ResearchPad - universities Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Differences in study workload stress and its associated factors between transfer students and freshmen entrants in an Asian higher education context]]> Unlike the studies of freshmen entrants, the learning experiences of community college transfer (CCT) students in the receiving university is a topic that has only started to gain attention in recent decades. Little is known about the differences between CCT and freshmen entrants with regard to their study workload stress and its relationship with their perceptions of the teaching and learning environment, approaches to learning, self-efficacy and generic skills. The purpose of our study was to address this gap. This was a cross-sectional survey study conducted from April 2018 to November 2018 in a university in Hong Kong. The HowULearn questionnaire was adapted to local usage and validated for data collection. In total, 841 CCT students and 978 freshmen entrants completed the survey. The respondents were aged between 19 and 52 years (mean = 21.6, SD = 1.92), and 66.0% were women. The HowULearn questionnaire was determined by factor analyses to have eight factors. The reliabilities of the eight factors were found to be acceptable (Cronbach alphas = 0.709–0.918). The CCT students scored significantly higher than the freshmen entrants for perceived study workload stress and surface approaches to learning, but lower on teaching for understanding & encouraging learning, peer support, and self-efficacy beliefs. The surface approach to learning, deep & organized studying, alignment & constructive feedback, and generic skills were found to be predictors of study workload stress in both groups of students, and in the overall student data. This study has shown that CCT students and freshmen entrants differed with regard to their study workload stress and learning experiences. Our findings provide a message, both for educators in higher education and policy makers in the government—there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to different student populations when it comes to enhancing their learning experiences.

<![CDATA[Student engagement, assessed using heart rate, shows no reset following active learning sessions in lectures]]>

Heart rate can be used as a measure of cognitive engagement. We measured average student heart rates during medical school lecture classes using wristwatch-style monitors. Analysis of 42 classes showed a steady decline in heart rate from the beginning to end of a lecture class. Active learning sessions (peer-discussion based problem solving) resulted in a significant uptick in heart rate, but this returned to the average level immediately following the active learning period. This is the first statistically robust assessment of changes in heart rate during the course of college lecture classes and indicates that personal heart rate monitors may be useful tools for assessment of different teaching modalities. The key findings suggest that the value of active learning within the classroom resides in the activity itself and not in an increase in engagement or reset in attention during the didactic period following an active learning session.

<![CDATA[Do open educational resources improve student learning? Implications of the access hypothesis]]>

Open Educational Resources (OER) have been lauded for their ability to reduce student costs and improve equity in higher education. Research examining whether OER provides learning benefits have produced mixed results, with most studies showing null effects. We argue that the common methods used to examine OER efficacy are unlikely to detect positive effects based on predictions of the access hypothesis. The access hypothesis states that OER benefits learning by providing access to critical course materials, and therefore predicts that OER should only benefit students who would not otherwise have access to the materials. Through the use of simulation analysis, we demonstrate that even if there is a learning benefit of OER, standard research methods are unlikely to detect it.

<![CDATA[Variable weights theory and its application to multi-attribute group decision making with intuitionistic fuzzy numbers on determining decision maker’s weights]]>

The determination of the weights of decision makers (DMs) is an important problem in multi-attribute group decision making. Many approaches have been presented to determine DMs’ weights. However, the computed weight vectors of DMs are usually assumed to be constant in existing studies, and this may cause irrationalities in the decision results. Therefore, this article proposes a novel method to determine DMs’ weights based on variable weights theory in which the evaluation information is described as intuitionistic fuzzy sets (IFSs). First, DMs provide their assessment with IFSs, and the intuitionistic fuzzy weighted averaging (IFWA) operator is applied to obtain weighted decision matrix based on the prior given DMs’ and attributes’ weights. Second, the DMs’ weights are obtained based on variable weights theory, and an alternative decision can be computed. Finally, the converted value of the achieved IFS of each alternative is calculated, and the best appropriate alternative is acquired. Two illustrative examples and the comparisons with exsiting approaches are also used to reflect the effectiveness of the proposed approach.

<![CDATA[eHealth and telemedicine: Practices and beliefs among healthcare professionals and medical students at a medical university]]>

Digitalization affects almost every aspect of modern daily life including healthcare delivery. Successful adoption and sustainable integration of information technology-based eHealth and telemedicine concepts in clinical practice depend on constant evaluation of end user needs, proficiencies, and preferences. We therefore assessed how current and future healthcare professionals perceived health technology solutions and whether their perceptions differed. We conducted an online survey among a purposive sample of employees and students at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria. The structured questionnaire collected self-reported practices and beliefs in the context of eHealth and telemedicine among 905 participants (59.0% females), of which 48.4% were employees and 51.6% were students. Participants expressed moderate knowledge of eHealth and telemedicine concepts with higher levels among employees compared to students (both: p<0.05). Compared to employees, students were less convinced that online health information improves patient knowledge (p<0.001), but were more optimistic that telemedicine reduces healthcare costs (p<0.05). Participants doubted that telemedicine services would enhance the doctor-patient relationship and raised concerns regarding data security and privacy issues. Accordingly, quantitative context analysis of free text comments revealed that the four most frequently mentioned themes were related to issues concerning data privacy and security, questions of responsibility, doctor-patient interaction, and reliability of information. This study provides valuable insights into how current and future healthcare professionals differ in their perceptions regarding eHealth and telemedicine. These findings raise awareness of the need to bridge the gap between digital age groups and professional groups, especially in clinical healthcare delivery in a clocked-through, strenuous academic setting as found at a medical university.

<![CDATA[Gender and cultural bias in student evaluations: Why representation matters]]>

Gendered and racial inequalities persist in even the most progressive of workplaces. There is increasing evidence to suggest that all aspects of employment, from hiring to performance evaluation to promotion, are affected by gender and cultural background. In higher education, bias in performance evaluation has been posited as one of the reasons why few women make it to the upper echelons of the academic hierarchy. With unprecedented access to institution-wide student survey data from a large public university in Australia, we investigated the role of conscious or unconscious bias in terms of gender and cultural background. We found potential bias against women and teachers with non-English speaking backgrounds. Our findings suggest that bias may decrease with better representation of minority groups in the university workforce. Our findings have implications for society beyond the academy, as over 40% of the Australian population now go to university, and graduates may carry these biases with them into the workforce.

<![CDATA[University-industry-government relations of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) universities: The perspective of the mutual information]]>

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) universities are important bases for science and technology research and play a critical role in China’s National Innovation System. Based on the Web of Science (WoS), this article analyzes the statistics of paper published by MIIT universities and universities from across China including MIIT universities. The results are as follows: (1) Both the MIIT universities and universities nationwide in China have increased their international academic publications, and MIIT have shown a greater increase for the past decade. (2) In terms of U-I-G interaction, for UG relations, the Tug value of MIIT universities has remained stable, while that of universities in China has become declined. For UI relations, the Tui value of both MIIT universities and universities in China has shown steady growth. For UIG relations, MIIT universities have a greater synergistic effect of Triple Helix relationship than universities in China. (3) For more details in seven MIIT universities, universities elected into “Project 985”, including HIT, BUAA, BIT and NPU, have published more papers, and been more synergistic with government and industry (UIG relations) than other three universities, including NUAA, NUST and HEU. Based on the empirical results, we discuss our findings, and make certain suggestions regarding policy incentives, reasonable administrative system and U-I-G interaction mode, which is significant not only for Chinese universities but also for universities in other developing countries.

<![CDATA[Open notebook science can maximize impact for rare disease projects]]>

Transparency lies at the heart of the open lab notebook movement. Open notebook scientists publish laboratory experiments and findings in the public domain in real time, without restrictions or omissions. Research on rare diseases is especially amenable to the open notebook model because it can both increase scientific impact and serve as a mechanism to engage patient groups in the scientific process. Here, I outline and describe my own success with my open notebook project, LabScribbles, as well as other efforts included in the initiative.

<![CDATA[The graduation shift of German universities of applied sciences]]>

In research into higher education, the evaluation of completion and dropout rates has generated a steady stream of interest for decades. While most studies only calculate quotes using student and graduate numbers for both phenomena, we propose to additionally consider the budget available to universities. We transfer the idea of the excellence shift indicator [1] from the research to the teaching area, in particular to the completion rate of educational entities. The graduation shift shows the institutions’ ability to produce graduates as measured against their basic academic teaching efficiency. It is an important advantage of the graduation shift that it avoids the well-known heterogeneity problem in efficiency measurements. Our study is based on German universities of applied science. Given their politically determined focus on education, this dataset is well-suited for introducing and evaluating the graduation shift. Using a comprehensive dataset covering the years 2008 to 2013, we show that the graduation shift produces results, which correlate closely with the results of the well-known graduation rate and standard Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA). Compared to the graduation rate, the graduation shift is preferable because it allows to take the budget of institutions into account. Compared to the DEA, the computation of the graduation shift is easy, the results are robust, and non-economists can understand them results. Thus, we recommend the graduation shift as an alternative method of efficiency measurement in the teaching area.

<![CDATA[Annotated primary scientific literature: A pedagogical tool for undergraduate courses]]>

Annotated primary scientific literature is a teaching and learning resource that provides scaffolding for undergraduate students acculturating to the authentic scientific practice of obtaining and evaluating information through the medium of primary scientific literature. Utilizing annotated primary scientific literature as an integrated pedagogical tool could enable more widespread use of primary scientific literature in undergraduate science classrooms with minimal disruption to existing syllabi. Research is ongoing to determine an optimal implementation protocol, with these preliminary iterations presented here serving as a first look at how students respond to annotated primary scientific literature. The undergraduate biology student participants in our study did not, in general, have an abundance of experience reading primary scientific literature; however, they found the annotations useful, especially for vocabulary and graph interpretation. We present here an implementation protocol for using annotated primary literature in the classroom that minimizes the use of valuable classroom time and requires no additional pedagogical training for instructors.

<![CDATA[Towards a process management life-cycle model for graduation projects in computer engineering]]>

Graduation projects play an important role in computer engineering careers in which students are expected to draw upon their knowledge and skills that were acquired since admission. To manage the activities of graduation projects, an iterative and incremental approach which aims continuous improvement is proposed as an alternative to a controversial delivery model. However, such integration brings up a set of challenges to be taken into account: e.g. multiple project deliveries, more labor-intensive effort from instructors, and ultimately continuous learning for all participants. One promising way to achieve such an integrated and continuous deployment velocity is to eliminate potential bottlenecks by giving student teams to receive early and continuous feedback. To this end, we propose a continuous feedback and delivery mechanism for managing the life-cycle of a graduation project through draft proposal, literature review, requirements gathering, design, implementation and testing which should produce intermediate outputs at predefined intervals. Most importantly, our approach makes it possible to quantify most of the activities involved in life-cycle process with various rubrics (i.e. measurement scales) that have been purposefully developed. The proposed model promotes the fact that all improvements should be monitored, evaluated and documented. The results of this study indicate that students who were managed using this approach produced better project deliverables and ultimately have delivered better and successful projects.

<![CDATA[Strategies and opportunities for promoting bioinformatics in Zimbabwe]]> ]]> <![CDATA[How Academics Face the World: A Study of 5829 Homepage Pictures]]>

It is now standard practice, at Universities around the world, for academics to place pictures of themselves on a personal profile page maintained as part of their University’s web-site. Here we investigated what these pictures reveal about the way academics see themselves. Since there is an asymmetry in the degree to which emotional information is conveyed by the face, with the left side being more expressive than the right, we hypothesised that academics in the sciences would seek to pose as non-emotional rationalists and put their right cheek forward, while academics in the arts would express their emotionality and pose with the left cheek forward. We sourced 5829 pictures of academics from their University websites and found that, consistent with the hypotheses, there was a significant difference in the direction of face posing between science academics and English academics with English academics showing a more leftward orientation. Academics in the Fine Arts and Performing Arts however, did not show the expected left cheek forward bias. We also analysed profile pictures of psychology academics and found a greater bias toward presenting the left check compared to science academics which makes psychologists appear more like arts academics than scientists. These findings indicate that the personal website pictures of academics mirror the cultural perceptions of emotional expressiveness across disciplines.

<![CDATA[In China, Students in Crowded Dormitories with a Low Ventilation Rate Have More Common Colds: Evidence for Airborne Transmission]]>


To test whether the incidence of common colds among college students in China is associated with ventilation rates and crowdedness in dormitories.


In Phase I of the study, a cross-sectional study, 3712 students living in 1569 dorm rooms in 13 buildings responded to a questionnaire about incidence and duration of common colds in the previous 12 months. In Phase II, air temperature, relative humidity and CO2 concentration were measured for 24 hours in 238 dorm rooms in 13 buildings, during both summer and winter. Out-to indoor air flow rates at night were calculated based on measured CO2 concentrations.


In Phase I, 10% of college students reported an incidence of more than 6 common colds in the previous 12 months, and 15% reported that each infection usually lasted for more than 2 weeks. Students in 6-person dorm rooms were about 2 times as likely to have an incidence of common colds ≥6 times per year and a duration ≥2 weeks, compared to students in 3-person rooms. In Phase II, 90% of the measured dorm rooms had an out-to indoor air flow rate less than the Chinese standard of 8.3 L/s per person during the heating season. There was a dose-response relationship between out-to indoor air flow rate per person in dorm rooms and the proportion of occupants with annual common cold infections ≥6 times. A mean ventilation rate of 5 L/(s•person) in dorm buildings was associated with 5% of self reported common cold ≥6 times, compared to 35% at 1 L/(s•person).


Crowded dormitories with low out-to indoor airflow rates are associated with more respiratory infections among college students.

<![CDATA[Tenure Track Policy Increases Representation of Women in Senior Academic Positions, but Is Insufficient to Achieve Gender Balance]]>

Underrepresentation of women in senior positions is a persistent problem in universities worldwide, and a wide range of strategies to combat this situation is currently being contemplated. One such strategy is the introduction of a tenure track system, in which decisions to promote scientific staff to higher ranks are guided by a set of explicit and transparent criteria, as opposed to earlier situations in which decisions were based on presumably more subjective impressions by superiors. We examined the effect of the introduction of a tenure track system at Wageningen University (The Netherlands) on male and female promotion rates. We found that chances on being promoted to higher levels were already fairly equal between men and women before the tenure track system was introduced, and improved–more for women than for men–after the introduction of the tenure track system. These results may partly be explained by affirmative actions, but also by the fact that legacy effects of historical discrimination have led to a more competitive female population of scientists. In spite of these outcomes, extrapolations of current promotion rates up to 2025 demonstrate that the equal or even higher female promotion rates do not lead to substantial improvement of the gender balance at higher levels (i.e., associate professor and higher). Since promotion rates are small compared to the total amount of staff, the current distribution of men and women will, especially at higher levels, exhibit a considerable degree of inertia—unless additional affirmative action is taken.

<![CDATA[Evidence of Public Engagement with Science: Visitor Learning at a Zoo-Housed Primate Research Centre]]>

Primate behavioural and cognitive research is increasingly conducted on direct public view in zoo settings. The potential of such facilities for public engagement with science is often heralded, but evidence of tangible, positive effects on public understanding is rare. Here, the effect of a new zoo-based primate research centre on visitor behaviour, learning and attitudes was assessed using a quasi-experimental design. Zoo visitors approached the primate research centre more often when a scientist was present and working with the primates, and reported greater awareness of primates (including conservation) compared to when the scientist was not present. Visitors also reported greater perceived learning when the scientist was present. Installation of information signage had no main effect on visitor attitudes or learning. Visitors who interacted with the signage, however, demonstrated increased knowledge and understanding when asked about the specific information present on the signs (which was related to the ongoing facial expression research at the research centre). The findings show that primate behaviour research centres on public view can have a demonstrable and beneficial effect on public understanding of science.

<![CDATA[The Effect of Gender in the Publication Patterns in Mathematics]]>

Despite the increasing number of women graduating in mathematics, a systemic gender imbalance persists and is signified by a pronounced gender gap in the distribution of active researchers and professors. Especially at the level of university faculty, women mathematicians continue being drastically underrepresented, decades after the first affirmative action measures have been put into place. A solid publication record is of paramount importance for securing permanent positions. Thus, the question arises whether the publication patterns of men and women mathematicians differ in a significant way. Making use of the zbMATH database, one of the most comprehensive metadata sources on mathematical publications, we analyze the scholarly output of ∼150,000 mathematicians from the past four decades whose gender we algorithmically inferred. We focus on development over time, collaboration through coautorships, presumed journal quality and distribution of research topics—factors known to have a strong impact on job perspectives. We report significant differences between genders which may put women at a disadvantage when pursuing an academic career in mathematics.

<![CDATA[Rosalind’s Ghost: Biology, Collaboration, and the Female]]> ]]> <![CDATA[Science PhD Career Preferences: Levels, Changes, and Advisor Encouragement]]>

Even though academic research is often viewed as the preferred career path for PhD trained scientists, most U.S. graduates enter careers in industry, government, or “alternative careers.” There has been a growing concern that these career patterns reflect fundamental imbalances between the supply of scientists seeking academic positions and the availability of such positions. However, while government statistics provide insights into realized career transitions, there is little systematic data on scientists' career preferences and thus on the degree to which there is a mismatch between observed career paths and scientists' preferences. Moreover, we lack systematic evidence whether career preferences adjust over the course of the PhD training and to what extent advisors exacerbate imbalances by encouraging their students to pursue academic positions. Based on a national survey of PhD students at tier-one U.S. institutions, we provide insights into the career preferences of junior scientists across the life sciences, physics, and chemistry. We also show that the attractiveness of academic careers decreases significantly over the course of the PhD program, despite the fact that advisors strongly encourage academic careers over non-academic careers. Our data provide an empirical basis for common concerns regarding labor market imbalances. Our results also suggest the need for mechanisms that provide PhD applicants with information that allows them to carefully weigh the costs and benefits of pursuing a PhD, as well as for mechanisms that complement the job market advice advisors give to their current students.

<![CDATA[Time Development in the Early History of Social Networks: Link Stabilization, Group Dynamics, and Segregation]]>

Studies of the time development of empirical networks usually investigate late stages where lasting connections have already stabilized. Empirical data on early network history are rare but needed for a better understanding of how social network topology develops in real life. Studying students who are beginning their studies at a university with no or few prior connections to each other offers a unique opportunity to investigate the formation and early development of link patterns and community structure in social networks. During a nine week introductory physics course, first year physics students were asked to identify those with whom they communicated about problem solving in physics during the preceding week. We use these students' self reports to produce time dependent student interaction networks. We investigate these networks to elucidate possible effects of different student attributes in early network formation. Changes in the weekly number of links show that while roughly half of all links change from week to week, students also reestablish a growing number of links as they progress through their first weeks of study. Using the Infomap community detection algorithm, we show that the networks exhibit community structure, and we use non-network student attributes, such as gender and end-of-course grade to characterize communities during their formation. Specifically, we develop a segregation measure and show that students structure themselves according to gender and pre-organized sections (in which students engage in problem solving and laboratory work), but not according to end-of-coure grade. Alluvial diagrams of consecutive weeks' communities show that while student movement between groups are erratic in the beginnning of their studies, they stabilize somewhat towards the end of the course. Taken together, the analyses imply that student interaction networks stabilize quickly and that students establish collaborations based on who is immediately available to them and on observable personal characteristics.