Journal of
Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics

 ISSN: 1690-4524 (Online)    DOI: 10.54808/JSCI


Creating and Sustaining Change: Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes
Metta Alsobrook
Pages: 1-4
Change is a constant condition within organizations, due to the introduction of new technologies, market place demands, external forces, and pressures to improve organizational effectiveness. However, large-scale organizational change efforts tend to fail more than 70 percent of the time. One of the recent large-scale movements within higher education institutions is towards accountability and assessment on student learning outcomes, which is higher education institutions should assess whether students learn what they should and retain the knowledge once learned. In addition, assessment findings should become a feedback mechanism to improve students’ education experiences. In this paper the author describe a change effort within a research university for compliance with regional accrediting commission requirements and program specific (engineering) accreditation requirements and procedures in defining and implementing assessment of student learning outcomes. The main issue is not just introducing new contents to the member of the faculty, but making sure that the assessment effort is meaningful. Issues arrived and solutions in creating and sustaining the change effort will be discussed.

Primary Teachers and ICT: Is gender, age or experience important?
Graham Morley
Pages: 5-9
The research uses both qualitative and quantitative methodologies employing multiple sources of data collection. The data collection primarily used a questionnaire survey of primary schools in two English Local Authorities. The qualitative evidence of the teacher sample was through individual semi-structured interviews and a focus group interview of Local Authorities officers. There is an evidence trail which examines academic papers, HMI, QCA, Ofsted and DfES reports. The main findings from these reports indicate that teachers were becoming familiar with the use of computers. They understood the skills involved in using computers but were still uncertain as to a suitable pedagogy which made them lack confidence when using ICT in the classroom. Teachers’ major difficulty is finding time to keep pace or develop their ICT skills. The reports have a generic view of teachers, with no further analysis of gender, age or experience phenomena. The analysis of these variables concludes that teacher subject knowledge formed through teaching experience of the subject, informs teachers when computers aid teaching and learning.

Social network analysis as a method for analyzing interaction in collaborative online learning environments
Patricia Rice Doran, Chad Doran, Amy Mazur
Pages: 10-16
Social network analysis software such as NodeXL has been used to describe participation and interaction in numerous social networks, but it has not yet been widely used to examine dynamics in online classes, where participation is frequently required rather than optional and participation patterns may be impacted by the requirements of the class, the instructor’s activities, or participants’ intrinsic engagement with the subject matter. Such social network analysis, which examines the dynamics and interactions among groups of participants in a social network or learning group, can be valuable in programs focused on teaching collaborative and communicative skills, including teacher preparation programs. Applied to these programs, social network analysis can provide information about instructional practices likely to facilitate student interaction and collaboration across diverse student populations. This exploratory study used NodeXL to visualize students’ participation in an online course, with the goal of identifying (1) ways in which NodeXL could be used to describe patterns in participant interaction within an instructional setting and (2) identifying specific patterns in participant interaction among students in this particular course. In this sample, general education teachers demonstrated higher measures of connection and interaction with other participants than did those from specialist (ESOL or special education) backgrounds, and tended to interact more frequently with all participants than the majority of participants from specialist backgrounds. We recommend further research to delineate specific applications of NodeXL within an instructional context, particularly to identify potential patterns in student participation based on variables such as gender, background, cultural and linguistic heritage, prior training and education, and prior experience so that instructors can ensure their practice helps to facilitate student interaction in light of each of these potential variables.

Explaining primary pupils’ differences in reading achievement by teaching patterns and socioeconomic background - Reanalyses with the PIRLS-data
Michael Pfeifer
Pages: 17-19
This contribution presents the outcomes of multilevel analysis in the context of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2001 that are unique in Germany so far. The PIRLS survey 2001 revealed that in Germany especially pupils with a low socioeconomic status (SES) and with migration background have a significant lower reading achievement of more than one school year compared to pupils with a high SES and without migration background. The PIRLS survey 2006 evidenced that, although this difference did reduce over the years, there is still a disadvantage for those pupils’ reading achievement of more than one school year. Thus, one of the main research questions of this work was, if there are certain concepts, strategies and methods of teaching, which contribute to a better acquirement of reading achievement of pupils with low socioeconomic and migration background. As a result of the analyses certain aspects of teaching could be identified that contribute to a better reading achievement of those pupils.

DNA Separation Using Photoelectrophoretic Traps
Avital Braiman, Thomas Thundat, Fedor Rudakov
Pages: 20-23
In our recent publications we presented a design that allows formation of highly localized and optically controlled electrophoretic traps. 1,2 We demonstrated that electrophoretic traps can be utilized for biomolecule photoconcentration, optically directed transport, and separation by size. 1,2 In the current publication we suggest a hybrid design for biomolecule separation which implements electrophoretic traps in tandem with well-established electrophoretic techniques. We perform Monte Carlo simulations that demonstrate that the resolution of well-established electrophoretic techniques can be greatly enhanced by introducing photoelectrophoretic traps.

A Classification of Collaborative Knowledge
Thomas Marlowe, Vassilka Kirova, Norbert Jastroch, Mojgan Mohtashami
Pages: 24-29
Efforts involving multiple institutions, whether aimed at sharing resources, at product development or production, at research, or in other directions, often rely on effective knowledge generation and knowledge management. However, there are inherent new difficulties in knowledge management for such inter-institutional collaborations, arising from the need to standardize and synthesize knowledge from multiple sources, and from the need to provide adequate protections for confidential and proprietary information.

Contributing to Sustainable Mountain Development by Facilitating Networking and Knowledge Sharing through ICT - Collaboration between Rocky Mountain States and Central Asia
Baktybek Abdrisaev, R.E. “rusty” Butler, Zamira Dzhusupova, Asylbek Aidaraliev
Pages: 30-39
This paper highlights new opportunities for sharing knowledge and networking through the use of information and communication technologies to better contribute to Sustainable Mountain Development and Millennium Development Goals. It analyzes current challenges in mountain countries in Central Asia where political instability and weak governance, in addition to their challenging natural conditions, constitute major constraints for peoples’ lives. The authors examine possible ways to tackle the major obstacles through IT-enabled knowledge sharing and networking. They discuss a number of collaborative initiatives between Rocky Mountain States in the United States and mountain nations in Central Asia aimed at promoting the values of a democratic society and good governance through networking between educators, legislators. Also, these initiatives are aimed at fostering critical thinking through independent e-media. Based on the analysis, they suggest further ways in facilitating networking and knowledge sharing for Sustainable Mountain Development through the use of information and communication technologies by joining the efforts of all active players and also eliciting more contribution from the mountainous communities of the United States.

Project-Based Laboratory Experiences in Mechanical Engineering
Narendra Sharma
Pages: 40-45
In this paper we describe project-based laboratories in Mechanical Engineering designed to provide semester-long team experiences which mimic the real life industrial processes of design, development, testing and optimization. The labs are focused on courses at the sophomore level and thus require special attention to constraints of student backgrounds and experience. This paper describes laboratory projects in Dynamics and Fluid Mechanics.

Julia Paredes, Richard L. Pennington, David P. Pursell, Joseph C. Sloop, Mai Yin Tsoi
Pages: 46-50
Organic chemistry instructors integrate handheld technology and applications into course lecture and lab to engage students with tools and techniques students use in the modern world. This technology and applications enable instructors to re-visit the Thayer Method of teaching and learning to create an updated method that works with 21st century students. The Thayer Method is based on the premise that students are willing and capable of making substantial preparation before coming to class and lab in order to maximize efficiency of student-instructor contact time. During this student preparation phase, we engage students with handheld technology and content applications including smart phone viewable course administrative materials; “flashcards” containing basic organic chemistry nomenclature, molecular structures, and chemical reactions; mini-lectures prepared using the Smart Board Airliner Interactive Tablet for upcoming class periods and laboratory technique videos demonstrating tasks they will perform as part of laboratory experimentation. Coupled with a student friendly course text, these handheld applications enable substantial student preparation before class and lab. The method, in conjunction with handheld technology and applications, has been used with positive results in our organic chemistry courses.

The Evolution of Community Structure in a Coauthorship Network
William Mcdowell, Leonardo Reyes-Gonzalez, Francisco M. Veloso
Pages: 51-57
Mechanisms such as triadic closure and preferential attachment drive the evolution of social networks. Many models use these mechanisms to predict future links, and they generate realistic networks with scale-free degree distributions. These social networks also have community structure, or sets of vertices which are more connected to each other than the rest of the network. To study the evolution of research groups of scientists in a coauthorship network, we use a timeheterarchy representation to extend the mechanisms driving the evolution of the network to the level of this community structure. Specifically, we examine changes in the structure of groups in terms of mechanisms analogous to triadic closure and preferential attachment, and as a result, we find that the network evolves in the same way at the group-level and the individual-level. In addition, we find that interactions at the group-level might affect interactions at the individual-level in that members of a single group are more likely to strengthen their relationships than members of separate groups.

Design Research in Cyber-Physical Systems through Weak-Bisimulation
Roy Mccann, Khalid Rahman
Pages: 58-62
Bisimulation methods for design and verification of complex digital electronics have become well established in engineering practice. Concurrently, there have been dramatic theoretical advances in the theory of hybrid dynamical systems. This paper explores the how these advances can be incorporated into research methods for the emerging area of cyber-physical systems from a cybernetics perspective. The results can be used in determining how design of engineered systems can be safely integrated into physical systems.

Statistical Quality Control of Microarray Gene Expression Data
Shen Lu, Richard S. Segall
Pages: 63-68
This paper is about how to control the quality of microarray expression data. Since gene-expression microarrays have become almost as widely used as measurement tools in biological research, we survey microarray experimental data to see possibilities and problems to control microarray expression data. We use both variable measure and attribute measure to visualize microarray expression data. According to the attribute data's structure, we use control charts to visualize fold change and t-test attributes in order to find the root causes. Then, we build data mining prediction models to evaluate the output. According to the accuracy of the prediction model, we can prove control charts can effectively visualize root causes.

Experiences from Implementation of National and International, Collaborative, Virtual Universities (Invited Paper)
Harald Haugen, Bodil Ask
Pages: 69-75
Pressure from society and a growing need for education and specialised knowledge require new ways of facilitating access to learning and documentation of qualifications. Traditional universities do not have capacity to meet these challenges at their own premises. The use of ICT and Internet seems to be a possible way to increase access and capacity. In order to keep costs and efforts at a reasonable level without lowering study quality or staff qualifications, collaboration and sharing of material and competence may be the best option. This has been tested over the past 20 years in different plans and projects. Experiences from three projects are presented in this paper: NITOL (Norway-net with IT for Open Learning) as a national project in Norway, MENU (Model for a European Networked University) at a European level, and UNU-GVU (Global Virtual University) with students and partners around the World. The analysis of positive and negative findings leads up to certain recommendations that may be of value for future attempts to exploit the full potential of collaboration between universities. Hopefully the establishment of collaborative virtual universities can meet some of the global needs for higher education.