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Accessing the Power of Aesthetics in Human-computer Interaction

Description: In information systems design there are two schools of thought about what factors are necessary to create a successful information system. The first, conventional view holds that system performance is a key, so that efficiency characteristics such as system usability and task completion time are primary concerns of system designers. The second, emerging view holds that the visual design is also the key, so that visual interface characteristics such as visual appeal, in addition to efficiency characteristics, are critical concerns of designers. This view contends that visual design enhances system use. Thus, this work examines the effects of visual design on computer systems. Visual design exerts its influence on systems through two mechanisms: it evokes affective responses from IT users, such as arousal and pleasure and it influences individuals’ cognitive assessments of systems. Given that both affective and cognitive reactions are significant antecedents of user behaviors in the IT realm, it is no surprise that visual design plays a critical role in information system success. Human-computer-interaction literature indicates that visual aesthetics positively influences such information success factors as usability, online trust, user satisfaction, flow experience, and so on. Although academic research has introduced visual design into the Information Systems (IS) field and validated its effects, visual design is still very limited in three contexts: product aesthetics in e-commerce, mobile applications and commercial emails. This dissertation presents three studies to help fill these theoretical gaps respectively.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Chenyan, Xu

Accomplished Teachers' Instructional Decisions About Shakespeare

Description: Teachers' decisions are a powerful influence on student learning and it is important to fully document accomplished teachers' instructional decisions, as well as to investigate possible influences on those decisions. Shakespearean dramas are central to high school curricula across the U.S. and pose particular instructional challenges, therefore teachers' decisions about teaching these texts are of particular interest. There is limited empirical research, however, about these instructional decisions. Thus, the purpose of this study was to describe how four accomplished high school English teachers working on a single campus make instructional decisions about teaching a Shakespearean play. Specifically, research questions addressed teachers' decisions regarding the teaching of a Shakespearean play and various influences on those decisions (self-reports and inferences from the data). Case study methodology was used, including an inductive analysis of individual teacher interviews, classroom observations, focus group, instructional artifacts, and researcher's journal. The findings revealed that instructional activities described by these teachers addressed support for meaning-making during four stages of reading instruction: (a) before, during, and after; (b) before; (c) during; and (d) after. Comparison of these cases suggests that, although each teacher brings personal preferences and unique background knowledge to her instructional decisions, all make decisions to promote student engagement and student construction of meaning. Regarding influences on these teachers' decisions about teaching the Shakespearean play, four categories were identified: (a) response to students; (b) aspects of the text; (c) response to contextual constraints and supports; and (d) personal preferences and background experiences. Individual teacher differences are clearly a strong influence, even among this group of colleagues on the same campus. Also, two influences not reported explicitly by the teachers suggest a complex integration of these influences. One is their intuitive thinking, which deserves a closer investigation in future research. The other proposes that each teacher's decisions are ...
Date: May 2013
Creator: Parris, Sheri Rene’

Accountability in Schools: a Study of High School Accountability Ratings and College Success

Description: The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between high school campus accountability ratings, college readiness indicators, and the percent of students who achieved first year college success. Correlation and multiple regression analyses were used to analyze the relationship between the variables. Data was analyzed for two-year and four-year postsecondary educational institutions which were divided by eight school district types. Regression analysis of the relationship between high school campus accountability ratings and the percent of students who achieved first year college success for four- year post secondary educational institutions revealed statistically significant results ranging from R2 =.179 to R2 = .220. Similar results were found for two-year post secondary educational institutions with statistically significant results ranging from R2 = .049 to R2 = .218. The results indicated negligible to small relationships between the variables. Regression results of the analysis for the relationship between college readiness indicators and the percent of students who achieved first year college success revealed statistically significant results for 2 - year post secondary educational institutions ranging from R2 = .077 to R2 = .596 and for 4 -year post secondary educational institutions ranging from R2 = .048 to R2 = .304. These results indicated small to moderate relationships between college readiness indicators and the percent of students who achieve first year college success.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Orsborn, Shannon

Accreditation Facilitation Projects: Supporting High Quality Early Childhood Education and Care

Description: High-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) are linked to positive developmental outcomes for children. Systems have been created to define, measure and promote high-quality ECEC. National accreditation status is deemed the gold standard of a high-quality program, yet many centers are unable to achieve this without assistance. With the help of Accreditation Facilitation Projects (AFPs), many low-income centers are able to achieve accreditation. Centers collaborating with an AFP reap many benefits including financial support, ongoing training and mentoring, and guidance through the accreditation process. AFPs invest greatly in the centers they collaborate with and the longer the center takes to achieve accreditation, the more resources an AFP must expend. The purposes of this study were to understand if the educational level of center director, the total enrollment of a center, or the percentage of children receiving government subsidies could predict the time it takes for a center to complete the accreditation process while receiving assistance from an AFP, and to determine if there are differences in attitudes about program accreditation between center directors and early learning specialists who serve as accreditation mentors to the directors. Findings revealed that a) the higher educational level of program directors is associated with a quicker time to program accreditation, b) both the total enrollment of the center and the percentage of children receiving government subsidies do not predict time to accreditation, c) the number of total staff in a center is associated with a quicker time to accreditation, and d) there is no significant difference between the directors' attitudes and early learning specialists' attitudes toward accreditation and accreditation facilitation projects. AFPs looking to streamline their accreditation process and provide accountability to their stakeholders regarding their investments over time can use these findings to choose to collaborate with centers that have directors who have ...
Date: May 2013
Creator: Reinke, Stephanie L.

Acculturation, Acculturative Stress, and Anxiety Among Hispanic Undergraduates

Description: First generation college students face some unique challenges in the pursuit of higher education. Aside from academic stressors, there are stressors related to social and cultural transitions which may exacerbate pre-existing emotional or psychological distress. Research suggests that acculturation influences psychological well-being and development. The current study examined the relationships between acculturation, acculturative stress, socio-economic status, and symptoms of anxiety among first-generation college students of Hispanic origin. Participants (N = 125) included those who were first in their family to attend college and were primarily female, of traditional college age, and of Mexican heritage. All measures were self-report and were completed online. Overall, this study was inconclusive as most analyses were underpowered. The present study failed to support a relationship between style of acculturation and symptoms of anxiety, although, experiencing Anglo marginality was related to high levels of acculturative stress and anxiety. Finally, regression analysis revealed that acculturative stress, age, and Anglo marginalization were significant predictors of anxiety and accounted for 31% of variance in anxiety. Implications of the present study were discussed. Further study with adequate power is highly recommended.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Durón, Kelly M.

Acculturation and Depression in Older Mexican American Adults: the Role of Social Support

Description: Despite socioeconomic disadvantages, less acculturated Mexican Americans tend to exhibit better mental health than their more acculturated counterparts. However, in the case of older Mexican American adults, research has demonstrated the opposite to be true (Gonzalez, Haan, & Hinton, 2001). A variable of interest potentially responsible for this difference is social support. Thus, the current study proposed to investigate the mediation and moderation effects that social support has on the relationship between acculturation and depression in older Mexican American adults age 60 or older. Data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) was analyzed. Results showed that the mediating effect of contact with one’s children (-.109*) and the moderating effect of total social support and contact with one’s children (-.127*; -.103*) were statistically significant in the relationship between acculturation and depression. Although these effects are small they may still hold important implications for better understanding this population.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Caballero, Daniela

Acculturation and Feminist Endorsement on Control of Health and Health Behaviors in Hispanic Females

Description: Hispanic women are the fastest growing population in the United States. Thus, it is important to explore health disparities that affect this population and better understand potential causes. Several explanations have been proposed for disparities that exist including turning to cultural alternatives rather than conventional medicine, low numbers of health insurance enrollments among Hispanics, and acculturation. However, little attention has been given to explanations that take into account the unique experiences of Hispanic women. The present study explored these experiences through investigation of endorsement of feminist attitudes (e.g., gender role adherence and beliefs that men and women should be treated equally in society) and level of acculturation. Undergraduate Hispanic women (18-24 years of age, M = 20.25, SD = 1.51) at the University of North Texas completed measures including the Multidimensional Health Questionnaire, the Acculturation Rating Scale for Mexican Americans-II, and the Liberal Feminist Attitude and Ideology Scale. Although results indicate that acculturation was not significant in the sample, feminist endorsement was found to be positively correlated with health-esteem, health-efficacy, and internal-health locus of control. Limitations and recommended directions for future research are explored.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Garner, Ashley Nicole

Accuracy and Efficiency in Computational Chemistry: The Correlation Consistent Composite Approach

Description: One of the central concerns of computational chemistry is that of efficiency (i.e. the development of methodologies which will yield increased accuracy of prediction without requiring additional computational resources – RAM, disk space, computing time). Though the equations of quantum mechanics are known, the solutions to these equations often require a great deal of computing power. This dissertation primarily concerns the theme of improved computational efficiency (i.e. the achievement of greater accuracy with reduced computational cost). Improvements in the efficiency of computational chemistry are explored first in terms of the correlation consistent composite approach (ccCA). The ccCA methodology was modified and this enhanced ccCA methodology was tested against the diverse G3/05 set of 454 energetic properties. As computational efficiency improves, molecules of increasing size may be studied and this dissertation explored the issues (differential correlation and size extensivity effects) associated with obtaining chemically accurate (within 1 kcal mol-1) enthalpies of formation for hydrocarbon molecules of escalating size. Two applied projects are also described; these projects concerned the theoretical prediction of a novel rare gas compound, FKrOH, and the mechanism of human glutathione synthetase’s (hGS) negative cooperativity. The final work examined the prospect for the parameterization of the modified embedded atom method (MEAM) potential using first principles calculations of dimer and trimer energies of nickel and carbon systems. This method of parameterization holds promise for increasing the accuracy of simulations for bulk properties within the field of materials science.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Wilson, Brent R.

Accuracy and Interpretability Testing of Text Mining Methods

Description: Extracting meaningful information from large collections of text data is problematic because of the sheer size of the database. However, automated analytic methods capable of processing such data have emerged. These methods, collectively called text mining first began to appear in 1988. A number of additional text mining methods quickly developed in independent research silos with each based on unique mathematical algorithms. How good each of these methods are at analyzing text is unclear. Method development typically evolves from some research silo centric requirement with the success of the method measured by a custom requirement-based metric. Results of the new method are then compared to another method that was similarly developed. The proposed research introduces an experimentally designed testing method to text mining that eliminates research silo bias and simultaneously evaluates methods from all of the major context-region text mining method families. The proposed research method follows a random block factorial design with two treatments consisting of three and five levels (RBF-35) with repeated measures. Contribution of the research is threefold. First, the users perceived a difference in the effectiveness of the various methods. Second, while still not clear, there are characteristics with in the text collection that affect the algorithms ability to extract meaningful results. Third, this research develops an experimental design process for testing the algorithms that is adaptable into other areas of software development and algorithm testing. This design eliminates the bias based practices historically employed by algorithm developers.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Ashton, Triss A.

Accuracy of Partner Perception and Relationship Satisfaction: Investigating Masturbatory Habits

Description: An individual's perceptions of various aspects of one's romantic relationship (irrespective of whether or not the perceptions align with reality) often play a critical role in romantic relationship satisfaction. Research has demonstrated that the accuracy of an individual's perception of his or her partner is generally positively related to the individual's romantic relationship satisfaction. However, when perceiving negative or conflictual messages from a partner, an individual's accuracy of perception is negatively associated with his or her romantic relationship satisfaction. Researchers have suggested that poor accuracy in perceiving negative messages might diffuse the negative intention in a way that is less impactful to the relationship. The present study was designed to investigate accuracy in the perception of sexual topics, specifically masturbatory habits. A sample of 93 married couples (186 individuals) responded to questions about (a) their own masturbatory behaviors and (b) their perception of their partners' masturbatory behaviors to determine the accuracy of each partner's perception of his or her partner. The association between accuracy and romantic and sexual relationship satisfaction was explored, along with one potential moderating variable: attitudes toward masturbation. Perceived reason for masturbating, perceived target of arousal during masturbation, and partner's actual reason for masturbating all positively predicted an individual's relationship satisfaction. Partner's actual openness about masturbatory behaviors moderated the association between accuracy of partner perception of openness about masturbation and both relationship and sexual satisfaction. When partners were more open about masturbation, accuracy was a stronger positive predictor of relationship and sexual satisfaction than when partners were less open about masturbation. Results, limitations, areas for future research, and clinical implications are discussed.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Ramos, Marciana Julia

Accurate and Reliable Prediction of Energetic and Spectroscopic Properties Via Electronic Structure Methods

Description: Computational chemistry has led to the greater understanding of the molecular world, from the interaction of molecules, to the composition of molecular species and materials. Of the families of computational chemistry approaches available, the main families of electronic structure methods that are capable of accurate and/or reliable predictions of energetic, structural, and spectroscopic properties are ab initio methods and density functional theory (DFT). The focus of this dissertation is to improve the accuracy of predictions and computational efficiency (with respect to memory, disk space, and computer processing time) of some computational chemistry methods, which, in turn, can extend the size of molecule that can be addressed, and, for other methods, DFT, in particular, gain greater insight into which DFT methods are more reliable than others. Much, though not all, of the focus of this dissertation is upon transition metal species – species for which much less method development has been targeted or insight about method performance has been well established. The ab initio approach that has been targeted in this work is the correlation consistent composite approach (ccCA), which has proven to be a robust, ab initio computational method for main group and first row transition metal-containing molecules yielding, on average, accurate thermodynamic properties, i.e., within 1 kcal/mol of experiment for main group species and within 3 kcal/mol of experiment for first row transition metal molecules. In order to make ccCA applicable to systems containing any element from the periodic table, development of the method for second row transition metals and heavier elements, including lower p-block (5p and 6p) elements was pursued. The resulting method, the relativistic pseudopotential variant of ccCA (rp-ccCA), and its application are detailed for second row transition metals and lower p-block elements. Because of the computational cost of ab initio methods, DFT is a popular choice ...
Date: August 2013
Creator: Laury, Marie L.

Accurate Energetics Across the Periodic Table Via Quantum Chemistry

Description: Greater understanding and accurate predictions of structural, thermochemical, and spectroscopic properties of chemical compounds is critical for the advancements of not only basic science, but also in applications needed for the growth and health of the U.S. economy. This dissertation includes new ab initio composite approaches to predict accurate energetics of lanthanide-containing compounds including relativistic effects, and optimization of parameters for semi-empirical methods for transition metals. Studies of properties and energetics of chemical compounds through various computational methods are also the focus of this research, including the C-O bond cleavage of dimethyl ether by transition metal ions, the study of thermochemical and structural properties of small silicon containing compounds with the Multi-Reference correlation consistent Composite Approach, the development of a composite method for heavy element systems, spectroscopic of compounds containing noble gases and metals (ArxZn and ArxAg+ where x = 1, 2), and the effects due to Basis Set Superposition Error (BSSE) on these van der Waals complexes.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Peterson, Charles Campbell

Achieving Financial Sustainability: Are We Asking the Wrong Questions?

Description: While technology has made producing copies of digital content almost entirely free, there is no escaping that publishing, according to most definitions of the term, still requires time and money. Any publishing service offered by a library must find a way to achieve financial sustainability—that is, operate without losing money. However, even "losing money" is a tricky concept, especially when taking into account varying definitions of operating expenses (overhead costs) under different models for auxiliary services. Libraries are by their very nature cost centers, providing services without the expectation of recovering revenue, and are usually part of larger organizations that similarly provide services under partial or full subsidies. While libraries are often comfortable with charging for convenience services and for services to those outside their designed community of users, careful thought should be given to which costs a publishing service-or any new service-should be expected to recover.
Date: August 12, 2016
Creator: Hawkins, Kevin S.

Across Borders and Barlines: Chicana/o Literature, Jazz Improvisation, and Contrapuntal Solidarity

Description: In this study, I examine Chicana/o writings and Black and Brown musical traditions as they entwine in urban centers and inform local visions of inclusion and models of social change. By analyzing literature and music from South Texas, Southern California, and Northeastern Michigan, I detail how the social particularities of each zone inform Chicana/o cultural productions rooted in the promise of empowerment and the possibility of cross-cultural solidarity. I assert that highlighting localized variations on these themes amplifies contrapuntal solidarities specific to each region, the relationship between different, locally conceived conceptions of Chicana/o identity, and the interplay between Brown and Black aesthetic practices in urban centers near national borders. Through literary critical and ethnomusicological frameworks, I engage the rhetorical patterns that link poetry, jazz improvisation, essays, musical playlists, and corridos to illumine a web of discourses helping to establish the idiosyncratic yet complimentary cultural mores that shape localized social imaginaries in the United States.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Leal, Jonathan J.

Act Like a Punk, Sing Like a Feminist: A Longitudinal Content Analysis of Feminist Themes in Punk Rock Song Lyrics, 1970-2009

Description: Punk rock music has long been labeled sexist as copious media-generated accounts and reports of the genre concentrate on male artists, hyper-masculine performances, and lyrics considered to be aggressive, sexist, and misogynist. However, scholars have rarely examined punk rock music longitudinally, focusing heavily on 1980s and 1990s manifestations of the genre. Furthermore, few systematic content analyses of feminist themes in punk rock song lyrics have been conducted. The present research is a longitudinal content analysis of lyrics of 600 punk rock songs released for four decades between 1970 and 2009 to examine the prevalence of and longitudinal shifts in antiestablishment themes, the prevalence of and longitudinal shifts in sexist themes relative to feminist themes, the prevalence of and longitudinal shifts in specific feminist branches, and what factors are related to feminism. Using top-rated albums retrieved from Sputnik Music’s “Best Punk Albums” charts, systematic random sampling was applied to select 50 songs for each combination of three gender types and four decades. Sexism and feminism were then operationalized to construct a coding sheet to examine relevant dimensions. While the present study found no significant patterns of longitudinal increase or decrease in feminist or sexist themes, it revealed that feminist themes were consistently high across four decades and, furthermore, indicated a phenomenon of post-modern hybridity.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Levine, Lauren E.

An Action Research Study of Community Building with Elementary Students in a Title I School

Description: “In what ways does teaching with folk arts inspired visual arts-based instruction enhance community building among elementary students in a Title I school?” was the primary research question in this study. Agreeing with past and present day research that the construct of community is vital to social and cultural capital, this research attempts to determine how the notion of community benefits both students and teachers in the elementary art classroom. Folk art was utilized because this genre was accessible in terms of locality and familiarity among students and teachers. The purpose of this investigation was to produce teaching strategies and methods that show how community can be formed in the art classroom. The participants were elementary students, Grades 2 and 3, in a Title I school located in Denton, Texas. This investigation was conducted under an action research methodology. This approach to research is intended to be transformational, emergent, and accommodating. I recorded observations, field notes, and conversations from the participants. Emergent themes were discovered through content analysis and conceptual maps. Results from this investigation concluded transformation is only possible if the person wants change to happen. Data also showed that community and art education are symbiotic. Transformation, growth, and cultivation are demands that must be met in order for this relationship to flourish. In addition, data suggested that the role of folk arts-based lessons played a significant role in building community among second and third graders.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Dew, SaraBeth

Actions Taken by Texas School Districts to Prevent Fraud

Description: This research is a descriptive analysis answering the question, what measures are currently taken by the leadership―boards of trustees and superintendents of schools―of Texas school districts to prevent embezzlement? The research perspective utilized was quantitative with a descriptive, cross-sectional design. Data collection was accomplished through a survey with questions constructed from the most commonly recommended strategies discovered through the review of literature. The survey was distributed to the 1031 superintendents of school districts in Texas via email. The response rate was 33% or 339 returned surveys. The data set created concentrates on the four most common preventive measures: policy and procedure, management, auditing, and ethics. These measures are considered as they function to interrupt the principles of the fraud triangle. Comparisons were completed regarding region, district size, superintendent tenure and superintendent experience. Policy adoption was found to be extremely widespread. Procedures written to fully implement policy were less prevalent. Review of management practices found problems concerning credit cards, personnel evaluations, and password access to multiple computer finance recordkeeping systems concentrated in one employee. External auditing programs were universal due to statutory mandate but internal auditors and internal audit committees were few. Ethics training for business office personnel existed but with little consistent application across districts. The adoption of a code of ethics for business office personnel was rare. Recommendations made were that school leaders should be educated concerning appropriate actions in the common prevention areas. They need an to understand the importance of internal auditing, know the language in local policy, and they need to write procedures.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Taylor, Gordon Douglas

Acute Effects of the Antibiotic Streptomycin on Neural Network Activity and Pharmacological Responses

Description: The purpose of this study is to find out that if antibiotic streptomycin decreases neuronal network activity or affects the pharmacological responses. The experiments in this study were conducted via MEA (multi-electrode array) technology which records neuronal activity from devices that have multiple small electrodes, serve as neural interfaces connecting neurons to electronic circuitry. The result of this study shows that streptomycin lowered the spike production of neuronal network, and also, sensitization was seen when neuronal network pre-exposed to streptomycin.
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Date: December 2014
Creator: Zeng, Wei Rong

The Acute Hormonal Response to the Kettlebell Swing Exercise

Description: The purpose of this investigation was to examine the acute hormonal response to a bout of kettlebell swing exercise. Ten healthy men (19-30 y, 23.6 ± 3.5 y, 174.6 ± 5.7 cm, 78.7 ± 9.9 kg) who were engaged in resistance training at least twice per week but were inexperienced with kettlebell swings participated in this study. Participants were familiarized with the kettlebell swing exercise during an initial visit. During the subsequent experimental protocol visit, participants performed 12 rounds of 30 seconds of 16-kg kettlebell swings alternated with 30 seconds of rest. Heart rate (HR) and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were measured at the end of every round of swings. Fasted blood samples were collected pre-exercise (PRE), immediately post (IP), 15 minutes post (P15), and 30 minutes post exercise (P30) and analyzed for total testosterone (T), growth hormone (GH), cortisol, and lactate concentrations. Participants completed a total of 227 ± 23 swings (average swings per round: 19 ± 2). HR and RPE increased significantly (P < 0.05) throughout the exercise protocol. Lactate concentrations were significantly increased at all post exercise time points compared to PRE. T was significantly increased at IP compared to PRE. GH was significantly increased at IP, P15, and P30 compared to PRE. Cortisol was significantly increased at IP and P15 compared to PRE. 12 rounds of 30 seconds of kettlebell swing exercise induced an acute increase in T, GH, and cortisol concentrations in resistance trained men. Additionally, this exercise protocol induced a large increase in HR and lactate concentration. Thus, the kettlebell swing exercise might provide an effective method for simultaneous endurance and resistance training.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Budnar Jr., Ronald Gene

The Adagio of Mahler's Ninth Symphony: A Schenkerian Analysis and Examination of the Farewell Story

Description: Mahler's Ninth Symphony, since its premier in 1912, has sparked much debate about its programmatic meaning. This thesis provides an in-depth analysis of the Adagio and an examination of the controversy of the farewell story. In the process of the analysis I have compared my findings to some of the important authors in Mahler's field such as Vera Micznik, Henry-Louis de La Grange, and Christopher Orlo Lewis. Some of the conclusions are that a closer investigation of the music is necessary and that the programmatic reading of the farewell story can be appropriate.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Patterson, Jason

Adapting on the Plains: the United States Army's Evolution of Mobile Warfare in Texas, 1848-1859

Description: The Army, despite having been vexed for a century on how to effectively fight the Plains Indians, ultimately defeated them only a decade after the Civil War. This thesis will bring to the forefront those individuals who adapted fighting techniques and ultimately achieved victories on the Texas frontier before the Civil War. The majority of these victories came as a result of mounted warfare under the direction of lower ranking officers in control of smaller forces. The tactic of fighting Indians from horseback was shown to be effective by the Rangers and later emulated by the Army.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Buchy, Mark B.