Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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This collection contains digitized SFU theses except for those theses submitted within the last 12 months. If you cannot find the thesis you are looking for please search Recently Submitted Theses as it may be a recently submitted thesis and thus not yet available in Summit.

Building a contemplative classroom for students with anxiety

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-06-19
Abstract: 

This thesis addresses student anxiety in school. Many students feel a deep and chronic sense of anxiety, and this thesis thematizes this topic around the author’s experience as a primary school teacher. The author undertakes autobiographical reflections on her teaching experience and observations about students she teaches, studies the literature on student anxiety, and finally brings all of these into the conceptual framework of contemplative inquiry. The contemplative inquiry framework provides a lens through which to interpret and understand students who are anxious, and moreover, it provides ways of working with anxiety. The thesis presents the understanding that, for students to feel comfortable and safe in the classroom atmosphere, it is vital for educators to help create a classroom that students may feel is positive. The thesis goes into detail on inner work, mindfulness, and living curriculum. The author’s first-person experience of studying and learning in her Master of Education program, as well as autobiographical writing that capture the author’s childhood memories that pertain to the thesis topic, are presented in this thesis.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Heesoon Bai
Department: 
Education:
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Challenging knowledge divides: Communicating and co-creating expertise in integrated knowledge translation

Date created: 
2017-07-19
Abstract: 

To solve complex problems, it makes sense to seek diverse perspectives to develop research-based solutions. In the Canadian health sector, this collaborative approach to research is often called integrated knowledge translation (IKT). This thesis is concerned with how boundaries are both essential and obstructive in IKT. While the goal of partnering is to leverage different expertise, diversity also presents some of the most significant challenges to success, creating barriers that block communication and constrain knowledge sharing. Using situational analysis to explore interview and case study data, I explore how knowledge boundaries are experienced within IKT projects. I outline four discursive positions that emerge, and argue that recognizing their distinct characteristics is important for progress in IKT. I also compare and contrast concepts of boundary work and boundary objects as theoretical lenses for IKT analyses, and argue that broadening our conceptual toolbox is beneficial for the study and practice of IKT.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Ellen Balka
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

The use of submodels as a basis for efficient estimation of complex models

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-11-08
Abstract: 

In this thesis, we consider problems where the true underlying models are complex and obtaining the maximum likelihood estimator (MLE) of the true model is challenging or time-consuming. In our first paper, we investigate a general class of parameter-driven models for time series of counts. Depending on the distribution of the latent variables, these models can be highly complex. We consider a set of simple models within this class as a basis for estimating the regression coefficients in the more complex models. We also derive standard errors (SEs) for these new estimators. We conduct a comprehensive simulation study to evaluate the accuracy and efficiency of our estimators and their SEs. Our results show that, except in extreme cases, the maximizer of the Poisson generalized linear model (the simplest estimator in our context) is an efficient, consistent, and robust estimator with a well-behaved standard error. In our second paper, we work in the context of display advertising, where the goal is to estimate the probability of conversion (a pre-defined action such as making a purchase) after a user clicks on an ad. In addition to accuracy, in this context, the speed with which the estimate can be computed is critical. Again, computing the MLEs of the true model for the observed conversion statuses (which depends on the distribution of the delays in observing conversions) is challenging, in this case because of the huge size of the data set. We use a logistic regression model as a basis for estimation, and then adjust this estimate for its bias. We show that our estimation algorithm leads to accurate estimators and requires far less computation time than does the MLE of the true model. Our third paper also concerns the conversion probability estimation problem in display advertising. We consider a more complicated setting where users may visit an ad multiple times prior to taking the desired action (e.g., making a purchase). We extend the estimator that we developed in our second paper to incorporate information from such visits. We show that this new estimator, the DV-estimator (which accounts for the distributions of both the conversion delay times and the inter-visit times) is more accurate and leads to better confidence intervals than the estimator that accounts only for delay times (the D-estimator). In addition, the time required to compute the DV-estimate for a given data set is only moderately greater than that required to compute the D-estimate -- and is substantially less than that required to compute the MLE. In summary, in a variety of settings, we show that estimators based on simple, misspecified models can lead us to accurate, precise, and computationally efficient estimates of both the key model parameters and their standard deviations.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Rachel Altman
Department: 
Science: Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

jViz.RNA 4.0 - Advanced integration methods, pseudoknot visualization, and online editing in the context of RNA secondary structure visualization

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-04-05
Abstract: 

RNA visualization software tools have traditionally presented a static visualization of RNA molecules with limited ability for users to interact with the resulting image once it is complete. Only a few tools allowed for dynamic structures; one such tool is jViz.RNA 2.0. Currently, jViz.RNA 2.0 employs a unique method for the creation of the RNA molecule layout by mapping the RNA nucleotides into vertexes in a graph, which we call the detailed graph, and then utilizes a Newtonian mechanics inspired system of forces to calculate a layout for the RNA molecule. The work presented here focuses on improvements to jViz.RNA 2.0 in four areas: First, the drawing of RNA secondary structures according to common drawing conventions employing a new underlying graph representation. Second, employing advanced numerical integration methods (the Backward Euler Method) to achieve dramatic run-time performance improvements utilizing the new graph implementation. Third, the ability to classify and visualize pseudoknots was added to jViz.RNA in order to extend the set of RNA structures that can be visualized. Finally, online base-pair removal and addition capabilities were incorporated into jViz.RNA in the interest of providing users with the capacity to modify, edit, and create RNA molecules from existing alternative representations (e.g. images or drawings). With regards to results, comparing the compressed graph and detailed graph implementations, it was found that the compressed graph produces results more consistent with RNA drawing conventions, and does so noticeably faster. Additionally, the advantages of the Backward Euler method as a more stable approach to mitigate interactions between users and the RNA model, allowing users to better and faster manipulate the RNA model, have been shown conclusively. The incorporation of pseudoknot visualization capacities demonstrated a new high degree of utility and flexibility since users are now able to visualize the majority, if not entirety, of biologically known RNAs, as well as modify the given pseudoknot representation. The implementation of online structure editing functionality allows users to construct related or theoretical molecules from existing ones, as well as construct arbitrary RNA structures from their primary nucleotide sequence.

Document type: 
Thesis
Senior supervisor: 
Kay Wiese
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

City stories: Publishing alternative dialogues from Vancouver’s past

Date created: 
2018-04-20
Abstract: 

This project report presents a case study of Blood, Sweat, and Fear, authored by Eve Lazarus and published by Arsenal Pulp Press, to provide an example of an independent book publisher that leverages unconventional venues for book launch events for non-fiction titles chronicling alternative regional histories. The report begins with an introduction to Arsenal Pulp Press’s history and mandate, and then moves into an overview of Lazarus’s publishing history and network connections as a member of the Belshaw Gang. From there, the editorial and production components of Blood, Sweat and Fear will be discussed, with attention toward the challenges Lazarus faced when researching and writing her book. Finally, this report will outline the primary details of the book launch and marketing efforts, closing with an explanation of the pivotal role Arsenal Pulp Press plays in helping to preserve and reproduce lesser-known narratives about Vancouver in a tangible form.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Scott Steedman
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.

ʔeləw̓k̓ʷ – Belongings: Embodied cultural values in tangible interaction design

Date created: 
2018-04-10
Abstract: 

In this thesis through an exploratory study I investigate the ways that an interactive tangible tabletop about aboriginal heritage enabled museum visitors to experience intangible cultural values. Belongings is a tangible tabletop that uses replicas of ancient and modern belongings of the Musqueam people to interact with digital activities and content. I situate my research by describing the system and a previous study that lead to the redesign of the tabletop. I then describe the field interview methodology for my study that took place at the Museum of Anthropology (UBC) with 20 visitors. Based on thematic analysis of responses, I present 10 themes, from which I derive design guidelines for tangible tabletop design for intangible culture heritage. Guidelines highlight the importance of the fidelity of replicas, breaking museum practices and using objects that visitors can relate to in order to enable visitors to experience aboriginal values through tangible interaction.

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

Design and usage of a private margin on public online discussions: Experiences from semester-long mixed-mode courses

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-03-16
Abstract: 

In the transition from paper-based to web-based document sharing and commentary systems, the ability for readers to respond directly to what they are reading in a private, context-preserving, easy to use manner has been lost. While paper margins have been used for centuries for commenting and developing ideas, web-based systems have emphasized public contributions. This study examined if the loss of an affordance for private annotations could be significant to postsecondary learners. This question was addressed by adding a private “Virtual Margin” to an existing web-based forum used by two classes of Education graduate students, and examining their usage of it over the duration of a complete semester. The Virtual Margin was introduced to students at the start of the semester, but they were not instructed on how to use it to support their work, or given any grade incentive to encourage their use of it. Quantitative traces of students’ activity and detailed qualitative coding of their annotations indicate that several students in each class used the Virtual Margin as an integral part of how they participated in the web-based forum over the full duration of the semester. Some students clearly invested substantial time and effort in their Virtual Margin annotations, even though they knew there would be no reward for, or acknowledgement of, their work from anyone else. Three of the most common uses of the Virtual Margin were to privately record opinions on other students’ notes, to create summaries of them, and create private drafts of notes to post publicly at a later time. Less common uses included reminders for themselves and diary-like personal reflections – which for one student involved a very large investment of effort. Some expected uses, such as self-monitoring, goal-setting and other self-regulatory behaviors, were observed to a much lesser extent.The results of this study suggest that a private, context-preserving virtual margin with a flexible and easy-to-use writing area has some potential to aid students in their learning and public forum contributions. Though a minority of students might use this feature, it is simple to implement and may contribute to time-on-task and student learning.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Kevin O'Neill
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Crowdsourced livecast systems: Measurement and enhancement

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-03-01
Abstract: 

Empowered by today's rich tools for media generation and collaborative production, multimedia service paradigm is shifting from the conventional single source, to multi-source, to many sources, and now towards crowdsource, where the available media sources for the content of interest become highly diverse and scalable. Such crowdsourced livecast systems as Twitch.tv, YouTube Gaming, and Periscope enable a new generation of user-generated livecast systems, attracting an increasing number of viewers all over the world. Yet the sources are managed by unprofessional broadcasters, and often have limited computation capacities and dynamic network conditions. They can even join or leave at will, or crash at any time. In this thesis, we first conduct a systematic study on the existing crowdsourced livecast systems. We outline the inside architecture using both the crawled data and the captured traffic data from local broadcasters/viewers. We then reveal that a significant portion of the unpopular and dynamic broadcasters are consuming considerable system resources. Because cloud computing provides resizable, reliable, and scalable bandwidth and computational resources, which naturally becomes an effective solution to leverage heterogeneous and dynamic workloads. Yet, it is a challenge to utilize the resources from the cloud cost-effectively. We thus propose a cloud-assisted design to smartly ingest the sources and cooperatively utilize the resources from dedicated servers and public clouds. In current crowdsourced livecast systems, crowdsourced gamecasting is the most popular application, in which gamers lively broadcast game playthroughs to fellow viewers using their desktop, laptop, even mobile devices. These gamers' patterns, which instantly pilot the corresponding gamecastings and viewers' fixations, have not been explored by previous studies. Since mobile gamers and eSports gamers occupy a large portion of content generators. In this thesis, we target on two typical crowdsourced gamecasting scenarios, i.e., mobile gamecasting and eSports gamecasting, respectively. We investigate the gamers' patterns to explore their effects on viewers and employ intelligent approaches, e.g., learning-based techniques, to capture the associations between gamers' patterns and viewers' experiences. Then, we employ such associations to optimize the streaming transcoding and distribution.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Jiangchuan Liu
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Buddhist understanding and skilful means: Adding depth and meaning to K-12 teachers’ practice of mindfulness

Date created: 
2018-02-28
Abstract: 

With the documented benefits of Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) such as the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, training in mindfulness has become increasingly popular in North America. Recently, MBIs have been developed to advance K-12 teachers’ social and emotional competence, and to support them in dealing with work related issues such as stress and burnout. These interventions are consistent with the relational approach to Social and Emotional Education, where students’ social and emotional competence is augmented by teachers’ personal advancement, and their increased capacity to cultivate caring relationships. MBIs for teachers typically focus on a few elements of Buddhist theory – primarily mindfulness, as well as kindness and compassion training. These foci are to the exclusion of the broader theoretical framework of the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path, in which the practice of mindfulness originated. When the practice of mindfulness is divorced from the Buddhist teachings of which it is part, what is arguably lost is a deeper understanding of the conditions that lead to human suffering, and a more substantive means to addressing it – leaving mindfulness at risk for being misunderstood and misused. Within the current thesis, I argue that there are other elements of Buddhist theory (i.e., wisdom and ethics), that are secular in nature, and important to ensuring K-12 teachers receive, and sustain, maximal benefit from mindfulness-based practices. These include teachers having access to (1) trainings included in the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path, and (2) ongoing support. Such knowledge and support can enrich educators’ understanding and embodiment of mindfulness-based practices, which will be of benefit not only to their personal wellbeing, but will also help them in their efforts to create caring classroom environments, enhance teacher-student relationships, and support student wellbeing.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Lucy Le Mare
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Starting from now, learning to see: Introducing pre-service teachers to the process of Indigenous education through a phenomenological art inquiry

Author: 
Date created: 
2018-01-11
Abstract: 

This thesis explores how a practice in phenomenological art inquiry might help pre-service teachers begin decolonizing themselves so they are better prepared to include Indigenous education in their lessons in sensitive and culturally relevant ways. Drawing on a review of literature in the areas of critical pedagogy, Indigenous education, and phenomenology, two central questions drive this research: 1) how might student teacher engagement in phenomenological art inquiry, informed by Ann Curry-Stevens’ framework for transformative education for privileged learners (2007), impact on student teachers’ perceptions of Indigenous peoples and education and help them enact more holistic approaches to Indigenous education that avoid replicating colonial stereotypes? and 2) how might art precipitate the kind of ontological uncertainty necessary for transformative education to ensue? To address these questions, a pre-service teacher education program called Starting from Now, Learning to See was developed to assist participants in acquiring the dispositions and strategies necessary to deliver effective and inclusive Indigenous education to their students. The program exposed student teachers to several examples of political- and identity-based contemporary Aboriginal art with the aim of disrupting their perceptions of Indigenous peoples, while at the same time providing alternate, and arguably more inclusive, versions of the Canadian narrative. In particular, students were asked to undertake a process of phenomenological art inquiry in relation to the art works presented. This process asked them to become aware of their own reactions and responses not only to the aesthetics of each work, but also to the discourses each work introduced, such as the impact of colonization on Indigenous peoples, misrepresentation, and erasure. The program was implemented with a cohort of 30 pre-service teachers in the Professional Development Program (PDP) at Simon Fraser University during five sessions over a 4-month period. A qualitative study using thematic analysis explored participants’ written reflections and a multimodal social semiotic discourse analysis was used to examine participants’ phenomenological inquiry into Indigenous artwork. The findings indicated that learning to engage with art in a dialogic and phenomenological fashion is highly effective in helping student teachers detect and correct gaps in their knowledge by offering them a point of entry into Indigenous teaching and learning that is both contemporary and relevant. There was also considerable evidence of on-going resistance to the inclusion of Indigenous education in schools both from participants, from Faculty Associates and others at the school sites in which their practicums were set, which points to the need for post-secondary institutions to increase their efforts to improve the depth and degree to which they support Indigenous education. In particular, more needs to be done to provide careful instruction, ideally from Indigenous mentors, and ample time for student teachers to absorb and internalise the concepts associated with Indigenous education, especially given that the current structure of PDP embeds this aspect of instruction within larger pedagogical discourses. The study also revealed a pressing need for improved Indigenous education in our K-12 systems, as many students arrived in the PDP with significant self-identified deficits in their knowledge and understanding of Indigenous peoples.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Suzie O'Neill
Department: 
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.