Research

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  • Uses and gratifications factors for social media use in teaching: Instructors’ perspectives
    Uses and gratifications factors for social media use in teaching: Instructors’ perspectives
    This research was motivated by an interest in understanding how social media are applied in teaching in higher education. Data were collected using an online questionnaire, completed by 333 instructors in higher education, that asked about general social media use and specific use in teaching. Education and learning theories suggest three potential reasons for instructors to use social media in their teaching: (1) exposing students to practices, (2) extending the range of the learning environment, and (3) promoting learning through social interaction and collaboration. Answers to open-ended questions about how social media were used in teaching, and results of a factor analysis of coded results, revealed six distinct factors that align with these reasons for use: (1) facilitating student engagement, (2) instructor’s organization for teaching, (3) engagement with outside resources, (4) enhancing student attention to content, (5) building communities of practice, and (6) resource discovery. These factors accord with a Uses and Gratifications perspective that depicts adopters as active media users choosing and shaping media use to meet their own needs. Results provide a more comprehensive picture of social media use than found in previous work, encompassing not only the array of media used but also the range of purposes associated with use of social media in contemporary teaching initiatives. Keywords: Adoption of technology, educational technology, higher education, instructor experiences, social media, teaching, Uses and Gratifications, Gruzd, A., Haythornthwaite, C., Paulin, D., Gilbert, S., & Esteve del Valle, M. (2016). Uses and gratifications factors for social media use in teaching: Instructors’ perspectives. New Media and Society. http://nms.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/08/08/1461444816662933.abstrac
    Using GIS towards the Characterization and Soil Mapping of the Caia Irrigation Perimeter
    Using GIS towards the Characterization and Soil Mapping of the Caia Irrigation Perimeter
    The Caia Irrigation Perimeter is an irrigation infrastructure implemented in 1968. As is often the case, the original soil map of this region (dated from 1961) does not have the detail needed to characterize a relatively small-sized zone, where intensive agricultural practices take place. Using FAO methodology and with the main goal of establishing a larger-scale soil map, adequate for the demands of a modern and intensive agriculture, we gathered the geological characterization of the study area and information about the topography, climate, and vegetation of the region. Using ArcGIS software, we overlapped this information and established a pre-map of soil resources. Based on this pre-map, we defined a set of detailed itineraries in the field, evenly distributed, in which soil samples were collected. In those distinct soil units, we opened several soil profiles, from which we selected 26 to analyze in the present study, since they characterized the existing diversity in terms of soil type and soil properties. Based on the work of verification, correction, and reinterpretation of the preliminary soil map, we reached a final soil map for the Caia Irrigation Perimeter, which is characterized by enormous heterogeneity, typical of Mediterranean soils, containing 23 distinct cartographic units, the most representative being the Distric Fluvisols with inclusions of Luvisols Distric occupying 29.9% of the total study area, and Calcisols Luvic with inclusions of Luvisols endoleptic with 11.9% of the total area. Considering the obtained information on soil properties; ArcGIS was used to develop a map in which it was possible to ascertain the impact of the continuous practice of irrigation in this area. This allows us to put forward relevant conclusions on the need to access and monitor specific Mediterranean soils in order to mitigate the environmental impact of irrigation practices., Nunes, J., Loures, L., Lopez-Piñeiro, A., Loures, A., & Vaz, E. (2016). Using GIS towards the characterization and soil mapping of the caia irrigation perimeter. Sustainability, 8(4), 368. doi:10.3390/su8040368, (This article belongs to the Special Issue Earth Observation and Geoinformation Technologies for Sustainable Development)
    Using High Frequency Ultrasound Envelope Statistics to Determine Scatterer Number Density in Dilute Cell Solutions
    Using High Frequency Ultrasound Envelope Statistics to Determine Scatterer Number Density in Dilute Cell Solutions
    Online version of a conference paper originally published as: Using High Frequency Ultrasound Envelope Statistics to Determine Scatterer Number Density in Dilute Cell Solutions, A.S. Tunis, R. E. Baddour, G. J. Czarnota, A. Giles, A. E. Worthington, M. D. Sherar, and M. C. Kolios In Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE International Ultrasonics Symposium, Volume 2, pp.878-881 Publisher URL: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpls/abs_all.jsp?arnumber=1602990
    Using Teachers’ Volunteer Experiences in the Dominican Republic to Develop Social Responsibility in Canadian Middle-School Students: An ‘Authors in the Classroom’ Approach
    Using Teachers’ Volunteer Experiences in the Dominican Republic to Develop Social Responsibility in Canadian Middle-School Students: An ‘Authors in the Classroom’ Approach
    Online version of an article originally published as: Using Teachers’ Volunteer Experiences in the Dominican Republic to Develop Social Responsibility in Canadian Middle-School Students: An ‘Authors in the Classroom’ Approach. Interamerican Journal of Education for Democracy. Vol 2, No 2 (2009). Publisher URL: http://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/ried/article/view/161
    Using action research to develop human factors approaches to improve assembly quality during early design and ramp-up of an assembly line
    Using action research to develop human factors approaches to improve assembly quality during early design and ramp-up of an assembly line
    Engineers at a large electronics new product initiation site were interested in developing human factors (HF) approaches to help improve assembly quality during two stages of their production assembly design: early design of tasks, fixtures and tooling; and during early ramp-up of new assembly lines at outsourcing sites. Researchers worked in an action research approach with company engineers and er­gonomists to integrate HF into both design stages. This paper presents the human factors approaches and discusses the challenges of using human factors to improve assembly quality. For the first stage of early design, a HF-design for assembly (HF-DFA) scorecard was developed with 22 items scored on a O (no risk or problem) to 2 (high risk or problems) scale. Items included physical risks, such as grip size and force, movement risks, such as re-grasping or re-orienting, visual risks, such as visual accuracy and inspection difficulty, and cognitive issues such as ability to detect a problem and risk of damage to part or component. High scores were associated with assembly tasks that were both reported as difficult by operators, and also had quality problems. The HF-DFA was adopted as a controlled engineering document and used to proactively score assembly tasks prior to final design of tasks, fixtures and tooling. In the second stage of early ramp, researchers combined the HF-DFA and other HF and performance-based metrics into a modified HF-house of quality (HF-HoQ) approach where the focus was on "worker" requirements rather than the traditional customer requirements. The HF-HoQ was evaluated using video of four identical tasks performed at different outsourcing locations that had a seven-fold difference in defect rates. The HF-HoQ successfully detected the site with the highest defect rate, but not the lowest. The authors recommend further testing and development of approaches that attempt to bring insight from HF to the issue of improving assembly quality. Relevance to industry: Human factors is broader than injury prevention, and has been linked to assembly quality. Two HF approaches were developed to help improve quality in early design stages and during early ramp-up of assembly lines . Companies are encouraged to develop and evaluate HF approaches for improving assembly quality., Village, J., Salustri, F. A., & Neumann, W. P. (2017). Using action research to develop human factors approaches to improve assembly quality during early design and ramp-up of an assembly line. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, 61, 107-119. doi:10.1016/j.ergon.2017.05.006
    Using knowledge translation as a framework for the design of a research protocol.
    Using knowledge translation as a framework for the design of a research protocol.
    Knowledge translation has been defined as the synthesis, dissemination, exchange and ethically-sound application of knowledge to improve health, resulting in a stronger health care system. This paper will describe the process of using an integrated knowledge translation approach to design a research protocol that will examine the effectiveness of a web-based patient educational intervention. It will begin with a description of integrative knowledge translation, followed by the presentation of a specific case example, in which integrative knowledge translation was used to develop a nursing intervention. The major elements of integrative knowledge translation that pertain to: need for a knowledge user, identification of the research approach, examination of study feasibility, and the presentation of outcomes will be addressed throughout this discussion., Fredericks, S., Martorella, G. & Catallo, C. (2014). Using knowledge translation as a framework for the design of a research protocol. International Journal of Nursing Practice.
    Using microsimulation to evaluate safety and operational implications of newer roundabout layouts for European road networks
    Using microsimulation to evaluate safety and operational implications of newer roundabout layouts for European road networks
    “Standard” roundabouts, for example those designed in some European countries, can often be characterized by low levels of safety or capacity and a high degree of sustainability. Given the proliferation of newer layouts, it is of interest to explore whether design practices could be improved by capitalizing on the experience gained internationally. Operational aspects of some of these designs have been explored previously, but there is a need to compare both the operational and safety performance of new designs to that of standard roundabouts. The objective of this paper is to evaluate the safety and operational implications of various potential alternatives to the standard roundabouts that proliferate in Europe and elsewhere. Microsimulation is used to simulate traffic operations at roundabout layout alternatives at the same levels of volume to capacity (V/C) ratio and also with the same traffic flow. Operational performance measures include the common level of service parameters, while measures of safety are based initially on time to collision (TTC) values. Threshold values of TTC were then applied in defining conflicts that are used for crash-based safety evaluation by applying crash-conflict models estimated in published research. Interesting insights were revealed, suggesting that the newer layouts should be considered where warranted by cost-benefit considerations. Keywords: road safety; traffic simulation; roundabout design; sustainable-transport indicators, Giuffrè, T., Trubia, S., Canale, A., & Persaud, B. (2017). Using Microsimulation to Evaluate Safety and Operational Implications of Newer Roundabout Layouts for European Road Networks. Sustainability, 9(11), 2084., (This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Civil Engineering: from Sustainable Materials to Sustainable Cities)
    Using multispectral airborne LiDAR data for land/water discrimination: a case study at Lake Ontario, Canada
    Using multispectral airborne LiDAR data for land/water discrimination: a case study at Lake Ontario, Canada
    Coastal areas are environmentally sensitive and are affected by nature events and human activities. Land/water interaction in coastal areas changes over time and, therefore, requires accurate detection and frequent monitoring. Multispectral Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) systems, which operate at different wavelengths, have become available. This new technology can provide an effective and accurate solution for the determination of the land/water interface. In this context, we aim to investigate a set of point features based on elevation, intensity, and geometry for this application, followed by a presentation of an unsupervised land/water discrimination method based on seeded region growing algorithm. The multispectral airborne LiDAR sensor, the Optech Titan, was used to acquire LiDAR data at three wavelengths (1550, 1064, and 532 nm) of a study area covering part of Lake Ontario in Scarborough, Canada for testing the discrimination methods. The elevation- and geometry-based features achieved an average overall accuracy of 75.1% and 74.2%, respectively, while the intensity-based features achieved 63.9% accuracy. The region growing method succeeded in discriminating water from land with more than 99% overall accuracy, and the land/water boundary was delineated with an average root mean square error of 0.51 m. The automation of this method is restricted by having double returns from water bodies at the 532 nm wavelength., Morsy, S., Shaker, A., & El-Rabbany, A. (2018). Using multispectral airborne LiDAR data for Land/Water discrimination: A case study at Lake Ontario, Canada. Applied Sciences, 8(3), 349., (This article belongs to the Special Issue Laser Scanning)
    Using workstation design parameters to predict workload - A proactive assessment approach for light assembly work
    Using workstation design parameters to predict workload - A proactive assessment approach for light assembly work
    Addressing the need for a virtual tool to predict operator load in light assembly work, a method is presented to estimate shoulder load and hand movement from layout parameters. Using three-dimensional representation of a task location relative to the seated workstation, a regression model is used to predict operator shoulder load. Hand locations for each task of the work cycle are used to determine cumulative hand movement and shoulder load. A case application of the virtual tool showed that trends from an observational tool used by Neumann et al. (2002) in a workstation comparison were matched. The virtual tool predicted shoulder load values 19.8-23.8% higher than the observational tool however this was attributed to its use of three-dimensional task analysis and a different shoulder model. Future work for the virtual tool will assess reliability, validity, the effect of underlying tool assumptions, and the incorporation of a movement time prediction method.
    Utility Assessment of a Map-Based Online Geo-Collaboration Tool
    Utility Assessment of a Map-Based Online Geo-Collaboration Tool
    Spatial group decision-making processes often include both informal and analytical components. Discussions among stakeholders or planning experts are an example of an informal component. When participants discuss spatial planning projects they typically express concerns and comments by pointing to places on a map. The Argumentation Map model provides a conceptual basis for collaborative tools that enable explicit linkages of arguments to the places to which they refer. These tools allow for the input of explicitly geo-referenced arguments as well as the visual access to arguments through a map interface. In this paper, we will review previous utility studies in geo-collaboration and evaluate a case study of a Web-based Argumentation Map application. The case study was conducted in the summer of 2005 when student participants discussed planning issues on the University of Toronto St. George campus. During a one-week unmoderated discussion phase, 11 participants wrote 60 comments on issues such as safety, facilities, parking, and building aesthetics. By measuring the participants’ use of geographic references, we draw conclusions on how well the software tool supported the potential of the underlying concept. This research aims to contribute to a scientific approach to geo-collaboration in which the engineering of novel spatial decision support methods is complemented by a critical assessment of their utility in controlled, realistic experiments.
    Validating an infrared thermal switch as a novel access technology
    Validating an infrared thermal switch as a novel access technology
    Background Recently, a novel single-switch access technology based on infrared thermography was proposed. The technology exploits the temperature differences between the inside and surrounding areas of the mouth as a switch trigger, thereby allowing voluntary switch activation upon mouth opening. However, for this technology to be clinically viable, it must be validated against a gold standard switch, such as a chin switch, that taps into the same voluntary motion. Methods In this study, we report an experiment designed to gauge the concurrent validity of the infrared thermal switch. Ten able-bodied adults participated in a series of 3 test sessions where they simultaneously used both an infrared thermal and conventional chin switch to perform multiple trials of a number identification task with visual, auditory and audiovisual stimuli. Participants also provided qualitative feedback about switch use. User performance with the two switches was quantified using an efficiency measure based on mutual information. Results User performance (p = 0.16) and response time (p = 0.25) with the infrared thermal switch were comparable to those of the gold standard. Users reported preference for the infrared thermal switch given its non-contact nature and robustness to changes in user posture. Conclusions Thermal infrared access technology appears to be a valid single switch alternative for individuals with disabilities who retain voluntary mouth opening and closing., Memarian, N., Venetsanopoulos, A. N., & Chau, T. (2010). Validating an infrared thermal switch as a novel access technology. Biomedical Engineering Online, 9(1), 38-38. doi:10.1186/1475-925X-9-38
    Validity of a theoretical model to examine blood oxygenation dependent optoacoustics
    Validity of a theoretical model to examine blood oxygenation dependent optoacoustics
    A theoretical model investigating the dependence of optoacoustic (OA) signal on blood oxygen saturation (SO2) is discussed. The derivations for the nonbandlimited and bandlimited OA signals from many red blood cells (RBCs) are presented. The OA field generated by many RBCs was obtained by summing the OA field emitted by each RBC approximated as a fluid sphere. A Monte Carlo technique was employed generating the spatial organizations of RBCs in two-dimensional. The RBCs were assumed to have the same SO2 level in a simulated configuration. The fractional number of oxyhemoglobin molecules, confined in a cell, determined the cellular SO2 and also defined the blood SO2. For the nonbandlimited case, the OA signal amplitude decreased and increased linearly with blood SO2 when illuminated by 700 and 1000 nm radiations, respectively. The power spectra exhibited similar trends over the entire frequency range (MHz to GHz). For the bandlimited case, three acoustic receivers with 2, 10, and 50 MHz as the center frequencies were considered. The linear variations of the OA amplitude with blood SO2 were also observed for each receiver at those laser sources. The good agreement between simulated and published experimental results validates the model qualitatively., Saha, R. (2012). Validity of a theoretical model to examine blood oxygenation dependent optoacoustics. J. Biomed. Opt, 17(5), p.055002.