Tim O'Shea

Tim O'Shea
The University of Edinburgh | UoE · Principal's Office

About

32
Publications
3,620
Reads
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966
Citations

Publications

Publications (32)
Conference Paper
The development of online distance learning and the early years of the recent MOOC phenomenon leads to a mix of lessons from experience and emergent findings from studies in new contexts that require further reflection and research. Seven issues are identified from this combination each of which require attention to allow evidence-based practice in...
Conference Paper
This paper discusses learning at scale from the perspective of two UK Universities engaging in technology enhanced learning. Three case studies are used to illustrate ways in which scale has been achieved. There is diversity in how scale is supported but also common factors. Openness and choice appear as enablers in all cases.
Article
Abstract  This paper focuses on difficulties which first-year undergraduate computer science students experience in learning formal reasoning techniques. The main findings from an empirical investigation are reported. These indicated that, in the student population studied, many of those difficulties stemmed from a combination of the mathematical c...
Article
Simulations on computers can allow many experiments to be conducted quickly to help students develop an understanding of statistical topics. We used a simulation of a challenging problem in statistics as the focus of an exploration of situations where members of a problem-solving group are physically separated then reconnected via combinations of c...
Article
This paper describes a research project into undergraduates’ use of a software tool to learn symbolic logic—a complex abstract domain that has been shown to be intimidating for students. The software allows the students to manipulate proofs in certain ways and then calculates the consequences of their actions. A research method has been developed t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We report a series of studies on the role of eye contact in video-mediated communication. These are part of an ongoing research program, which is investigating the usefulness of the technological mediated collaborative problem solving for distance learning. Technological mediation consists of access to shared simulations and access to a variety of...
Chapter
Full-text available
Learning formal logic can be difficult for many students. This paper describes some ongoing research into a computer program designed to help computer science undergraduates learn the natural deduction style of formal reasoning. Data collection methods included observation and videotaping of workshops, interviews, written tests, surveys, and loggin...
Article
The five ways of using computer simulations for students learning physics are for `hypothetical' experiments, for `breaking' the laws of nature, for `tidy' experiments, for `instrumental' data capture and display and for direct mathematical `modelling'. This article describes a distributed computer simulation running on linked workstations and repo...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper reports on the some experiments to explore the distributed synchronous learning of probability. We have been studying synchronous computer supported collaboration between adults using Kansas, a very general and powerful environment. We have implemented a shared simulation of a "game show" and used this with groups of adults ranging in si...
Article
Computer science undergraduates, for a number of reasons, find it difficult to learn formal reasoning methods. In an experiment designed to address certain of these difficulties a complete first year undergraduate computer science intake was supplied with a selection of computer-based tools providing a mixture of graphical and textual on-screen hel...
Article
Learning physics, particularly mechanics, is an area with which students often have difficulties. It has been widely acknowledged that computer-based simulation can make a significant contribution in helping students overcome their learning difficulties in this area. Simulation allows learners to control complex systems, manipulate variables, run e...
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents a case study of the development of electronic communications in a changing organization with the aim of studying the complex relationship between content and context in the design and implementation of technological change in communications. The development of a computer-mediated communication system was followed over a period,...
Article
An interview study with 36 students aged 10‐15 was conducted to identify features of the students' reasoning about horizontal and vertical motion. Seven tasks were used in the interviews. Each task presented the students with an example of motion in a particular context. Students' descriptions and explanations of the motions were explored. Commonly...
Article
We outline the rationale, put forward by those concerned with software engineering, for adopting a formal methods approach to programming. An empirical study was undertaken with second and third year computer science undergraduates at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London. Students were invited to analyse retrospectively the diffic...
Article
The authors discuss a key issue affecting the educational potential of interactive computer simulations—their possible lack of credibility. They explore the circumstances under which students are able to separate‘magical’features from those which map easily and directly onto the real world, and the relationship between their perceptions of events o...
Article
A number of techniques were used to elicit 16–17 yr old physics students' understanding of collisions. The students appear to use two different models of reasoning, namely a linear causal and a resistance/reciprocal causal model. These models however break down when the students are confronted with a computer simulation, if conservation of energy i...
Article
Increasing use of technology in communications is capable of producing a profound effect on the frequency, type and quality of interactions between individuals or groups engaged in similar enterprises although situated at different locations. This paper reports on a benchmark study investigating existing communication patterns of two research group...
Article
This short paper describes the methodological design space facing a research group on a project concerning the effects on conceptual change of an intervention based on computer simulation software. The many interacting factors in such an intervention are mentioned: group work, the effect of supplementary materials, the “halo” effect of novel techno...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
We designed an ecology of auditory icons which worked together to convey information about a complex, demanding simulation task, and observed users collaborating on it with and without sound. Our observations suggest that audio cues can provide useful information about processes and problems, and support the perceptual integration of a number of se...
Conference Paper
This paper describes the development and evaluation of a computer-based microworld for teaching about the physics of horizontal motion. The simulation allows students to investigate the effects of sliding friction on the horizontal motion of blocks of various masses and surface areas. The microworld presents students with seven "alternate realities...
Article
This paper is concerned with recent developments in the construction of intelligent tutoring systems. The authors have developed an adaptive computer tutor for arithmetic, called Shopping on Mars; this activity is unique in that it supports informal methods of calculation. It involves carrying out shopping transactions within the context of an adve...
Article
In this paper we describe the mathematical modelling components of the Open University second level course in applied mathematics called Mathematical Models and Methods. The teaching of mathematical modelling has been introduced in many British Universities and Poly technics. But teaching modelling at a distance is fraught with difficulties. What t...
Article
Mathematical modelling has in recent years been introduced to many courses in Polytechnics and Universities. But how is the process of mathematical modelling assessed? In this article we describe the assessment procedure for the modelling component of the Open University second level course in applied mathematics called Mathematical Models and Meth...
Article
Full-text available
the notion that 'uninhibited behaviour' is associated with communicating via computer has gained a great deal of attention / one manifestation, 'flaming' (the hostile expression of strong emotions and feelings), has been widely reported explore in some depth the phenomenon of flaming with the intention of challenging the widely accepted claim tha...
Article
Educational technologists usually appeal to psychological theories rather than technological opportunity to motivate the introduction of new approaches to support learning. In this paper we list key developments over the past fifty years and distinguish approaches that have a convincing theoretical base from those that were really driven by ease of...

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