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

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Technology preferences and routines for distributed families coping with a chronic illness

Date created: 
2013-04-02
Abstract: 

Most family members want to stay aware of each other’s activities on an ongoing basis to maintain a sense of connectedness. In situations where a family member is ill, the desire to stay connected increases, as many families face the challenges of coping with the diagnosis and treatment of a chronic illness. Previous research has evaluated technologies designed to support patients and caregivers with personal health information management and sharing. However, we still do not have a detailed understanding of which technologies are preferred and what challenges people still face when sharing information with them. To address this problem, this thesis reports on a mixed-method study that explores technology preferences and health information sharing routines of distributed families coping with a chronic illness. The aim of these studies was to explore the nuances of technology selection and usage in such situations. The findings illustrate the reasons why people choose certain technologies over others, the ways in which they use them, and the challenges they face. Findings also point to the need for tools that mediate sharing health information across distance and age gaps, with consideration to respecting patient privacy and supportive roles while sharing such information.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Carman Neustaedter
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Integrating Annotative Notes and Data in the Analysis Process

Author: 
Date created: 
2013-04-03
Abstract: 

Analysts need to keep track of their analytic findings, observations, ideas, and hypotheses throughout the analysis process. While some visual analytics tools support such note taking needs, these notes are often represented as objects separate from the data and in a workspace separate from the data visualizations. Representing notes the same way as the data and integrating them with data visualizations can enable analysts to build a more cohesive picture of notes and data. We created a note taking functionality called CZNotes within the visual analytics tool CZSaw for analyzing unstructured text documents. CZNotes are designed to use the same model as the data and can thus be visualized in CZSaw's existing data views.We conducted a preliminary user study to observe the use of CZNotes and observed that CZNotes has the potential to support progressive analysis, to act as a shortcut to the data, and supports creation of new data relationships.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
John Dill
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Propagation of change and visualization of causality in dependency structures

Date created: 
2013-03-27
Abstract: 

Analysts use visual analytics tools to gain insight through data. But one problem of these tools is the complexity of the analytics process itself. Sometimes the analyst has to repeat the same task during the analysis; to rerun some previous queries or to update the state of the system by the arrival of new data. CZSaw is a visual analytics tool that stores the process of analysis and visualizes it. The dependency graph of CZSaw allows parts of the analytical process to be reused on new data to prevent repetition of those parts. This document describes the design and development of CZSaw’s dependency graph as well as its visualization. A major challenge is visualization of causality in the graph when an update gets propagated. We compare three different causality visualization methods in terms of task completion duration and accuracy in a study.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Chris Shaw
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.

Neo-modernist visual design of avatars in second life

Date created: 
2010-11-12
Abstract: 

This qualitative research considers the suitability of importing a Modernist aesthetic framework onto an avatar’s visual design in Second Life. This thesis explores whether the “archaic” Modernist concept of “medium specificity” can still be creatively expressed within the Post-Modern context of digitally plastic “multi-media” environments. This research focuses on avatar artefacts as a means to better understand Second Life’s distinct design properties. The researcher assumed the participant-observer role of a “Modern Art-Critic” in order to personify the Modernist discourse through avatar interaction. Specific activities included a case-study (which included a workshop and subsequent focus group), expert interviews and the textual analysis of avatar designs. Based on these activities, the thesis articulates seven higher level findings. These findings illustrate Modernist issues involving abstraction and representation. The results also indicate that the participants attributed more “narrative” associations towards their “abstract” avatars than initially hypothesized.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
James Bizzocchi
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

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.)