Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 10

Search results for: COVID-19

10 Future Student Service Organization - Road Map

Authors: Michael Postert


The Studierendenwerke are legally independent public foundations with a one-century-old history in the German university community. Like the French CROUS, the Italian ANDISU or the Japanese University COOPs, they are set-up to serve the university and student needs. They are legally independent of their client institutions and student stakeholders. Initially set up as a support organization by students for students they have evolved to public business institutions with an annual turnover of EUR 100 Million or more. They are usually engaged in business areas such as student housing, restaurants, student grants, governmental scholarships and counselling services. These institutions are facing major changes over the next few years. The COVID19 pandemic and its impact on the educational system will unavoidably have an immense impact on the German student service organizations (Studierendenwerke). Issues such as digitalization and sustainability will have a huge impact on how the future business model of the Studierendenwerke will look like. The paper will discuss the aims and challenges of this development that started already before the COVID19 pandemic. In light of the way the educational system of the future will look like, the Studierendenwerke have to develop as well.

Keywords: business model, digitalization, education, student services

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9 Predicting College Students’ Happiness During COVID-19 Pandemic; Be optimistic and Well in College!

Authors: Michiko Iwasaki, Jane M. Endres, Julia Y. Richards, Andrew Futterman


The present study aimed to examine college students’ happiness during COVID19-pandemic. Using the online survey data from 96 college students in the U.S., a regression analysis was conducted to predict college students’ happiness. The results indicated that a four-predictor model (optimism, college students’ subjective wellbeing, coronavirus stress, and spirituality) explained 57.9% of the variance in student’s subjective happiness, F(4,77)=26.428, p<.001, R2=.579, 95% CI [.41,.66]. The study suggests the importance of learned optimism among college students.

Keywords: COVID-19, optimism, spirituality, well-being

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8 In-Silico Investigation of Phytochemicals from Ocimum Sanctum as Plausible Antiviral Agent in COVID-19

Authors: Dileep Kumar, Janhavi Ramchandra Rao Kumar, Rao


COVID-19 has ravaged the globe, and it is spreading its Spectre day by day. In the absence of established drugs, this disease has created havoc. Some of the infected persons are symptomatic or asymptomatic. The respiratory system, cardiac system, digestive system, etc. in human beings are affected by this virus. In our present investigation, we have undertaken a study of the Indian Ayurvedic herb, Ocimum sanctum against SARS-CoV-2 using molecular docking and dynamics studies. The docking analysis was performed on the Glide module of Schrödinger suite on two different proteins from SARS-CoV-2 viz. NSP15 Endoribonuclease and spike receptor-binding domain. MM-GBSA based binding free energy calculations also suggest the most favorable binding affinities of carvacrol, β elemene, and β caryophyllene with binding energies of −61.61, 58.23, and −54.19 Kcal/mol respectively with spike receptor-binding domain and NSP15 Endoribonuclease. It rekindles our hope for the design and development of new drug candidates for the treatment of COVID19.

Keywords: molecular docking, COVID-19, ocimum sanctum, binding energy

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7 Lessons Learned from Covid19 - Related ERT in Universities

Authors: Sean Gay, Cristina Tat


This presentation will detail how a university in Western Japan has implemented its English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program during the onset of CoViD-19 in the spring semester of 2020. In the spring semester of 2020, after a 2 week delay, all courses within the School of Policy Studies EAP Program at Kwansei Gakuin University were offered in an online asynchronous format. The rationale for this decision was not to disadvantage students who might not have access to devices necessary for taking part in synchronous online lessons. The course coordinators were tasked with consolidating the materials originally designed for face-to-face14 week courses for a 12 week asynchronous online semester and with uploading the modified course materials to Luna, the university’s network, which is a modified version of Blackboard. Based on research to determine the social and academic impacts of this CoViD-19 ERT approach on the students who took part in this EAP program, this presentation explains how future curriculum design and implementation can be managed in a post-CoViD world. There are a wide variety of lessons that were salient. The role of the classroom as a social institution was very prominent; however, awareness of cognitive burdens and strategies to mitigate that burden may be more valuable for teachers. The lessons learned during this period of ERT can help teachers moving forward.

Keywords: asynchronous online learning, emergency remote teaching (ERT), online curriculum design, synchronous online learning

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6 The Psychology of Virtual Relationships Provides Solutions to the Challenges of Online Learning: A Pragmatic Review and case study from the University of Birmingham, UK

Authors: Catherine Mangan, Beth Anderson


There has been a significant drive to use online or hybrid learning in Higher Education (HE) over recent years. HEs with a virtual presence offer their communities a range of benefits, including the potential for greater inclusivity, diversity, and collaboration; more flexible learning packages; and more engaging, dynamic content. Institutions can also experience significant challenges when seeking to extend learning spaces in this way, as can learners themselves. For example, staff members’ and learners’ digital literacy varies (as do their perceptions of technologies in use), and there can be confusion about optimal approaches to implementation. Furthermore, the speed with which HE institutions have needed to shift to fully online or hybrid models, owing to the COVID19 pandemic, has highlighted the significant barriers to successful implementation. HE environments have been shown to predict a range of organisational, academic, and experiential outcomes, both positive and negative. Much research has focused on the social aspect of virtual platforms, as well as the nature and effectiveness of the technologies themselves. There remains, however, a relative paucity of synthesised knowledge on the psychology of learners’ relationships with their institutions; specifically, how individual difference and interpersonal factors predict students’ ability and willingness to engage with novel virtual learning spaces. Accordingly, extending learning spaces remains challenging for institutions, and wholly remote courses, in particular, can experience high attrition rates. Focusing on the last five years, this pragmatic review summarises evidence from the psychological and pedagogical literature. In particular, the review highlights the importance of addressing the psychological and relational complexities of students’ shift from offline to online engagement. In doing so, it identifies considerations for HE institutions looking to deliver in this way.

Keywords: higher education, individual differences, interpersonal relationships, online learning, virtual environment

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5 Evaluating the Efficacy of Tasquinimod in Covid-19

Authors: Raphael Udeh, Luis García De Guadiana Romualdo, Xenia Dolje-Gore


Background: Quite disturbing is the huge public health impact of COVID-19: As at today [25th March 2021, the COVID-19 global burden shows over 123 million cases and over 2.7 million deaths worldwide. Rationale: Recent evidence shows calprotectin’s potential as a therapeutic target, stating that tasquinimod, from the Quinoline-3-Carboxamide family is capable of blocking the interaction between calprotectin and TLR4. Hence preventing the cytokine release syndrome, that heralds the functional exhaustion in COVID-19. Early preclinical studies showed that tasquinimod inhibit tumor growth and prevent angiogenesis/cytokine storm. Phase I – III clinical studies in prostate cancer showed it has a good safety profile with good radiologic progression free survival but no effect on overall survival. Rationale/hypothesis: Strategic endeavors have been amplified globally to assess new therapeutic interventions for COVID-19 management – thus the clinical and antiviral efficacy of tasquinimod in COVID-19 remains to be explored. Hence the primary objective of this trial will be to evaluate the efficacy of tasquinimod in the treatment of adult patients with severe COVID-19 infections. Therefore, I hypothesise that among adults with COVID19 infection, tasquinimod will reduce the severe respiratory distress associated with COVID-19 compared to placebo, over a 28-day study period. Method: The setting is in Europe. Design – a randomized, placebo-controlled, phase II double-blinded trial. Trial lasts for 28 days from randomization, Tasquinimod capsule given as 0.5mg daily 1st fortnight, then 1mg daily 2nd fortnight. I0 outcome - assessed using six-point ordinal scale alongside eight 20 outcomes. 125 participants to be enrolled, data collection at baseline and subsequent data points, and safety reporting monitored via serological profile. Significance: This work could potentially establish tasquinimod as an effective and safe therapeutic agent for COVID-19 by reducing the severe respiratory distress, related time to recovery, time on oxygen/admission. It will also drive future research – as in larger multi-centre RCT.

Keywords: Calprotectin, COVID-19, Phase II Trial, Tasquinimod

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4 Tagging a corpus of Media Interviews with Diplomats: Challenges and Solutions

Authors: Roberta Facchinetti, Sara Corrizzato, Silvia Cavalieri


Increasing interconnection between data digitalization and linguistic investigation has given rise to unprecedented potentialities and challenges for corpus linguists, who need to master IT tools for data analysis and text processing, as well as to develop techniques for efficient and reliable annotation in specific mark-up languages that encode documents in a format that is both human and machine-readable. In the present paper, the challenges emerging from the compilation of a linguistic corpus will be taken into consideration, focusing on the English language in particular. To do so, the case study of the InterDiplo corpus will be illustrated. The corpus, currently under development at the University of Verona (Italy), represents a novelty in terms both of the data included and of the tag set used for its annotation. The corpus covers media interviews and debates with diplomats and international operators conversing in English with journalists who do not share the same lingua-cultural background as their interviewees. To date, this appears to be the first tagged corpus of international institutional spoken discourse and will be an important database not only for linguists interested in corpus analysis but also for experts operating in international relations. In the present paper, special attention will be dedicated to the structural mark-up, parts of speech annotation, and tagging of discursive traits, that are the innovational parts of the project being the result of a thorough study to find the best solution to suit the analytical needs of the data. Several aspects will be addressed, with special attention to the tagging of the speakers’ identity, the communicative events, and anthropophagic. Prominence will be given to the annotation of question/answer exchanges to investigate the interlocutors’ choices and how such choices impact communication. Indeed, the automated identification of questions, in relation to the expected answers, is functional to understand how interviewers elicit information as well as how interviewees provide their answers to fulfill their respective communicative aims. A detailed description of the aforementioned elements will be given using the InterDiplo-Covid19 pilot corpus. The data yielded by our preliminary analysis of the data will highlight the viable solutions found in the construction of the corpus in terms of XML conversion, metadata definition, tagging system, and discursive-pragmatic annotation to be included via Oxygen.

Keywords: spoken corpus, diplomats’ interviews, tagging system, discursive-pragmatic annotation, english linguistics

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3 Fake news and Conspiracy Narratives in the Covid-19 Crisis: An International Comparison

Authors: Caja Thimm


Already well before the Corona pandemic hit the world, ‘fake news‘ were no longer regarded as harmless twists of the truth but as intentionally composed disinformation, often with the goal of manipulative populist propaganda. During the Corona crisis, particularly conspiracy narratives have become a worldwide phenomenon with dangerous consequences (anti vaccination myths). The success of these manipulated news need s to be counteracted by trustworthy news, which in Europe particularly includes public broadcasting media and their social media channels. To understand better how the main public broadcasters in Germany, the UK, and France used Instagram strategically, a comparative study was carried out. The study – comparative analysis of Instagram during the Corona Crisis In our empirical study, we compared the activities by selected formats during the Corona crisis in order to see how the public broadcasters reached their audiences and how this might, in the longer run, affect journalistic strategies on social media platforms. First analysis showed that the increase in the use of social media overall was striking. Almost one in two adult online users (48 %) obtained information about the virus in social media, and in total, 38% of the younger age group (18-24) looked for Covid19 information on Instagram, so the platform can be regarded as one of the central digital spaces for Corona related information searches. Quantitative measures showed that 47% of recent posts by the broadcasters were related to Corona, and 7% treated conspiracy myths. For the more detailed content analysis, the following categories of analysis were applied: • Digital storytelling and instastories • Textuality and semantic keys • links to information • stickers • videochat • fact checking • news ticker • service • infografics and animated tables Additionally to these basic features, we particularly looked for new formats created during the crisis. Journalistic use of social media platforms opens up immediate and creative ways of applying the media logics of the respective platforms, and particularly the BBC and ARD formats proved to be interactive, responsive, and entertaining. Among them were new formats such as a space for user questions and personal uploads, interviews, music, comedy, etc. Particularly the fact checking channel got a lot of attention, as many user questions were focused on the conspiracy theories, which dominated the public discourse during many weeks in 2020. In the presentation, we will introduce eight particular strategies that show how public broadcasting journalism can adopt digital platforms and use them creatively and, hence help to counteract against conspiracy narratives and fake news.

Keywords: fake news, social media, digital journalism, digital methods

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2 Coping Strategies Used by Pregnant Women in India to Overcome the Psychological Impact of COVID-19

Authors: Harini Atturu, Divyani Byagari, Bindhu Rani Thumkunta, Sahitya Bammidi, Manasa Badveli


Introduction: Biological, psychological and social domains influence the outcomes of pregnancy. The COVID19 pandemic had a significant effect on the psychological and social domains of pregnant women all over the world. Everyone has inherent coping mechanisms which ultimately determine the actual impact of such external stimulus on outcomes of pregnancy. This study aims to understand the coping strategies used by pregnant women to overcome the psychological impact of the first wave of the COVID 19 pandemic. Methods: Institutional ethics permission was sought. All pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in the institution during September 2020 were included in the study. Brief-COPE, a self-rated questionnaire, was provided to understand the coping strategies used by them. The Questionnaire consists of 28 questions that fall into 14 themes. These 14 themes were mapped into four domains consisting of Approaching coping (APC) styles, Avoidant Coping (AVC) styles, Humor and Religion. The results were analyzed using univariate and multivariate analysis. Factor analysis was performed to identify themes that are most frequently used. Results: 162 pregnant women were included in the study. The majority of the women were aged between 18 and 30 (90.1%). 60.9% of the respondents were having their first pregnancy and were in the 2nd trimester (59.6%). The majority of them were living in the city (74%), belonged to the middle class (77.6%) and were not working (70.1%). 56 respondents (34.6%) reported that they had contact with suspected or Covid positive patients. Many were worried that their pregnancy might be complicated (43%), their baby may contract COVID (45%) and their family members could get COVID during the hospital visits for antenatal check-ups. 33.6% of women admitted missing their regular antenatal check-ups because of the above concerns. All respondents used various coping strategies to overcome the psychological impact of COVID 19. Out of the 4 coping strategies, participants scored high on Religion with a mean of 5.471.45 followed by Approaching Coping (APC) styles (5.131.25), Humor (4.592.07) and Avoidant Coping (AVC) styles (4.130.88). Religion as a coping strategy scored high for all respondents irrespective of age, parity, trimester, social and employment status. Exploratory Factor analysis revealed two cluster groups that explained 68% of the variance, with Component 1 contributing to 58.9% and component 2 contributing 9.13% of the variance. Humor, Acceptance, Planning, and Religion were the top 4 factors that showed strong loadings. Conclusion: Most of the pregnant women were worried about the negative impact of COVID 19 on the outcomes of their pregnancy. Religion and Approaching coping styles seem to be the predominant coping strategies used by them. Interventionists and policymakers should consider these factors while providing support to such women.

Keywords: coping strategies, pregnancy, COVID-19, brief-COPE

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1 Knowledge Management in the Tourism Industry in Project Management Paradigm

Authors: Olga A. Burukina


Tourism is a complex socio-economic phenomenon, partly regulated by national tourism industries. The sustainable development of tourism in a region, country or in tourist destination depends on a number of factors (political, economic, social, cultural, legal and technological), the understanding and correct interpretation of which is invariably anthropocentric. It is logical that for the successful functioning of a tour operating company, it is necessary to ensure its sustainable development. Sustainable tourism is defined as tourism that fully considers its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, taking into account the needs of the industry, the environment and the host communities. For the business enterprise, sustainable development is defined as adopting business strategies and activities that meet the needs of the enterprise and its stakeholders today while protecting, sustaining and enhancing the human and natural resources that will be needed in the future. In addition to a systemic approach to the analysis of tourist destinations, each tourism project can and should be considered as a system characterized by a very high degree of variability, since each particular case of its implementation differs from the previous and subsequent ones, sometimes in a cardinal way. At the same time, it is important to understand that this variability is predominantly of anthropogenic nature (except for force majeure situations that are considered separately and afterwards). Knowledge management is the process of creating, sharing, using and managing the knowledge and information of an organization. It refers to a multidisciplinary approach to achieve organisational objectives by making the best use of knowledge. Knowledge management is seen as a key systems component that allows obtaining, storing, transferring, and maintaining information and knowledge in particular, in a long-term perspective. The study aims, firstly, to identify (1) the dynamic changes in the Italian travel industry in the last 5 years before the COVID19 pandemic, which can be considered the scope of force majeure circumstances, (2) the impact of the pandemic on the industry and (3) efforts required to restore it, and secondly, how project management tools can help to improve knowledge management in tour operating companies to maintain their sustainability, diminish potential risks and restore their pre-pandemic performance level as soon as possible. The pilot research is based upon a systems approach and has employed a pilot survey, semi-structured interviews, prior research analysis (aka literature review), comparative analysis, cross-case analysis, and modelling. The results obtained are very encouraging: PM tools can improve knowledge management in tour operating companies and secure the more sustainable development of the Italian tourism industry based on proper knowledge management and risk management.

Keywords: knowledge management, project management, sustainable development, tourism industr

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