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Estimating the Local Geographies of Digital Inequality in Britain: London and the South East Show Highest Internet Use — But Why?

Despite the huge importance of the Internet in everyday life, we know surprisingly little about the geography of Internet use and participation at sub-national scales. A new article on Local Geographies of Digital Inequality by Grant Blank, Mark Graham, and Claudio Calvino published in Social Science Computer Review proposes a novel method to calculate the […]

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“If you’re on Twitter then you’re asking for it” — responses to sexual harassment online and offline

To encourage new ways of thinking about the problem of sexism in daily life, the OII’s recent Everyday Sexism Datahack brought together twenty people from a range of disciplinary backgrounds to analyse the written accounts of sexism and harassment gathered by the Everyday Sexism project. Founded by Laura Bates in 2012, Everyday Sexism has gathered […]

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Is internet gaming as addictive as gambling? (no, suggests a new study)

New research by Andrew Przybylski (OII, Oxford University), Netta Weinstein (Cardiff University), and Kou Murayama (Reading University) published today in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests that very few of those who play internet-based video games have symptoms suggesting they may be addicted. The article also says that gaming, though popular, is unlikely to be […]

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Facts and figures or prayers and hugs: how people with different health conditions support each other online

Online support groups are being used increasingly by individuals who suffer from a wide range of medical conditions. OII DPhil Student Ulrike Deetjen‘s recent article with John Powell, Informational and emotional elements in online support groups: a Bayesian approach to large-scale content analysis uses machine learning to examine the role of online support groups in the healthcare process. They categorise 40,000 online posts […]

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How can big data be used to advance dementia research?

Dementia affects about 44 million individuals today, a number that is expected to triple by 2050. To date there is no cure or treatment. Ulrike Deetjen, Eric T. Meyer and Ralph Schroeder discuss the findings of an OECD-commissioned project to evaluate current best practices of data sharing in research on neurodegenerative diseases, for which they interviewed 37 experts from academia, government and other sectors. The final report was presented to the G7 health ministers at the First WHO Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia in Geneva on 16-17 March 2015.

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Two years after the NYT’s ‘Year of the MOOC’: how much do we actually know about them?

Despite the speculation about the role massively open online courses (MOOCs) may play in higher education, empirical research that explores the realities of interacting and learning in MOOCs is in its infancy. Rebecca Eynon, PI of an OII project on Conceptualising interaction and learning in MOOCs discusses how a preliminary understanding of communication dynamics and learner tendencies within MOOCs, may allow development of new methods for promoting engagement and the fulfilment of individual learning objectives in these settings—in particular, by trying to mitigate “content overload” issues.

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What does the recent LA School District “iPads-for-all” debacle tell us about the structural changes gripping the US K-12 educational system?

In the realm of education and technology, a central question of concern to both researchers and policymakers is why there continues to be such vast amounts of resources invested in education technology without substantial evidence that the promises of such technologies are being fulfilled. OII DPhil student Paige Mustain discusses this question in the context of the recent tech-centered incidents riddling the Los Angeles Unified School District, in which plans were announced to place iPads in the hands of all 640,000 of its students.

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What are the limitations of learning at scale? Investigating information diffusion and network vulnerability in MOOCs

Despite the speculation about the role massively open online courses (MOOCs) may play in higher education, empirical research that explores the realities of interacting and learning in MOOCs is in its infancy. Rebecca Eynon, PI of an OII project on Conceptualising interaction and learning in MOOCs discusses how her analysis (with Nabeel Gillani, Taha Yasseri, and Isis Hjorth) of nearly 87,000 individuals from one MOOC helps us to understand the ways that learners interact in these settings. Full paper: Gillani, N., Yasseri, T., Eynon, R., and Hjorth, I. (2014) Structural limitations of learning in a crowd – communication vulnerability and information diffusion in MOOCs. Scientific Reports 4.

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Evidence on the extent of harms experienced by children as a result of online risks: implications for policy and research

Child Internet safety is a topic that continues to gain a great deal of media coverage and policy attention: but online risk and harm are not equivalent and should not be conflated. OII Fellow Victoria Nash discusses the results of her review (with Vera Slavtcheva-Petkova and Monica Bulger) of the available empirical evidence detailing Internet-related harms experienced by children and adolescents, to gain a sense of the types of harm recorded, their severity and frequency. Read the full article: Evidence on the extent of harms experienced by children as a result of online risks: implications for policy and research (iCS journal).

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Unpacking patient trust in the “who” and the “how” of Internet-based health records

Digital health records create new opportunities for access and sharing, and carry the promise of reducing costs and improving quality of care across health systems worldwide. At the same time, they also cause nightmares to patients concerned about their privacy – while patient trust is key to successful adoption and use. Ulrike Rauer, author of the Policy & Internet article Patient Trust in Internet-based Health Records: An Analysis across Operator Types and Levels of Patient Involvement in Germany, takes a closer look at the structural and institutional factors influencing patient trust in Internet-based health records.

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