Monday, February 24, 2014

Video of “The Hope and the Hype of MOOCs” Symposium

Videos from OCLC's symposium on "The Hope and the Hype of MOOCs"

  • Bryan Alexander, Senior Fellow at National Institute for
    Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE) (Keynote Presentation)

Panel Debate & Discussion

  • Ray Schroeder, Associate Vice Chancellor for Online Learning at the University of Illinois at Springfield
  • Cathy De Rosa, OCLC Vice President for the Americas and Global Vice President of Marketing

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Mapping Twitter Topic Networks: From Polarized Crowds to Community Clusters

From the summary:
Conversations on Twitter create networks with identifiable contours as people reply to and mention one another in their tweets. These conversational structures differ, depending on the subject and the people driving the conversation. Six structures are regularly observed: divided, unified, fragmented, clustered, and inward and outward hub and spoke structures. These are created as individuals choose whom to reply to or mention in their Twitter messages and the structures tell a story about the nature of the conversation.

The Polarized Crowd network structure is only one of several different ways that crowds and conversations can take shape on Twitter. There are at least six distinctive structures of social media crowds which form depending on the subject being discussed, the information sources being cited, the social networks of the people talking about the subject, and the leaders of the conversation. Each has a different social structure and shape: divided, unified, fragmented, clustered, and inward and outward hub and spokes.

Source:  Pew Research Internet Project

Resources available:
Complete Report: Mapping Twitter Topic Networks: From Polarized Crowds to Community Clusters
Data Gallery: Examples of six kinds of Twitter social media networks
How Pew analyzed the data with nodexl
Fact Tank: How Pew mapped the conversation on Twitter

Preventing Psychological Disorders in Service Members and Their Families: An Assessment of Programs (2014)

Being deployed to a war zone can result in numerous adverse psychological health conditions. It is well documented in the literature that there are high rates of psychological disorders among military personnel serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq as well as among the service members' families. For service members' families, the degree of hardship and negative consequences rises with the amount of the service members' exposure to traumatic or life-altering experiences. Adult and child members of the families of service members who experience wartime deployments have been found to be at increased risk for symptoms of psychological disorders and to be more likely to use mental health services.
In an effort to provide early recognition and early intervention that meet the psychological health needs of service members and their families, DOD currently screens for many of these conditions at numerous points during the military life cycle, and it is implementing structural interventions that support the improved integration of military line personnel, non-medical caregivers, and clinicians, such as RESPECT-Mil (Re-engineering Systems of Primary Care Treatment in the Military), embedded mental health providers, and the Patient-Centered Medical Home.
Preventing Psychological Disorders in Service Members and Their Families evaluates risk and protective factors in military and family populations and suggests that prevention strategies are needed at multiple levels - individual, interpersonal, institutional, community, and societal - in order to address the influence that these factors have on psychological health. This report reviews and critiques reintegration programs and prevention strategies for PTSD, depression, recovery support, and prevention of substance abuse, suicide, and interpersonal violence.
Source: National Research Council, The National Academies Press

Download full pdf publication

Now open: Copyright for Educators (US)


This is a course for educators who want to learn about US copyright law in the education context. P2PU also offers a similar courses for Australia, if that content is more appropriate. Educators who are not in the US are welcome to sign up, too, if they want to learn about copyright law in the US.

The course is taught around practical case studies faced by teachers when using copyright material in their day-to-day teaching. By answering the case scenarios and drafting and discussing the answers in groups, you and other participants will learn:
  • What is the public domain?
  • What does copyright law protect?
  • What is fair use?
  • What other exceptions are there in copyright law?
  • What are open access educational resources?
By the end of this course, you should be able to:
  • Understand the basic concepts of copyright law;
  • Identify copyright issues in education;
  • Understand when fair use or other copyright exceptions apply to teacher, librarian, or student use of copyrighted content; and
  • Strategize and talk with your students, peers, and administrators about how to use copyright exceptions in education.

Source: "Creative Commons School of Open" Project

Link to learn more and sign up for the "Copyright for Educators" course

Climate change effects on human health: projections of temperature-related mortality for the UK during the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s

The most direct way in which climate change is expected to affect public health relates to changes in mortality rates associated with exposure to ambient temperature. Many countries worldwide experience annual heat-related and cold-related deaths associated with current weather patterns. Future changes in climate may alter such risks. Estimates of the likely future health impacts of such changes are needed to inform public health policy on climate change in the UK and elsewhere. 
Source: Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health

Download full pdf publication: Climate change effects on human health: projections of temperature-related mortality for the UK during the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s

Advantages and limitations of Internet-based interventions for common mental disorders

Several Internet interventions have been developed and tested for common mental disorders, and the evidence to date shows that these treatments often result in similar outcomes as in face-to-face psychotherapy and that they are cost-effective. In this paper, we first review the pros and cons of how participants in Internet treatment trials have been recruited. We then comment on the assessment procedures often involved in Internet interventions and conclude that, while online questionnaires yield robust results, diagnoses cannot be determined without any contact with the patient. We then review the role of the therapist and conclude that, although treatments including guidance seem to lead to better outcomes than unguided treatments, this guidance can be mainly practical and supportive rather than explicitly therapeutic in orientation. Then we briefly describe the advantages and disadvantages of treatments for mood and anxiety disorders and comment on ways to handle comorbidity often associated with these disorders. Finally we discuss challenges when disseminating Internet interventions. In conclusion, there is now a large body of evidence suggesting that Internet interventions work. Several research questions remain open, including how Internet interventions can be blended with traditional forms of care.

Source: World Psychiatry

Download full pdf publication of Advantages and limitations of Internet-based interventions for common mental disorders

Study: How Politics Divide Facebook Friendships

From the press release:
A new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology suggests that politics are the great divider. People who think the majority of their friends have differing opinions than their own engage less on Facebook. For those who choose to stay logged in and politically active, the research found that most tend to stick in their own circles, ignore those on the other side and become more polarized.

At the same time, the study suggests a few design changes that could allow the social media platform to bridge political differences. By displaying shared interests between friends during their prickly conversations, Facebook could help diffuse possible arguments and alleviate tension. The research also notes that increasing exposure and engagement to weak ties could make people more resilient in the face of political disagreement.
Download study (pdf): Managing Political Differences in Social Media

The State of Health + Urbanism

A newly published research report from MIT’s Center for Advanced Urbanism (CAU) highlights the complexity of the issue. Produced in collaboration with the American Institute of Architects, the document examines an array of public health matters in eight major metropolitan areas in the United States, and suggests a wide array of possible remedies, from better mass transit to extensive tree-planting. The report was principally authored by Alan Berger, a professor of landscape architecture and urban design, along with Andrew Scott, an associate professor of architecture; about a dozen graduate students from MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning and researchers at CAU also worked on the project.
Source: Center for Advanced Urbanism, M.I.T.

Read an interview with Alan Berger

Download full pdf report: The State of Health + Urbanism

World Bank Report: Gender at Work

From the introduction:
A companion to the 2013 World Development Report on jobs, Gender at Work finds huge, persistent gender gaps at work around the world. This major new report advances our understanding of key trends, patterns, and constraints-and offers innovative, promising approaches to policies and programs that can level the playing field. 
Source: World Bank

Download full pdf of Gender at Work

Elections and Government Legitimacy in Afghanistan

From the abstract:
International development agencies invest heavily in institution building in fragile states, including expensive interventions to support democratic elections. Yet little evidence exists on whether elections enhance the domestic legitimacy of governments. Using the random assignment of an innovative election fraudreducing intervention in Afghanistan, we find that decreasing electoral misconduct improves multiple survey measures of attitudes toward government
Source: The Center for Effective Global Action UC Berkeley

Download full pdf publication:  Elections and Government Legitimacy in Afghanistan

MIT and Harvard release working papers on open online courses

About the series:
The working paper series features detailed reports about individual courses; these reports reveal differences and commonalities among massive open online courses (MOOCs). In the coming weeks, data sets and interactive visualization tools will also be made available.
The papers analyze an average of 20 gigabytes of data per course and draw on interviews with faculty and course teams as well as student metrics.
Link to the working paper series gateway.

What are MOOCS? Learn the basics of Massive Online Open Courses
Courtesy of:

Friday, February 14, 2014

Inequality, the Great Recession, and Slow Recovery

Rising inequality reduced income growth for the bottom 95 percent of the income distribution beginning about 1980, but that group’s consumption growth did not fall proportionally. Instead, lower saving led to increasing balance sheet fragility for the bottom 95 percent, eventually triggering the Great Recession. We decompose consumption and saving across income groups. The consumption-income ratio of the bottom 95 percent fell sharply in the recession, consistent with tighter borrowing constraints. The top 5 percent ratio rose, consistent with consumption smoothing. The inability of the bottom 95 percent to generate adequate demand helps explain the slow recovery.

Source: Social Science Research Network

Download full pdf publication: Inequality, the Great Recession, and Slow Recovery

Increasing socioeconomic disparities in adolescent obesity

Recent reports suggest that the rapid growth in youth obesity seen in the 1980s and 1990s has plateaued. We examine changes in obesity among US adolescents aged 12–17 y by socioeconomic background using data from two nationally representative health surveys, the 1988–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys and the 2003–2011 National Survey of Children’s Health. Although the overall obesity prevalence stabilized, this trend masks a growing socioeconomic gradient: The prevalence of obesity among high-socioeconomic status adolescents has decreased in recent years, whereas the prevalence of obesity among their low-socioeconomic status peers has continued to increase. Additional analyses suggest that socioeconomic differences in the levels of physical activity, as well as differences in calorie intake, may have contributed to the growing obesity gradient.
Source: PNAS, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Download pdf of Increasing socioeconomic disparities in adolescent obesity

Pew Report: Couples, the Internet, and Social Media

The internet, cell phones, and social media have become key actors in the life of many American couples— the 66% of adults who are married or in committed relationships. Couples use technology in the little and large moments. They negotiate over when to use it and when to abstain. A portion of them quarrel over its use and have had hurtful experiences caused by tech use. At the same time, some couples find that digital tools facilitate communication and support. A majority of those in couples maintain their own separate email and social media accounts, though a smaller number report sharing accounts and calendars. And fully two-thirds of couples share passwords. 

Source: Pew Research Internet Project

Download full pdf report: Couples, the Internet, and Social Media

Examining Students’ Perception of Classroom Openness as a Predictor of Civic Knowledge: A Cross-National Analysis of 38 Countries

Civic knowledge is critical to interpreting various policy and candidate issues that are necessary to participating in certain political activities, such as voting in elections or attending public demonstrations. Various studies have examined students’ perceptions of classroom openness, which reflects perceived levels of political discussion supported by peers in the classrooms, to understand how this measure relates to students’ civic behaviors. This study analyzes data from the 2009 International Civic and Citizenship Education Study, in which approximately 134,000 students were sampled from 38 countries across Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Results from three-level hierarchal linear modeling suggest that students’ perceptions of classroom openness are strongly related to their civic knowledge scores. Further analyses indicate that the relationship strength between these two measures do not vary across students from different socioeconomic backgrounds. These findings reaffirm the importance of curricular approaches that emphasize political discussions in classrooms to prepare students for active citizenship.

Source: UC Irvine [via eScholarship Repository]

Download pdf of Examining Students’ Perception of Classroom Openness as a Predictor of Civic Knowledge: A Cross-National Analysis of 38 Countries

Riding First Class: Impacts of Silicon Valley Shuttles on Commute & Residential Location Choice

Employer-provided private shuttles have become a prominent part of the transportation network between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. As the Bay Area plans for transportation investments to meet sustainability goals and accommodate future population and employment growth, an understanding of the role of regional commuter shuttles becomes increasingly important. This study investigates the impacts of private shuttles on commute mode and residential location choice by conducting a travel time comparison and surveying shuttle riders. The authors find that the provision of shuttles and knowledge of shuttle stops influences both commute mode and residential location choice. Shuttles are an attractive option due to their time and cost savings compared to other modes. However, shuttles exacerbate the jobs-housing imbalance by enabling individuals to live farther from work. The extent to which location of shuttle stops influences residential location choice varies from person to person, though the vast majority of shuttle riders live within a short walk from the nearest shuttle stop. Policies should strike a balance between improved sustainability with existing land use patterns and better long-term regional transportation and land use planning.

Source: Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Download pdf publication of Riding First Class: Impacts of Silicon Valley Shuttles on Commute & Residential Location Choice

Report on the Telephone Records Program

From the Introduction:
The body of this Report consists of seven sections, five of which address the Section 215 telephone records program. After this introduction and the executive summary, Part 3 describes in detail how the telephone records program works. To put the present-day operation of the program in context, Part 4 reviews its history, including its evolution from predecessor intelligence activities. An analysis of whether the telephone records program meets applicable statutory requirements follows in Part 5. Part 6 addresses the constitutional issues raised by the telephone records program under both the First and Fourth Amendments. The final section discussing the Section 215 program, Part 7, examines the potential benefits of the program, its efficacy in achieving its purposes, the impact of the program on privacy and civil liberties, and the Board’s conclusions that reforms are needed. After considering the 215 program, the Report addresses the operations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. That section, Part 8, concludes by proposing an approach that, in appropriate cases, would allow the FISC judges to hear from a Special Advocate. Part 9, the final section of the Report, addresses the issue of transparency, which has been a priority of this Board since it began operations.17

Source: Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, United States Government

Download pdf of the Report on the Telephone Records Program

U.K. House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report on Women in scientific careers

From the Summary: 
Many attempts have been made to improve the under-representation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers in the UK. Yet currently only 17 per cent of STEM professors are women. It is astonishing that despite clear imperatives and multiple initiatives to improve diversity in STEM, women still remain under-represented at senior levels across every discipline. One compelling reason to tackle this problem is that the UK economy needs more STEM workers and we cannot meet the demand without increasing the numbers of women in STEM.
There is no single explanation for the lack of gender diversity in STEM; it is the result of perceptions and biases combined with the impracticalities of combining a career with family.  Scientists often consider themselves to be objective and unbiased, yet studies have shown that scientists are susceptible to the same biases as the rest of the population.  Therefore we have recommended that diversity and equality training should be provided to all STEM undergraduate and postgraduate students. It should also be mandatory for all members of recruitment and promotion panels and line managers.

Source:Science and Technology Committee, House of Commons, Parliament, U.K.

Download full pdf report: Women in Scientific Careers
Or Read it online

Copyright, Permissions and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities

...summarizes 100 interviews of art historians, artists, museum curators, editors and publishers describing issues related to the use of third-party images in creative and scholarly work. The research was further informed by a CAA membership survey on fair use and a review of relevant literature and legal precedents.
This issues report reveals a situation in which uncertainty about copyright law and the availability of fair use, particularly in the digital era, has made many practitioners risk-averse, too often abandoning or distorting projects due to real or perceived challenges in using copyrighted materials. The report was read by the project’s Principal Investigators, Project Advisors, and members of the CAA Task Force on Fair Use, its Committee on Intellectual Property, and a Community Practices Advisory Committee. A full list of these individuals appears as an appendix in the report.
Source:  College Art Association

Download full pdf report: Copyright, Permissions and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities

Handbook on European data protection law

This handbook is designed to familiarise legal practitioners who are not specialised in the field of data protection with this area of law. It provides an overview of the EU’s and the CoE’s applicable legal frameworks.
Read more backgroud

Download full pdf publication: Handbook on European data protection law

Study: Hatred of Outsiders Kicks in Between Ages 6 and 8

From the Pacific Standard article:

Provocative new research from Germany suggests this problematic psychological process—which underpins racism, extreme nationalism, and prejudice of all sorts—kicks in somewhere around age seven. Love for one’s own group and hatred for perceived outsiders are separate attitudes that emerge at different stages of a child’s development, according to University of Erfurt researchers David Buttelmann and Robert Böhm.

Paper: The Ontogeny of the Motivation That Underlies In-Group Bias
Humans demonstrate a clear bias toward members of their own group over members of other groups in a variety of ways. It has been argued that the motivation underlying this in-group bias in adults may be favoritism toward one’s own group (in-group love), derogation of the out-group (out-group hate), or both. Although some studies have demonstrated in-group bias among children and infants, nothing is known about the underlying motivations of this bias. Using a novel game, we found that in-group love is already present in children of preschool age and can motivate in-group-biased behavior across childhood. In contrast, out-group hate develops only after a child’s sixth birthday and is a sufficient motivation for in-group-biased behavior from school age onward. These results help to better identify the motivation that underlies in-group-biased behavior in children.
 Read full pdf publication: The Ontogeny of the Motivation That Underlies In-Group Bias

Thursday, February 13, 2014

AAAS Expands the Science Family of Journals

From the press release:
As an online-only, open-access journal, Science Advances will help AAAS make more outstanding research available to researchers and others, according to Alan I. Leshner, the association's chief executive officer and executive publisher of Science. "Since the mid-1990s, technology has posed new challenges for traditional scholarly publications, but it is also creating new opportunities, particularly for online collaboration among researchers," said Leshner, who added that enhancing scientific communication has long been a primary goal for AAAS. "Our new journal will expand authors' choices as well as the amount of scientific information that reaches the public."

 Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

Resource: Academic Torrents

From article:
By putting distribution and storage of papers and datasets in the hands of their authors, Academic Torrents brings even more DIY ethos to the world of academic publishing, and may help to solve a few problems in the field in the bargain. While libraries and colleges disintermediate scholarly publishing by hosting their own institutional repositories and backing up to offsite services like LOCKSS and Portico, Academic Torrents goes a step further, offering researchers the opportunity to distribute the hosting of their papers and datasets to authors and readers, offering easy access to scholarly works and simultaneously backing them up on computers around the world.
Source: Library Journal / Academic Torrents

Link to Academic Torrent