SIAT - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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Semantic Web-Enabled Interventions to Support Workplace Learning

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-01-29
Abstract: 

To keep pace with today’s rapidly growing knowledge-driven society, continuous learning in workplaces and being able to self-regulate one’s learning processes have become essential. In this dissertation, I propose a set of interventions, developed using Semantic-Web technologies, to scaffold self-regulated learning (SRL) processes in workplaces. I integrate social embeddedness elements with harmonization components in the functionalities provided by these interventions to accentuate the social and contextual dimensions of workplace learning. To measure users’ SRL processes, I developed a trace-based protocol which captures users’ low-level trace data on the fly and translates them into higher level SRL events, contingencies and graphs of users’ learning actions. Findings of this research suggest that elements from both social and organizational aspects of a workplace should be integrated into the design and development of interventions which aim to support users’ SRL processes in that environment. Users’ perceived usefulness of the interventions show that they do consider the social context of their organization when planning their learning goals; yet, they prefer to know clearly what competences their organization expects them to achieve. Analysis of users’ trace data, on the other hand, indicates a relative balance between users’ reliance on both social and organizational contexts. The Social Wave intervention, which brought users updates from their social context, was the most central one during their learning actions, also the strongest determinant of users’ engagement in SRL processes. The next most central intervention included the one that informed users about how various learning resources were used by their colleagues, along with the two interventions providing users with the organizational context of their workplace. This theoretically-grounded understanding can guide researchers in intervention planning and development for workplace settings. Also, the trace-based methodology developed within this work takes promising steps toward adopting new methodological approaches in investigating SRL, and offers new ways to achieve insight into factors that promote knowledge workers’ use of self-regulatory processes. Future research can gain substantially by applying social analytics on users’ trace data collected using trace methodologies, merged with other quantitative and qualitative means for gathering data about users’ SRL beliefs and processes.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Marek Hatala
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Dissertation) Ph.D.

Ontological model for representation of learning objectives

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

Learning objects have been used to provide personalized learning experiences. In particular, sequenced learning objects are recommended according to unique individual learning objectives. The opportunity for personalization by learning objectives is not fully exploited due to limited and duplicated efforts in creating learning objectives and connecting them with learning objects. Additionally, current standardization efforts do not offer sufficient support of automatic discovery of learning objects. This thesis proposes an ontological representation model of learning objective description that aims to improve the effectiveness of consistent learning objective description, sequencing rules representation, and the availability of learning objects for personalization by learning objectives. An evaluation of the model showed that it improves the discoverability of learning objects by learning objective through annotating learning objectives in the metadata of learning objects and qualitative representation of learning objectives.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Interactive Arts and Technology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.Sc)

Iterative Model-based System for Learning Object Review

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

In learning object review, reviewers can write reviews by commenting or rating review rubrics or categories. Besides learning object review, another demand in education activities is a learning tool to help students to complete assignments by writing summaries or answering questions on designated research papers (or simulation software). Compared with learning object review, this process has the similar steps, but with rubrics. Elorp, my thesis project, is developed by sharing some ideas with the learning object review process and is implemented on top of eLera [3]. Elorp introduces an iterative review model with support of state-control and provides two scenarios for students and faculty. In order to get feedback on iterative review models and system design, an evaluation experiment is conducted. The evaluation result showed that the design for Elorp has been successfully implemented and the iterative review model is helpful for students to complete reviewlsummary assignments.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
School of Interactive Arts and Technology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Project (M.A.Sc.)

Knowledge engineering and knowledge dissemination in a mixed-initiative ontological framework

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

This research postulates that a theory-centric mixed-initiative approach to systems design is critical for the success of technology-enhanced learning environments. It explores a formal ontological mechanism to represent the underlying educational theory. It presents a design for a mixed-initiative system, named MI-EDNA, which recognizes and utilizes explanationaware opportunities for the dissemination of self-regulatory knowledge. MI-EDNA formally captures the theory of Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) in an ontological framework. It uses Description Logic and Production Rules as reasoning mechanisms to enable learners to reflect and regulate on their learning process. Using a model-tracing methodology, this research successfully maps learner interactions onto tactics, strategies, and phases/states that have be.en identified within the realms of SRL. Based on this mapping, MI-EDNA engages learners in a mixed-initiative interaction, formalizes recognition of system initiation opportunities, and provides a scaffolded learning environment to sustain sharing of learning experiences across domains and across learners.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
School of Interactive Arts and Technology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.Sc.)

Particle swarm optimization for solving constraint satisfaction problems

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

This research presents the design and evaluation of a variety of new constraint-solving algorithms based on the particle swarm optimization (PSO) paradigm. Constraint satisfaction problems (CSPs) can be applied to many practical problems but they are in general NP-hard, so developing new algorithms has been a major research challenge. PSO is a relatively new approach to A1 problem solving and has just begun to be applied to CSPs. This research modifies and extends the traditional PSOs to solve n-ary CSPs. These new particle swarm algorithms are tested on practical configuration problems and the traditional n-queens problems. The effectiveness and efficiency of the new algorithms are experimentally compared to the traditional PSOs. The performance of the individual algorithms is also assessed. The algorithms that combine zigzagging particles and repair-based CSP-solving methods perform best among the algorithms studied.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
School of Interactive Arts and Technology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.Sc.)

CADIA: Combinatorial auction winner determination using item association

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

In combinatorial auctions (CAs), bidders are allowed to bid on any combination of items. Although CAs are economically efficient mechanisms for resources allocation, most auctioneers are hesitant to adopt them due to the fact that the CA winner determination process is a non-deterministic polynomial hard (NP-hard) problem. If an exhaustive search technique is used to solve the problem realistically, the number of auctioned items and bids must be small enough to be handled by the technique due to the constraints of today's computation power. Arising from the demand for CAs, this thesis presents a novel but also practical combinatorial auction winner determination approach. Such an approach has been designed and implemented into a system called CADIA. CADIA is able to generate results with high accuracy and good performance in CAs of hundreds of items and thousands of bids. CADIA's knowledge for winner determination is discovered from a process of mining the auction data using item association. Such knowIedge is then used to identify particular bids as winners. Both potential winners and possible losers identified during the auctions are used as additional knowledge to further improve the results. Empirical evaluation shows that CADIA is more efficient than bruteforce technique based systems in terms of running time when searching for the optimal revenue. In situations where obtaining the optimal revenue becomes unrealistic to be handled by the brute-force technique, as in auctions of hundreds of items and thousands of bids, CADIA finds better approximate revenue than greedy search based systems.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
School of Interactive Arts and Technology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Dissertation (Ph.D.)

A parallel evolutionary algorithm for RNA secondary structure prediction

Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

RNA is central in several stages of protein synthesis, and also has structural and functional roles in the cell. The shape of organic molecules such as RNA largely determines their function within an organic system. Current physical methods for structure determination are time consuming and expensive, thus methods for the computational prediction of structure are sought after. Various algorithms that have been used for RNA structure prediction include dynamic programming and comparative methods. This thesis introduces P-hapredict, a fully parallel coarse-grained distributed genetic algorithm (GA) for RNA secondary structure prediction. The impact of three pseudorandom number generators (PRNGs) on P-RnaPredict's performance is evaluated. The parallel speedup of P-RnaPredict is analyzed. Finally, the prediction accuracy of P-RnaPredict is evaluated through comparison to ten known structures, and compared to structures predicted by a Nussinov DPA implementation and the mfold DPA. P-RnaPredict offers similar performance to mfold, and outperforms the Nussinov DPA.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
School of Interactive Arts and Technology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.Sc.)

Towards a multimedia simulation for interprofessional learning: Using activity theory to inform design

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

This thesis reports on a pilot case study that used activity theory in a pre-experimental phase of design-based research. The purpose of this study was to inform the initial design of a multimedia simulation for interprofessional education in the field of health and social care. Five subjects from five different health science disciplines participated in an observational study. Data collection focused on interactions between participants over three problem-based learning (PBL) sessions. Modified grounded theory coding techniques were applied within an activity theory analytic framework to illuminate structural tensions in PBL activity. Interviews with six participants were used to illuminate and corroborate findings. The results suggest three sets of structural tensions that affected interprofessional learning. These tensions suggest opportunities for instructional design improvement in which multimedia simulation could play a key supportive role. Simulation-based design alternatives are presented to resolve these tensions and to suggest new approaches to facilitating interprofessional learning.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
School of Interactive Arts and Technology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.Sc.)

Mental map preservation principles and related measurements for quantitative evaluation of force-directed graph layout algorithm behaviour

Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

Users working with graph layouts form mental maps of the layout’s parts and relative structure. When a graph layout is changed, the user’s mental map should be preserved. In the field of graph drawing, there is a need for quantitative and objective measurements to describe and compare layout algorithm behaviour as it pertains to maintenance of the mental map. This thesis presents several mental map preservation principles gathered from the literature, and generates related measurements that can be used to statistically characterize and test for significant differences between layout algorithm behaviour. Two well-known and similar Force-Directed layout algorithms (Kamada-Kawai and Fruchterman-Reingold) are compared, and the results show statistically significant differences. The measurements, statistics, and methodology presented in this thesis may be helpful to layout algorithm designers and graph layout system designers who want to be able to quantitatively and objectively test the algorithms on which they depend.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
J
Department: 
School of Interactive Arts and Technology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.Sc.)

Visual sensitivity analysis of parametric design models: improving agility in design

Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

Increasing complexity of parametric design models challenges the abilities of the human-visual perception system, and creates challenges to their effective utilization for sensitivity analysis. In this prototyping study, we propose a method for visual sensitivity analysis that aims to make the effects of change within a parametric model measurable and apparent for designers, thereby improving the potential of these tools for design analysis and improve agility in design process. The approach aims to improve visually analysing the sensitivity of a design model to planned parametric changes. The method adapts the Model-View-Controller paradigm from software engineering to decouple customizable control and visualization features in the model, while providing interfaces between them through parametric associations. We present findings from our case studies in addition to the results of a user study demonstrating the applicability and limitations of the proposed method.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
R
Department: 
School of Interactive Arts and Technology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.Sc.)