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Sandbox University: Estimating Influence of Institutional Action
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Mathematics and Computer Science, Department of Mathematics.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics.
Delft University. (Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management)
2014 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 9, no 7, e103261- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The approach presented in this article represents a generalizable and adaptable methodology for identifying complexinteractions in educational systems and for investigating how manipulation of these systems may affect educationaloutcomes of interest. Multilayer Minimum Spanning Tree and Monte-Carlo methods are used. A virtual Sandbox Universityis created in order to facilitate effective identification of successful and stable initiatives within higher education, which canaffect students’ credits and student retention – something that has been lacking up until now. The results highlight theimportance of teacher feedback and teacher-student rapport, which is congruent with current educational findings,illustrating the methodology’s potential to provide a new basis for further empirical studies of issues in higher educationfrom a complex systems perspective.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 9, no 7, e103261- p.
Keyword [en]
Complex systems, Simulations, Higher Education, MCMC
National Category
Didactics Probability Theory and Statistics Information Systems Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-230633DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0103261ISI: 000339614100100PubMedID: 25054313OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-230633DiVA: diva2:741154
Available from: 2014-08-27 Created: 2014-08-27 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Complexity Theory and Physics Education Research: The Case of Student Retention in Physics and Related Degree Programmes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Complexity Theory and Physics Education Research: The Case of Student Retention in Physics and Related Degree Programmes
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores the use of complexity theory in Physics Education Research as a way to examine the issue of student retention (a university’s ability to retain its students). University physics education is viewed through the concepts of nestedness and networked interactions. The work presented in this thesis covers two main aspects from a complexity theory perspective: (1) institutional action to enhance student retention; and, (2) the role of students’ in-course interaction networks. These aspects are used to reframe student retention from a complexity theory perspective, as well as to explore what implications this new perspective affords. The first aspect is addressed by conceptualizing student retention as an emergent phenomenon caused by both agent and component interaction within a complex system. A methodology is developed to illustrate a networked visualization of such a system using contemporary estimation methods. Identified limitations are discussed. To exemplify the use of simulations of complex systems, the networked system created is used to build a simulation of an “ideal” university system as well as a Virtual world for hypothesis-testing. The second aspect is divided into two sections: Firstly, an analysis of processes relating to how students’ in-course networks are created is undertaken. These networks are divided into two relevant components for student retention – the social and the academic. Analysis of these two components of the networks shows that the formation of the networks is not a result of random processes and is thus framed as a function of the core constructs of student retention research – the social and academic systems. Secondly, a case is made that students’ structural positions in the social and academic networks can be related to their grade achievement in the course.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2015. 185 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1273
Keyword
Physics Education Research, Complexity Theory, Student Retention
National Category
Didactics Other Physics Topics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-259413 (URN)978-91-554-9303-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-10-02, Häggsalen (Å10132), Ångströmlaboratoriet, Uppsala, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-09-11 Created: 2015-08-03 Last updated: 2015-10-01

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SandboxUniversity(633 kB)299 downloads
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Forsman, JonasMann, Richard P.Linder, Cedric

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