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Canals, C., Maroulis, S., Canessa, E., Chaigneau, S., & Mizala, A. (2022). Mechanisms Underlying Choice-Set Formation: The Case of School Choice in Chile. Soc. Sci. Comput. Rev., Early Access.
Abstract: Many decisions involve selecting among many more options than an individual can effectively examine and consider. Therefore, people usually consider smaller and different “choice sets” as viable options. To better understand the processes affecting choice-set formation, we developed a computational model of how households become aware of potential choices in a context for which understanding household decision-making has important public policy implications: market-based reforms in education. In the model, households learn about the schools to which they can send their children through three mechanisms: find out about geographically proximate schools, access to publicly available information, and information gathered from interactions with other households. We calibrated the model using data from four cities in Chile, where students are not required to attend their neighborhood school. We then used the model to conduct hypothetical computational experiments that assessed how each mechanism impacted the sets of schools known to households before they make their choice (their “awareness set”). We found that the inclusion of a social interaction mechanism was crucial for producing simulated awareness sets that matched the awareness sets provided in a survey conducted by the Chilean Ministry of Education. We also found that the social interaction mechanism played the largest role in determining the quality and price range of the choices available in households’ awareness sets. Our findings highlight the importance of social interactions in a stage of decision-making before the direct impact of other individuals is typically made explicit. Moreover, it validates an approach that can be used in future models where understanding how decision-makers become aware of their options may be as important as the way they choose among them.
Diaz-Elsayed, N., Acuna, J. A., Henderson, M., Isaacs, W., Cantarino, D., Bosson, J. K., et al. (2023). Building inclusive excellence in STEM: a 15-year analysis and Lessons Learned of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Minority Ph.D. Program at the University of South Florida. Front. Educ., 8, 1192853.
Abstract: In 2016, only 7 percent of African American and Hispanic students earned research doctorates in the critical disciplines of engineering, computing, and the physical sciences. In academia, diversity fairs even worse as historically underrepresented minorities represented just 6.1 percent of tenured and tenure-track faculty in engineering. The aim of this effort is to understand the “best practices” for the recruitment and mentoring of minority doctoral students in science and engineering disciplines. This was achieved through a literature review, surveys and focus groups with members of the University of South Florida's (USF's) Sloan University Center of Exemplary Mentoring (UCEM), and interviews with faculty champions. Between 2005 and 2020, 136 graduate students have been supported (43% African American, 56.2% Hispanic, 0.8% Native American), of which 87 percent are expected to earn doctorate degrees. Results indicate that the decision to apply and enroll at USF was largely driven by the alignment of research interests with potential advisors, the quality of funding, and positive interactions with mentors, enrolled students, and alumni who provide evidence of a welcoming climate. Ten practices for mentoring doctoral students are provided, which include creating and promoting an inclusive environment and providing a student-centered approach to mentoring. Our effort to build inclusive excellence and foster social justice in graduate education for African American and Hispanic doctoral students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is one that can be modeled and adapted by other institutions to align with their institutional culture and values.
Ferran, S., Beghelli, A., Huerta-Canepa, G., & Jensen, F. (2018). Correctness assessment of a crowdcoding project in a computer programming introductory course. Comput. Appl. Eng. Educ., 26(1), 162–170.
Abstract: Crowdcoding is a programming model that outsources a software project implementation to the crowd. As educators, we think that crowdcoding could be leveraged as part of the learning path of engineering students from a computer programming introductory course to solve local community problems. The benefits are twofold: on the one hand the students practice the concepts learned in class and, on the other hand, they participate in real-life problems. Nevertheless, several challenges arise when developing a crowdcoding platform, the first one being how to check the correctness of student's code without giving an extra burden to the professors in the course. To overcome this issue, we propose a novel system that does not resort to expert review; neither requires knowing the right answers beforehand. The proposed scheme automatically clusters the student's codes based solely on the output they produce. Our initial results show that the largest cluster contains the same codes selected as correct by the automated and human testing, as long as some conditions apply.
Gaona, J., Hernández, R., Guevara, F., & Bravo, V. (2022). Influence of a Function’s Coefficients and Feedback of the Mathematical Work When Reading a Graph in an Online Assessment System. Int. J. Emerg. Technol. Learn., 17(20), 77–98.
Abstract: This paper shows the results of an experiment applied to 170
students from two Chilean universities who solve a task about reading a graph
of an affine function in an online assessment environment where the parameters
(coefficients of the graphed affine function) are randomly defined from an ad-hoc
algorithm, with automatic correction and automatic feedback. We distinguish two
versions: one of them with integer coefficients and the other one with decimal
coefficients in the affine function. We observed that the nature of the coefficients
impacts the mathematical work used by the students, where we again focus on
two of them: by direct estimation from the graph or by calculating the equation of
the line. On the other hand, feedback oriented towards the “estimation” strategy
influences the mathematical work used by the students, even though a non-negligible
group persists in the “calculating” strategy, which is partly explained by the
perception of each of the strategies.
Peters, A. A., Vargas, F. J., Garrido, C., Andrade, C., & Villenas, F. (2021). PL-TOON: A Low-Cost Experimental Platform for Teaching and Research on Decentralized Cooperative Control. Sensors, 21(6), 2072.
Abstract: In this paper, we present the development of a low-cost multi-agent system experimental platform for teaching, and research purposes. The platform consists of train-like autonomous agents equipped with local speed estimation, distance sensing to their nearest predecessor, and wireless communications with other agents and a central coordinator. The individual agents can be used for simple PID experiments in a classroom or laboratory setting, while a collection of agents are capable of performing decentralized platooning with cooperative adaptive cruise control in a variety of settings, the latter being the main goal of the platform. The agents are built from low cost components and programmed with open source software, enabling teaching experiences and experimental work with a larger number of agents that would otherwise be possible with other existing solutions. Additionally, we illustrate with experimental results some of the teaching activities that the platform is capable of performing.
Reus, L. (2020). English as a medium of instruction at a Chilean engineering school: Experiences in finance and industrial organization courses. Stud. Educ. Eval., 67, 100930.
Abstract: Implementing English as a medium of instruction (EMI) in Latin American countries contributes to reducing language exchange isolation in the region and helps prepare higher education students for future labor opportunities. However, one of the main concerns around EMI is whether English instruction could negatively affect content acquisition. This paper examines if the performance of native Spanish speakers is affected by EMI. Specifically, it discusses experiences from finance and industrial organization courses given to industrial engineers at a Chilean university. The results of a multivariate analysis of tests and final grades show that performance differences can mainly be attributed to students� performance in previous courses; only on rare occasions do language, gender, and attendance explain performance differences.
Salazar, O., Casanova, M., Fuentes, J. P., Galleguillos, M., Najera, F., Perez-Quezada, J., et al. (2022). Soil research, management, and policy priorities in Chile. Geoderma Reg., 29, e00502.
Abstract: Soils of Chile
Given the diversity of soil types in Chile, soil scientists face complex challenges to prioritize across different regions. Chile is located at the southwestern extreme of South America and is characterized by its well-marked latitudinal climate segmentation along 4300 km from 18◦ S to 56◦ S, spanning diverse transversal geomorphologic units across a narrow 180-km wide landscape from the Andes mountains, Andean foothills, Central Valley, and Coastal Range to the coastal plains. Chilean soils formed in geographic isolation flanked by the Pacific Ocean, Atacama Desert and the Andes mountains (Casanova et al., 2013). From the extreme hyperarid north to central Mediterranean Chile, Aridisols and Entisols dominate, with Histosols in only a few areas of the northern Altiplano highlands. Residual and colluvial soils coexist with soils derived from volcanic ashes, which in the temperate and rainy southcentral Chile allow Andisols to develop. Alluvial, glacial and fluvioglacial soils occur primarily along the Central Valley and southern Patagonia plains. The southern volcanic zones of the Andes influence
central-southern Chile, which is dominated from 35◦ S to 49◦ S by soils
derived from volcanic ashes, mainly Andisols and Ultisols, where about 70% of agricultural activities are carried out. All remaining Soil Taxonomy Orders are also found, except Oxisols. Quantitative and qualitative anthropogenic soil degradation due to land use change and agricultural management has been an old and serious problem in Chile as far back as the mid-eighteenth century, with adverse impacts on agricultural productivity, rural livelihoods, biodiversity, and on food
security in some places. Numerous connections to local and global environmental problems such as climate change and ongoing drought call for action-oriented science to inform management and decision making. We identified five soil priorities of particular importance in Chile.