Research

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  • Appropriate Curriculum: Enabling The Student To Meet The Transdisciplinary Challenges Of A Sustainable Society
    Appropriate Curriculum: Enabling The Student To Meet The Transdisciplinary Challenges Of A Sustainable Society
    A sustainable society at present world population levels is faced with many complex issues: curbing further human population growth, preventing nuclear, biological or chemical wars, soothing social and political tensions, fighting poverty, protecting the environment from poison and climatic change, coping with resource scarcity, and managing vulnerable ecosystems. Each one of the items in this list transcends our conventional disciplines. Considering further that all of the problems are connected makes it obvious that neither a scientifically illiterate public nor our professionals, traditionally trained in narrow disciplines, are capable of creating or maintaining a sustainable society.Scientific and ordinary literacy of the general public is a desirable if not a necessary preparation for a sustainable society. Can it be achieved through our present educational means, or is it necessary for education to change? Today, the alphabet and grammar have become simple enough for all to learn how to read and write with a minor effort, and illiteracy in developed countries is now the exception rather than the rule. Unfortunately, this is not the case with scientific literacy. To learn science today is hard and time consuming. Our scientific and engineering knowledge is fragmented into many disciplines, and our curricula in these fields are cluttered with insignificant details. The frustrating information overload prevents most contemporaries from becoming scientifically literate, and it is difficult to get even the simplest of scientific truths to a wide public.A new knowledge structure for the development of a unified science curriculum is presented in this paper. By using universal concepts and universally applicable algorithms of thinking, a knowledge core is presented which connects all the disciplines and avoids duplication. It is concluded that such a unified science reduces the quantity of information required for a broad view of existing knowledge, that the reduced effort in learning such a universal mental tool will motivate more students to think scientifically about broad issues, and that the professionals trained in transdisciplinary sciences will be able to see the "big picture" of the problems facing a sustainable society., Proceedings of the 1991 International Symposium on Technology and Society, 1991. ISTAS '91: 'Preparing for a Sustainable Society'. 21-22 Jun 1991: 264 - 270. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/ISTAS.1991.700376
    Arctic Ecological Classifications Derived from Vegetation Community and Satellite Spectral Data
    Arctic Ecological Classifications Derived from Vegetation Community and Satellite Spectral Data
    As a result of the warming observed at high latitudes, there is significant potential for the balance of ecosystem processes to change, i.e., the balance between carbon sequestration and respiration may be altered, giving rise to the release of soil carbon through elevated ecosystem respiration. Gross ecosystem productivity and ecosystem respiration vary in relation to the pattern of vegetation community type and associated biophysical traits (e.g., percent cover, biomass, chlorophyll concentration, etc.). In an arctic environment where vegetation is highly variable across the landscape, the use of high spatial resolution imagery can assist in discerning complex patterns of vegetation and biophysical variables. The research presented here examines the relationship between ecological and spectral variables in order to generate an ecologically meaningful vegetation classification from high spatial resolution remote sensing data. Our methodology integrates ordination and image classifications techniques for two non-overlapping Arctic sites across a 5° latitudinal gradient (approximately 70° to 75°N). Ordination techniques were applied to determine the arrangement of sample sites, in relation to environmental variables, followed by cluster analysis to create ecological classes. The derived classes were then used to classify high spatial resolution IKONOS multispectral data. The results demonstrate moderate levels of success. Classifications had overall accuracies between 69%–79% and Kappa values of 0.54–0.69. Vegetation classes were generally distinct at each site with the exception of sedge wetlands. Based on the results presented here, the combination of ecological and remote sensing techniques can produce classifications that have ecological meaning and are spectrally separable in an arctic environment. These classification schemes are critical for modeling ecosystem processes., Atkinson, D., & Treitz, P. (2012). Arctic ecological classifications derived from vegetation community and satellite spectral data. Remote Sensing, 4(12), 3948-3971. doi:10.3390/rs4123948
    Are Users Up to Speed? The Demand Side of Sustainable Broadband
    Are Users Up to Speed? The Demand Side of Sustainable Broadband
    Presentation to the Green ICT: Learning to be Sustainable with Computers and Broadband Workshop, Canberra, November 2008., Presentation to the Green ICT: Learning to be Sustainable with Computers and Broadband Workshop, Canberra, November 2008.
    Are we on the right path to honoring diversity in early education? Lessons learned from Canada
    Are we on the right path to honoring diversity in early education? Lessons learned from Canada
    Online version of a conference paper: Bernhard, J. K. (2002). Are we on the right path to honoring diversity in early education? Lessons learned from Canada.Presented to the National Association for Education of Young Children, New York, November, 2002.
    Argumentation Mapping in Collaborative Spatial Decision Making
    Argumentation Mapping in Collaborative Spatial Decision Making
    Collaboration and decision-making of humans usually entails logical reasoning that is expressed through discussions and individual arguments. Where collaborative work uses geo-spatial information and where decision-making has a spatial connotation, argumentation will include geographical references. Argumentation maps have been developed to support geographically referenced discussions and provide a visual access to debates in domains such as urban planning. The concept of argumentation maps provides for explicit links between arguments and the geographic objects they refer to. These geo-argumentative relations do not only allow for cartographic representation of arguments, but also support the querying of both, space and discussion. Combinations of spatial queries and retrieval of linked arguments provide a powerful way of analyzing and summarizing the current state of a debate. In this chapter, we provide an overview of the original argumentation model and we discuss related research and application development. We also link argumentation mapping to related concepts in geographic visualization, spatial decision support systems, and public participation GIS under the umbrella of collaborative GIS.
    Argumentation Maps - GIS-based Discussion Support for Online Planning
    Argumentation Maps - GIS-based Discussion Support for Online Planning
    Information technology plays a growing role in planning procedures. A procedure step which has not been supported by specific computer tools up to now, is asynchronous discussions. Such discussions can occur in public participation as well as between planners during plan design. In this paper I introduce argumentation models as a way of structuring debates, and review existing tools for recording argumentation. A limited number of tools support design-related or map-related discussions. Their short-comings for analyzing geographically referenced arguments are discussed. Finally, the concept of `argumentation maps' is described, which combine the strengths of rigorous argumentation modeling and detailed geographic location to support map-based discussions in on-line planning.
    Artificial Neural Network Modeling of High Arctic Phytomass Using Synthetic Aperture Radar and Multispectral Data
    Artificial Neural Network Modeling of High Arctic Phytomass Using Synthetic Aperture Radar and Multispectral Data
    Vegetation in the Arctic is often sparse, spatially heterogeneous, and difficult to model. Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) has shown some promise in above-ground phytomass estimation at sub-arctic latitudes, but the utility of this type of data is not known in the context of the unique environments of the Canadian High Arctic. In this paper, Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) were created to model the relationship between variables derived from high resolution multi-incidence angle RADARSAT-2 SAR data and optically-derived (GeoEye-1) Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index (SAVI) values. The modeled SAVI values (i.e., from SAR variables) were then used to create maps of above-ground phytomass across the study area. SAVI model results for individual ecological classes of polar semi-desert, mesic heath, wet sedge, and felsenmeer were reasonable, with r2 values of 0.43, 0.43, 0.30, and 0.59, respectively. When the outputs of these models were combined to analyze the relationship between the model output and SAVI as a group, the r2 value was 0.60, with an 8% normalized root mean square error (% of the total range of phytomass values), a positive indicator of a relationship. The above-ground phytomass model also resulted in a very strong relationship (r2 = 0.87) between SAR-modeled and field-measured phytomass. A positive relationship was also found between optically derived SAVI values and field measured phytomass (r2 = 0.79). These relationships demonstrate the utility of SAR data, compared to using optical data alone, for modeling above-ground phytomass in a high arctic environment possessing relatively low levels of vegetation., Collingwood, A., Treitz, P., Charbonneau, F., & Atkinson, D. M. (2014). Artificial neural network modeling of high arctic phytomass using synthetic aperture radar and multispectral data. Remote Sensing, 6(3), 2134-2153. doi:10.3390/rs6032134
    Assessing Mathematical Models of Influenza Infections Using Features of the Immune Response
    Assessing Mathematical Models of Influenza Infections Using Features of the Immune Response
    Citation: Dobrovolny HM, Reddy MB, Kamal MA, Rayner CR, Beauchemin CAA (2013) Assessing Mathematical Models of Influenza Infections Using Features of the Immune Response. PLoS ONE 8(2): e57088. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057088 Copyright: © 2013 Dobrovolny et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
    Assessing depression symptoms in those with insomnia: An examination of the Beck Depression Inventory Second Edition (BDI-II)
    Assessing depression symptoms in those with insomnia: An examination of the Beck Depression Inventory Second Edition (BDI-II)
    Background Due to concerns about overlapping symptomatology between medical conditions and depression, the validity of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) has been assessed in various medical populations. Although Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Primary Insomnia (PI) share some daytime symptoms, the BDI-II has not been evaluated for use with insomnia patients. Method Participants (N = 140) were screened for the presence of insomnia using the Duke Structured Clinical Interview for Sleep Disorders (DSISD), and evaluated for diagnosis of MDD using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV-TR (SCID). Participants’ mean BDI-II item responses were compared across two groups [insomnia with or without MDD) using multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), and the accuracy rates of suggested clinical cutoffs for the BDI-II were evaluated using a Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve analysis. Results The insomnia with depression group had significantly higher scores on several items; however, the groups did not differ on insomnia, fatigue, concentration problems, irritability, libido, increased appetite, and thoughts relating to suicide, self-criticism and punishment items. The ROC curve analysis revealed moderate accuracy for the BDI-II’s identification of depression in those with insomnia. The suggested BDI cutoff of ≥ 17 had 81% sensitivity and 79% specificity. Use of the mild cutoff for depression (≥14) had high sensitivity (91%) but poor specificity (66%). Conclusion Several items on the BDI-II might reflect sleep disturbance symptoms rather than depression per se. The recommended BDI-II cutoffs in this population have some support but a lower cutoff could result in an overclassification of depression in insomnia patients, a documented problem in the clinical literature. Understanding which items discriminate insomnia patients without depression may help address this nosological issue., J Psychiatr Res. 2009 February; 43(5): 576–582. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2008.09.002.
    Assessing semester-long student team design reports in large classes to provide individual student grades.
    Assessing semester-long student team design reports in large classes to provide individual student grades.
    This paper presents a method and tool to achieve a trade-off between workload on assessors of semester-long team-based design projects in large classes, with the need for fair and comprehensive assessments of each student individually. Students “book time” throughout the semester, recording their level of input into each project element. They each provide totals for time spent on each element of their final reports. The instructor assesses each design report as if one person wrote it. These data are combined into a single rubric/spreadsheet. The rubric scales report assessments to accommodate differences in team size, and generates a unique grade for each student in a team. Examples are given in the paper, as are details from the implementation of the method in a Fall 2015 introductory design course. There is anecdotal evidence that the method works, but there is always room for improvement. Several ideas for future modifications to method are discussed. All spreadsheets, documentation, and examples are freely available via the Web. Links are provided. Keywords: engineering design, teamwork, project, assessment, individual grading., Salustri, F. A., & Neumann, W. P. (2016). Assessing semester-long student team design reports in large classes to provide individual student grades. In Proceedings 2016 Canadian Engineering Education Association (CEEA16) Conference (Paper 042). Dalhousie University. June 19-22, 2016
    Assessment of Opto-mechanical Behavior of Biological Samples by Interferometry
    Assessment of Opto-mechanical Behavior of Biological Samples by Interferometry
    Optoacoustic imaging is a relatively novel biomedical imaging modality that relies on the absorption of light to create pressure transients that can be detected ultrasonically. In most scientific communications, the source of tissue contrast has been described as primarily optical. However, the thermomecahnical properties of tissue, as expressed through the Gruneisen coefficient, also affect the optoacoustic signal. To investigate the effect of thermomechanical tissue properties short pulses (~ 6.5 ns) from an optical parametric oscillator at 750 nm were used to irradiate coagulated and uncoagulated tissue-mimicking albumen phantoms, to emulate normal tissue and tissue that has been heated. The phantoms respond to the laser-induced stress by thermoelastic expansion. This thermomechanical behavior of the samples was assessed using an interferometric system capable of measuring transient displacements with a temporal resolution of less than 10 ns and a spatial resolution of < 10 nm. The experimental measurement allowed determination of the Gruneisen coefficient which is an important thermo-mechanical sample property that can affect generation of optoacoustic signals. An increase in the value of Gruneisen coefficient of 65% was measured when phantoms were coagulated compared to uncoagulated phantoms, consistent with the stiffening of the tissue mimicking material. This suggests that for thermal therapy the changes in the Gruneisen coefficient are also an important source of optoacoustic contrast., Online version of a Conference paper originally published as: Assessment of opto-mechanical behavior of biological samples by interferometry, Behrouz Soroushian, William M. Whelan, Michael C. Kolios (2009) In Photons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2009, edited by Alexander A. Oraevsky, Lihong V. Wang, Proc. of SPIE Vol. 7177, 71771X Publisher URL: http://spie.org/x648.html?product_id=809094
    Assessment of Socio-culturally Diverse Students: Problems in Special Educational Theory and Implications for Practice
    Assessment of Socio-culturally Diverse Students: Problems in Special Educational Theory and Implications for Practice
    Online version of an article originally published as: Bernhard, J. K. (1990). Assessment of socio-culturally diverse students: Problems in special educational theory: Implications for practice. International Journal of Dynamic Assessment and Instruction, 1(2): 86-104.