Scholarly Integrity: All That is Done Under the Sun is Known

In this blog I explore Scholarly Integrity. I looked at the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) of the US Department of Health & Human Services and the code of ethics of the professional association for engineers in Puerto Rico, the Professional College of Engineers and Land Surveyors of Puerto Rico (CIAPR in Spanish.)

When reading the code of ethics of the CIAPR in its first article it mentions that its goal is “To maintain as the primary consideration in the performance of their professional responsibilities, the safety, environment, health and well-being of the community”. The community is front and center, for this, they have to look for their safety in the designs and constructions they perform. They also have to look to improve the environment in a sustainable way to improve the quality of life and health of the citizens. Another article that called my attention was the third one: “To issue public statements in an objective and truthful manner.” At all times that they express themselves in technical reports, statements, or testimonies, they have to do it with full knowledge of the topic, based in factual information in a serious and measured tone.

While exploring the website of the ORI, I found the case of Matthew Poore a former technician at Liquid Logic Inc. He falsified data in a presentation and report. He changed the outcomes of HIV tests, manipulating graphs and testing samples. He entered into a voluntary settlement and will have for a period of three years to (1) have his research supervised and (2) to exclude himself from serving in any advisory capacity to the US Public Health Service.

I had a chemistry teacher in an undergraduate course that always said: “there is nothing under the sun that is not known sooner than later.” I find this to be extremely true. It is very tempting to take quick routes and inflate or exaggerate ones accomplishments. There are severe consequences when one does not follow the rules of their professional practices to live in a better society.

Sources:

CIAPR (2015). “Manual of Practice and Guidelines for the Compensation of Professional Services.”, <http://www.ciapr.org/ciapr.org/share/ManualGuidaDeCompensacionSec.pdf> (May. 1, 2015).

ORI (2013). “Case Summary: Poore, Matthew.”, <http://ori.hhs.gov/content/case-summary-poore-matthew> (May. 1, 2015).

What will change in higher education? The perspectives of a student

In this blog I talk about what I think should change in higher education. I believe there should be an increased use of technology in the classroom and use of study abroad programs. There is much talk about how we live in a globalized economy and market and as such there should be an increase in the free flow of student and knowledge around the world.

First, professors have to embrace new technologies and social media platforms that enable to reach further and quicker than before to students and society in general. With today’s technology, there is no impediment for a professor talking about coastal erosion in Blacksburg, VA to connect via the internet to another classroom or lab site in Thailand that is exploring this same topic. The interaction between students in the classroom does not have to be simply in the traditional way of raising the hand and posing a question or answer. The student could pose a question via a chat or write in his computer and that could be shown in the monitor superimposed to the professor’s slides. The debates and exchange of ideas that could occur in this way are countless.

The second point is in regard to study abroad programs. With all the free trade agreements that exist currently and in an everyday more globalized economy. A student from Virginia Tech should be able to go to a university in Brazil, in Saudi Arabia, or anywhere in the world and study for a semester or summer. Be exposed to the customs and traditions of the host country, learn from the way they teach classes, and return to his university to share the gained knowledge. It is my perspective that this types of programs are usually very expensive, but if they are treated more fairly as in a free trade agreement scenario, where no additional taxes and costs are imposed, more students could benefit from it and graduate as well rounded professionals with experiences that will benefit them a lifetime.

In these two ways I see higher education evolving and expanding in the coming years. This will enable them to become bigger places of knowledge, not only in their countries but in the world.

MOOCS as Disruptive Innovation in Higher Education

In this blog I will explore how faculty has reacted to the implementation of disruptive technology and massive open online courses (MOOCs).

Christensen (2008) explores disruptive innovation, which is to make something that used to be complex, much simpler, attracting new entrants into the market. He analyzed this in the context of the Harvard Business School (HBS). He explains how Harvard is one of the best universities in the World and their students pay a very considerable amount for an MBA but this is with the promise of receiving higher salaries. The situation in which their alumni command higher salaries has prompted several companies not to go there to recruit them anymore. These companies in contrast have decided to build their own business schools something that eats away at the core of the HBS. MOOCs have been mentioned as a disruptive innovation and potential replacement of the university as we know it.

Several professors have been vocal against them, for example, Adam Sitze, assistant professor of law at Amherst College said (Rivard, 2013): “What makes us think, educationally, that MOOCs are the form of online learning that we should be experimenting with? On what basis? On what grounds?…2012 was the year of the MOOCs. 2013 will be the year of buyer’s regret.” The professors at Amherst College went on to reject an offer to join edX with 70 votes against and 41 for it. This shows that some of the faculty was interested in exploring MOOCs. Among the issues for not joining edX it was mentioned that Amherst values of “small residential community” and “close colloquy” were not compatible with having a MOOC class with thousands of students. For Kelly (2014) the MOOCs are more like “Health Clubs” where a person will be more motivated to participate and exercise if it is free. Then the health system as a whole benefits from having healthy patients and can focus its assets and efforts in other patients that require more attention.

In reality MOOCs serve as a tool where anyone with an internet connection around the world can have access to knowledge. As they are structured currently, any person around the world can have access to education from elite universities and have access to information that previously they would not have the possibility of obtaining in this readily fashion. Time will tell how much of the market share they take from the traditional university.

Sources:

Christensen, C. (2008). Disruptive Innovation and Catalytic Change in Higher Education. In Futures Forum, Harvard Business School.

Kelly, A. (2014). “Why MOOCs Are More Like Health Clubs Than Hospitals.”, < http://www.forbes.com/sites/akelly/2014/05/15/why-moocs-are-more-like-health-clubs-than-hospitals/> (May. 1, 2015).

Rivard, R. (2013). “EdX Rejected.”, < https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/04/19/despite-courtship-amherst-decides-shy-away-star-mooc-provider> (May. 1, 2015).

Scholarly Integrity: All That is Done Under the Sun is Known

In this blog I explore Scholarly Integrity. I looked at the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) of the US Department of Health & Human Services and the code of ethics of the professional association for engineers in Puerto Rico, the Professional College of Engineers and Land Surveyors of Puerto Rico (CIAPR in Spanish.)

When reading the code of ethics of the CIAPR in its first article it mentions that its goal is “To maintain as the primary consideration in the performance of their professional responsibilities, the safety, environment, health and well-being of the community”. The community is front and center, for this, they have to look for their safety in the designs and constructions they perform. They also have to look to improve the environment in a sustainable way to improve the quality of life and health of the citizens. Another article that called my attention was the third one: “To issue public statements in an objective and truthful manner.” At all times that they express themselves in technical reports, statements, or testimonies, they have to do it with full knowledge of the topic, based in factual information in a serious and measured tone.

While exploring the website of the ORI, I found the case of Matthew Poore a former technician at Liquid Logic Inc. He falsified data in a presentation and report. He changed the outcomes of HIV tests, manipulating graphs and testing samples. He entered into a voluntary settlement and will have for a period of three years to (1) have his research supervised and (2) to exclude himself from serving in any advisory capacity to the US Public Health Service.

I had a chemistry teacher in an undergraduate course that always said: “there is nothing under the sun that is not known sooner than later.” I find this to be extremely true. It is very tempting to take quick routes and inflate or exaggerate ones accomplishments. There are severe consequences when one does not follow the rules of their professional practices to live in a better society.

Sources:

CIAPR (2015). “Manual of Practice and Guidelines for the Compensation of Professional Services.”, <http://www.ciapr.org/ciapr.org/share/ManualGuidaDeCompensacionSec.pdf> (May. 1, 2015).

ORI (2013). “Case Summary: Poore, Matthew.”, <http://ori.hhs.gov/content/case-summary-poore-matthew> (May. 1, 2015).

 

 

A Look at an Open Access Journal in Civil Engineering

In this blog I will explore an open access journal in civil engineering. Open access journals, are journals that grant access to anyone with access to the internet without paying a subscription. Usually the author pays for the processing fees to publish the article and use the distribution network of the journal.

In this case, I will explore the Advances in Civil Engineering Journal (Hindawi, 2015). It is owned by the Hindawi Publishing Corporation that according to its website owns 437 peer reviewed journals. According to Wikipedia (2015) it was founded in 1997 in Cairo, Egypt and it is growing rapidly through acquisitions and launching of new journals. It mentions as its aim and scope “Advances in Civil Engineering is a peer-reviewed, open access journal that publishes original research articles as well as review articles in all areas of civil engineering.” They claim they have an acceptance rate of 17% and take 46 days from review to acceptance.

They explain opens access saying they charge the author, but it is usually paid by the author’s institution or grants they might have. In this particular journal they charge $600 and argue this is for the processing fees and will allow free access to anyone with access to the internet. In their publication ethics they have the sections that will be expected in any other journal; plagiarism, duplicate submissions, citation manipulation, improper author contribution, etc.

It is difficult to identify how it positions itself among other open access journals. It mentions it has over 580 reviewers and in its editorial board it has professors from internationals universities and several well recognized universities in the United States like Berkeley and Texas A&M.

Sources:

Hindawi (2015). “Advances in Civil Engineering.”, <http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ace/> (May. 4, 2015).

Wikipedia (2015). “Hindawi Publishing Corporation.”, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindawi_Publishing_Corporation> (May. 4, 2015).