In this article, we leverage ideas from the theory of coevolutionary computation to analyze interactions of students with problems. We introduce the idea of
easy or hard concepts. Our approach is different from more traditional analyses of problem difficulty such as item analysis in the sense that we consider Pareto dominance relationships within the multidimensional structure of student–problem performance data rather than average performance measures. This method allows us to uncover not just the problems on which students are struggling but also the variety of difficulties different students face. Our approach is to apply methods from the Dimension Extraction Coevolutionary Algorithm to analyze problem-solving logs of students generated when they use an online software tutoring suite for introductory computer programming called
. The results of our analysis not only have implications for how to scale up and improve adaptive tutoring software but also have the promise of contributing to the identification of common misconceptions held by students and thus, eventually, to the construction of a concept inventory for introductory programming.
There is currently little evidence of planning for real-world implementation of physical activity interventions. We are undertaking the ComeBACK (Coaching and Exercise for Better Walking) study, a 3-arm hybrid Type 1 randomised controlled trial evaluating a health coaching intervention and a text messaging intervention. We used an implementation planning framework, the PRACTical planning for Implementation and Scale-up (PRACTIS), to guide the process evaluation for the trial. The aim of this paper is to describe the protocol for the process evaluation of the ComeBACK trial using the framework of the PRACTIS guide.
A mixed methods process evaluation protocol was developed informed by the Medical Research Council (MRC) guidance on process evaluations for complex interventions and the PRACTIS guide. Quantitative data, including participant questionnaires, health coach and administrative logbooks, and website and text message usage data, is being collected over the trial period. Semi-structured interviews and focus groups with trial participants, health coaches and health service stakeholders will explore expectations, factors influencing the delivery of the ComeBACK interventions and potential scalability within existing health services. These data will be mapped against the steps of the PRACTIS guide, with reporting at the level of the individual, provider, organisational and community/systems. Quantitative and qualitative data will elicit potential contextual barriers and facilitators to implementation and scale-up. Quantitative data will be reported descriptively, and qualitative data analysed thematically.
This process evaluation integrates an evaluation of prospective implementation and scale-up. It is envisaged this will inform barriers and enablers to future delivery, implementation and scale-up of physical activity interventions. To our knowledge, this is the first paper to describe the application of PRACTIS to guide the process evaluation of physical activity interventions.
Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) Registration date: 10/12/2018.
A systematic study of the oxidation of 3-hydroxy-2-substituted isoindolin-1-ones (hydroxylactams) and their conversion to the corresponding phthalimides was undertaken using three oxidants. Of special interest was the introduction of nickel peroxide (NiO2) as an oxidation system for hydroxylactams and comparison of its performance with the commonly used pyridinium chlorochromate (PCC) and iodoxybenzoic acid (IBX) reagents. Using a range of hydroxylactams, optimal conversions of these substrates to the corresponding imides was achieved with 50 equivalents of freshly prepared NiO2 in refluxing toluene over 5–32 h reaction times. By comparison, oxidations of the same substrates using PCC/silica gel (three equivalents) and IBX (three equivalents) required oxidation times of 1–3 h for full conversion but required lengthier purification. While nominal amounts (~25 mg) of substrate hydroxylactams were used to ascertain conversion, scale-up procedures using all three methods gave good to excellent isolated yields of imides.
Population-level health promotion is often conceived as a tension between “top-down” and “bottom-up” strategy and action. We report behind-the-scenes insights from Australia’s largest ever investment in the “top-down” approach, the $45m state-wide scale-up of two childhood obesity programmes. We used Normalisation Process Theory (NPT) as a template to interpret the organisational embedding of the purpose-built software designed to facilitate the initiative. The use of the technology was mandatory for evaluation, i.e. for reporting the proportion of schools and childcare centres which complied with recommended health practices (the implementation targets). Additionally, the software was recommended as a device to guide the implementation process. We set out to study its use in practice.
Short-term, high-intensity ethnography with all 14 programme delivery teams across New South Wales was conducted, cross-sectionally, 4 years after scale-up began. The four key mechanisms of NPT (coherence/sensemaking, cognitive participation/engagement, collective action and reflexive monitoring) were used to describe the ways the technology had normalised (embedded).
Some teams and practitioners embraced how the software offered a way of working systematically with sites to encourage uptake of recommended practices, while others rejected it as a form of “mechanisation”. Conscious choices had to be made at an individual and team level about the practice style offered by the technology—thus prompting personal sensemaking, re-organisation of work, awareness of choices by others and reflexivity about professional values. Local organisational arrangements allowed technology users to enter data and assist the work of non-users—collective action that legitimised opposite behaviours. Thus, the technology and the programme delivery style it represented were normalised by pathways of adoption and non-adoption. Normalised use and non-use were accepted and different choices made by local programme managers were respected. State-wide, implementation targets are being reported as met.
We observed a form of self-organisation where individual practitioners and teams are finding their own place in a new system, consistent with complexity-based understandings of fostering scale-up in health care. Self-organisation could be facilitated with further cross-team interaction to continuously renew and revise sensemaking processes and support diverse adoption choices across different contexts.
An optimization work on dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) based on both artificial and natural dyes was carried out by a fine synthesis work embedding gold nanoparticles in a TiO2 semiconductor and perfecting the TiO2 particle sizes of the scattering layer. Noble metal nanostructures are known for the surface plasmon resonance peculiarity that reveals unique properties and has been implemented in several fields such as sensing, photocatalysis, optical antennas and PV devices. By embedding gold nanoparticles in the mesoporous TiO2 layer and adding a scattering layer, we were able to boost the power conversion efficiency (PCE) to 10.8%, using an organic ruthenium complex. The same implementation was carried out using a natural dye, betalains, extracted from Sicilian prickly pear. In this case, the conversion efficiency doubled from 1 to 2% (measured at 1 SUN illumination, 100 mW/cm2 under solar simulation irradiation). Moreover, we obtained (measured at 0.1 SUN, 10 mW/cm2 under blue light LED irradiation) a record efficiency of 15% with the betalain-based dye, paving the way for indoor applications in organic natural devices. Finally, an attempt to scale up the system is shown, and a betalain-based- dye-sensitized solar module (DSSM), with an active area of 43.2 cm2 and a PCE of 1.02%, was fabricated for the first time.