Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 6

Search results for: F. Fortin

6 An E-Assessment Website to Implement Hierarchical Aggregate Assessment

Authors: M. Lesage, G. Raîche, M. Riopel, F. Fortin, D. Sebkhi


This paper describes a Web server implementation of the hierarchical aggregate assessment process in the field of education. This process describes itself as a field of teamwork assessment where teams can have multiple levels of hierarchy and supervision. This process is applied everywhere and is part of the management, education, assessment and computer science fields. The E-Assessment website named “Cluster” records in its database the students, the course material, the teams and the hierarchical relationships between the students. For the present research, the hierarchical relationships are team member, team leader and group administrator appointments. The group administrators have the responsibility to supervise team leaders. The experimentation of the application has been performed by high school students in geology courses and Canadian army cadets for navigation patrols in teams. This research extends the work of Nance that uses a hierarchical aggregation process similar as the one implemented in the “Cluster” application.

Keywords: e-learning, e-assessment, teamwork assessment, hierarchical aggregate assessment

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5 Iterative Solver for Solving Large-Scale Frictional Contact Problems

Authors: Thierno Diop, Michel Fortin, Jean Deteix


Since the precise formulation of the elastic part is irrelevant for the description of the algorithm, we shall consider a generic case. In practice, however, we will have to deal with a non linear material (for instance a Mooney-Rivlin model). We are interested in solving a finite element approximation of the problem, leading to large-scale non linear discrete problems and, after linearization, to large linear systems and ultimately to calculations needing iterative methods. This also implies that penalty method, and therefore augmented Lagrangian method, are to be banned because of their negative effect on the condition number of the underlying discrete systems and thus on the convergence of iterative methods. This is in rupture to the mainstream of methods for contact in which augmented Lagrangian is the principal tool. We shall first present the problem and its discretization; this will lead us to describe a general solution algorithm relying on a preconditioner for saddle-point problems which we shall describe in some detail as it is not entirely standard. We will propose an iterative approach for solving three-dimensional frictional contact problems between elastic bodies, including contact with a rigid body, contact between two or more bodies and also self-contact.

Keywords: frictional contact, three-dimensional, large-scale, iterative method

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4 Does Clinical Guidelines Affect Healthcare Quality and Populational Health: Quebec Colorectal Cancer Screening Program

Authors: Nizar Ghali, Bernard Fortin, Guy Lacroix


In Quebec, colonoscopies volumes have continued to rise in recent years in the absence of effective monitoring mechanism for the appropriateness and the quality of these exams. In 2010, November, Quebec Government introduced the colorectal cancer-screening program in the objective to control for volume and cost imperfection. This program is based on clinical standards and was initiated for first group of institutions. One year later, Government adds financial incentives for participants institutions. In this analysis, we want to assess for the causal effect of the two components of this program: clinical pathways and financial incentives. Especially we assess for the reform effect on healthcare quality and population health in the context that medical remuneration is not directly dependent on this additional funding offered by the program. We have data on admissions episodes and deaths for 8 years. We use multistate model analog to difference in difference approach to estimate reform effect on the transition probability between different states for each patient. Our results show that the reform reduced length of stay without deterioration in hospital mortality or readmission rate. In the other hand, the program contributed to decrease the hospitalization rate and a less invasive treatment approach for colorectal surgeries. This is a sign of healthcare quality and population health improvement. We demonstrate in this analysis that physicians’ behavior can be affected by both clinical standards and financial incentives even if offered to facilities.

Keywords: multi-state and multi-episode transition model, healthcare quality, length of stay, transition probability, difference in difference

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3 Improvement of Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Gem-Hydro Streamflow Forecasting System

Authors: Etienne Gaborit, Dorothy Durnford, Daniel Deacu, Marco Carrera, Nathalie Gauthier, Camille Garnaud, Vincent Fortin


A new experimental streamflow forecasting system was recently implemented at the Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) Canadian Centre for Meteorological and Environmental Prediction (CCMEP). It relies on CaLDAS (Canadian Land Data Assimilation System) for the assimilation of surface variables, and on a surface prediction system that feeds a routing component. The surface energy and water budgets are simulated with the SVS (Soil, Vegetation, and Snow) Land-Surface Scheme (LSS) at 2.5-km grid spacing over Canada. The routing component is based on the Watroute routing scheme at 1-km grid spacing for the Great Lakes and Nelson River watersheds. The system is run in two distinct phases: an analysis part and a forecast part. During the analysis part, CaLDAS outputs are used to force the routing system, which performs streamflow assimilation. In forecast mode, the surface component is forced with the Canadian GEM atmospheric forecasts and is initialized with a CaLDAS analysis. Streamflow performances of this new system are presented over 2019. Performances are compared to the current ECCC’s operational streamflow forecasting system, which is different from the new experimental system in many aspects. These new streamflow forecasts are also compared to persistence. Overall, the new streamflow forecasting system presents promising results, highlighting the need for an elaborated assimilation phase before performing the forecasts. However, the system is still experimental and is continuously being improved. Some major recent improvements are presented here and include, for example, the assimilation of snow cover data from remote sensing, a backward propagation of assimilated flow observations, a new numerical scheme for the routing component, and a new reservoir model.

Keywords: assimilation system, distributed physical model, offline hydro-meteorological chain, short-term streamflow forecasts

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2 Hunger and Health: The Acceptability and Development of Health Coaching in the Food Pantry Environment

Authors: Kelsey Fortin, Susan Harvey


The intersection between hunger and health outcomes is beginning to gain traction among the research community. With new interventions focusing on collaborations between the medical and social service sectors, this study aimed to understand the acceptability and approach of a health coaching intervention within a county-wide Midwest food pantry. Through formative research, the study used mixed methods to review secondary data and conduct surveys and semi-structured interviews with food pantry clients (n=30), staff (n=7), and volunteers (n=10). Supplemental secondary data collected and provided by pantry staff were reviewed to understand the broader pantry context of clientele health and health behaviors, annual food donations, and current pantry programming. Results from secondary data showed that the broader pantry client population reported high rates of chronic disease, low consumption of fruits and vegetables, and poor self-reported health, while annual donation data showed increases in produce availability on pantry shelves. This disconnect between produce availability, client health status, and behaviors was supported in the current study, with pantry staff and volunteers reporting lack of knowledge in produce selection and preparation being amongst the most common client inquiries and barriers to healthy food selection. Additional supports to secondary data came from pantry clients in the current study through self-reported high rates of both individual (60%, n=18) and household (43%, n=13 ) disease diagnosis, low consumption of fruits and vegetables averaging zero to one servings of vegetables (67%, n=20) and fruits (47%, n=14) per day, and low levels of physical activity averaging zero to 120 minutes per week (67%, n=20). Further, pantry clients provided health coaching programmatic recommendations through interviews with feedback such as non-judgmental coaching, accountability measures, and providing participant incentives as considerations for future program design and approach. Volunteers and staff reported the need for client education in food preparation, basic nutrition and physical activity, and the need for additional health expertise to educate and respond to diet related nutrition recommendations. All three stakeholder groups supported hosting a health coach within the pantry to focused on nutrition, physical activity, and health programming, with one client stating, 'I am hoping it really works out [the health coaching program]. I think it would be great for something like this to be offered for someone that isn’t knowledgeable like me.' In conclusion, high rates of chronic disease, partnered with low food, nutrition, and physical activity literacy among pantry clients, demonstrates the need to address health behaviors. With all three stakeholder groups showing acceptability of a health coaching program, partnered with existing literature showing health coaching success as a behavior change intervention, further research should be conducted to pilot the design and implementation of such a program in the pantry setting.

Keywords: food insecurity, formative research, food pantries, health coaching, hunger and health

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1 Extended Knowledge Exchange with Industrial Partners: A Case Study

Authors: C. Fortin, D. Tokmeninova, O. Ushakova


Among 500 Russian universities Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) is one of the youngest (established in 2011), quite small and vastly international, comprising 20 percent of international students and 70 percent of faculty with significant academic experience at top-100 universities (QS, THE). The institute has emerged from close collaboration with MIT and leading Russian universities. Skoltech is an entirely English speaking environment. Skoltech curriculum plans of ten Master programs are based on the CDIO learning outcomes model. However, despite the Institute’s unique focus on industrial innovations and startups, one of the main challenges has become an evident large proportion of nearly half of MSc graduates entering PhD programs at Skoltech or other universities rather than industry or entrepreneurship. In order to increase the share of students joining the industrial sector after graduation, Skoltech started implementing a number of unique practices with a focus on employers’ expectations incorporated into the curriculum redesign. In this sense, extended knowledge exchange with industrial partners via collaboration in learning activities, industrial projects and assessments became essential for students’ headway into industrial and entrepreneurship pathways. Current academic curriculum includes the following types of components based on extended knowledge exchange with industrial partners: innovation workshop, industrial immersion, special industrial tracks, MSc defenses. Innovation workshop is a 4 week full time diving into the Skoltech vibrant ecosystem designed to foster innovators, focuses on teamwork, group projects, and sparks entrepreneurial instincts from the very first days of study. From 2019 the number of mentors from industry and startups significantly increased to guide students across these sectors’ demands. Industrial immersion is an exclusive part of Skoltech curriculum where students after the first year of study spend 8 weeks in an industrial company carrying out an individual or team project and are guided jointly by both Skoltech and company supervisors. The aim of the industrial immersion is to familiarize students with relevant needs of Russian industry and to prepare graduates for job placement. During the immersion a company plays the role of a challenge provider for students. Skoltech has started a special industrial track comprising deep collaboration with IPG Photonics – a leading R&D company and manufacturer of high-performance fiber lasers and amplifiers for diverse applications. The track is aimed to train a new cohort of engineers and includes a variety of activities for students within the “Photonics” MSc program. It is expected to be a successful story and used as an example for similar initiatives with other Russian high-tech companies. One of the pathways of extended knowledge exchange with industrial partners is an active involvement of potential employers in MSc Defense Committees to review and assess MSc thesis projects and to participate in defense procedures. The paper will evaluate the effect and results of the above undertaken measures.

Keywords: Curriculum redesign, knowledge exchange model, learning outcomes framework, stakeholder engagement

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