Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 22

Search results for: Jasper Knight

22 The Role of Non-Native Plant Species in Enhancing Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa

Authors: Thabiso Michael Mokotjomela, Jasper Knight

Abstract:

Intensification of agricultural food production in sub-Saharan Africa is of paramount importance as a means of increasing the food security of communities that are already experiencing a range of environmental and socio-economic stresses. However, achieving this aim faces several challenges including ongoing climate change, increased resistance of diseases and pests, extreme environmental degradation partly due to biological invasions, land tenure and management practices, socio-economic developments of rural populations, and national population growth. In particular, non-native plant species tend to display greater adaptation capacity to environmental stress than native species that form important food resource base for human beings, thus suggesting a potential for usage to shift accordingly. Based on review of the historical benefits of non-native plant species in food production in sub-Saharan Africa, we propose that use of non-invasive, non-native plant species and/or the genetic modification of native species might be viable options for future agricultural sustainability in this region. Coupled with strategic foresight planning (e.g. use of biological control agents that suppress plant species’ invasions), the consumptive use of already-introduced non-native species might help in containment and control of possible negative environmental impacts of non-native species on native species, ecosystems and biodiversity, and soil fertility and hydrology. Use of non-native species in food production should be accompanied by low cost agroecology practices (e.g. conservation agriculture and agrobiodiversity) that may promote the gradual recovery of natural capital, ecosystem services, and promote conservation of the natural environment as well as enhance food security.

Keywords: food security, invasive species, agroecology, agrobiodiversity, socio-economic stresses

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21 Metagenomics Analysis of Bacteria in Sorghum Using next Generation Sequencing

Authors: Kedibone Masenya, Memory Tekere, Jasper Rees

Abstract:

Sorghum is an important cereal crop in the world. In particular, it has attracted breeders due to capacity to serve as food, feed, fiber and bioenergy crop. Like any other plant, sorghum hosts a variety of microbes, which can either, have a neutral, negative and positive influence on the plant. In the current study, regions (V3/V4) of 16 S rRNA were targeted to extensively assess bacterial multitrophic interactions in the phyllosphere of sorghum. The results demonstrated that the presence of a pathogen has a significant effect on the endophytic bacterial community. Understanding these interactions is key to develop new strategies for plant protection.

Keywords: bacteria, multitrophic, sorghum, target sequencing

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20 Variation of Manning’s Coefficient in a Meandering Channel with Emergent Vegetation Cover

Authors: Spandan Sahu, Amiya Kumar Pati, Kishanjit Kumar Khatua

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Vegetation plays a major role in deciding the flow parameters in an open channel. It enhances the aesthetic view of the revetments. The major types of vegetation in river typically comprises of herbs, grasses, weeds, trees, etc. The vegetation in an open channel usually consists of aquatic plants with complete submergence, partial submergence, floating plants. The presence of vegetative plants can have both benefits and problems. The major benefits of aquatic plants are they reduce the soil erosion, which provides the water with a free surface to move on without hindrance. The obvious problems are they retard the flow of water and reduce the hydraulic capacity of the channel. The degree to which the flow parameters are affected depends upon the density of the vegetation, degree of submergence, pattern of vegetation, vegetation species. Vegetation in open channel tends to provide resistance to flow, which in turn provides a background to study the varying trends in flow parameters having vegetative growth in the channel surface. In this paper, an experiment has been conducted on a meandering channel having sinuosity of 1.33 with rigid vegetation cover to investigate the effect on flow parameters, variation of manning’s n with degree of the denseness of vegetation, vegetation pattern and submergence criteria. The measurements have been carried out in four different cross-sections two on trough portion of the meanders, two on the crest portion. In this study, the analytical solution of Shiono and knight (SKM) for lateral distributions of depth-averaged velocity and bed shear stress have been taken into account. Dimensionless eddy viscosity and bed friction have been incorporated to modify the SKM to provide more accurate results. A mathematical model has been formulated to have a comparative analysis with the results obtained from Shiono-Knight Method.

Keywords: bed friction, depth averaged velocity, eddy viscosity, SKM

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19 Finding the Right Regulatory Path for Islamic Banking

Authors: Meysam Saidi

Abstract:

While the specific externalities and required regulatory measures in relation to Islamic banking are fairly uncertain, the business is growing across the world. Unofficial data indicate that the Islamic Finance market is growing with annual rate of 15% and it has reached 1.3 $ trillion size. This trend is associated with inherent systematic connection of Islamic financial institutions to other entities and different sectors of economies. Islamic banking has been subject of market development policies in major economies, most notably the UK. This trend highlights the need for identification of distinct risk features of Islamic banking and crafting customized regulatory measures. So far there has not been a significant systemic crisis in this market which can be attributed to its distinct nature. However, the significant growth and spread of its products worldwide necessitate an in depth study of its nature for customized congruent regulatory measures. In the post financial crisis era some market analysis and reports suggested that the Islamic banks fairly weathered the crisis. As far as heavily blamed conventional financial products such as subprime mortgage backed securities and speculative credit default swaps were concerned the immunity claim can be considered true, as Islamic financial institutions were not directly exposed to such products. Nevertheless, similar to the experience of the conventional banking industry, it can be only a matter of time for Islamic banks to face failures that can be specific to the nature of their business. Using the experience of conventional banking regulations and identifying those peculiarities of Islamic banking that need customized regulatory approach can aid to prevent major failures. Frank Knight has stated that “We perceive the world before we react to it, and we react not to what we perceive, but always to what we infer”. The debate over congruent Islamic banking regulations might not be an exception to Frank Knight’s statement but I will try to base my discussion on concrete evidences. This paper first analyzes both theoretical and actual features of Islamic banking in order to ascertain to its peculiarities in terms of market stability and other externalities. Next, the paper discusses distinct features of Islamic financial transactions and banking which might require customized regulatory measures. Finally, the paper explores how a more transparent path for the Islamic banking regulations can be drawn.

Keywords: Islamic banking, regulation, risks, capital requirements, customer protection, financial stability

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18 Using Lean Six-Sigma in the Improvement of Service Quality at Aviation Industry: Case Study at the Departure Area in KKIA

Authors: Tareq Al Muhareb, Jasper Graham-Jones

Abstract:

The service quality is a significant element in aviation industry especially in the international airports. Through this paper, the researchers built a model based on Lean six sigma methodologies and applied it in the departure area at KKIA (King Khalid International Airport) in order to assess it. This model characterized with many special features that can become over the cultural differences in aviation industry since it is considered the most critical circumstance in this field. Applying the model of this study is depending on following the DMAIC procedure systemized in lean thinking aspects. This model of Lean-six-sigma as a managerial procedure is mostly focused on the change management culture that requires high level of planning, organizing, modifying, and controlling in order to benefit from strengths as well as revoke weaknesses.

Keywords: lean-six-sigma, service quality, aviation industry, KKIA (King Khalid International Airport), SERVQUAL

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17 Development of a Numerical Model to Predict Wear in Grouted Connections for Offshore Wind Turbine Generators

Authors: Paul Dallyn, Ashraf El-Hamalawi, Alessandro Palmeri, Bob Knight

Abstract:

In order to better understand the long term implications of the grout wear failure mode in large-diameter plain-sided grouted connections, a numerical model has been developed and calibrated that can take advantage of existing operational plant data to predict the wear accumulation for the actual load conditions experienced over a given period, thus limiting the need for expensive monitoring systems. This model has been derived and calibrated based on site structural condition monitoring (SCM) data and supervisory control and data acquisition systems (SCADA) data for two operational wind turbine generator substructures afflicted with this challenge, along with experimentally derived wear rates.

Keywords: grouted connection, numerical model, offshore structure, wear, wind energy

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16 Nonparametric Specification Testing for the Drift of the Short Rate Diffusion Process Using a Panel of Yields

Authors: John Knight, Fuchun Li, Yan Xu

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Based on a new method of the nonparametric estimator of the drift function, we propose a consistent test for the parametric specification of the drift function in the short rate diffusion process using observations from a panel of yields. The test statistic is shown to follow an asymptotic normal distribution under the null hypothesis that the parametric drift function is correctly specified, and converges to infinity under the alternative. Taking the daily 7-day European rates as a proxy of the short rate, we use our test to examine whether the drift of the short rate diffusion process is linear or nonlinear, which is an unresolved important issue in the short rate modeling literature. The testing results indicate that none of the drift functions in this literature adequately captures the dynamics of the drift, but nonlinear specification performs better than the linear specification.

Keywords: diffusion process, nonparametric estimation, derivative security price, drift function and volatility function

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15 Creating and Using Videos in a Teacher Education Programme: Success Stories in a Mexican Public University

Authors: Carla Michelle Gastelum Knight

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In an era where teacher educators and student teachers have almost unrestricted access to all kinds of sources through the internet, a research project carried out with a group of student-teachers has revealed how self-made videos are an exciting new way to motivate and engage students. The project was carried out at Universidad de Sonora, a public university in Northern Mexico, where 39 students of the Bachelor in Arts in English Language Teaching (B.A. in ELT) programme participated creating their own videos. In the process, they worked collaboratively, they exploited their creativity, they were highly motivated and showed more interest in the subject. The videos were shared in a private YouTube channel where students had the opportunity to review their peers’ work and where videos are available at any time for later viewing. This experience has led course instructor to face the challenge of planning and designing meaningful tasks that can and to find ways of exploiting the use of these resources for learning and training purposes.

Keywords: self-made materials, student-teachers, teacher education programme, teacher training

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14 An Investigation on the Relationship between Taxi Company Safety Climate and Safety Performance of Taxi Drivers in Iloilo City

Authors: Jasper C. Dioco

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The study was done to investigate the relationship of taxi company safety climate and drivers’ safety motivation and knowledge on taxi drivers’ safety performance. Data were collected from three Taxi Companies with taxi drivers as participants (N = 84). The Hiligaynon translated version of Transportation Companies’ Climate Scale (TCCS), Safety Motivation and Knowledge Scale, Occupational Safety Motivation Questionnaire and Global Safety Climate Scale were used to study the relationships among four parameters: (a) Taxi company safety climate; (b) Safety motivation; (c) Safety knowledge; and (d) Safety performance. Correlational analyses found that there is no relation between safety climate and safety performance. A Hierarchical regression demonstrated that safety motivation predicts the most variance in safety performance. The results will greatly impact how taxi company can increase safe performance through the confirmation of the proximity of variables to organizational outcome. A strong positive safety climate, in which employees perceive safety to be a priority and that managers are committed to their safety, is likely to increase motivation to be safety. Hence, to improve outcomes, providing knowledge based training and health promotion programs within the organization must be implemented. Policy change might include overtime rules and fatigue driving awareness programs.

Keywords: safety climate, safety knowledge, safety motivation, safety performance, taxi drivers

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13 Interactions within the School Setting and Their Potential Impact on the Wellbeing or Educational Success of High Ability Students: A Literature Review

Authors: Susan Burkett-McKee, Bruce Knight, Michelle Vanderburg

Abstract:

The wellbeing and educational success of high ability students are interrelated concepts with each potentially hindering or enhancing the other. A student’s well-being and educational success are also influenced by intrapersonal and interpersonal factors. This presentation begins with an exploration of the literature pertinent to the wellbeing and educational success of this cohort before an ecological perspective is taken to discuss research into the impact of interactions within the school context. While the literature consistently states that interactions exchanged between high ability students and school community members impact the students’ wellbeing or educational success, no consensus has been reached about whether the impact is positive or negative. Findings from the review shared in this presentation inform an interpretative phenomenological study involving senior secondary students enrolled in inclusive Australian schools to highlight, from the students’ perspective, the ways school-based interactions impact their wellbeing or educational success.

Keywords: educational success, interactions, literature review, wellbeing

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12 A Comparative Analysis of Grade Weighted Average and Comprehensive Examination Result of Non Board Passers and Board Passers

Authors: Rob Gesley Capistrano, Jasper James Isaac, Rose Mae Moralda, Therese Anne Peleo, Danica Rillo, Maria Virginia Santillian

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One of the valuable things that shows the intelligence among individuals is the academic background specifically their Grade Weighted Average and the significant result of the Comprehensive Examination. The general objective of the researchers to this study is to determine if there is a significant difference between General Weighted Average and Comprehensive Examination Result of Psychometrician Board Passers and Non-Board Passers. The respondents of this study composed of board passers and non-board passers. The researchers used purposive sampling technique. The result utilized by using T-test Independent Sample to determine the comparison of General Weighted Average and Comprehensive Examination Result of Board Passers and Non Board Passers. At the end, it concluded that the General Weighted Average of Board Passers and Non-Board Passers shows that there is no significant difference, but the average showed a minimal variation. The Comprehensive Examination Result of Board Passers and Non-Board Passers result revealed that there is a significant difference. The performance of comprehensive examination that will test the overall knowledge of an individual and will determine whose more proficient will likely to have a higher score. The result of the comprehensive examination had an impact in the passing performance of board examination.

Keywords: board passers, comprehensive examination result, grade weighted average, non board passers

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11 Enhanced Image Representation for Deep Belief Network Classification of Hyperspectral Images

Authors: Khitem Amiri, Mohamed Farah

Abstract:

Image classification is a challenging task and is gaining lots of interest since it helps us to understand the content of images. Recently Deep Learning (DL) based methods gave very interesting results on several benchmarks. For Hyperspectral images (HSI), the application of DL techniques is still challenging due to the scarcity of labeled data and to the curse of dimensionality. Among other approaches, Deep Belief Network (DBN) based approaches gave a fair classification accuracy. In this paper, we address the problem of the curse of dimensionality by reducing the number of bands and replacing the HSI channels by the channels representing radiometric indices. Therefore, instead of using all the HSI bands, we compute the radiometric indices such as NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), NDWI (Normalized Difference Water Index), etc, and we use the combination of these indices as input for the Deep Belief Network (DBN) based classification model. Thus, we keep almost all the pertinent spectral information while reducing considerably the size of the image. In order to test our image representation, we applied our method on several HSI datasets including the Indian pines dataset, Jasper Ridge data and it gave comparable results to the state of the art methods while reducing considerably the time of training and testing.

Keywords: hyperspectral images, deep belief network, radiometric indices, image classification

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10 Depth-Averaged Velocity Distribution in Braided Channel Using Calibrating Coefficients

Authors: Spandan Sahu, Amiya Kumar Pati, Kishanjit Kumar Khatua

Abstract:

Rivers are the backbone of human civilization as well as one of the most important components of nature. In this paper, a method for predicting lateral depth-averaged velocity distribution in a two-flow braided compound channel is proposed. Experiments were conducted to study the boundary shear stress in the tip of the two flow path. The cross-section of the channel is divided into several panels to study the flow phenomenon on both the main channel and the flood plain. It can be inferred from the study that the flow coefficients get affected by boundary shear stress. In this study, the analytical solution of Shiono and knight (SKM) for lateral distributions of depth-averaged velocity and bed shear stress has been taken into account. The SKM is based on hydraulic parameters, which signify the bed friction factor (f), lateral eddy viscosity, and depth-averaged flow. While applying the SKM to different panels, the equations are solved considering the boundary conditions between panels. The boundary shear stress data, which are obtained from experimentation, are compared with CES software, which is based on quasi-one-dimensional Reynold's Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) approach.

Keywords: boundary shear stress, lateral depth-averaged velocity, two-flow braided compound channel, velocity distribution

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9 Controlling the Process of a Chicken Dressing Plant through Statistical Process Control

Authors: Jasper Kevin C. Dionisio, Denise Mae M. Unsay

Abstract:

In a manufacturing firm, controlling the process ensures that optimum efficiency, productivity, and quality in an organization are achieved. An operation with no standardized procedure yields a poor productivity, inefficiency, and an out of control process. This study focuses on controlling the small intestine processing of a chicken dressing plant through the use of Statistical Process Control (SPC). Since the operation does not employ a standard procedure and does not have an established standard time, the process through the assessment of the observed time of the overall operation of small intestine processing, through the use of X-Bar R Control Chart, is found to be out of control. In the solution of this problem, the researchers conduct a motion and time study aiming to establish a standard procedure for the operation. The normal operator was picked through the use of Westinghouse Rating System. Instead of utilizing the traditional motion and time study, the researchers used the X-Bar R Control Chart in determining the process average of the process that is used for establishing the standard time. The observed time of the normal operator was noted and plotted to the X-Bar R Control Chart. Out of control points that are due to assignable cause were removed and the process average, or the average time the normal operator conducted the process, which was already in control and free form any outliers, was obtained. The process average was then used in determining the standard time of small intestine processing. As a recommendation, the researchers suggest the implementation of the standard time established which is with consonance to the standard procedure which was adopted from the normal operator. With that recommendation, the whole operation will induce a 45.54 % increase in their productivity.

Keywords: motion and time study, process controlling, statistical process control, X-Bar R Control chart

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8 Willingness to Pay for Environmental Conservation and Management of Nogas Island and Its Surrounding Waters Among the Residents of Anini-Y, Antique

Authors: Nichole Patricia Pedrina, Karl Jasper Sumande, Alice Joan Ferrer

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Nogas Island situated in the municipality of Anini-y in the province of Antique is endowed with natural resources especially a thriving marine ecosystem that attracts tourists all year round. But despite its beauty and emerging popularity, the island and its surrounding waters remain vulnerable to degradation brought about by anthropocentric activities. An emphasis on the protection and conservation is paramount in order to ensure environmental sustainability over time. This study was conducted in order to determine the willingness-to-pay (WTP) of the local residents of Anini-y, Antique for the conservation of Nogas Island and its surrounding waters. The Contingent Valuation Method (CVM) was used to determine the WTP of the study participants. In addition, the study also described the socio-demographic and economic characteristics, the level of awareness, knowledge and attitude towards the conservation and the reasons for the willingness to pay off the residents for the conservation of the island and its surrounding waters. A pilot-tested interview schedule was used to collect data from 320 randomly selected study participants in 8 barangays in the municipality of Anini-y from January to December 2017. Binary logit regression was conducted in order to identify factors affecting the study participants’ WTP. The results revealed that 54.69 percent of the study participants were willing to pay (with adjustment to the level of certainty) for the conservation program. The sex, monthly household income, randomly assigned bid price and the knowledge index were the variables that affected the willingness-to-pay of the study participants for both with and without adjustment to the level of certainty. The monthly mean WTP of the study participants with and without adjustment to the level of certainty were P115 and P104.5, respectively. This study can serve as a guide for the municipality of Anini-y in creating a policy or program that aims to conserve and protect Nogas Island and its surrounding waters.

Keywords: economic valuation, environmental conservation, total economic value, willingness to pay

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7 Clostridium Difficile in Western Australian Native Animals: Prevalence and Molecular Epidemiology

Authors: Karla Cautivo, Thomas Riley, Daniel Knight

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Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is the most common cause of infectious diarrhea in hospitalised humans. C. difficile colonises the gastrointestinal tract, causes disease in a variety of animal species and can persist as a spore in diverse environments. Genetic overlap between C. difficile strains from human, animal and environmental sources suggests CDI has a zoonotic or foodborne aetiology. In Australia, C. difficile PCR ribotype RT014 (MLST clade 1) and several ST11 (MLST clade 5) RTs are found commonly in livestock. The high prevalence and diversity of ST11 strains in Australian production animals indicates Australia might be the ancestral home for this lineage. This project describes for the first time the ecology of C. difficile in Australian native animals, providing insights into the prevalence, molecular epidemiology and evolution of C. difficile in this unique environment and a possible role in CDI in humans and animals in Australia. Faecal samples were collected from wild/captive reptiles (n=37), mammals (n=104) and birds (n=102) in Western Australia in 2020/21. Anaerobic enrichment culture was performed, and C. difficile isolates were characterised by PCR ribotyping and toxin gene profiling. Seventy isolates of C. difficile were recovered (prevalence of C. difficile in faecal samples 28%, n=68/243); 27 unique RTs were identified, 5 were novel. The prevalence of C. difficile was similar for reptiles and mammals, 46% (n=17/37) and 43%(n=45/104), respectively, but significantly lower in birds (7.8%, n=8/102; p<0.00001 for both reptiles and mammals). Of the 57 isolates available for typing, RT237 (clade 5) and RT002 (clade 2) were the most prevalent, 15.8% (n=9/57) and 14% (n=8/57), respectively. The high prevalence of C. difficile in reptiles and mammals, particularly clade 5 strains, supported by previous studies of C. difficile in Australian soils, suggest that Australia might be the ancestral home of MLST clade 5.

Keywords: Clostridium difficile, zoonosis, molecular epidemiology, ecology and evolution

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6 A Modernist Project: An Analysis on Dupont’s Translations of Faulkner’s Works

Authors: Edilei Reis, Jose Carlos Felix

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This paper explores Waldir Dupont’s translations of William Faulkner’s novels to Brazilian Portuguese language in order to comprehend how his translation project regarding Faulkner’s works has addressed modernist traits of the novelist fiction, particularly the ambivalence of language, multiple and fragmented points of view and syntax. Wladir Dupont (1939-2014) was a prolific Brazilian journalist who benefitted from his experiences as an international correspondent living abroad (EUA and Mexico) to become an acclaimed translator later in life. He received a Jabuiti Award (Brazilian most prestigious literary award) for his translation of ‘La Otra Voz’ (1994), by Mexican poet, critic and translator Octavio Paz, a writer to whom he devoted the first years of his carrier as a translator. As Dupont pointed out in some interviews, the struggles in finding a way out to overcome linguistic and cultural obstacles in the process of translating texts from Spanish to Portuguese was paramount for ascertaining his engagement in the long-term project of translating to Brazilian Portuguese the fiction of William Faulkner. His first enterprise was the translation of Faulkner’s trilogy Snopes: The Hamlet (1940) and The Town (1957), the first two novels, were published in 1997 as O povoado and A cidade; in 1999 the last novel, The mansion (1959), was published as A mansão. In 2001, Dupont tackled what is considered one of the most challenging novels by the author due to his use of multiple points of view, As I lay dying (1930). In 2003, The Reivers (1962) was published under the title Os invictos. His enterprise finishes in 2012 with the publication of an anthology of Faulkner’s thriller short-stories Knight’s Gambit (1932) as Lance mortal. Hence, in this paper we will consider the Dupont’s trajectory as a translator, paying special attention to the way in which his identity as such is constituted through the process of translating Faulkner’s works.

Keywords: literary translation, translator’s identity, William Faulkner, Wladir DuPont

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5 Realization and Characterizations of Conducting Ceramics Based on ZnO Doped by TiO₂, Al₂O₃ and MgO

Authors: Qianying Sun, Abdelhadi Kassiba, Guorong Li

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ZnO with wurtzite structure is a well-known semiconducting oxide (SCO), being applied in thermoelectric devices, varistors, gas sensors, transparent electrodes, solar cells, liquid crystal displays, piezoelectric and electro-optical devices. Intrinsically, ZnO is weakly n-type SCO due to native defects (Znⱼ, Vₒ). However, the substitutional doping by metallic elements as (Al, Ti) gives rise to a high n-type conductivity ensured by donor centers. Under CO+N₂ sintering atmosphere, Schottky barriers of ZnO ceramics will be suppressed by lowering the concentration of acceptors at grain boundaries and then inducing a large increase in the Hall mobility, thereby increasing the conductivity. The presented work concerns ZnO based ceramics, which are fabricated with doping by TiO₂ (0.50mol%), Al₂O₃ (0.25mol%) and MgO (1.00mol%) and sintering in different atmospheres (Air (A), N₂ (N), CO+N₂(C)). We obtained uniform, dense ceramics with ZnO as the main phase and Zn₂TiO₄ spinel as a secondary and minor phase. An important increase of the conductivity was shown for the samples A, N, and C which were sintered under different atmospheres. The highest conductivity (σ = 1.52×10⁵ S·m⁻¹) was obtained under the reducing atmosphere (CO). The role of doping was investigated with the aim to identify the local environment and valence states of the doping elements. Thus, Electron paramagnetic spectroscopy (EPR) determines the concentration of defects and the effects of charge carriers in ZnO ceramics as a function of the sintering atmospheres. The relation between conductivity and defects concentration shows the opposite behavior between these parameters suggesting that defects act as traps for charge carriers. For Al ions, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) technique was used to identify the involved local coordination of these ions. Beyond the six and forth coordinated Al, an additional NMR signature of ZnO based TCO requires analysis taking into account the grain boundaries and the conductivity through the Knight shift effects. From the thermal evolution of the conductivity as a function of the sintering atmosphere, we succeed in defining the conditions to realize ZnO based TCO ceramics with an important thermal coefficient of resistance (TCR) which is promising for electrical safety of devices.

Keywords: ceramics, conductivity, defects, TCO, ZnO

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4 Technological Tool-Use as an Online Learner Strategy in a Synchronous Speaking Task

Authors: J. Knight, E. Barberà

Abstract:

Language learning strategies have been defined as thoughts and actions, consciously chosen and operationalized by language learners, to help them in carrying out a multiplicity of tasks from the very outset of learning to the most advanced levels of target language performance. While research in the field of Second Language Acquisition has focused on ‘good’ language learners, the effectiveness of strategy-use and orchestration by effective learners in face-to-face classrooms much less research has attended to learner strategies in online contexts, particular strategies in relation to technological tool use which can be part of a task design. In addition, much research on learner strategies and strategy use has been explored focusing on cognitive, attitudinal and metacognitive behaviour with less research focusing on the social aspect of strategies. This study focuses on how learners mediate with a technological tool designed to support synchronous spoken interaction and how this shape their spoken interaction in the opening of their talk. A case study approach is used incorporating notions from communities of practice theory to analyse and understand learner strategies of dyads carrying out a role play task. The study employs analysis of transcripts of spoken interaction in the openings of the talk along with log files of tool use. The study draws on results of previous studies pertaining to the same tool as a form of triangulation. Findings show how learners gain pre-task planning time through technological tool control. The strategies involving learners’ choices to enter and exit the tool shape their spoken interaction qualitatively, with some cases demonstrating long silences whilst others appearing to start the pedagogical task immediately. Who/what learners orientate to in the openings of the talk: an audience (i.e. the teacher), each other and/or screen-based signifiers in the opening moments of the talk also becomes a focus. The study highlights how tool use as a social practice should be considered a learning strategy in online contexts whereby different usages may be understood in the light of the more usual asynchronous social practices of the online community. The teachers’ role in the community is also problematised as the evaluator of the practices of that community. Results are pertinent for task design for synchronous speaking tasks. The use of community of practice theory supports an understanding of strategy use that involves both metacognition alongside social context revealing how tool-use strategies may need to be orally (socially) negotiated by learners and may also differ from an online language community.

Keywords: learner strategy, tool use, community of practice, speaking task

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3 Investigating Early Markers of Alzheimer’s Disease Using a Combination of Cognitive Tests and MRI to Probe Changes in Hippocampal Anatomy and Functionality

Authors: Netasha Shaikh, Bryony Wood, Demitra Tsivos, Michael Knight, Risto Kauppinen, Elizabeth Coulthard

Abstract:

Background: Effective treatment of dementia will require early diagnosis, before significant brain damage has accumulated. Memory loss is an early symptom of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The hippocampus, a brain area critical for memory, degenerates early in the course of AD. The hippocampus comprises several subfields. In contrast to healthy aging where CA3 and dentate gyrus are the hippocampal subfields with most prominent atrophy, in AD the CA1 and subiculum are thought to be affected early. Conventional clinical structural neuroimaging is not sufficiently sensitive to identify preferential atrophy in individual subfields. Here, we will explore the sensitivity of new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequences designed to interrogate medial temporal regions as an early marker of Alzheimer’s. As it is likely a combination of tests may predict early Alzheimer’s disease (AD) better than any single test, we look at the potential efficacy of such imaging alone and in combination with standard and novel cognitive tasks of hippocampal dependent memory. Methods: 20 patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), 20 with mild-moderate AD and 20 age-matched healthy elderly controls (HC) are being recruited to undergo 3T MRI (with sequences designed to allow volumetric analysis of hippocampal subfields) and a battery of cognitive tasks (including Paired Associative Learning from CANTAB, Hopkins Verbal Learning Test and a novel hippocampal-dependent abstract word memory task). AD participants and healthy controls are being tested just once whereas patients with MCI will be tested twice a year apart. We will compare subfield size between groups and correlate subfield size with cognitive performance on our tasks. In the MCI group, we will explore the relationship between subfield volume, cognitive test performance and deterioration in clinical condition over a year. Results: Preliminary data (currently on 16 participants: 2 AD; 4 MCI; 9 HC) have revealed subfield size differences between subject groups. Patients with AD perform with less accuracy on tasks of hippocampal-dependent memory, and MCI patient performance and reaction times also differ from healthy controls. With further testing, we hope to delineate how subfield-specific atrophy corresponds with changes in cognitive function, and characterise how this progresses over the time course of the disease. Conclusion: Novel sequences on a MRI scanner such as those in route in clinical use can be used to delineate hippocampal subfields in patients with and without dementia. Preliminary data suggest that such subfield analysis, perhaps in combination with cognitive tasks, may be an early marker of AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease, dementia, memory, cognition, hippocampus

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2 Exploring Barriers to Quality of Care in South African Midwifery Obstetric Units: The Perspective of Nurses and Midwives

Authors: J. Dutton, L. Knight

Abstract:

Achieving quality and respectful maternal health care is part of the global agenda to improve reproductive health and achieve universal reproductive rights. Barriers to quality of care in South African maternal health facilities exist at both systemic and individual levels. Addition to this, the normalization of gender violence within South Africa has a large impact on people seeking health care as well as those who provide care within health facilities. The hierarchical environment of South Africa’s public health system penalizes both patients and providers who battle to assume any assessable power. This paper explores how systemic and individual level barriers to quality of care affect the midwifery profession within South African maternal health services and create, at times, an environment of enmity rather than care. This paper analyzes and discusses the data collected from in-depth, semi-structured interviews with nurses and midwives at three maternal health facilities in South Africa. This study has taken a holistic approach to understand the realities of nurses and midwives in order to explore the ways in which experience informs their practice and treatment of pregnant women. Through collecting and analyzing narratives, linkages between nurses and midwives day-to-day and historical experiences and disrespectful care have been made. Findings from this study show that barriers to quality of care take form in complex and interrelated ways. The physical structure of the health facility, human resource shortages, and the current model of maternal health care, which often lacks a person-centered approach, is entangled within personal beliefs and attitudes of what it means to be a midwife to create an environment that is often not conducive to a positive birthing experience. This entanglement sits within a society of high rates of violence, inequality, and poverty. Having teased out the nuances of each of these barriers and the multiple ways they reinforce each other, the findings of this paper demonstrate that birth, and the work of a midwife, are situated in a mode of discipline and punishment within this context. For analytical purposes, this paper has broken down the individual barriers to quality care and discusses the current and historical significance before returning to the interrelated forms in which barriers to quality maternal health care manifest. In conclusion this paper questions the role of agency in the ability to subvert systemic barriers to quality care and ideas around shifting attitudes and beliefs of and about midwives. International and local policies and guidelines have a role to play in realizing such shifts, however, as this paper suggests, when policy does not speak to the local context there is the risk of it contributing to frustrations and impeding the path to quality and respectful maternal health care.

Keywords: disrespect and abuse in childbirth, midwifery, South African maternal health care, quality of care

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1 Service Blueprinting: A New Application for Evaluating Service Provision in the Hospice Sector

Authors: L. Sudbury-Riley, P. Hunter-Jones, L. Menzies, M. Pyrah, H. Knight

Abstract:

Just as manufacturing firms aim for zero defects, service providers strive to avoid service failures where customer expectations are not met. However, because services comprise unique human interactions, service failures are almost inevitable. Consequently, firms focus on service recovery strategies to fix problems and retain their customers for the future. Because a hospice offers care to terminally ill patients, it may not get the opportunity to correct a service failure. This situation makes the identification of what hospice users really need and want, and to ascertain perceptions of the hospice’s service delivery from the user’s perspective, even more important than for other service providers. A well-documented and fundamental barrier to improving end-of-life care is a lack of service quality measurement tools that capture the experiences of user’s from their own perspective. In palliative care, many quantitative measures are used and these focus on issues such as how quickly patients are assessed, whether they receive information leaflets, whether a discussion about their emotional needs is documented, and so on. Consequently, quality of service from the user’s perspective is overlooked. The current study was designed to overcome these limitations by adapting service blueprinting - never before used in the hospice sector - in order to undertake a ‘deep-dive’ to examine the impact of hospice services upon different users. Service blueprinting is a customer-focused approach for service innovation and improvement, where the ‘onstage’ visible service user and provider interactions must be supported by the ‘backstage’ employee actions and support processes. The study was conducted in conjunction with East Cheshire Hospice in England. The Hospice provides specialist palliative care for patients with progressive life-limiting illnesses, offering services to patients, carers and families via inpatient and outpatient units. Using service blueprinting to identify every service touchpoint, in-depth qualitative interviews with 38 in-patients, outpatients, visitors and bereaved families enabled a ‘deep-dive’ to uncover perceptions of the whole service experience among these diverse users. Interviews were recorded and transcribed, and thematic analysis of over 104,000 words of data revealed many excellent aspects of Hospice service. Staff frequently exceed people’s expectations. Striking gratifying comparisons to hospitals emerged. The Hospice makes people feel safe. Nevertheless, the technique uncovered many areas for improvement, including serendipity of referrals processes, the need for better communications with external agencies, improvements amid the daunting arrival and admissions process, a desperate need for more depression counselling, clarity of communication pertaining to actual end of life, and shortcomings in systems dealing with bereaved families. The study reveals that the adapted service blueprinting tool has major advantages of alternative quantitative evaluation techniques, including uncovering the complex nature of service user’s experiences in health-care service systems, highlighting more fully the interconnected configurations within the system and making greater sense of the impact of the service upon different service users. Unlike other tools, this in-depth examination reveals areas for improvement, many of which have already been implemented by the Hospice. The technique has potential to improve experiences of palliative and end-of-life care among patients and their families.

Keywords: hospices, end-of-life-care, service blueprinting, service delivery

Procedia PDF Downloads 119