DBS Staff Research Day - 2016

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    What the numbers don’t tell you. A learning analytics case.
    (Dublin Business School, 2016) Lane, Brid
    High level learning analytics projects require expensive resources. Nonetheless, much can be done with Moodle logs. Some lecturers populate Moodle module pages with much of interest, and students’ access to that content might (or might not) align with the students’ grades on the module. The researcher evaluated the Moodle logs for three successive cohorts (all run in one academic year) of a Master’s-level, classroom-based, 12-week cloud computing module. Access patterns were evaluated, in particular, when students logged in, and what content they accessed. Findings indicated a disappointing picture in terms of student performance. It’s reasonable to expect all students to access all lecture slides. However, on average, only 62% of the lecture slides were viewed. Average viewing of other content items in each block came in at just 24%. Addressing the correlation of grades with the percentage of the lecture notes files viewed, and with the total numbers of views on these files revealed a most disconcerting picture. For example, in the second cohort a correlation of -0.64 was found between the overall grade for the module with the percentage of the lecture slides viewed on Moodle. It would be particularly easy for a school’s management team to respond by e.g. suggesting that lecture notes are not be put on Moodle. However, this is to take a shallow, surface reaction. A key conclusion from the research is that numbers on their own can be hide a wealth of explanatory detail that is not always visible to those outside the classroom from which the numbers are generated.
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    Bullying victimisation and association with health related quality of life, depression and social support in urban disadvantaged primary schoolchildren
    (Dublin Business School, 2016) Hyland, John; Hyland, Pauline; Comiskey, Catherine
    Although widespread, victimisation research in primary schools is negligible, particularly with regard to disadvantaged school contexts. The current paper presents analysis of data from the longitudinal ‘Healthy Schools’ programme. The current paper explored victimisation, depression, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), and social support among 458 Irish primary school children in DEIS-Band 1 primary schools. It was found that victimisation frequency (33.8%) was consistent with recent literature, and these victimisation rates positively correlated with levels of depression. Victims scored lower on all five HRQoL subscales compared to non-victims. Moreover, frequently victimised children scored lower on four of these HRQoL subscales, compared to non-victims. Important considerations emerge from the results, such as the consistency of victimisation rates compared with more affluent regions, the importance of focusing on specific bullying behaviours when considering victimisation rates, and the effect of victimisation on corresponding health consequences. In addition, future research should continue to move towards a behaviour based assessment of victimisation to provide a holistic overview of the problem.
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    On Time – going forward, going backwards and going around and around – from postmodern to mostmodern times
    (Dublin Business School, 2016) Kane, Michael
    One of the most characteristic characteristics of postmodern times, according to Fredric Jameson, was to do with time – the “waning”, as he puts it, of “the great high-modernist thematics of time and temporality, the elegiac mysteries of durée and memory”. It is, as he says, “at least empirically arguable that our daily life, our psychic experience, our cultural languages, are today dominated by categories of space, rather than by categories of time […].” This is a problem, for Jameson, as it has to do with a ‘postmodern’ ‘waning’ of a sense of history, and of an ability to see (and begin to interpret) the present as part of a wider historical context. Yet this shift from time to space was already happening in ‘high modern times’ - around the beginning of the twentieth century; it was perhaps one of the most characteristic characteristics of modern times. That is why, one may suppose, precisely such “thematics of time and temporality” were coming to the fore. The very notion of the modern itself implies a revolutionary shift in the sense of time and certain changes affecting space around 1900 already then were having a huge effect on the sense of time.
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    Insect disgust : comparing influence types, gender differences and the relationships with right-wing authoritarianism and age
    (Dublin Business School, 2016) Sheppard, Barry; Frazer, Patricia
    An online experiment was conducted to compare the efficacy of two interventions to increase self-reported willingness to eat insects and insect-related foods. The experiment was designed and carried out as an undergraduate thesis on the BA Hons in Psychology programme here at DBS. We describe the research and results, as well as the process leading to its publication in the open access journal Studies in Arts and Humanities, with the hope of opening a discussion on collaborative student-staff publication.
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    Teaching through music. Preliminary results of an exercise into using songs in the sociology classroom for enhancing student engagement and understanding of concepts
    (Dublin Business School, 2016) Jorgensen, Annette
    This presentation will outline preliminary findings from a project which uses contemporary music in the classroom in order to help students relate to theoretical concepts and develop their ‘sociological imagination’. It is based on a year-long project which has focussed on playing and discussing songs that were related to the concept of identity. Identity is a key concept in contemporary social science. It is described by theorists as fluid, changing, negotiated and contested. Identity is represented by individual and collective actors in myriad ways, and it is constantly communicated and interpreted throughout social life (Hall, Evans and Nixon 2013). The social construction of identity in a globalised world has many layers and students sometimes find this abstract idea challenging. To facilitate students’ appreciation of the concept of identity, it helps to encourage them to consider different identity markers with which personal and national identities are symbolised. Music can be a particularly powerful way in which identity is constructed for and by people. It can evoke deep emotions, it can cross spatial boundaries, facilitate everyday rituals and give us a sense of self (Frith 1996). In other words, it can give meaning to human existence. The construction through music of Irish identity in particular has recently been the subject of research. Historical contexts of colonialism, oppression and diaspora have all led to an extensive and rich legacy musical expression of Irishness. Thus, Irish songs can be understood as ‘texts’ containing messages about the meaning of Irish identities (see for example Smyth 2009). The current project has sought to utilise the rich emotional and symbolic aspects of music as identity marker to facilitate learning about the ways in which identity is constructed and performed. Students in three different modules were presented with songs in class, provided a lyrics sheet and a set of questions, and asked to participate in a collective analysis of the meaning(s) of the songs. The purpose of this exercise was to encourage participation and engagement; to make a theoretical concept exciting and relevant to students’ own lives; and to familiarise the students with tools of the sociological analysis of a cultural form with which they would be familiar. Finally, students were asked to provide a written reflection on music, identity and on participating in the exercise. The responses were overwhelmingly positive and students seemed to have not only enjoyed, but also benefitted from the project. However, several areas for improvement also came to light. This presentation will summarise their responses and draw some tentative conclusions for using music as a teaching tool. Author keywords: Sociology, social science, teaching, education, class-room activities, student engagement, student feedback, music, songs