ResearchPad - workshops https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Successful improvement of antibiotic prescribing at Primary Care in Andalusia following the implementation of an antimicrobial guide through multifaceted interventions: An interrupted time-series analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14725 Most effective strategies designed to improve antimicrobial prescribing have multiple approaches. We assessed the impact of the implementation of a rigorous antimicrobial guide and subsequent multifaceted interventions aimed at improving antimicrobial use in Primary Care.MethodsA quasi-experimental study was designed. Interventions aimed at achieving a good implementation of the guide consisted of the development of electronic decision support tools, local training meetings, regional workshops, conferences, targets for rates of antibiotic prescribing linked to financial incentives, feedback on antibiotic prescribing, and the implementation of a structured educational antimicrobial stewardship program. Interventions started in 2011, and continued until 2018. Outcomes: rates of antibiotics use, calculated into defined daily doses per 1,000 inhabitants-day (DID). An interrupted time-series analysis was conducted. The study ran from January 2004 until December 2018.ResultsOverall annual antibiotic prescribing rates showed increasing trends in the pre-intervention period. Interventions were followed by significant changes on trends with a decline over time in antibiotic prescribing. Overall antibiotic rates dropped by 28% in the Aljarafe Area and 22% in Andalusia between 2011 and 2018, at rates of -0.90 DID per year (95%CI:-1.05 to -0.75) in Aljarafe, and -0.78 DID (95%CI:-0.95 to -0.60) in Andalusia. Reductions occurred at the expense of the strong decline of penicillins use (33% in Aljarafe, 25% in Andalusia), and more precisely, amoxicillin clavulanate, whose prescription plummeted by around 50%. Quinolones rates decreased before interventions, and continued to decline following interventions with more pronounced downward trends. Decreasing cephalosporins trends continued to decline, at a lesser extent, following interventions in Andalusia. Trends of macrolides rates went from a downward trend to an upward trend from 2011 to 2018.ConclusionsMultifaceted interventions following the delivering of a rigorous antimicrobial guide, maintained in long-term, with strong institutional support, could led to sustained reductions in antibiotic prescribing in Primary Care. ]]> <![CDATA[Bioinformatics calls the school: Use of smartphones to introduce Python for bioinformatics in high schools]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f1486d5eed0c48467a231

The dynamic nature of technological developments invites us to rethink the learning spaces. In this context, science education can be enriched by the contribution of new computational resources, making the educational process more up-to-date, challenging, and attractive. Bioinformatics is a key interdisciplinary field, contributing to the understanding of biological processes that is often underrated in secondary schools. As a useful resource in learning activities, bioinformatics could help in engaging students to integrate multiple fields of knowledge (logical-mathematical, biological, computational, etc.) and generate an enriched and long-lasting learning environment. Here, we report our recent project in which high school students learned basic concepts of programming applied to solving biological problems. The students were taught the Python syntax, and they coded simple tools to answer biological questions using resources at hand. Notably, these were built mostly on the students’ own smartphones, which proved to be capable, readily available, and relevant complementary tools for teaching. This project resulted in an empowering and inclusive experience that challenged differences in social background and technological accessibility.

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<![CDATA[Building a local community of practice in scientific programming for life scientists]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c08418ad5eed0c484fc9f51

In this paper, we describe why and how to build a local community of practice in scientific programming for life scientists who use computers and programming in their research. A community of practice is a small group of scientists who meet regularly to help each other and promote good practices in scientific programming. While most life scientists are well trained in the laboratory to conduct experiments, good practices with (big) data sets and their analysis are often missing. We propose a model on how to build such a community of practice at a local academic institution, present two real-life examples, and introduce challenges and implemented solutions. We believe that the current data deluge that life scientists face can benefit from the implementation of these small communities. Good practices spread among experimental scientists will foster open, transparent, and sound scientific results beneficial to society.

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<![CDATA[Bioinformatic training needs at a health sciences campus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5fab0ee8fa60be109b

Background

Health sciences research is increasingly focusing on big data applications, such as genomic technologies and precision medicine, to address key issues in human health. These approaches rely on biological data repositories and bioinformatic analyses, both of which are growing rapidly in size and scope. Libraries play a key role in supporting researchers in navigating these and other information resources.

Methods

With the goal of supporting bioinformatics research in the health sciences, the University of Arizona Health Sciences Library established a Bioinformation program. To shape the support provided by the library, I developed and administered a needs assessment survey to the University of Arizona Health Sciences campus in Tucson, Arizona. The survey was designed to identify the training topics of interest to health sciences researchers and the preferred modes of training.

Results

Survey respondents expressed an interest in a broad array of potential training topics, including "traditional" information seeking as well as interest in analytical training. Of particular interest were training in transcriptomic tools and the use of databases linking genotypes and phenotypes. Staff were most interested in bioinformatics training topics, while faculty were the least interested. Hands-on workshops were significantly preferred over any other mode of training. The University of Arizona Health Sciences Library is meeting those needs through internal programming and external partnerships.

Conclusion

The results of the survey demonstrate a keen interest in a variety of bioinformatic resources; the challenge to the library is how to address those training needs. The mode of support depends largely on library staff expertise in the numerous subject-specific databases and tools. Librarian-led bioinformatic training sessions provide opportunities for engagement with researchers at multiple points of the research life cycle. When training needs exceed library capacity, partnering with intramural and extramural units will be crucial in library support of health sciences bioinformatic research.

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<![CDATA["I was in the darkness but the group brought me light": Development, relevance and feasibility of the Sondela HIV adjustment and coping intervention]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be019e

Developing interventions that address psychosocial wellbeing of people living with HIV is critical to ensure strong linkages to and retention in HIV care. This paper describes the development of Sondela, an HIV adjustment and coping intervention for heterosexual men and women living with HIV, and its relevance and feasibility in the South African context. Sondela is a six three-hour, small group-based, participatory workshop series. We followed an iterative, multi-phased process of curriculum development that involved research, theoretical frameworks and piloting. A systematic review highlighted the absence of psychosocial interventions targeting heterosexual HIV positive populations living in high HIV prevalence and resource-poor settings. Formative studies demonstrated risk and social factors associated with adjustment and coping with HIV, emphasising the need for interventions that acknowledge gendered experiences. Our pilot of Sondela demonstrated high levels of relevance and feasibility. Men appreciated the workshop “space” to openly talk about their HIV positive status and what is means for their role as partners and fathers and friends. Women valued the skills and approaches because they were relevant to “real life” situations and not just about HIV. Sondela promises to be valuable in supporting health system initiatives and psychosocial support to strengthen linkages to and retention in HIV care, and this suggests a need for rigorous evaluation of Sondela to establish evidence for its effectiveness in a general population.

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<![CDATA[Information ranks highest: Expectations of female adolescents with a rare genital malformation towards health care services]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db51ab0ee8fa60bdc4d2

Background

Access to highly specialized health care services and support to meet the patient’s specific needs is critical for health outcome, especially during age-related transitions within the health care system such as with adolescents entering adult medicine. Being affected by an orphan disease complicates the situation in several important respects. Long distances to dedicated institutions and scarcity of knowledge, even among medical doctors, may present major obstacles for proper access to health care services and health chances. This study is part of the BMBF funded TransCareO project examining in a mixed-method design health care provisional deficits, preferences, and barriers in health care access as perceived by female adolescents affected by the Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome (MRKHS), a rare (orphan) genital malformation.

Methods

Prior to a communicative validation workshop, critical elements of MRKHS related care and support (items) were identified in interviews with MRKHS patients. During the subsequent workshop, 87 persons involved in health care and support for MRKHS were asked to rate the items using a 7-point Likert scale (7, strongly agree; 1, strongly disagree) as to 1) the elements’ potential importance (i.e., health care expected to be “best practice”, or priority) and 2) the presently experienced care. A gap score between the two was computed highlighting fields of action. Items were arranged into ten separate questionnaires representing domains of care and support (e.g., online-portal, patient participation). Within each domain, several items addressed various aspects of “information” and “access”. Here, we present the outcome of items’ evaluation by patients (attended, NPAT = 35; respondents, NRESP = 19).

Results

Highest priority scores occurred for domains “Online-Portal”, “Patient participation”, and “Tailored informational offers”, characterizing them as extremely important for the perception as best practice. Highest gap scores yielded domains “Tailored informational offers”, reflecting perceived lack of disease-related information for affected persons, medical experts, and health insurance companies, “Online-Portal” (with limited information available on specialist clinics and specialized doctors), and regarding insufficient support offers (e.g., in school and occupational settings). Conversely, lowest gap scores were found with group offers for MRKHS patients (“Transition programs”) and MRKHS self-help days (“Patient participation”), suggesting satisfaction or good solutions in place.

Discussion

The importance assigned to disease-related information indicates that informational deficits are perceived by patients as barriers, hindering proper access to health care, especially in an orphan disease. Access to health-related information plays a role for all persons seeking help and care. However, the overwhelmingly high scores attributed to these elements in the context of an orphan disease reveal that here improved information policies are crucial, demanding for institutionalized solutions supported by the health care system.

Implications for practice

The disparity between experience of care and attribution as best practice detected describes areas of action in all domains involved, highlighting information related fields. New concepts and structures for health care in orphan diseases could draw upon these patient-oriented results a) regarding orphan-disease specific elements demanding institutionalized reimbursement, b) essential elements for center care and corresponding networks, and c) elements reflecting patients´ participation in the conception of centers for rare diseases.

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<![CDATA[Training in High-Throughput Sequencing: Common Guidelines to Enable Material Sharing, Dissemination, and Reusability]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da38ab0ee8fa60b86daa

The advancement of high-throughput sequencing (HTS) technologies and the rapid development of numerous analysis algorithms and pipelines in this field has resulted in an unprecedentedly high demand for training scientists in HTS data analysis. Embarking on developing new training materials is challenging for many reasons. Trainers often do not have prior experience in preparing or delivering such materials and struggle to keep them up to date. A repository of curated HTS training materials would support trainers in materials preparation, reduce the duplication of effort by increasing the usage of existing materials, and allow for the sharing of teaching experience among the HTS trainers’ community. To achieve this, we have developed a strategy for materials’ curation and dissemination. Standards for describing training materials have been proposed and applied to the curation of existing materials. A Git repository has been set up for sharing annotated materials that can now be reused, modified, or incorporated into new courses. This repository uses Git; hence, it is decentralized and self-managed by the community and can be forked/built-upon by all users. The repository is accessible at http://bioinformatics.upsc.se/htmr.

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<![CDATA[Increasing Awareness about Antibiotic Use and Resistance: A Hands-On Project for High School Students]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da9bab0ee8fa60ba3ade

Background

Health-promoting education is essential to foster an informed society able to make decisions about socio-scientific issues based on scientifically sustained criteria. Antibiotic resistance is currently a major public health issue. Considering that irrational antibiotic use has been associated with the development and widespread of antibiotic resistant bacteria, educational interventions to promote prudent antibiotic consumption are required.

Methodology/Principal Findings

This study focuses on the outcomes of an interventional program implemented at the University of Porto, Portugal, to promote awareness about antibiotic resistance at high school levels (15–17 year old). The project Microbiology recipes: antibiotics à la carte articulates a set of wet and dry lab activities designed to promote the participants’ understanding of concepts and processes underlying antibiotics’ production and activity, such as the notion of mechanisms of action of antibiotics. Following a mix-method approach based on a pre−/post design, the effectiveness of this project was assessed by gathering data from surveys, direct observation and analysis of artifacts of 42 high school students (aged 15 and 16 years). The results indicate that the participants developed a more comprehensive picture of antibiotic resistance. The project was shown to promote more sophisticated conceptualizations of bacteria and antibiotics, increased awareness about the perils of antibiotic resistance, and enhanced consciousness towards measures that can be undertaken to mitigate the problem. The participants regarded their experiences as enjoyable and useful, and believed that the project contributed to improve their understanding and raise their interest about the issues discussed. Furthermore, there were also improvements in their procedural skills concerning the laboratory techniques performed.

Conclusions/Significance

This study evidences the possibility of increasing high school students’ awareness about the consequences of antibiotic resistance and the importance of judicious antibiotic use. The findings inform about the educational benefits of incorporating hands-on activities in science education programs.

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<![CDATA[Continuing Education Workshops in Bioinformatics Positively Impact Research and Careers]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db2bab0ee8fa60bd159e

Bioinformatics.ca has been hosting continuing education programs in introductory and advanced bioinformatics topics in Canada since 1999 and has trained more than 2,000 participants to date. These workshops have been adapted over the years to keep pace with advances in both science and technology as well as the changing landscape in available learning modalities and the bioinformatics training needs of our audience. Post-workshop surveys have been a mandatory component of each workshop and are used to ensure appropriate adjustments are made to workshops to maximize learning. However, neither bioinformatics.ca nor others offering similar training programs have explored the long-term impact of bioinformatics continuing education training. Bioinformatics.ca recently initiated a look back on the impact its workshops have had on the career trajectories, research outcomes, publications, and collaborations of its participants. Using an anonymous online survey, bioinformatics.ca analyzed responses from those surveyed and discovered its workshops have had a positive impact on collaborations, research, publications, and career progression.

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<![CDATA[Public Health Risks in Urban Slums: Findings of the Qualitative ‘Healthy Kitchens Healthy Cities’ Study in Kathmandu, Nepal]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dac6ab0ee8fa60bb2741

Background

Communities in urban slums face multiple risks to their health. These are shaped by intermediary and structural determinants. Gaining a clear understanding of these determinants is a prerequisite for developing interventions to reduce the health consequences of urban poverty. With 828 million people living in slum conditions, the need to find ways to reduce risks to health has never been greater. In many low income settings, the kitchen is the epicentre of activities and behaviours which either undermine or enhance health.

Methods

We used qualitative methods of semi-structured interviews, observation and participatory workshops in two slum areas in Kathmandu, Nepal to gain women’s perspectives on the health risks they faced in and around their kitchens. Twenty one women were interviewed and four participatory workshops with a total of 69 women were held. The women took photographs of their kitchens to trigger discussions.

Findings

The main health conditions identified by the women were respiratory disease, gastrointestinal disease and burn injuries. Women clearly understood intermediary (psychosocial, material and behavioural) determinants to these health conditions such as poor ventilation, cooking on open fires, over-crowding, lack of adequate child supervision. Women articulated the stress they experienced and clearly linked this to health conditions such as heart disease and uptake of smoking. They were also able to identify protective factors, particularly social capital. Subsequent analysis highlighted how female headed-households and those with disabilities had to contend with greater risks to health.

Conclusions

Women living in slums are very aware of the intermediary determinants–material, behavioural and psycho-social, that increase their vulnerability to ill health. They are also able to identify protective factors, particularly social capital. It is only by understanding the determinants at all levels, not just the behavioural, that we will be able to identify appropriate interventions.

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<![CDATA[To Crowdfund Research, Scientists Must Build an Audience for Their Work]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da04ab0ee8fa60b7530b

As rates of traditional sources of scientific funding decline, scientists have become increasingly interested in crowdfunding as a means of bringing in new money for research. In fields where crowdfunding has become a major venue for fundraising such as the arts and technology, building an audience for one's work is key for successful crowdfunding. For science, to what extent does audience building, via engagement and outreach, increase a scientist's abilities to bring in money via crowdfunding? Here we report on an analysis of the #SciFund Challenge, a crowdfunding experiment in which 159 scientists attempted to crowdfund their research. Using data gathered from a survey of participants, internet metrics, and logs of project donations, we find that public engagement is the key to crowdfunding success. Building an audience or “fanbase” and actively engaging with that audience as well as seeking to broaden the reach of one's audience indirectly increases levels of funding. Audience size and effort interact to bring in more people to view a scientist's project proposal, leading to funding. We discuss how projects capable of raising levels of funds commensurate with traditional funding agencies will need to incorporate direct involvement of the public with science. We suggest that if scientists and research institutions wish to tap this new source of funds, they will need to encourage and reward activities that allow scientists to engage with the public.

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<![CDATA[Fostering Critical Thinking, Reasoning, and Argumentation Skills through Bioethics Education]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da69ab0ee8fa60b9276f

Developing a position on a socio-scientific issue and defending it using a well-reasoned justification involves complex cognitive skills that are challenging to both teach and assess. Our work centers on instructional strategies for fostering critical thinking skills in high school students using bioethical case studies, decision-making frameworks, and structured analysis tools to scaffold student argumentation. In this study, we examined the effects of our teacher professional development and curricular materials on the ability of high school students to analyze a bioethical case study and develop a strong position. We focused on student ability to identify an ethical question, consider stakeholders and their values, incorporate relevant scientific facts and content, address ethical principles, and consider the strengths and weaknesses of alternate solutions. 431 students and 12 teachers participated in a research study using teacher cohorts for comparison purposes. The first cohort received professional development and used the curriculum with their students; the second did not receive professional development until after their participation in the study and did not use the curriculum. In order to assess the acquisition of higher-order justification skills, students were asked to analyze a case study and develop a well-reasoned written position. We evaluated statements using a scoring rubric and found highly significant differences (p<0.001) between students exposed to the curriculum strategies and those who were not. Students also showed highly significant gains (p<0.001) in self-reported interest in science content, ability to analyze socio-scientific issues, awareness of ethical issues, ability to listen to and discuss viewpoints different from their own, and understanding of the relationship between science and society. Our results demonstrate that incorporating ethical dilemmas into the classroom is one strategy for increasing student motivation and engagement with science content, while promoting reasoning and justification skills that help prepare an informed citizenry.

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<![CDATA[Ten Simple Rules for Curating and Facilitating Small Workshops]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db40ab0ee8fa60bd69a1 ]]> <![CDATA[Development and Two-Year Follow-Up Evaluation of a Training Workshop for the Large Preventive Positive Psychology Happy Family Kitchen Project in Hong Kong]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db28ab0ee8fa60bd0aa7

Evidence-based practice and capacity-building approaches are essential for large-scale health promotion interventions. However, there are few models in the literature to guide and evaluate training of social service workers in community settings. This paper presents the development and evaluation of the “train-the-trainer” workshop (TTT) for the first large scale, community-based, family intervention projects, entitled “Happy Family Kitchen Project” (HFK) under the FAMILY project, a Hong Kong Jockey Club Initiative for a Harmonious Society. The workshop aimed to enhance social workers’ competence and performance in applying positive psychology constructs in their family interventions under HFK to improve family well-being of the community they served. The two-day TTT was developed and implemented by a multidisciplinary team in partnership with community agencies to 50 social workers (64% women). It focused on the enhancement of knowledge, attitude, and practice of five specific positive psychology themes, which were the basis for the subsequent development of the 23 family interventions for 1419 participants. Acceptability and applicability were enhanced by completing a needs assessment prior to the training. The TTT was evaluated by trainees’ reactions to the training content and design, changes in learners (trainees) and benefits to the service organizations. Focus group interviews to evaluate the workshop at three months after the training, and questionnaire survey at pre-training, immediately after, six months, one year and two years after training were conducted. There were statistically significant increases with large to moderate effect size in perceived knowledge, self-efficacy and practice after training, which sustained to 2-year follow-up. Furthermore, there were statistically significant improvements in family communication and well-being of the participants in the HFK interventions they implemented after training. This paper offers a practical example of development, implementation and model-based evaluation of training programs, which may be helpful to others seeking to develop such programs in diverse communities.

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<![CDATA[London Education and Inclusion Project (LEIP): Exploring Negative and Null Effects of a Cluster-Randomised School-Intervention to Reduce School Exclusion—Findings from Protocol-Based Subgroup Analyses]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db04ab0ee8fa60bc7ad1

This paper presents subgroup analyses from the London Education and Inclusion Project (LEIP). LEIP was a cluster-randomised controlled trial of an intervention called Engage in Education-London (EiE-L) which aimed to reduce school exclusions in those at greatest risk of exclusion. Pupils in the control schools attended an hour-long employability seminar. Minimisation was used to randomly assign schools to treatment and control following baseline data collection. The study involved 36 schools (17 in treatment—373 pupils; 19 in control—369 pupils) with >28% free school meal eligibility across London and utilised on pupil self-reports, teacher reports as well as official records to assess the effectiveness of EiE-L. Due to multiple data sources, sample sizes varied according to analysis. Analyses of pre-specified subgroups revealed null and negative effects on school exclusion following the intervention. Our findings suggest that the design and implementation of EiE-L may have contributed to the negative outcomes for pupils in the treatment schools when compared to those in the control schools. These findings call into question the effectiveness of bolt-on short-term interventions with pupils, particularly those at the highest risk of school exclusion and when they are faced with multiple problems. This is especially pertinent given the possibility of negative outcomes.

Trial Registration: Controlled Trials: ISRCTN23244695

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<![CDATA[A Randomized Controlled Trial of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes Management: The Moderating Role of Coping Styles]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da09ab0ee8fa60b76c62

Background and Aim

Evidence of the efficacy of existing psychological interventions for self-management in diabetes is limited. The current study aimed at assessing the effects of group-based ACT on self-management of patients with T2DM, considering the moderating role of coping styles.

Methods

One hundred and six patients with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned either to the education alone (n = 53) or to a combination of education and group-based acceptance and commitment therapy (n = 53) over a period of 10 sessions. In each group, 50 participants completed a 3 month follow-up assessment.

Results

After 3 months, compared to patients who received education alone, those in the group-based acceptance and commitment therapy condition were more likely to use effective coping strategies, reported better diabetes self-care, and optimum glycated hemoglobin (HbA1C) levels in the target range.

Conclusions

Consideration of the role of coping style for a more accurate evaluation of the effects of acceptance and commitment therapy may be a useful addition to services provided for patients with type 2 diabetes.

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<![CDATA[Does Reviewing Lead to Better Learning and Decision Making? Answers from a Randomized Stock Market Experiment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da41ab0ee8fa60b8a1b2

Background

The literature is not univocal about the effects of Peer Review (PR) within the context of constructivist learning. Due to the predominant focus on using PR as an assessment tool, rather than a constructivist learning activity, and because most studies implicitly assume that the benefits of PR are limited to the reviewee, little is known about the effects upon students who are required to review their peers. Much of the theoretical debate in the literature is focused on explaining how and why constructivist learning is beneficial. At the same time these discussions are marked by an underlying presupposition of a causal relationship between reviewing and deep learning.

Objectives

The purpose of the study is to investigate whether the writing of PR feedback causes students to benefit in terms of: perceived utility about statistics, actual use of statistics, better understanding of statistical concepts and associated methods, changed attitudes towards market risks, and outcomes of decisions that were made.

Methods

We conducted a randomized experiment, assigning students randomly to receive PR or non–PR treatments and used two cohorts with a different time span. The paper discusses the experimental design and all the software components that we used to support the learning process: Reproducible Computing technology which allows students to reproduce or re–use statistical results from peers, Collaborative PR, and an AI–enhanced Stock Market Engine.

Results

The results establish that the writing of PR feedback messages causes students to experience benefits in terms of Behavior, Non–Rote Learning, and Attitudes, provided the sequence of PR activities are maintained for a period that is sufficiently long.

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<![CDATA[Peer-Led Team Learning Helps Minority Students Succeed]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4aab0ee8fa60bda027

Active learning methods have been shown to be superior to traditional lecture in terms of student achievement, and our findings on the use of Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) concur. Students in our introductory biology course performed significantly better if they engaged in PLTL. There was also a drastic reduction in the failure rate for underrepresented minority (URM) students with PLTL, which further resulted in closing the achievement gap between URM and non-URM students. With such compelling findings, we strongly encourage the adoption of Peer-Led Team Learning in undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses.

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<![CDATA[Monitoring HIV and AIDS Related Policy Reforms: A Road Map to Strengthen Policy Monitoring and Implementation in PEPFAR Partner Countries]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9dcab0ee8fa60b67e0f

Achieving an AIDS-free generation will require the adoption and implementation of critical health policy reforms. However, countries with high HIV burden often have low policy development, advocacy, and monitoring capacity. This lack of capacity may be a significant barrier to achieving the AIDS-free generation goals. This manuscript describes the increased focus on policy development and implementation by the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). It evaluates the curriculum and learning modalities used for two regional policy capacity building workshops organized around the PEPFAR Partnership Framework agreements and the Road Map for Monitoring and Implementing Policy Reforms. A total of 64 participants representing the U.S. Government, partner country governments, and civil society organizations attended the workshops. On average, participants responded that their policy monitoring skills improved and that they felt they were better prepared to monitor policy reforms three months after the workshop. When followed-up regarding utilization of the Road Map action plan, responses were mixed. Reasons cited for not making progress included an inability to meet or a lack of time, personnel, or governmental support. This lack of progress may point to a need for building policy monitoring systems in high HIV burden countries. Because the success of policy reforms cannot be measured by the mere adoption of written policy documents, monitoring the implementation of policy reforms and evaluating their public health impact is essential. In many high HIV burden countries, policy development and monitoring capacity remains weak. This lack of capacity could hinder efforts to achieve the ambitious AIDS-free generation treatment, care and prevention goals. The Road Map appears to be a useful tool for strengthening these critical capacities.

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<![CDATA[A content analysis of nature photographs taken by Lebanese rural youth]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf6e3

‘Living in Harmony with Nature’ is a 2050 vision put forth by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which takes into consideration culture and locality of perceptions of nature and aspirations for its use. Considering that 54% of the world population lives in cities, where nature has been decimated, the role of rural communities, living within or in proximity of natural and semi natural areas, will effectively influence the fate of the ‘remaining’ nature while they engage in local development. Reconciling between growth and development on the one hand, and nature conservation on the other, necessitates an understanding of how rural communities, especially the youth, imprint their own ideas on landscapes and develop ownership over natural spaces. In order to extend the understanding of how harmony with nature is perceived in different parts of the world, this paper presents the findings of primary research involving a group of young people who live in rural areas in Lebanon, a country in the Arab Middle East. Participatory research based on photovoice methodology was conducted with 77 young people aged 7–16 and residing in five rural villages located in different parts of Lebanon. Photographs taken by participants indicated that for many, nature was not perceived literally i.e. woodlands, forests, plants, animals, etc…. Instead, the participants saw nature as part of agriculture and local culture. Nature was also seen as symbolic expression of the participants’ inner state of mind. Narratives written to explain the photographs shed light on the perception of harmony with nature which focused on positive family experiences and relayed personal emotions, abstract, and holistic yet functional view of nature. Another recurring theme that emerged from photographs and narratives was the role of family members, in particular grandparents, as having a strong influence on the positive perceptions of nature.

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