Graduate Theses & Dissertations


Experiences of Seven Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing Alumni of Ontario’s Education System
Through narrative/life story research this study explores the educational experiences of six individuals identified as Deaf or hard-of-hearing. The research presented will be conveyed in the form of an autoethnography, an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and analyze personal experience to understand cultural experience. I will combine the views of participants who have been part of the Ontario Public School System within the last 10-15 years (2004-2019), with my own educational experience, learning with hearing loss. In this study, three interrelated concepts—student engagement, motivation, and resilience—are examined through the lens of “mindsets.” Mindsets are “assumptions that we possess about ourselves and others that guide our behaviour” (Brooks, 2012, p. 1). The research reviewed in this paper, shows that students’ beliefs about their academic ability can influence their academic tenacity. Academic tenacity refers to the mindsets and skills that enable students to: establish long-term goals and persevere in the face of adversity. I illuminate some of the systemic factors which impact the mindsets of students who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing. The design lies within the qualitative spectrum; data were gathered and analyzed from open-ended interviews conducted with purposively selected participants. Author Keywords: Academic Tenacity, Autoethnography, Deaf, Education, Hard-of-Hearing, Mindsets
Community Coalescence and Regional Geospatial Trends of Ceramic Decorative Variation in Late Woodland Northern Iroquoia
This case study focuses on geospatial patterns of decorative variation in pottery assemblages from 234 Northern Iroquoian village communities, occupied between ca. 1350–1650 CE. Previous interpretations of these assemblages’ ceramic decorative variability have been based on the assertion that potters from these communities used collar decorative motifs as communicative social signals. However, they did not consider whether these geospatial decorative patterns could simply reflect the outcome of stochastic macroscale social learning processes driven solely by probabilistic information exchange between closer neighboring communities. Cultural transmission, the theoretical framework applied here, is well-suited to address this perspective. Thus, the primary research question of this case study is, “Are the expected outcomes of random copying processes sufficient to explain the range of geospatial ceramic decorative variability observed across Northern Iroquoia?” Random copying processes are the stochastic, probabilistic social learning mechanisms driving the collective decisions of multiple communities, making up one side of the “random-selective copying spectrum.” When the decorative decisions of multiple communities are collectively guided by shared ideas (such as, potentially, symbolic communication structures), they become subsumed under the broad umbrella of “selective copying” processes. The social learning mechanisms involved on both sides have predictable geospatial and structural ranges of ceramic decorative patterning. The goal of this case study was thus to evaluate the range of patterning in Northern Iroquoia, both generally as well as at narrower temporal and spatial scales. Ultimately, region-specific temporal trends in selective copying processes seeming to reflect recently established temporal trajectories of community coalescence were identified. Author Keywords: coalescence, cultural population structure, cultural transmission, isolation by distance, Northern Iroquoia, social signaling
Examining the Diet of Early Nomadic Pastoralists in Southern Mongolia Using Carbon and Nitrogen Stable Isotope Analysis
This study reconstructs the diet of pastoral populations from Bronze Age Southern Mongolia and Early Iron Age Central Mongolia using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis of bone collagen from 44 individuals. Spatial and temporal differences were investigated and interpreted in combination with paleoenvironmental, archaeological, genetic and other stable isotope data. The Southern Mongolian diet is consistent with a mixed diet including C3 and C4 plants and large amounts of animal products from herd animals such as sheep/goat, horses and cattle. The δ13C values from Bronze Age Southern Mongolia are consistent with the consumption of C4 plants, most likely millet, obtained through trade with Northern China although environmental aridity might also be responsible for this pattern. The diet was relatively constant over time but spatial differences in Mongolia and Central Asia indicate variation in subsistence strategies based on environmental and cultural context. This thesis highlights the flexibility of pastoralism and its adaptability in the face of environmental and cultural changes. Author Keywords: Bronze Age, carbon and nitrogen isotopes, Mongolia, nomadic pastoralism, paleodiet, stable isotope analysis
Teacher Efficacy as an Indicator of how Mathematics Educators Perceive the Value of Professional Learning Experiences
This study investigates the potential for a responsive model of professional development in mathematics education which acknowledges how teachers perceive the value of professional learning, and examines how those perceptions are connected to teacher efficacy. Three fields of educational research ground this study: (i) professional development strategies in mathematics education, (ii) teacher efficacy, and (iii) self-determination theory and andragogy. Data collection and analysis involved four detailed case studies and a cross-case analysis of similarities and distinctions among the cases, in an instrumental-multiple-case study design. Results suggest: (1) some characteristics of professional development were consistently designated as high or low value, independent of efficacy ratings, (2) other professional learning experiences were valued relative to the participants’ sense of efficacy at different times in their careers, and (3) characteristics of professional development designated as high value during periods of low efficacy were fundamentally teacher-centric, but during periods of high efficacy, they were fundamentally student-centric. Author Keywords: efficacy, mathematics education, mathematics teachers, professional development, professional learning, teacher efficacy
Ohwén:tsia Entsionkwarihón:nien is a project that explores the intersection of Kanien’kéha immersion, Kanien’kehá:ka culture and the potential impacts of experiencing Rotinonhsón:ni knowledge on the land. Students at the Akwesasne Freedom School are fully immersed in the Kanien’kéha language and the “curriculum” is centered around four Rotinonhsón:ni systems of knowledge. What is missing, as identified by the teachers, is consistent opportunities for students to physically be on the land. This project asks how can we ensure that future generations of Onkwehónwe children can embody their language and their culture in connection to the land. The resulting “curriculum” then shifts from determining what students will learn, to listening to what the land has to teach. A land-based program by the AFS can translate to educational control, cultural sustainability, food sovereignty, environmental stewardship, community empowerment and linguistic revitalization; each of these is a critical component of building and rebuilding communities and nations. Author Keywords: Indigenous methodology, Land-Based Education, Rotinonhsón:ni, Storytelling
Educational Data Mining and Modelling on Trent University Students’ Academic Performance
Higher education is important. It enhances both individual and social welfare by improving productivity, life satisfaction, and health outcomes, and by reducing rates of crime. Universities play a critical role in providing that education. Because academic institutions face resource constraints, it is thus important that they deploy resources in support of student success in the most efficient ways possible. To inform that efficient deployment, this research analyzes institutional data reflecting undergraduate student performance to identify predictors of student success measured by GPA, rates of credit accumulation, and graduation rates. Using methods of cluster analysis and machine learning, the analysis yields predictions for the probabilities of individual success. Author Keywords: Educational data mining, Students’ academic performance modelling
Sinc-Collocation Difference Methods for Solving the Gross-Pitaevskii Equation
The time-dependent Gross-Pitaevskii Equation, describing the movement of parti- cles in quantum mechanics, may not be solved analytically due to its inherent non- linearity. Hence numerical methods are of importance to approximate the solution. This study develops a discrete scheme in time and space to simulate the solution defined in a finite domain by using the Crank-Nicolson difference method and Sinc Collocation Methods (SCM), respectively. In theory and practice, the time discretiz- ing system decays errors in the second-order of accuracy, and SCMs are decaying errors exponentially. A new SCM with a unique boundary treatment is proposed and compared with the original SCM and other similar numerical techniques in time costs and numerical errors. As a result, the new SCM decays errors faster than the original one. Also, to attain the same accuracy, the new SCM interpolates fewer nodes than the original SCM, which saves computational costs. The new SCM is capable of approximating partial differential equations under different boundary con- ditions, which can be extensively applied in fitting theory. Author Keywords: Crank-Nicolson difference method, Gross-Pitaevskii Equation, Sinc-Collocation methods
Combinatorial Collisions in Database Matching
Databases containing information such as location points, web searches and fi- nancial transactions are becoming the new normal as technology advances. Conse- quentially, searches and cross-referencing in big data are becoming a common prob- lem as computing and statistical analysis increasingly allow for the contents of such databases to be analyzed and dredged for data. Searches through big data are fre- quently done without a hypothesis formulated before hand, and as these databases grow and become more complex, the room for error also increases. Regardless of how these searches are framed, the data they collect may lead to false convictions. DNA databases may be of particular interest, since DNA is often viewed as significant evi- dence, however, such evidence is sometimes not interpreted in a proper manner in the court room. In this thesis, we present and validate a framework for investigating var- ious collisions within databases using Monte Carlo Simulations, with examples from DNA. We also discuss how DNA evidence may be wrongly portrayed in the court room, and the explanation behind this. We then outline the problem which may occur when numerous types of databases are searched for suspects, and framework to address these problems. Author Keywords: big data analysis, collisions, database searches, DNA databases, monte carlo simulation
“The Darkest Tapestry”
This doctoral research project is a part of the quest for an inclusive telling of Canada’s national identity and will focus on the creation of a memorialization Keeping Place model to commemorate the Indian Residential School system in Canada. My dissertation is interdisciplinary and contributes to the fields of cultural history, memory and post-colonial studies. In response to the TRC recommendation that calls on all Canadians to “develop and implement a national heritage plan and strategy for commemorating residential school sites, the history and legacy of residential schools, and the contributions of Indigenous peoples to Canada’s history”, this project aims to contribute a unique analysis and discourse to the existing literature as it will focus on developing a process of commemoration of the IRS system by uniting the architectural/geographical location not only as a place/space of colonizing “perpetrator architecture” but also as a Keeping Place and “site of memory/lieu de memoire” or conscience. This project will also engage the concepts of “Indigenous Métissage” and “Cultural Interface” to aid in the creation of an educational commemoration and reconciliation Keeping Place model for all Canadians. Author Keywords: canada, indian residential schools, keeping place , memory, saskatchewan, sites of memory
Influence of geodemographic factors on electricity consumption and forecasting models
The residential sector is a major consumer of electricity, and its demand will rise by 65 percent by the end of 2050. The electricity consumption of a household is determined by various factors, e.g. house size, socio-economic status of the family, size of the family, etc. Previous studies have only identified a limited number of socio-economic and dwelling factors. In this thesis, we study the significance of 826 geodemographic factors on electricity consumption for 4917 homes in the City of London. Geodemographic factors cover a wide array of categories e.g. social, economic, dwelling, family structure, health, education, finance, occupation, and transport. Using Spearman correlation, we have identified 354 factors that are strongly correlated with electricity consumption. We also examine the impact of using geodemographic factors in designing forecasting models. In particular, we develop an encoder-decoder LSTM model which shows improved accuracy with geodemographic factors. We believe that our study will help energy companies design better energy management strategies. Author Keywords: Electricity forecasting, Encoder-decoder model, Geodemographic factors, Socio-economic factors
Why fish when you could farm? A stable isotope analysis of changing diet and ritual killing in the Virú Valley, Peru
Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses were performed on individuals from the Virú Valley, Peru to better understand the people and society in this region of early-state development. This analysis also sheds light on the lives of individuals from a ritual killing event at Huaca Santa Clara. Bone collagen stable isotope analysis revealed that all individuals had diets predominantly based on terrestrial resources, while incremental hair segments, skin, tendon, and nails revealed that marine resources made small, non-seasonal contributions to the diet. The prioritization of farming over fishing in the Virú Valley may be indicative of the economic specialization of agricultural and marine subsistence practices by distinct communities and the tendency of state-level societies to monopolize agricultural resources. The isotopic compositions of the individuals from the Huaca Santa Clara ritual killing event showed no evidence of a controlled diet before their death and identified a likely migrant to Virú. Author Keywords: Diet, Early Intermediate Period, Early-State Development, North Coast Peru, Ritual Killing Event, Stable Isotope Analysis
Comparison of Nature Activities
Research shows spending time in nature can result in many positive effects, including improving mood, connection to nature, and environmental concern. Certain activities may increase these positive effects of nature exposure. Citizen science (non-scientists collecting data to contribute to science) and environmental education (receiving information about the environment) are two potential ways to boost the positive effects of nature exposure. But little research has been done comparing citizen science with environmental education. To address this gap in knowledge, undergraduate participants were randomly assigned to spend five minutes outside daily, for two weeks, either simply observing nature, looking for birds, or looking for and recording bird sightings. Over time, all groups experienced improvements in mood, connection to nature, and environmental concern. However, connection to nature increased the most in people who simply observed nature. Unexpectedly, simply spending time in nature was the most effective intervention. Limitations and future directions are discussed. Author Keywords: Citizen Science, Emotional Well-Being, Environmental Concern, Environmental Education, Nature Exposure, Nature Relatedness


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