Assessing the impact of visualization media on engagement in an active learning environment

Dr. Fadi Castronovo, a researcher at the centre, in collaboration with Andrew Stanciulescu and Dr. Jesús Oliver, all from the California State University East Bay, published a new article in the International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology journal on their work on the use of active learning strategies and large display system in mathematics pedagogy.

Active learning pedagogical methods has shown significant positive effects in higher education as they promote students’ engagement and meeting of learning outcomes. Similarly, problem-based learning and media-based learning allow instructors to model educational experiences that prepare students with knowledge and skills necessary for the real world. In this study, the authors wanted to investigate the impact of a group problem-based learning activity using visualization media on students’ learning motivation in a mathematics course. In this activity, students were grouped and asked to solve volumes of revolution calculus problems while being either in a traditional classroom or in a classroom equipped with a large-scale visualization display system.

The authors assessed the students’ self-efficacy, effort regulation, perceived usefulness, task attraction, and user experience after participating in the activity. The authors found a significant difference in students’ self-efficacy and task attraction based on the results’ analysis. The authors did not find a significant difference in students’ effort regulation and perceived usefulness. The students did report a significantly positive experience while using the large-scale visualization display system. The analysis illustrated a medium to large effect size of the results’ statistical significance.

The findings contribute to expanding active learning research and provide an example of how the use of visualization media can enhance active learning. Additionally, these results can support future researchers in further investigating the role that visualization media has in other disciplines that leverage active learning. These findings also support future instructors in identifying the optimal implementation procedure to enhance students’ motivation.

For the full paper see:

Investigating the cognitive and metacognitive process of learners while using construction educational games

Dr. Fadi Castronovo, a researcher at the centre, in collaboration with Nicholas Stepanik, Dr. Peggy Van Meter, and Prof. John Messner, all from the Pennsylvania State University, published a new article in the Advanced Engineering Informatics journal on their work on the use of an educational simulation game, Virtual Construction Simulator 4 (VCS4), in construction pedagogy.

The growing adoption of educational games in construction pedagogy has significantly impacted student learning, and the VCS4 has been found to support student learning of how to solve complex construction problems in classroom settings. Through new research efforts, the team aimed at further investigating and evaluating the thinking processes that students engage while playing the game.

This study examined those thinking processes by analysing verbal protocols (think alouds) collected as students thought aloud while playing VCS4 game modules and resulting verbal protocols were coded to capture both cognitive and metacognitive operations. Patterns of thought revealed by this coding were then compared to the patterns expected based on the intentions of game design.

The results show that students do generally exhibit the expected patterns. These findings illustrate the capacity that educational construction games have in engaging students in complex thinking processes that require a wide range of cognitive and metacognitive operations. The findings are also unprecedented in construction pedagogy research, as previous studies focused on the educational impacts of educational games in classroom environments and warranted a deeper understanding of how such games engaged students. The findings are essential in understanding how simulation games can support and prepare students for the construction industry. Another contribution is that these findings can support researchers beyond construction by modelling the thinking processes that students might engage in while solving complex problems in other engineering disciplines.

For the full paper see:

Understanding your customer experience and utilising data

As part of CSIUS outreach activities, we co-delivered a seminar on utilising data for improving customer experience in tourism within the the regional area. This seminar was organised by the RISE innovation project which aims to help local businesses take charge of their innovation, capitalise on new opportunities and become more productive, competitive and resilient.

Along with Adam Jones, from the School of Business and Law, the seminar helped attendees to understand their customer experience and how data is inherent to this process. Ideas for collecting, and using data were discussed as well as potential technologies which can support understanding the voice of the customer.

For more information about outreach opportunities, please get in contact at

Scoping 3D Service for the Arts and Humanities

We have recently launched an AHRC funded project for scoping digital infrastructure to support innovative research in the Arts and Humanities using multi-dimensional complex visual datasets, such as 3D datasets, digital twins and immersive technologies.

The Data Services for Complex 3D Data in the Arts and Humanities brings together Universities, cultural and creative industries across UK organisations, including University College London, King’s College London, University of the West of England, University of Edinburgh, University of Cambridge, National Archives, British Library, Victoria and Albert Museum and Mnemoscene amongst others.

A first Workshop on “Digital Infrastructure and User Requirements” is planned for the 29th of March which will bring together the partnership and other stakeholders to co-develop a set of user requirements for a federated data service that addresses the needs of the community, both researchers and practitioners, to store, use, analyse and preserve complex visual datasets in the arts and humanities.

A large amount of 3-dimensional and visual data is being generated by Arts and Humanities researchers, through practice and archival research as well as scientific analysis, of objects and environments including those in national collections.

The project (Grant No. AH/W007541/1) is supported by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council under the Scoping future data services for the arts and humanities scheme which aims to enhance national data services through a family of linked and interoperable trusted data repositories (TDRs) for capture and analysis of arts and humanities research data.

21st European Conference on e-Learning (ECEL 2022)

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Panagiotis Fotaris, researcher at the centre, is leading the organisation of the 21st European Conference on e-Learning (ECEL 2022) on 27th-28th October 2022.

ECEL 2022, which will be organised by the  University of Brighton, aims to establish what really matters in e-learning. Increasingly e-learning is taking a logical place in the design of learning materials. It is often integrated in the design process of learning. A blended learning design cycle sets goals, works out how these goals are best achieved and then fills out the appropriate methods of learning. In this way, e-learning can be chosen as a method of learning and can be selected for its true value. We are expecting examples of great course design as well as examples of good practice, showing the real value of e-learning innovations. By investigating the design and rationale behind good practice individuals will be better able to apply e-Learning applications in their own setting.

We invite contributions of empirical and experiential research, and case studies and work-in-progress/posters are also welcomed approaches. PhD Research, proposals for roundtable discussions, non-academic contributions and product demonstrations based on the main themes are also invited. 

For more information, please go to

Publication opportunities

Papers accepted for the conference will be published in the conference proceedings, which have an ISBN and ISSN, subject to author registration and payment. The ECEL conference proceedings are submitted for accreditation in a number of publications including the Thomson Reuters ISI (WOS) Conference Proceedings Citation Index and Elsevier Scopus.

Papers that have been presented at the conference will be considered for further development and publication in the Scopus indexed Electronic Journal of e-Learning. ISSN: 1479-4403 (

ECEL 2022 will also be hosting the 8th e-Learning Excellence Awards. The finalists will be invited to register for the conference and present their case histories to the judges and conference participants.  For more information and to submit an abstract, see

We look forward seeing you in Brighton in October.

Protecting smartphone users from malware


Khuong Nguyen, a researcher at the centre, and his PhD student – Robert Choudhury, have recently published new findings on the vulnerabilities found on smartphones for malicious software despite the tightening of permissions for software to access the device’s information. This research will be published at the 8th International Conference on Information Systems Security and Privacy (ICISSP 2022).

Malicious software (malware) is designed to circumvent the security policy of the host device, such as mobile smartphones and tablets. In recent years, smartphones represent an attractive target to malware authors as they are often a rich source of sensitive information, including personal details. Attractive targets for attackers are sensors (such as cameras or microphones) which allow observation of the victims in real-time.

To counteract this threat, there has been a tightening of privileges on mobile devices’ sensors, with app developers being required to declare which sensors they need access to, as well as the users needing to give consent.

However, this research offers unique evidence, by surveying publicly accessible malware analysis platforms, highlighting that there are still implementations of sensors that are trivial to detect without exposing the malicious intent of a program.

The research also demonstrates that, despite recent changes to the permission model by Google, it is still possible for malware to identify if it is running in a security analyst’s sandbox or on an actual consumer’s device, with the novel use of the Android’s Activity Recognition API.

Event on Open Data and Knowledge announced

We are delighted to announce our summer event: Open Data and Knowledge in a Post Pandemic Era.

As a research centre interested in technologies for a sustainable future, we want to promote a dialogue on how innovative data-driven solutions can make a vital contribution to the UK efforts to combat climate change and achieve the sustainable development goals across all sectors. This is increasingly relevant in this post-pandemic era.

To learn more about this event, visit:

The call for papers is here:

We look forward seeing you in the summer in Brighton.