João Luís Gaspar's Bio

Professor João Luís Gaspar, University of Azores, Portugal

João Luís Gaspar is Associate Professor with Aggregation from the Geosciences Department of the University of the Azores and researcher in the Centre for Volcanology and Gological Risks Assessment. He has a doctorate in Volcanology, by the University of the Azores, and a graduation in Geology, by the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon. He was elected Rector of the University of the Azores in February 2014, a position he currently holds. He was Director of the Geosciences Department of the University of the Azores and Director of the Centre for Volcanology and Geological Risks Assessment, a research unit aimed at the development of science and technology in the domain of Volcanology and related fields, in order to understand the volcanological phenomena and to assess the risks directly or indirectly associated. He was, as well, Executive Director of the Centre for Information and Seismovolcanic Surveillance of the Azores (CIVISA) and currently maintains the coordinator of its unit for Crisis Management and Response Mechanisms to Emergency Situations, which advices the Civil Protection Agency in the Azores. In this context, he has dealt with various crisis situations related to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, degassing processes, landslides and floods, in the Azores, in Portugal and overseas. Between 2004 and 2008 he occupied the positions of Regional Director for Science and Technology in the 9th Regional Government of the Azores and of President of the Regional Science and Technology Fund. He was then responsible for the technological infrastructure and the communication and data system of the Regional Government of the Azores. He also created the Regional Scientific and Technological System, launched the first Integrated Plan for Science, Technology and Innovation, chaired the Installation Committee for the Azorean Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, and designed the project for the construction of the Technological Park of S. Miguel, meant to foster companies that work in the fields of Information, Communication and Monitoring Technologies. In 2001 he was awarded the degree of Commendator of the Order of Merit by the President of the Portuguese Republic for his work in geological risk assessment and civil protection advice. In that same year he received Praise from the Institute of Meteorology. In 2011 he received the SIG Personality of the Year award, granted by ESRI Portugal for his role in the development of projects based on geographic information systems in the fields of volcanology, seismology, civil protection, land use planning and water resources.

From local natural events to global catastrophes: new challenges for risk mitigation

The Azores archipelago is located in the North Atlantic Ocean and is formed by nine volcanic islands and a few islets dispersed along a 600 km NW-SE direction axis. Due to their geodynamic and meteorological context, the islands are exposed to different natural hazards that were already responsible for thousands of deaths and severe damages. The main natural hazards which occur at the Azores are described and a brief reference is made to the nature, intensity and magnitude of major historical events, considering its importance for risk evaluation, land use and emergency planning. Geological phenomena such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, degassing processes and landslides, and extreme meteorological events frequently occur associated at different scales in time and space implying a multi-hazard analysis. Using independent monitoring techniques scientists try to understand the source parameters and the trigger conditions that precede such events to establish and develop alert and warning systems for civil protection actions. The Azores University, through the Centre for Volcanology and Geological Risks Assessment (CVARG) and the Centre for Information and Seismovolcanic Surveillance of the Azores (CIVISA), is the scientific advisory of the civil protection regional and local authorities for geological risk evaluation and seismovolcanic monitoring, respectively. In this scope the CVARG/CIVISA assures the implementation, development and maintenance of a multiparametric monitoring program for the Azorean region based on geophysical, geodetic, geochemical and meteorological continuous real-time data acquisition networks and discrete data sampling campaigns. This implies the daily collection of a huge amount of data whose storage, treatment, interpretation, visualization and publication pose particular problems due to the short-term response needed for decision making. Recent events all over the world have shown that even a well localized phenomenon can have a social and economic impact that goes far beyond the area where it occurs. Moreover, the Earth´s History shows that under certain geological conditions natural events can occur at a global scale causing dramatic environmental changes with direct impact on life. Such observations imply that risk mitigation needs to move to a larger scale involving the definition and acquisition of general critical information, widespread metadata, higher storage capability and faster data processing systems.

Susan Zvacek's Bio

Professor Susan Zvacek, University of Denver, USA

Susan Zvacek is Associate Provost for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning at the University of Denver, where she oversees the Office of Teaching and Learning and works closely with academic divisions, support centers, and administrative offices. Her background in educational technology and teaching help her to provide leadership in the areas of technology adoption and implementation, while ensuring that teaching and learning remain the focus of these decisions. Dr. Zvacek has worked in higher education as a faculty member, dissertation advisor, and administrator and her publications are in the areas of distance education, instructional design, and faculty development. Susan has been a Fulbright Scholar in the Czech Republic and a Fulbright Specialist appointed to the University of Porto (Portugal) where she led several short-courses for faculty members in the School of Engineering. Dr. Zvacek authored the preface to the online text “Using Remote Labs in Education” (2012,Universidad de Deusto) and continues to study and speak on topics related to designing effective learning strategies, whether online, face-to-face, or hybrid. She has been a keynote speaker at conferences in the UK, Austria, Slovakia, Germany, Estonia, Cyprus, Portugal, and the United States.

Know-How and Know-Why: Lab-Created Learning

Why do some programs of study build lab work into the curriculum? Although courses across a wide variety of disciplines traditionally include lab work, there is little consistency in how those labs (even within the same discipline) are configured and even less conversation about the value of lab work to student learning (preface). Generally speaking, labs are typically intended to help students develop procedural skills (manipulate tools, for example), explore the processes of scientific experimentation, and link theory to practice (see, for example, ABET, 2013 and ENAEE, 2012). While most educators would agree that these goals — procedural skills, experimentation, and theoretical understanding – are listed from least-to-most important, the unfortunate truth is that they are also listed in order of easiest-to-most-difficult for both teaching and learning. In this session, we’ll discuss how the learning activities and the technological configurations of labs can be re-thought to address challenges for learning and for access.

Mark Schulz's Bio

Professor Mark Schulz, University of Queensland, Australia

Dr Schulz has worked as a computer consultant in both the UK and in Australia; also for a short time, as a research scientist for the then Australian Atomic Energy Commission at Lucas Heights. Dr Schulz has been on the staff of the University of Essex (UK), the University of New South Wales, and finally The University of Queensland where he has worked since 1987. Until 2008 he was an academic teaching computer engineering in the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (ITEE). He then took on the role of Associate Director in the research Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology (CEIT) at the University of Queensland until mid 2014. Since 2014 he has been a member of the UQx project (UQx is a member of the edX consortium) developing MOOCs for The University of Queensland. He has also continued to supervise about 20 two-semester final year electrical and computer engineering student thesis projects each year since 2008. His current research interests are in the areas of remote laboratories, sensor networks, real-time messaging, and UX design for distributed collaborative real-time user interfaces.

Living and Working with the Internet of Things

We are living in the time when we see ever increasing instrumentation of our world. Data is being collected at an ever increasing rate, data to monitor performance and to control aspects of our daily experiences. This talk examines a few of the applications and looks at where these online “experiments” are leading us. Journalists are frequently referring to “The Internet of Things”, a term that is overloaded in its interpretation but which in part describes some of the data collection and interpretation we are witnessing. “Things” have existed since the early days of the Internet. The difference now is that there are many more and varied “things” on the Internet than ever before, and their number and variety is growing at an ever increasing rate. What will the future look like? We can never predict the future from the present as we are locked in our current frame of reference (we can’t foresee what will be invented), but we might have a guess at a future direction. This talk will examine some examples of Things on the Internet and look at how these “things” are being used to solve existing problems. How these things might be linked together is then discussed. The focus then moves to the relationship between the Internet of Things and real and virtual experiments and discusses some new aspects of these online experiments that, if addressed, may improve not only learning outcomes but may allow the operation of remote and virtual experiments to more closely approximate approaches used in real world environments.