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Promoting meaningful uses of technology in a middle school

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Federal education policies call for school district leaders to promote classroom technology integration to prepare students with 21st century skills. However, schools are struggling to integrate technology effectively, with students often reporting that they feel like they need to power

Federal education policies call for school district leaders to promote classroom technology integration to prepare students with 21st century skills. However, schools are struggling to integrate technology effectively, with students often reporting that they feel like they need to power down and step back in time technologically when they enter classrooms. The lack of meaningful technology use in classrooms indicates a need for increased teacher preparation. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact a coaching model of professional development had on school administrators` abilities to increase middle school teachers` technology integration in their classrooms. This study attempted to coach administrators to develop and articulate a vision, cultivate a culture, and model instruction relative to the meaningful use of instructional technology. The study occurred in a middle school. Data for this case study were collected via administrator interviews, the Principal`s Computer Technology Survey, structured observations using the Higher Order Thinking, Engaged Learning, Authentic Learning, Technology Use protocol, field notes, the Technology Integration Matrix, teacher interviews, and a research log. Findings concluded that cultivating change in an organization is a complex process that requires commitment over an extended period of time. The meaningful use of instructional technology remained minimal at the school during fall 2010. My actions as a change agent informed the school`s administrators about the role meaningful use of technology can play in instruction. Limited professional development, administrative vision, and expectations minimized the teachers` meaningful use of instructional technology; competing priorities and limited time minimized the administrators` efforts to improve the meaningful use of instructional technology. Realizing that technology proficient teachers contribute to student success with technology, it may be wise for administrators to incorporate technology-enriched professional development and exercise their leadership abilities to promote meaningful technology use in classrooms.

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2011

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Leveraging faculty and peer leaders to promote commuter student co-curricular engagement: a collegiate retention intervention study

Description

It is commonly accepted that undergraduate degree attainment rates must improve if postsecondary educational institutions are to meet macroeconomic demands. Involvement in co-curricular activities, such as student clubs and organizations, has been shown to increase students' satisfaction with their college

It is commonly accepted that undergraduate degree attainment rates must improve if postsecondary educational institutions are to meet macroeconomic demands. Involvement in co-curricular activities, such as student clubs and organizations, has been shown to increase students' satisfaction with their college experience and the rates by which they might persist. Yet, strategies that college administrators, faculties, and peer leaders may employ to effectively promote co-curricular engagement opportunities to students are not well developed. In turn, I created the Sky Leaders program, a retention-focused intervention designed to promote commuter student involvement in academically-purposeful activities via faculty- and peer-lead mentoring experiences. Working from an interpretivist research paradigm, this quasi-experimental mixed methods action research study was intended to measure the intervention's impact on participants' re-enrollment and reported engagement rates, as well as the effectiveness of its conceptual and logistical aspects. I used enrollment, survey, interview, observation, and focus group data collection instruments to accommodate an integrated data procurement process, which allowed for the consideration of several perspectives related to the same research questions. I analyzed all of the quantitative data captured from the enrollment and survey instruments using descriptive and inferential statistics to explore statistically and practically significant differences between participant groups. As a result, I identified one significant finding that had a perceived positive effect. Expressly, I found the difference between treatment and control participants' reported levels of engagement within co-curricular activities to be statistically and practically significant. Additionally, consistent with Glaser and Strauss' grounded theory approach, I employed open, axial, and selective coding procedures to analyze all of the qualitative data obtained via open-ended survey items, as well as interview, observation, and focus group instruments. After I reviewed and examined the qualitative data corpus, I constructed six themes reflective of the participants' programmatic experiences as well as conceptual and logistical features of the intervention. In doing so, I found that faculty, staff, and peer leaders may efficaciously serve in specific mentoring roles to promote co-curricular engagement opportunities and advance students' institutional academic and social integration, thereby effectively curbing their potential college departure decisions, which often arise out of mal-integrative experiences.

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2011

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Collaboration across organizational boundaries: developing an information technology community of practice : Arizona State University

Description

Rapidly increasing demand for technology support services, and often shrinking budgetary and staff resources, create enormous challenges for information technology (IT) departments in public sector higher education. To address these difficult circumstances, the researcher developed a network of IT professionals

Rapidly increasing demand for technology support services, and often shrinking budgetary and staff resources, create enormous challenges for information technology (IT) departments in public sector higher education. To address these difficult circumstances, the researcher developed a network of IT professionals from schools in a local community college system and from a research university in the southwest into an interorganizational community of practice (CoP). This collaboration allowed members from participating institutions to share knowledge and ideas relating to shared technical problems. This study examines the extent to which the community developed, the factors that contributed to its development and the value of such an endeavor. The researcher used a mixed methods approach to gather data and insights relative to these research questions. Data were collected through online surveys, meeting notes and transcripts, post-meeting questionnaires, semi-structured interviews with key informants, and web analytics. The results from this research indicate that the group did coalesce into a CoP. The researcher identified two crucial roles that aided this development: community coordinator and technology steward. Furthermore, the IT professionals who participated and the leaders from their organizations reported that developing the community was a worthwhile venture. They also reported that while the technical collaboration component was very valuable, the non-technical topics and interactions were also very beneficial. Indicators also suggest that the community made progress toward self-sustainability and is likely to continue. There is also discussion of a third leadership role that appears important for developing CoPs that span organizational boundaries, that of the community catalyst. Implications from this study suggest that other higher education IT organizations faced with similar circumstances may be able to follow the model presented here and also achieve positive results.

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2011

Robust margin based classifiers for small sample data

Description

In many classication problems data samples cannot be collected easily, example in drug trials, biological experiments and study on cancer patients. In many situations the data set size is small and there are many outliers. When classifying such data, example

In many classication problems data samples cannot be collected easily, example in drug trials, biological experiments and study on cancer patients. In many situations the data set size is small and there are many outliers. When classifying such data, example cancer vs normal patients the consequences of mis-classication are probably more important than any other data type, because the data point could be a cancer patient or the classication decision could help determine what gene might be over expressed and perhaps a cause of cancer. These mis-classications are typically higher in the presence of outlier data points. The aim of this thesis is to develop a maximum margin classier that is suited to address the lack of robustness of discriminant based classiers (like the Support Vector Machine (SVM)) to noise and outliers. The underlying notion is to adopt and develop a natural loss function that is more robust to outliers and more representative of the true loss function of the data. It is demonstrated experimentally that SVM's are indeed susceptible to outliers and that the new classier developed, here coined as Robust-SVM (RSVM), is superior to all studied classier on the synthetic datasets. It is superior to the SVM in both the synthetic and experimental data from biomedical studies and is competent to a classier derived on similar lines when real life data examples are considered.

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2011

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Detecting sybil nodes in static and dynamic networks

Description

Peer-to-peer systems are known to be vulnerable to the Sybil attack. The lack of a central authority allows a malicious user to create many fake identities (called Sybil nodes) pretending to be independent honest nodes. The goal of the malicious

Peer-to-peer systems are known to be vulnerable to the Sybil attack. The lack of a central authority allows a malicious user to create many fake identities (called Sybil nodes) pretending to be independent honest nodes. The goal of the malicious user is to influence the system on his/her behalf. In order to detect the Sybil nodes and prevent the attack, a reputation system is used for the nodes, built through observing its interactions with its peers. The construction makes every node a part of a distributed authority that keeps records on the reputation and behavior of the nodes. Records of interactions between nodes are broadcast by the interacting nodes and honest reporting proves to be a Nash Equilibrium for correct (non-Sybil) nodes. In this research is argued that in realistic communication schedule scenarios, simple graph-theoretic queries such as the computation of Strongly Connected Components and Densest Subgraphs, help in exposing those nodes most likely to be Sybil, which are then proved to be Sybil or not through a direct test executed by some peers.

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2010

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Stereo based visual odometry

Description

The exponential rise in unmanned aerial vehicles has necessitated the need for accurate pose estimation under any extreme conditions. Visual Odometry (VO) is the estimation of position and orientation of a vehicle based on analysis of a sequence of images

The exponential rise in unmanned aerial vehicles has necessitated the need for accurate pose estimation under any extreme conditions. Visual Odometry (VO) is the estimation of position and orientation of a vehicle based on analysis of a sequence of images captured from a camera mounted on it. VO offers a cheap and relatively accurate alternative to conventional odometry techniques like wheel odometry, inertial measurement systems and global positioning system (GPS). This thesis implements and analyzes the performance of a two camera based VO called Stereo based visual odometry (SVO) in presence of various deterrent factors like shadows, extremely bright outdoors, wet conditions etc... To allow the implementation of VO on any generic vehicle, a discussion on porting of the VO algorithm to android handsets is presented too. The SVO is implemented in three steps. In the first step, a dense disparity map for a scene is computed. To achieve this we utilize sum of absolute differences technique for stereo matching on rectified and pre-filtered stereo frames. Epipolar geometry is used to simplify the matching problem. The second step involves feature detection and temporal matching. Feature detection is carried out by Harris corner detector. These features are matched between two consecutive frames using the Lucas-Kanade feature tracker. The 3D co-ordinates of these matched set of features are computed from the disparity map obtained from the first step and are mapped into each other by a translation and a rotation. The rotation and translation is computed using least squares minimization with the aid of Singular Value Decomposition. Random Sample Consensus (RANSAC) is used for outlier detection. This comprises the third step. The accuracy of the algorithm is quantified based on the final position error, which is the difference between the final position computed by the SVO algorithm and the final ground truth position as obtained from the GPS. The SVO showed an error of around 1% under normal conditions for a path length of 60 m and around 3% in bright conditions for a path length of 130 m. The algorithm suffered in presence of shadows and vibrations, with errors of around 15% and path lengths of 20 m and 100 m respectively.

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2010

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Materialized views over heterogeneous structured data sources in a distributed event stream processing environment

Description

Data-driven applications are becoming increasingly complex with support for processing events and data streams in a loosely-coupled distributed environment, providing integrated access to heterogeneous data sources such as relational databases and XML documents. This dissertation explores the use of materialized

Data-driven applications are becoming increasingly complex with support for processing events and data streams in a loosely-coupled distributed environment, providing integrated access to heterogeneous data sources such as relational databases and XML documents. This dissertation explores the use of materialized views over structured heterogeneous data sources to support multiple query optimization in a distributed event stream processing framework that supports such applications involving various query expressions for detecting events, monitoring conditions, handling data streams, and querying data. Materialized views store the results of the computed view so that subsequent access to the view retrieves the materialized results, avoiding the cost of recomputing the entire view from base data sources. Using a service-based metadata repository that provides metadata level access to the various language components in the system, a heuristics-based algorithm detects the common subexpressions from the queries represented in a mixed multigraph model over relational and structured XML data sources. These common subexpressions can be relational, XML or a hybrid join over the heterogeneous data sources. This research examines the challenges in the definition and materialization of views when the heterogeneous data sources are retained in their native format, instead of converting the data to a common model. LINQ serves as the materialized view definition language for creating the view definitions. An algorithm is introduced that uses LINQ to create a data structure for the persistence of these hybrid views. Any changes to base data sources used to materialize views are captured and mapped to a delta structure. The deltas are then streamed within the framework for use in the incremental update of the materialized view. Algorithms are presented that use the magic sets query optimization approach to both efficiently materialize the views and to propagate the relevant changes to the views for incremental maintenance. Using representative scenarios over structured heterogeneous data sources, an evaluation of the framework demonstrates an improvement in performance. Thus, defining the LINQ-based materialized views over heterogeneous structured data sources using the detected common subexpressions and incrementally maintaining the views by using magic sets enhances the efficiency of the distributed event stream processing environment.

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2011

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Factors that influence teacher expectations of Africian American, Hispanic and low-income students

Description

There is a nationwide gap in which African American, Hispanic and low-income students perform significantly lower than their peers. Research suggests that teachers hold lower expectations for these students resulting in lower achievement. There are four main factors that influence

There is a nationwide gap in which African American, Hispanic and low-income students perform significantly lower than their peers. Research suggests that teachers hold lower expectations for these students resulting in lower achievement. There are four main factors that influence teacher expectations: stereotypes, teacher self-efficacy, school culture, language and formal policies and programs aimed at increasing teacher expectations. The purpose of this study was to inquire into the following questions: (1) What are the factors that influence teachers' academic expectations for low-income and minority students? (2) What are teacher's perceptions on the effectiveness of formal policies and programs that are aimed at increasing teacher expectations? More specifically, do teachers feel that top-down formal policies, such as teacher evaluations, uniform curriculum, and performance-based pay are effective in impacting their expectations, or do teachers believe that bottom-up policies, such as book studies and professional learning communities, make more of an impact on increasing their expectations? Ten teachers were interviewed in a school district that is consistent with the state and national achievement gap. The findings revealed that teacher expectations are influenced by the four factors I found in the research as well as two other factors: a cultural disconnect among teachers and students and teachers' level of motivation. A combination of top-down and bottom-up formal policies and programs are needed as teachers are individuals and all respond to various forms of formal policies and programs differently.

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2011

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Adaptive decentralized routing and detection of overlapping communities

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This dissertation studies routing in small-world networks such as grids plus long-range edges and real networks. Kleinberg showed that geography-based greedy routing in a grid-based network takes an expected number of steps polylogarithmic in the network size, thus justifying empirical

This dissertation studies routing in small-world networks such as grids plus long-range edges and real networks. Kleinberg showed that geography-based greedy routing in a grid-based network takes an expected number of steps polylogarithmic in the network size, thus justifying empirical efficiency observed beginning with Milgram. A counterpart for the grid-based model is provided; it creates all edges deterministically and shows an asymptotically matching upper bound on the route length. The main goal is to improve greedy routing through a decentralized machine learning process. Two considered methods are based on weighted majority and an algorithm of de Farias and Megiddo, both learning from feedback using ensembles of experts. Tests are run on both artificial and real networks, with decentralized spectral graph embedding supplying geometric information for real networks where it is not intrinsically available. An important measure analyzed in this work is overpayment, the difference between the cost of the method and that of the shortest path. Adaptive routing overtakes greedy after about a hundred or fewer searches per node, consistently across different network sizes and types. Learning stabilizes, typically at overpayment of a third to a half of that by greedy. The problem is made more difficult by eliminating the knowledge of neighbors' locations or by introducing uncooperative nodes. Even under these conditions, the learned routes are usually better than the greedy routes. The second part of the dissertation is related to the community structure of unannotated networks. A modularity-based algorithm of Newman is extended to work with overlapping communities (including considerably overlapping communities), where each node locally makes decisions to which potential communities it belongs. To measure quality of a cover of overlapping communities, a notion of a node contribution to modularity is introduced, and subsequently the notion of modularity is extended from partitions to covers. The final part considers a problem of network anonymization, mostly by the means of edge deletion. The point of interest is utility preservation. It is shown that a concentration on the preservation of routing abilities might damage the preservation of community structure, and vice versa.

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2011

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The impact of local wellness policies on school meals and wellness in public schools

Description

There has been a push to create and implement school wellness policies. Childhood obesity statistics suggest that schools may have an important role to play in promoting wellness. Childhood obesity has become a significant problem in the United States. The

There has been a push to create and implement school wellness policies. Childhood obesity statistics suggest that schools may have an important role to play in promoting wellness. Childhood obesity has become a significant problem in the United States. The percentage of obese children in the United States has more than doubled since 1970, and up to 33% of the children in the United States are currently overweight. Among the 33% of children who are overweight, 25% are obese, and 14% have type 2 diabetes, previously considered to be a condition found only in adults. This mixed-method study with a string qualitative component study examined three aspects of federally mandated local wellness polices. The study investigated the policies themselves, how the policies are understood in the local school setting, with a particular focus on the impact the policies have had on school meals. The bulk of the research data was generated through 8 in-depth interviews. The interviews were conducted with key stakeholders within 2 elementary school districts in Arizona. In addition, the evaluation of 20 local wellness polices was conducted via a rubric scoring system. The primary component found to be lacking in local wellness policies was the evaluation method. Recommendations for school districts include the establishment of a clear method of measurement.

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2011