• Objects, Worlds, and Students: Virtual Interaction in Education

      Athanasios Christopoulos; Marc Conrad; Mitul Shukla (Hindawi Limited, 2014-01-01)
      The main aim of this study is to form a complete taxonomy of the types of interactions that relate to the use of a virtual world for engaging learning experiences, when blended and hybrid learning methods are to be used. In order to investigate this topic more accurately and effectively, we distinguish four dimensions of interactions based on the context in which these occur, and the involved parts: in-world and in-class, user-to-user and user-to-world interactions. In order to conduct investigation into this topic and form a view of the interactions as clear as possible, we observed a cohort of 15 undergraduate Computer Science students while using an OpenSim-based institutionally hosted virtual world. Moreover, we ran a survey where 50 students were asked to indicate their opinion and feelings about their in-world experience. The results of our study highlight that educators and instructors need to plan their in-world learning activities very carefully and with a focus on interactions if engaging activities are what they want to offer their students. Additionally, it seems that student interactions with the content of the virtual world and the in-class student-to-student interactions, have stronger impact on students’ engagement when hybrid methods are used.
    • Online Learning Resources Enhanced Teaching and Learning of Medical Mycology among Medical Students in Gulu University, Uganda

      Felix Bongomin; Bernard Erima; Richard Kwizera; Emmanuel I. Odongo-Aginya (Hindawi Limited, 2020-01-01)
      Background. The burden of serious fungal diseases has significantly increased in the past few decades; however, the number of health-care workers with expertise in the management of fungal diseases remains low, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This study aimed to evaluate the use of freely available online teaching material to enhance teaching and learning of medical mycology among medical students in Gulu University Medical School, Uganda. Methods. We conducted a cross-sectional study among second year medical students undertaking Medical Mycology course on antifungal agents in the department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology in the academic year 2017-2018. The materials were synthesized and peer-reviewed by experts in fungal diseases and were made freely available on the Leading International Fungal Education website (http://www.LIFE-Worldwide.org). A local faculty in the department delivered the lectures, and pre- and posttest scores were evaluated statistically. Results. Sixty medical students participated in the study of which 78% were male. The average score was 41% for the pretest and 52% for the posttest (p<0.0001). There was no significant difference in the scores of males and females. Majority of the students gave an above-average rating for the course material; however, 54% preferred prerecorded videos. Conclusion. Using freely available online materials on medical mycology can enhance teaching and learning of medical mycology. Because of this, there is need to incorporate up-to-date information about the subject into the curriculums of medical schools especially in LMICs.
    • Online Measurement Perspectives for Students’ Strategy Use: Tool Use within a Content Management System

      Griet Lust; Jan Elen; Geraldine Clarebout (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      The current study investigates whether students’ tool use in a Content Management Systems (CMSs) for example, blackboard, WebCT, relates to students’ strategy use within a CMS-supported course. In this way, the study strives to explain the tool use differences, and furthermore, it strives to find (online) behavioral indications for students’ strategy use. Data were collected within a first-year undergraduate course “Learning & Instruction”. Students (n=182) reported their strategy use as measured through the Inventory of Learning Styles (Vermunt, 1998). Students’ tool use within the CMS was logged. K-means cluster analyses revealed four clusters that were characterized by different strategies and accompanying tool use. Specifically, two clusters revealed a tool use pattern that was in line with the behavioral profile of students’-reported strategy use. Interestingly, two clusters revealed a tool use pattern that was in contrast to the reported strategy use. These results raise questions with respect to students’ tool perceptions and students’ calibration capacities.
    • Opinions about Teaching Modalities: A Comparison between Faculty and Students

      Shilpa Shah; Gerhard Meisenberg (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      Little is known about the acceptance of different teaching/learning modalities by students and faculty in the preclinical semesters of medical school. We report the results of an anonymous survey at Ross University School of Medicine, where most of the currently popular instructional methods are used. Study subjects included 327 students and 30 faculty members. 5 questions each were asked about lectures, handouts, textbooks, mediasite (video-recorded lectures), simulation, PBL (problem based learning), TBL (team-based learning), and ICM (introduction to clinical medicine, physical examination) practicals, scored on a 5-step Likert scale. Response rates were approximately 80% for students and more than 50% for faculty. Students gave the highest scores to mediasite followed by simulation, handouts, and ICM practicals. Lowest student scores were for PBL followed by TBL and textbooks. Faculty gave highest scores for lectures, followed by ICM practicals and textbooks. They gave the lowest scores for TBL followed by mediasite and PBL. Differences between students and faculty were statistically significant for lectures (P<.001), mediasite (P=.001), textbooks (P=.002), and PBL (P=.043).
    • Organizational Learning in Schools under Sanction

      Kara S. Finnigan; Alan J. Daly; Tricia J. Stewart (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      The focus on “school turnaround” has become central to policy and practice in the United States as a result of school accountability, yet little remains known about school improvement under sanction. This study uses theories of organizational learning to understand the processes through which educators search for and adopt reform strategies, as well as the extent to which these schools’ organizational culture and climate are conducive to this type of learning. Our mixed methods study involves document analysis, intensive case studies, and a survey of teachers in schools under sanction in a large urban school district in the USA. We found limited evidence of organizational learning, and instead evidence suggested superficial use of restructuring planning, rare diagnoses of root causes of low performance, and limited engagement in learning processes of school staff. In addition, schools relied on exploitation resulting in the recycling of previous practices. In part, the limited organizational learning in evidence was the result of structures and climates within these low-performing schools that inhibited a more learning-oriented approach to reform. Our study has implications for school improvement under accountability policies as it uncovers important challenges that limit organizational learning and, as a result, school improvement under sanction.
    • Parents’ and Teachers’ Views on Digital Communication in Finland

      Anne-Mari Kuusimäki; Lotta Uusitalo-Malmivaara; Kirsi Tirri (Hindawi Limited, 2019-01-01)
      Parents’ and teachers’ well-functioning communication supports their partnership and also benefits pupils’ well-being. Today, communication largely takes place using electronic tools. In the current study, Finnish parents’ (N = 1123) and teachers’ (N = 118) opinions on digital communication in urban and rural areas were studied by applying a new 14-item Digital Communication Scale (DCS) created for the purpose. The three-factor structured DCS was used to elucidate parents’ and teachers’ views on their partnership, feedback, and clarity of messaging. In contrast to some negative headlines and myths, the main finding of our study was overall satisfaction with digital communication, which was seen as supporting the parent-teacher partnership and providing valuable information on pupils’ development and their everyday issues. In particular, rural parents seemed satisfied with digital communication as a partnership-building tool. However, the view of parents was that they received less encouraging feedback about their children than teachers believed they had given. On the other hand, teachers experienced more ambiguity in digital communication than parents. This was more salient among urban teachers than among rural teachers. To summarize, rural parents and rural teachers saw digital communication as serving their collaboration better than did their urban peers. The results of the current study can be used for further development of parent-teacher communication in digital environments.
    • Patients’ Perception toward Medical Students’ Involvement in Their Surgical Care: Single Center Study

      Talal Al-Khatib; Sanaa Bin Othman; Basem El-Deek (Hindawi Limited, 2016-01-01)
      Objectives. To investigate patients’ perception regarding medical students’ role in the operating theatre. Methods. A cross-sectional study was conducted on a randomly selected sample at King Abdulaziz University Hospital. Results. 131 participated in this study. 77 of the participants were females and 50 participants were males. 46.4% think that it was important for the future doctors to be in theater during surgery. 60.2% thought that medical students only observed surgeons in the theatre and 39% thought that medical students performed minor procedures in the theatre. Conclusion. Patients underestimated the importance of medical students’ attendance and involvement in theatre compared to bedside teaching and outpatient clinics. Patients believed that medical students should obtain their consent prior to observing them in the theatre.
    • Patterns, Consequences, and Possible Causes of Dropout in Upper Secondary Education in Mexico

      Raja Bentaouet Kattan; Miguel Székely (Hindawi Limited, 2015-01-01)
      The present study provides a detailed analysis of upper secondary education dropout patterns in Mexico, exploring its consequences and possible causes. To perform the analysis we combine different databases and statistical methods ranging from the use of surveys with information on specific individuals to data aggregated at the municipal and state level. The main value added is the simultaneous analysis of the influence of individual-family, community, and macroaggregate factors, on school dropout in the country.
    • Pedagogical Content Knowledge-Guided Lesson Study: Effects on Teacher Competence and Students’ Achievement in Chemistry

      John Lou S. Lucenario; Rosanelia T. Yangco; Amelia E. Punzalan; Allen A. Espinosa (Hindawi Limited, 2016-01-01)
      This study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of Pedagogical Content Knowledge-Guided Lesson Study (PCKLS) as an intervention to develop PCK competencies among teachers and consequently enhance student achievement in terms of conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills. Using quasi-experimental design, teacher competencies and student achievement in the PCKLS group and the conventional group were compared. In the PCKLS group, the intervention involved planning the lesson by the research team, teaching the planned lesson while PCK observations were made by the researcher and another teacher from the group, including a feedback meeting, implementing the improvements in the reteach stage of the lesson study cycle by another teacher from the research team, and, finally, revising lesson plans based on the consolidated suggestions for improvement. Analyses of data showed that there was a significant difference in the science teacher competencies of the PCKLS group teacher respondents compared to those of the conventional group. Also, student respondents showed a significant increase on mean scores in terms of conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills. Therefore, it was concluded that PCKLS was an effective method to develop the teachers’ PCK competencies and student achievement in terms of conceptual understanding and problem solving. This study recommends that this intervention be used across chemistry topics and in other science classes such as Biology, Earth and Environmental Science, Physics, and Mathematics.
    • Peer Review of Manuscripts: A Valuable yet Neglected Educational Tool for Early-Career Researchers

      Robert McNair; Hai Anh Le Phuong; Levente Cseri; Gyorgy Szekely (Hindawi Limited, 2019-01-01)
      With the number of publications being all-time high, academic peer review is imperative to ensure high-quality research content. The wider involvement of postgraduate, early-career researchers (ECRs) has been proposed on several platforms to address the unsustainability of the peer review process caused by a lack of peer reviewers. A survey involving 1203 academics and ECRs in ten countries revealed their attitudes towards the involvement of ECRs in the peer review process. The trends and motives were identified, with emphasis on the peer review being an oft-neglected tool in the skill development of ECRs. In light of the survey results, the transferrable skills that ECRs acquire from performing peer reviews at a crucial stage in their career development are systematically explored. The findings call for further engagement of ECRs in the peer review process under supervisory mentoring.
    • People, Means, and Activities: A Conceptual Framework for Realizing the Educational Potential of Makerspaces

      Avneet Hira; Morgan M. Hynes (Hindawi Limited, 2018-01-01)
      Makerspaces are environments where individuals use technologies to make physical artifacts within a community of fellow Makers. There has been growing interest in the educational potential of Making activities which has resulted in many schools procuring tools and technologies to set up their Makerspaces. However, there is scant research investigating the efficacy of Making these newly emerging Makerspaces intended for learning. In our work, we narrow this gap in knowledge between the claimed educational potential of Making and its attainment. By synthesizing prior work and publically available data on Makerspaces, we introduce a framework to situate the educational considerations for Makerspaces and recommend directions for future research on educational Makerspaces. Being cognizant of the Maker culture having emerged outside of the academic literature, we synthesize publically available data from 53 untraditional but relevant sources. These sources include definitions of Making forwarded by 3 well-established Maker initiatives (Makerspace, Hackerspace, and Fab Lab), 18 relevant sites of Making activities across the United States, 17 sites from other countries (namely, China, India, Morocco, and Spain), and 15 Maker initiatives at schools in the United States. After proposing and detailing the framework, we recommend directions for future research to attain the potential of educational Making.
    • Perception of Learning Assessment Methods by Students at the End of Their Initial Training at the Faculty of Dentistry of Casablanca

      L. Benkirane; M. Hamza; W. Sbihi; El Arabi (Hindawi Limited, 2019-01-01)
      Aim. To explore students’ perception of theoretical, preclinical, and clinical assessment methods and to analyze their level of satisfaction, with the final goal of getting out with recommendations to improve the weaknesses identified. Material and Methods. A descriptive and transversal survey was carried out by a doctoral student in the Faculty of Dentistry of Casablanca on the perception of students, at the end of their initial training, of learning assessment methods. Results. 51.8% of surveyed students said they were not informed of the criteria to pass successfully the exams, 35.7% of students felt that integrating continuous assessment in addition to the final test would be beneficial for them, and 45.1% of them proposed a frequency of one assessment per month. According to them, this system will allow them to be up to date, to better manage time and knowledge, and to have feedback allowing them to check and improve their skills. Practical activities assessment systems are considered to be adequate by 92% of the surveyed students. Clinical internship assessment focused for the majority of students on the number of procedures. Conclusion. The assessment methods influence students’ learning. It allows teachers to monitor students’ productivity, their attitude, and their work quality, so the teacher can identify gaps in a timely manner at every level of the learning process. According to the students’ perception, the theoretical evaluation should be adapted to the learning objectives, the practical work is quite satisfactory, and the clinical evaluation is mainly based on quantitative criteria.
    • Perceptions of Scientists and Stereotypes through the Eyes of Young School Children

      Margareta M. Thomson; Zarifa Zakaria; Ramona Radut-Taciu (Hindawi Limited, 2019-01-01)
      The goal of the current study was to investigate children’s representations of scientists using the Draw-a-Scientist Test (DAST). Participants (n=210) were young school children from Romania enrolled in both rural and urban public schools from grade levels 3, 4, and 5. The study findings showed that most children represented stereotypical characteristics of scientists in their drawings such as white male wearing lab coats using instruments that reflected a chemistry lab. Results also indicated statistically significant differences in the score of stereotyping indicators with respect to student grade level. Additionally, students who visited science museums scored significantly higher in stereotyping indicators than students who indicated on their survey answers that they have not visited science museums. Findings are discussed in relationship with students’ views about scientists and their understanding of science.
    • Personal Epistemology of University Students: Individual Profiles

      Minna Kaartinen-Koutaniemi; Sari Lindblom-Ylänne (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      The aims of this study were to examine and compare the consistency of personal epistemology profiles among university students representing three academic disciplines. Student interview data (N = 87) were analyzed in order to reveal students' conceptions of knowledge, thinking, and reasoning. The individual answers were examined and rated on a scale from absolutist to evaluativist thinking. On the basis of the student answers, three personal epistemology profiles were identified from the data: (i) absolutist profiles; (ii) relativistic profiles; and (iii) evaluativist profiles consisting of the subgroups entitled “limited” and “sophisticated.” The categorization of personal epistemology profiles was compared with background variables such as age, major subject, and study phase. The results indicated that the personal epistemology profiles varied significantly among students on the basis of the background variables. Explanations for the consistent and inconsistent personal epistemology profiles are discussed in more detail.
    • Personality Traits as Predictor of Emotional Intelligence among the University Teachers as Advisors

      Nawal G. Alghamdi; Muhammad Aslam; Khushnoor Khan (Hindawi Limited, 2017-01-01)
      The focus of the present study was to investigate personality traits as the predictor of emotional intelligence (EI) among the university teachers working as student advisors. A sample of the study comprised 100 student advisors (male = 50; female = 50). The age range of the sample was 21–40 years. Schutte Emotional Intelligence Scale (SEIS) and Big Five Inventory (BFI) were used to measure emotional intelligence (EI) and personality traits. For the statistical analysis of the data, T-test and regression analysis were computed. The findings revealed that three personality traits, extraversion, agreeableness, and openness to experience, emerged as significant predictors of EI. The findings also revealed that conscientiousness and neuroticism have no impact on EI. T-tests indicated that there are no gender differences in EI. Considering the implication of personality traits on EI among university teachers/student advisors, the current research may assist in augmenting the organizational behavior in general and boost the productivity in particular which are both essential ingredients for the deliverance of services to all the stakeholders linked with the educational system in Saudi Arabia.
    • Predicting Mathematical Performance: The Effect of Cognitive Processes and Self-Regulation Factors

      Mariel Musso; Eva Kyndt; Eduardo Cascallar; Filip Dochy (Hindawi Limited, 2012-01-01)
      A substantial number of research studies have investigated the separate influence of working memory, attention, motivation, and learning strategies on mathematical performance and self-regulation in general. There is still little understanding of their impact on performance when taken together, understanding their interactions, and how much each of them contributes to the prediction of mathematical performance. With the emergence of new methodologies and technologies, such as the modelling with predictive systems, it is now possible to study these effects with approaches which use a wide range of data, including student characteristics, to estimate future performance without the need of traditional testing (Boekaerts and Cascallar, 2006). This research examines the different cognitive patterns and complex relations between cognitive variables, motivation, and background variables associated with different levels of mathematical performance using artificial neural networks (ANNs). A sample of 800 entering university students was used to develop three ANN models to identify the expected future level of performance in a mathematics test. These ANN models achieved high degree of precision in the correct classification of future levels of performance, showing differences in the pattern of relative predictive weight amongst those variables. The impact on educational quality, improvement, and accountability is highlighted.
    • Predictors of Academic and Social Success and Psychological Well-Being in College Students

      Jill M. Norvilitis; Howard M. Reid (Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2012-01-01)
      The present study utilized 217 student participants to examine academic, circumstantial, and personal predictors of four categories of college success. Although study skills were most important in predicting grade point average, other factors, including parental encouragement of intellectual curiosity during childhood, ADHD symptomatology, appreciation of the liberal arts, and varying motives to attend college, were also predictive of success, as indicated by measures of academic adjustment, social adjustment, and satisfaction with life. The results replicate previous research indicating that study skills, ADHD symptomatology, and motives to attend college are predictors of various measures of college success and extend prior work by establishing a relationship between college success and two additional variables, parental encouragement of intellectual curiosity and the correspondence between student and institutional values.
    • Preferences of Dental Students towards Teaching Strategies in Two Major Dental Colleges in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

      Eman M. AlHamdan; Huda I. Tulbah; Ghaida A. AlDuhayan; Lamees S. AlBedaiwi (Hindawi Limited, 2016-01-01)
      Objectives. To explore and compare undergraduate dental students’ views and preferences towards various teaching strategies. Methods. A questionnaire was developed and distributed to 345 male and female undergraduate dental students from the two major dental schools in Riyadh (College of Dentistry, King Saud University [KSU], and Riyadh Colleges of Dentistry and Pharmacy [RCsDP]). Students’ preferences for various components of the lecture courses were investigated. Descriptive and crosstab analyses were used to compare the students’ preferences for each school and between genders; the chi-square test was used to measure the significance level (P=0.05). Results. The majority of students preferred having the lecture schedule announced in advance. Females preferred morning lectures, whereas male students preferred afternoon lectures. Nearly half of the students thought that attending lectures should be mandatory; most of them were from KSU. Most of the students reported preferring a PowerPoint presentation lecture. The students, particularly female students, also preferred to receive lecture handouts and study materials before the session and to have practical demonstrations after the lecture. Conclusion. Teachers should consider students’ opinions when constructing courses because this feedback would have a positive impact on the teaching environment and students’ performance.
    • Preparedness and Practice Management Skills of Graduating Dental Students Entering the Work Force

      Jane Manakil; Selwa Rihani; Roy George (Hindawi Limited, 2015-01-01)
      Dental education aims to produce competent graduates with the ability to provide quality care to the patients and facilitate the smooth integration into professional practice. The objective of this study was to explore the overall preparedness of graduands for integrating into professional practice. The survey was tested for reliability and analysed the career paths, learning preferences, overall knowledge, and confidence amongst graduating dentists in integrating and managing a dental practice on graduation. Sixty-nine students (89.6%) in age group of 20–50 years participated in the study. Students indicated a high level of confidence in their skills and ability to work in a team in a practice or collaboratively with other colleagues and specialists but expressed some reservation on their practice management skills (73.1%). Challenges in gaining employment and pressures to repay educational debts are amongst the reasons for graduands preferring a paid job immediately on graduation regardless of demographics. Students indicated that an increase in speciality training and clinical/outreach placements could enhance employability. This study explores the students’ perception of their confidences, knowledge, learning preferences, and practice management skills as a method of evaluating their preparedness to practice on graduation and provides a base line for curriculum structuring to prepare graduands to enter the competitive dental work force.
    • Preparing Globally Competent Teachers: A Paradigm Shift for Teacher Education in Ghana

      John Kwasi Annan (Hindawi Limited, 2020-01-01)
      It is well known that quality and positive school outcomes are determined by teacher competence, sensitivity, and motivation which are summed as teacher quality. The role teachers play in shaping society requires that training of same must be of utmost priority of governments. With reference to the relevance of archival materials, the study relied mostly on observation and secondary sources of data with content analysis on training of teachers in Ghana. This study identified various elements that contribute to the quality of teachers which ultimately increases the quality of education. These included quality assurance of teacher education, initial training of teachers, deployment processes, professional growth, compensation, and regulatory bodies that ensure standards and compliance. The article also found out that low investments in teacher education, allowing nonprofessional graduates to teach, poor living, and working condition are deterrent to teachers from accepting postings to rural and deprived areas; lack of regular and consistent training for professional development and poor motivation packages for teachers are some of the reasons for poor quality in the education delivery at the basic school level. The study then advocates that teachers must be trained strictly by educational institutions only, aptitude test must be used to recruit teachers, intensify curricula reform to address critical thinking skills in teachers, institute regular development training for teachers, and motivate teachers who accept postings to rural areas.