Brock University Digital Repository
Brock University’s Digital Repository is an online archive showcasing and preserving the Brock community’s scholarly output as well as items from the Library’s Special Collections and Archives. Researchers can disseminate their work by depositing it in this Open Access repository, which provides free, immediate access to users while also allowing Brock scholars to track downloads and views of their scholarship.
For more information, see the repository's policies and procedures.
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Communities in Brock University Digital Repository
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The Transition Online: A Mixed-Methods Study of the Impact of COVID-19 on Students with Disabilities in Higher EducationFollowing the World Health Organization’s announcement of the global pandemic because of the Coronavirus Disease 2019, most Canadian universities transitioned to offering their courses exclusively online. One group affected by this transition was students with disabilities. Previous research has shown that the university experience for students with disabilities differs from those of their non-disabled peers. However, their unique needs are often not taken into consideration. As a result, students can become marginalized and alienated from the online classroom. In partnership with Student Accessibility Services, this research revealed the impact of the transition to online learning because of the pandemic for university students with disabilities. Students registered with Student Accessibility Services completed a survey about the effects of online learning during a pandemic on the students’ lives, education, and instructional and accommodation. It was clear from the results that online education during COVID-19 affected all aspects of the students’ lives, particularly to their mental health. This research provided a much-needed opportunity for students with disabilities to share the factors influencing their educational experience and identified recommendations instructors should consider when developing online courses to increase accessibility and improve engagement.
The role of the arousal system in age‐related differences in cortical functional network architectureA common finding in the aging literature is that of the brain's decreased within- and increased between-network functional connectivity. However, it remains unclear what is causing this shift in network organization with age. Given the essential role of the ascending arousal system (ARAS) in cortical activation and previous findings of disrupted ARAS functioning with age, it is possible that age differences in ARAS func- tioning contribute to disrupted cortical connectivity. We test this possibility here using resting state fMRI data from over 500 individuals across the lifespan from the Cambridge Center for Aging and Neuroscience (Cam-CAN) population-based cohort. Our results show that ARAS-cortical connectivity declines with age and, consistent with our expectations, significantly mediates some age-related differences in connec- tivity within and between association networks (specifically, within the default mode and between the default mode and salience networks). Additionally, connectivity between the ARAS and association networks predicted cognitive performance across several tasks over and above the effects of age and connectivity within the cortical networks themselves. These findings suggest that age differences in cortical connec- tivity may be driven, at least in part, by altered arousal signals from the brainstem and that ARAS–cortical connectivity relates to cognitive performance with age.
Landscape Aware Algorithm ConfigurationThe issue of parameter selection cannot be ignored if optimal performance is to be obtained from an algorithm on a specific problem or if a collection of algorithms are going to be compared in a fair manner. Unfortunately, adequately addressing the issue of parameter selection is time consuming and computationally expensive. Searching for appropriate control parameters generally requires much more time than actually solving the problem at hand due to the need to perform many complete runs of the target algorithm. The number of runs required to obtain thorough and equal coverage of the parameter space grows exponentially with the number of parameters. As a result, costs associated with parameter selection become a limiting factor in the scale of problems that can be investigated. The primary goal of this work is to reduce the costs of parameter selection. In pursuit of this goal, this thesis examines the use of neural networks to intelligently select appropriate control parameter values based on the characteristics of the problem at hand. Two general purpose approaches are evaluated: one that predicts a single set of control parameters to use throughout a run of the target algorithm; and, another that dynamically adjusts algorithm control parameters at run time. These approaches are examined in detail using the Particle Swarm Optimization algorithm. A comparison with state of the art automated tools for control parameter selection indicates that the cost of parameter selection can be significantly reduced.
Episode 11: On DisabilityEpisode 11: On Disability This episode of Unboxing the Canon introduces the topic of disability and the visual arts, looking at both historical and contemporary examples. We consider the near absence of visible disability in the history of Western art and discuss how some contemporary artists are representing disability in powerful ways. Beginning with Diego Velázquez’s 1656 painting Las Meninas, this episode examines it and other historical works through the ideas of contemporary artist, writer and disability activist, Riva Lehrer. Then we turn towards the work of Persimmon Blackbridge, a Canadian artist whose work touches on disability, institutionalization, censorship, and queer identity. We demystify the artist-genius myth and end with a brief discussion about how curatorial choices can make art more accessible.
Episode 10: Thinking and Rethinking Orientalism2021-09-17In this episode, called “Thinking and Rethinking Orientalism,” we examine Orientalism as a particular version of the Western gaze that influenced many 19th century European painters. The Western or European gaze treats non-Western subjects as different and inferior, but also as exotic, mysterious, or enticing. After examining the orientalist visual tropes in paintings by Gérôme and Delacroix, we turn towards contemporary artists. Moroccan photographer Lalla Essaydi creates meaningful portraits of Muslim women that challenge perceptions of Arab female identity. Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian was an Iranian artist whose works combine Eastern and Western influences into a unique sculptural style. We take a look at her series Fourth Family.