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Modelling the spread of infection through social networks

Ken and Howard worked with Dr. R. Belshaw to develop an online practical that guides students in exploring the dynamics of the spread of disease through different social structures. The three hour practical was run yesterday with 25 students working concurrently, individually or on pairs. Aside from a few usability issues all the students successfully completed the exercise.

The guide made use of the Google Spreadsheets web service to allow the students to systematically explore simulations and collaborate in ‘pooling’ together data (in more-or-less real time) into a number of histograms. Google spreadsheets was also used to allow students to answer a number of questions with the aim of sharing answers between the class (i.e. ‘peer learning’).

Dr. Belshaw is keen to share the tutorial with other teachers. He has requested that we allow him to add a creative commons license to let others know that they can use and re-purpose the tutorial as long as they acknowledge his work. We’ve logged this request in the project issue tracker and will explore the creative commons tools that can be used to achieve this fairly easily.

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JISC funded a prototype implementation of the proposed modelling4all software under the project name Constructing2Learn.

We will be demonstrating the software at the ALT-C conference Sep. 2007, the abstract describes the session in more detail.

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