Abstracts B7-B8

Showcase Session B7: Education and Digital Practice
Chair: Professor Conchúr Ó Giollagáin
Presentation 1 - Developing an Affective Online Persona: The Nature of Authentic Practice Through Online Learning and Teaching
Alice Mongiello / Kathleen Murray, Inverness College UHI

Authenticity can be viewed as a ‘multi-faceted concept that includes at least four parts: being genuine, showing consistency between values and actions, relating to others in such a way to encourage their authenticity, and living a critical life’ (Cranton and Carusetta 2004:7). Mongiello (2015) refers to the relational, subjective nature of transformative learning and outlines what she refers to as subjective qualities of an online authentic relationship: support, trust, friendship, empathy and intimacy. Although authentic human interactivity lies at the heart of online learning, the technology can be utilised as an enabling tool.

The online context has potential but there are challenges in developing an affective online persona. Online educators can no longer ‘rely on sensory and expressive skills to establish and maintain relationships’ with their learners (Major 2010:184). This means their online persona has to ‘change in terms of non-verbal communication, intimacy, energy and humour’ (Coppola et al 2002:178). As educators bring their authentic persona into the online classroom they may find themselves questioning personal, social and institutional norms/expectations about what it means to be a ‘good’ educator and as a result have to reconsider the educational practices they adopt as online educators. If the aim is to create conditions for fostering transformative learning, online educators may need to understand better ‘their personal and hidden inner curricular’ and in doing so acquire a deeper understanding of the ‘more intimate and ostensible beliefs and motivations’ of what it means to be an online educator (Shockley et al 2008:198).

Based on data collected as part of a recent research project funded by the Learning and Teaching Academy (LTA) this presentation will explore the following aspects: 1) The nature of authenticity as constructed by online educators and how technology acts to promote authentic practice and 2) The ‘personal and hidden inner curricular’ of online educators and how this influences their authentic practice.

Presentation 2 - Cracking the Flipped Classroom: An Investigation on the Effects of Flipped Classroom Model for Maths
Khristin Fabian, Perth College UHI
Abstract Flipped classroom model is a form of blended learning where short video lectures are delivered online for students to view in their own time while classroom instruction is devoted to discussions and active learning activities. In this study, we evaluated students’ performance and attitudes to mathematics using a quasi-experimental design. Evaluation of students’ perceptions of the flipped classroom model was also carried out at the end of the study. A total of 91 algebra students participated in the study. The experimental group (n=45) participated in a year-long intervention of the flipped classroom model while the control group (n=46) followed the traditional delivery of lesson. An analysis of covariance of the algebra post-test score with learning model as treatment factor and pre-test as covariate resulted in a significant treatment effect at .05 level of significance. A paired-samples t-test by treatment group was conducted to compare pre-test and post-test math attitude scores in four subscales: value of mathematics, enjoyment, confidence and motivation. There was a significant decrease in the control groups’ value of mathematics, t(45)=-2.763, p=.008, ES=-.40 but no other significant change was found. The experimental group had no significant change in their value of math and motivation but a significant positive change in the subscales enjoyment, t(44)=3.150, p=.002, ES=.47 and confidence, t(44)=2.883, p=.006, ES=.42. Analysis of the evaluation questionnaire carried out at the end of the school year showed students have positive perceptions about the usefulness and usability of the flipped classroom model. The study showed that the use of the flipped classroom model had positive effects to students’ performance, confidence and enjoyment of mathematics.
Presentation 3 - Learner Transitions: The Journey from Further Education to University: An Exploration of Learner Experiences and Expectations
Patrick O’Donnell / Kyle Smith, Perth College UHI
Abstract The global trend towards the expansion of student participation in higher education study has resulted in unprecedented challenges to the sector as it seeks to respond to greater diversity in the student body and increased demand for academic support and flexibility in entry pathways. This global trend towards wider participation in higher education study has been accompanied by a proliferation of research examining how universities are responding to the challenge of meeting the needs of diverse population of students. This exploratory study, using a dual sector institution as a case-study, investigates student perceptions and experiences of the issues they confront as they move from further education studies and journey through their first year of higher education. The central aim is to explore and map the ‘lived ‘realities’ of learners as they transitioned into and through the first year of higher education, defined here as the capability to navigate change (Gale and Parker 2014). The data analysis revealed three dominant enablers to student transitions: ‘demystifying’, student-centred ‘peer support’ and ‘pastoral care’. It is argued all three coalesce in the crafting of new student identity. Although there is a recognition that student transitions are entangled in circumstances of time and place, as well as the unique dynamics of individual agency and interaction with others, such as teachers, support staff and peers, the study aims to contribute in some small way to wider discussions on how to forge better progression pathways between further education and university.
Presentation 4 - eTIPS – eBook publishing – It’s a Lot Easier and a Whole Lot More Useful Than You Might Think!

Presenters: Jacky MacMillan / Scott Connor, Educational Development Unit, UHI

Expert Panel: Professor Frank Rennie, Lews Castle College UHI and Keith Smyth, University of the Highlands and Islands


eTIPS (etextbook institutional publishing service) is an educational research project funded by Jisc as part of a wider national programme (The Institution as an etextbook publisher). The project is charged with answering such questions as “Can institutions become publishers of their own etextbooks?” and, if so, “How would they do that?” and most importantly “Why would they want to?”

To date, eTIPS has authored and published two etextbooks; How to write a research dissertation and Undertaking your research project and developed a companion website for each. A simple process for authoring and publishing has been identified as well as a series of use cases, including using ebooks to disseminate research outputs such as dissertations across the university and beyond. The eTIPS project is now in the evaluation phase and there is confidence in the simplicity of the process and the usefulness of the activity to the university, it’s staff and students.

Members of the project team (Lews Castle College, UHI, Learning and Teaching and the Educational Development Unit at UHI and Edinburgh Napier University) would like to take this opportunity to share findings with colleagues at the UHI Research Conference and take suggestions for future publications as they look to establish the eTIPS service beyond the funded period of the project.

The session aims to: 1) Introduce the project and the etextbooks which are proving useful to students who are doing research 2) Show how a university ebook publishing service could be used by research students and staff 3) Provide an overview of the authoring and publishing process and the support available 4) Gather ideas for future publications!

Showcase Session B8: Science, Engineering and the Marine Environment
Chair: Dr Beth Mouat
Presentation 1 - Development and CFD Simulation of a Low Drag Sea Bed Instrumentation Frame for Multi Sensor Deployments in High Tidal Energy Sites
Giuseppe Calise, Lews Castle College UHI (visiting Postdoctoral researcher from the University of Naples Federico II under a MASTS Fellowship) / Arne Vögler / James Morrison, Lews Castle College UHI
Abstract The development of tidal energy projects and the ongoing effort to further the understanding of physical processes in high energy tidal sites require comprehensive resource characterisation based on numerical models validated and calibrated against measured field data. Sensor deployments at such high energy sites are very difficult and often of limited success. The research proposed here will develop a bespoke instrumentation frame targeted for deployment at such sites with minimum effort by applying CFD code and design approaches widely used in the aeronautical sector to this marine science application. Turbulent flow around instrumentation frames not only interferes with the frame structure and can lead to vibration and movement of a gimbal-mounted sensor head and consideration will be given in this study to minimisation of the impact of turbulence on the frame. Another focus point of the design is the reduction of turbulence created by the sensor frame through minimisation of interference of the frame with the flow and minimum drag. The ability to improve sensor deployments at tidal energy sites not only helps the understanding of physical processes at these sites, it also results in the production of more and better datasets to inform studies on turbine engineering issues such as fatigue loadings or interaction and collisions risk between tidal turbines and wildlife.
Presentation 2 - Investigating the Historically High Salmon Catches on the River Carron, Strathcarron, Wester Ross
Matthew Curran, Rivers and Lochs Institute, Inverness College UHI
Abstract In the mid-1990s and into the early 2000s the rivers in Scotland suffered a protracted period of low salmon (salmo salar L.) catches. Since that time, the catches have recovered to levels higher than those before 1990. The River Carron in Wester Ross showed this same pattern of catches but to an apparently more dramatic degree and the recent catches have risen to historically high levels. This paper presents the possible reasons for these historical highs and attempts to determine which, if any, might have a causal effect on the historical highs. The paper demonstrates that these highs are less pronounced in salmon than in grilse, that fish farm escapes and multiple captures of the same individual (due to the river’s catch and release policy), apparent increases in angling effort, and changes in the marine survival of adult salmon and grilse are insufficient to explain the current historically high rod catch. The analyses support the locally held view that stocking of salmon on the River Carron could be the cause of the historically high catches. But, because the data available for the River Carron does not include any years where no stocking was occurring, the impact of stocking cannot be separated from the impact of any potential natural recovery.
Presentation 3 - Gasification - Sustainable Small-scale Waste to Energy
Andrew N. Rollinson, North Highland College UHI
Abstract Small-scale gasification can provide sustainable off-grid electricity, heating, and motive power from waste biomass. It is a simpler and more efficient technology than a boiler and it can be fed with garden prunings or woodchips that would otherwise go to landfill, or be left to rot where cut. The technology flourished 100 years ago before oil became cheap, and it is now being re-discovered commercially. This presentation will explain the science behind small-scale gasification and its history from ancient charcoal production through to its widespread use in powering cars during the Second World War. It will discuss research that has shown how small variations in feedstock moisture content and consequently reactor thermodynamics can significantly influence gasification product gas and by-product biochar properties, along with how a small gasifier performs using standard and novel bio-feedstocks (such as torrefied pellet and recycled textile). Future projects look to demonstrate small-scale gasifiers in a forestry context, making off-grid power from waste brash, while also facilitating the remediation of peatland habitats in Caithness and Sutherland.
Presentation 4 - Fat Floaters and Sinkers
David Pond, SAMS

Copepod species of the genus Calanus (Calanus hereafter) are rice grain-sized crustaceans, distant relatives of crabs and lobsters, that occur throughout the Arctic Ocean consuming enormous quantities of microscopic algae (phytoplankton). These tiny animals represent the primary food source for many Arctic fish, seabirds and whales. During early spring they gorge on extensive seasonal blooms of diatoms, fat-rich phytoplankton that proliferate both beneath the sea ice and in the open ocean. This allows Calanus to rapidly obtain sufficient fat to survive during the many months of food scarcity during the Arctic winter. Diatoms also produce one of the main marine omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that Calanus require to successfully survive and reproduce in the frozen Arctic waters. Calanus seasonally migrate into deeper waters to save energy and reduce their losses to predation in an overwintering process called diapause that is fuelled entirely by carbon-rich fat (lipids). This vertical 'lipid pump' transfers vast quantities of carbon into the ocean's interior and ultimately represents the draw-down of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), an important process within the global carbon cycle. Continued global warming throughout the 21st century is expected to exert a strong influence on the timing, magnitude and spatial distribution of diatom productivity in the Arctic Ocean. Little is known about how Calanus will respond to these changes, making it difficult to understand how the wider Arctic ecosystem and its biogeochemistry will be affected by climate change.

The presentation will detail ongoing research activities by a team of national and international scientists led by the UHI partner organisation, the Scottish Association for Marine Science.

Presentation 5 - Challenges of Delivering Fieldwork: A Case Study Across the Sea, Land and Air
Laura Carse / Charles Greenwood / James Morrison / Arne Vogler - Lews Castle College UHI, Philip Gillibrand, Environmental Research Institute
Abstract To obtain a reliable overview of the distribution and intensity of tidal current induced turbulence, multiple in situ sensors are required. This presentation describes the deployment in the Falls of Warness, Orkney, where UHI researchers from Lews Castle College (LCC) and the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) worked with Marine Scotland the University of Edinburgh to deploy 10 sensors in 7 locations for simultaneous data collection. This consisted of 6 wet locations, where submerged acoustic sensors were deployed including a multi-frame that housed 4 different sensor types plus an additional surface wave buoy “marker”. A dry land based X-band radar was also deployed that provided surface measurements of wave and currents for the deployment. This presentation will describe the process of deploying large numbers of sensors that ranges from the organisation of vessel time with government research vessel the Alba na Mara, arranging deployment consents and the deployment and retrieval of the sensors in one of the UKs fastest flowing tidal channels.