Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 51

Search results for: best practices

51 A Survey of Key Challenges of Adopting Agile in Global Software Development: A Case Study with Malaysia Perspective

Authors: Amna Batool

Abstract:

Agile methodology is the current most popular technique in software development projects. Agile methods in software development bring optimistic impact on software performances, quality and customer satisfaction. There are some organizations and small-medium enterprises adopting agile into their local software development projects as well as in distributed software development projects. Adopting agile methods in local software development projects is valuable. However, agile global software deployment needs an attention. There are different key challenges in agile global software development that need to resolve and enhance the global software development cycles. The proposed systematic literature review investigates all key challenges of agile in global software development. Moreover, a quantitative methodology (an actual survey) targeted to present a real case scenario of these particular key challenges faced by one of the software houses that is BestWeb Malaysia. The outcomes of systematic literature and the results of quantitative methodology are compared with each other to evaluate if the key challenges pointed out in systematic review still exist. The proposed research and its exploratory results can assist small medium enterprises to avoid these challenges by adopting the best practices in their global software development projects. Moreover, it is helpful for novice researchers to get valuable information altogether.

Keywords: Agile software development, ASD challenges, agile global software development. challenges in agile global software development.

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50 Educating the Educators: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Enhance Science Teaching

Authors: Denise Levy, Anna Lucia C. H. Villavicencio

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In a rapid-changing world, science teachers face considerable challenges. In addition to the basic curriculum, there must be included several transversal themes, which demand creative and innovative strategies to be arranged and integrated to traditional disciplines. In Brazil, nuclear science is still a controversial theme, and teachers themselves seem to be unaware of the issue, most often perpetuating prejudice, errors and misconceptions. This article presents the authors’ experience in the development of an interdisciplinary pedagogical proposal to include nuclear science in the basic curriculum, in a transversal and integrating way. The methodology applied was based on the analysis of several normative documents that define the requirements of essential learning, competences and skills of basic education for all schools in Brazil. The didactic materials and resources were developed according to the best practices to improve learning processes privileging constructivist educational techniques, with emphasis on active learning process, collaborative learning and learning through research. The material consists of an illustrated book for students, a book for teachers and a manual with activities that can articulate nuclear science to different disciplines: Portuguese, mathematics, science, art, English, history and geography. The content counts on high scientific rigor and articulate nuclear technology with topics of interest to society in the most diverse spheres, such as food supply, public health, food safety and foreign trade. Moreover, this pedagogical proposal takes advantage of the potential value of digital technologies, implementing QR codes that excite and challenge students of all ages, improving interaction and engagement. The expected results include the education of the educators for nuclear science communication in a transversal and integrating way, demystifying nuclear technology in a contextualized and significant approach. It is expected that the interdisciplinary pedagogical proposal contributes to improving attitudes towards knowledge construction, privileging reconstructive questioning, fostering a culture of systematic curiosity and encouraging critical thinking skills.

Keywords: Science education, interdisciplinary learning, nuclear science; scientific literacy.

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49 Nigerian Football System: Examining Meso-Level Practices against a Global Model for Integrated Development of Mass and Elite Sport

Authors: I. Derek Kaka’an, P. Smolianov, D. Koh Choon Lian, S. Dion, C. Schoen, J. Norberg

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This study was designed to examine mass participation and elite football performance in Nigeria with reference to advance international football management practices. Over 200 sources of literature on sport delivery systems were analyzed to construct a globally applicable model of elite football integrated with mass participation, comprising of the following three levels: macro- (socio-economic, cultural, legislative, and organizational), meso- (infrastructures, personnel, and services enabling sport programs) and micro-level (operations, processes, and methodologies for development of individual athletes). The model has received scholarly validation and showed to be a framework for program analysis that is not culturally bound. The Smolianov and Zakus model has been employed for further understanding of sport systems such as US soccer, US Rugby, swimming, tennis, and volleyball as well as Russian and Dutch swimming. A questionnaire was developed using the above-mentioned model. Survey questions were validated by 12 experts including academicians, executives from sport governing bodies, football coaches, and administrators. To identify best practices and determine areas for improvement of football in Nigeria, 120 coaches completed the questionnaire. Useful exemplars and possible improvements were further identified through semi-structured discussions with 10 Nigerian football administrators and experts. Finally, content analysis of Nigeria Football Federation’s website and organizational documentation was conducted. This paper focuses on the meso-level of Nigerian football delivery, particularly infrastructures, personnel, and services enabling sport programs. This includes training centers, competition systems, and intellectual services. Results identified remarkable achievements coupled with great potential to further develop football in different types of public and private organizations in Nigeria. These include: assimilating football competitions with other cultural and educational activities, providing favorable conditions for employees of all possible organizations to partake and help in managing football programs and events, providing football coaching integrated with counseling for prevention of antisocial conduct, and improving cooperation between football programs and organizations for peace-making and advancement of international relations, tourism, and socio-economic development. Accurate reporting of the sports programs from the media should be encouraged through staff training for better awareness of various events. The systematic integration of these meso-level practices into the balanced development of mass and high-performance football will contribute to international sport success as well as national health, education, and social harmony.

Keywords: Football, high performance, mass participation, Nigeria, sport development.

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48 Ways for the Development of the Audit Quality Control System through the Analysis of Ongoing Problems, Experience and Challenges: Example of the Republic of Georgia

Authors: Levan Sabauri

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Audit is an independent inspection of the financial statement of the audited person and expresses the opinion of an auditor on the reliability of this statement. The auditor’s activity (auditor’s service) is realized by auditing organizations, individual auditors in connection to conduction of an audit and rendering of audit accompanying services. The profession of auditor means a high level of responsibility for rendered service. Results of decisions made by information users depend on the quality of the auditor’s conclusion. Owners, investors, creditors, and society rely on the opinion of the auditor under the condition that inspection was conducted with good quality. Therefore, the existence of the well-functioning audit quality control system for the administering of the audit is an important issue. An efficient audit quality control system is a substantial challenge that many countries face worldwide, especially those states where these systems are being formed within the respective reform program. The presented article reflects on the best practices of the leading countries, the assumptions and recommendations for the financial accounting, reporting and audit; current reforms in Georgia are made based on this comparative analysis.

Keywords: Audit quality control, audit program, financial statement, perspective analysis.

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47 The Integration of Cleaner Production Innovation and Creativity for Supply Chain Sustainability of Bogor Batik SMEs

Authors: Sawarni Hasibuan, Juliza Hidayati

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Competitiveness and sustainability issues not only put pressure on big companies, but also small and medium enterprises (SMEs). SMEs Batik Bogor is one of the local culture-based creative industries in Bogor city which is also dealing with the issue of sustainability. The purpose of this research is to develop framework of sustainability at SMEs Batik Indonesia case of SMEs Batik Bogor by integrating innovation of cleaner production in its supply chain. The approach used is desk study, field survey, in-depth interviews, and benchmarking best practices of SMEs sustainability. In-depth interviews involve stakeholders to identify the needs and standards of sustainability of SMEs Batik. Data analysis was done by benchmarking method, Multi Dimension Scaling (MDS) method, and Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat (SWOT) analysis. The results recommend the framework of sustainability for SMEs Batik in Indonesia. The sustainability status of SMEs Batik Bogor is classified as Moderate Sustainable. Factors that support the sustainability of SMEs Batik Bogor such is a strong commitment of top management in adopting cleaner production innovation and creativity approach. Successful cleaner production innovations are implemented primarily in the substitution of dye materials from toxic to non-toxic, reducing the intensity of non-renewable energy use, as well as the reuse and recycle of solid waste. “Mosaic Batik” is one of the innovations of solid waste utilization of batik waste produced by company R&D center that gives benefit to three pillars of sustainability, that is financial benefit, environmental benefit, and social benefit. The sustainability of SMEs Batik Bogor cannot be separated from the support of Bogor City Government which proactively facilitates the promotion of sustainable innovation produced by SMEs Batik Bogor.

Keywords: Cleaner production innovation, creativity, SMEs Batik, sustainability supply chain.

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46 Third Places for Social Sustainability: A Planning Framework Based on Local and International Comparisons

Authors: Z. Goosen, E. J. Cilliers

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Social sustainability, as an independent perspective of sustainable development, has gained some acknowledgement, becoming an important aspect in sustainable urban planning internationally. However, limited research aiming at promoting social sustainability within urban areas exists within the South African context. This is mainly due to the different perspectives of sustainable development (e.g., Environmental, Economic, and Social) not being equally prioritized by policy makers and supported by implementation strategies, guidelines, and planning frameworks. The enhancement of social sustainability within urban areas relies on urban dweller satisfaction and the quality of urban life. Inclusive cities with high-quality public spaces are proposed within this research through implementing the third place theory. Third places are introduced as any place other than our homes (first place) and work (second place) and have become an integrated part of sustainable urban planning. As Third Places consist of every place 'in between', the approach has taken on a large role of the everyday life of city residents, and the importance of planning for such places can only be measured through identifying and highlighting the social sustainability benefits thereof. The aim of this research paper is to introduce third place planning within the urban area to ultimately enhance social sustainability. Selected background planning approaches influencing the planning of third places will briefly be touched on, as the focus will be placed on the social sustainability benefits provided through third place planning within an urban setting. The study will commence by defining and introducing the concept of third places within urban areas as well as a discussion on social sustainability, acting as one of the three perspectives of sustainable development. This will gain the researcher an improved understanding on social sustainability in order for the study to flow into an integrated discussion of the benefits Third places provide in terms of social sustainability and the impact it has on improved quality of life within urban areas. Finally, a visual case study comparison of local and international examples of third places identified will be illustrated. These international case studies will contribute towards the conclusion of this study where a local gap analysis will be formulated, based on local third place evidence and international best practices in order to formulate a strategic planning framework on improving social sustainability through third place planning within the local South African context.

Keywords: Planning benefits, social sustainability, third places, urban area.

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45 Commercialization of Technologies, Productivity and Problems of Technological Audit in the Russian Economy

Authors: E. A. Tkachenko, E. M. Rogova, A. S. Osipenko

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The problems of technological development for the Russian Federation take on special significance in the context of modernization of the production base. The complexity of the position of the Russian economy is that it cannot be attributed fully to developing ones. Russia is a strong industrial power that has gone through the processes of destructive de-industrialization in the conditions of changing its economic and political structure. The need to find ways for re-industrialization is not a unique task for the economies of industrially developed countries. Under the influence of production outsourcing for 20 years, the industrial potential of leading economies of the world was regressed against the backdrop of the ascent of China, a new industrial giant. Therefore, methods, tools, and techniques utilized for industrial renaissance in EU may be used to achieve a technological leap in the Russian Federation, especially since the temporary gap of 5-7 years makes it possible to analyze best practices and use those technological transfer tools that have shown the greatest efficiency. In this article, methods of technological transfer are analyzed, the role of technological audit is justified, and factors are analyzed that influence the successful process of commercialization of technologies.

Keywords: Technological transfer, productivity, technological audit, commercialization of technologies.

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44 Architecture and Students with Autism: Exploring Strategies for Their Inclusion in Society Mainstream

Authors: Safaa Mahmoud Issa

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Architecture, as an art and science of designing, has always been the medium to create environments that fulfill their users’ needs. It could create an inclusive environment that would not isolate any individual regardless of his /her disabilities. It could help, hopefully, in setting the strategies that provide a supportive, educational environment that would allow the inclusion of students with autism. Architects could help in the battle against this neuro-developmental disorder by providing the accommodating environment, at home and at school, in order to prevent institutionalizing these children. Through a theoretical approach and a review of literature, this study will explore and analyze best practices in autism-friendly, supportive, teaching environments. Additionally, it would provide the range of measures, and set the strategies to deal with the students with autism sensory peculiarities, and that, in order to allow them to concentrate in the school environment, and be able to succeed, and to be integrated as an important addition to society and the social mainstream. Architects should take into consideration the general guidelines for an autism-friendly built environment, and apply them to specific buildings systems. And that, as certain design elements have great effect on children’s behavior, by appropriating architecture to provide inclusive accommodating environments, the basis for equalization of opportunities is set allowing these individuals a better, normal, non-institutional life, as the discussion presented in this study would reveal.

Keywords: Architecture, inclusion, students with autism, mainstream society.

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43 Human Resources Management Practices in Hospitality Companies

Authors: Dora Martins, Susana Silva, Cândida Silva

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Human Resources Management (HRM) has been recognized by academics and practitioners as an important element in organizations. Therefore, this paper explores the best practices of HRM and seeks to understand the level of participation in the development of these practices by human resources managers in the hospitality industry and compare it with other industries. Thus, the study compared the HRM practices of companies in the hospitality sector with HRM practices of companies in other sectors, and identifies the main differences between their HRM practices. The results show that the most frequent HRM practices in all companies, independently of its sector of activity, are hiring and training. When comparing hospitality sector with other sectors of activity, some differences were noticed, namely in the adoption of the practices of communication and information sharing, and of recruitment and selection. According to these results, the paper discusses the major theoretical and practical implications. Suggestions for future research are also presented.

Keywords: Human resources management practices, human resources manager, hospitality companies, Portuguese companies, exploratory study.

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42 Developing Creative and Critically Reflective Digital Learning Communities

Authors: W. S. Barber, S. L. King

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This paper is a qualitative case study analysis of the development of a fully online learning community of graduate students through arts-based community building activities. With increasing numbers and types of online learning spaces, it is incumbent upon educators to continue to push the edge of what best practices look like in digital learning environments. In digital learning spaces, instructors can no longer be seen as purveyors of content knowledge to be examined at the end of a set course by a final test or exam. The rapid and fluid dissemination of information via Web 3.0 demands that we reshape our approach to teaching and learning, from one that is content-focused to one that is process-driven. Rather than having instructors as formal leaders, today’s digital learning environments require us to share expertise, as it is the collective experiences and knowledge of all students together with the instructors that help to create a very different kind of learning community. This paper focuses on innovations pursued in a 36 hour 12 week graduate course in higher education entitled “Critical and Reflective Practice”. The authors chronicle their journey to developing a fully online learning community (FOLC) by emphasizing the elements of social, cognitive, emotional and digital spaces that form a moving interplay through the community. In this way, students embrace anywhere anytime learning and often take the learning, as well as the relationships they build and skills they acquire, beyond the digital class into real world situations. We argue that in order to increase student online engagement, pedagogical approaches need to stem from two primary elements, both creativity and critical reflection, that are essential pillars upon which instructors can co-design learning environments with students. The theoretical framework for the paper is based on the interaction and interdependence of Creativity, Intuition, Critical Reflection, Social Constructivism and FOLCs. By leveraging students’ embedded familiarity with a wide variety of technologies, this case study of a graduate level course on critical reflection in education, examines how relationships, quality of work produced, and student engagement can improve by using creative and imaginative pedagogical strategies. The authors examine their professional pedagogical strategies through the lens that the teacher acts as facilitator, guide and co-designer. In a world where students can easily search for and organize information as self-directed processes, creativity and connection can at times be lost in the digitized course environment. The paper concludes by posing further questions as to how institutions of higher education may be challenged to restructure their credit granting courses into more flexible modules, and how students need to be considered an important part of assessment and evaluation strategies. By introducing creativity and critical reflection as central features of the digital learning spaces, notions of best practices in digital teaching and learning emerge.

Keywords: Online, pedagogy, learning, communities.

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41 Urban Accessibility of Historical Cities: The Venetian Case Study

Authors: Valeria Tatano, Francesca Guidolin, Francesca Peltrera

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The preservation of historical Italian heritage, at the urban and architectural scale, has to consider restrictions and requirements connected with conservation issues and usability needs, which are often at odds with historical heritage preservation. Recent decades have been marked by the search for increased accessibility not only of public and private buildings, but to the whole historical city, also for people with disability. Moreover, in the last years the concepts of Smart City and Healthy City seek to improve accessibility both in terms of mobility (independent or assisted) and fruition of goods and services, also for historical cities. The principles of Inclusive Design have introduced new criteria for the improvement of public urban space, between current regulations and best practices. Moreover, they have contributed to transforming “special needs” into an opportunity of social innovation. These considerations find a field of research and analysis in the historical city of Venice, which is at the same time a site of UNESCO world heritage, a mass tourism destination bringing in visitors from all over the world and a city inhabited by an aging population. Due to its conformation, Venetian urban fabric is only partially accessible: about four thousand bridges divide thousands of islands, making it almost impossible to move independently. These urban characteristics and difficulties were the base, in the last 20 years, for several researches, experimentations and solutions with the aim of eliminating architectural barriers, in particular for the usability of bridges. The Venetian Municipality with the EBA Office and some external consultants realized several devices (e.g. the “stepped ramp” and the new accessible ramps for the Venice Marathon) that should determine an innovation for the city, passing from the use of mechanical replicable devices to specific architectural projects in order to guarantee autonomy in use. This paper intends to present the state-of-the-art in bridges accessibility, through an analysis based on Inclusive Design principles and on the current national and regional regulation. The purpose is to evaluate some possible strategies that could improve performances, between limits and possibilities of interventions. The aim of the research is to lay the foundations for the development of a strategic program for the City of Venice that could successfully bring together both conservation and improvement requirements.

Keywords: Accessibility and inclusive design, historical heritage preservation, technological and social innovation.

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40 The Impact of Innovation Best Practices in Economic Development

Authors: Hanadi Mubarak AL-Mubaraki, Michael Busler

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Innovation is the process of making changes, differences, and novelties in the products and services, adding values and business practices to create economic and social benefit. The purpose of this paper is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of innovation programs in developed and developing countries. We used a mixed-methods approach, quantitative as survey and qualitative as a multi-case study to examine innovation best practices in developed and developing countries. In addition, four case studies of innovation organisations based on the best practices and successful implementation in the developed and developing countries are selected for examination. The research findings provide guidance, suggestions, and recommendations for future implementation in developed and developing countries for practitioners such as policy makers, governments, funded organizations, and strategic institutions. In conclusion, innovation programs are vital tools for economic growth, knowledge, and technology transfer based on the several indicators such as creativity, entrepreneurship, role of government, role of university, strategic focus, new products, survival rate, job creation, start-up companies, and number of patents. The authors aim to conduct future research which will include a comparative study of innovation case studies between developed and developing countries for policy implications worldwide. The originality of this study makes a contribution to the current literature about the innovation best practice in developed and developing countries.

Keywords: Economic development, entrepreneurship, developed countries, innovation program.

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39 Ontology-Driven Generation of Radiation Protection Procedures

Authors: Chamseddine Barki, Salam Labidi, Hanen Boussi Rahmouni

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In this article, we present the principle and suitable methodology for the design of a medical ontology that highlights the radiological and dosimetric knowledge, applied in diagnostic radiology and radiation-therapy. Our ontology, which we named «Onto.Rap», is the subject of radiation protection in medical and radiology centers by providing a standardized regulatory oversight. Thanks to its added values of knowledge-sharing, reuse and the ease of maintenance, this ontology tends to solve many problems. Of which we name the confusion between radiological procedures a practitioner might face while performing a patient radiological exam. Adding to it, the difficulties they might have in interpreting applicable patient radioprotection standards. Here, the ontology, thanks to its concepts simplification and expressiveness capabilities, can ensure an efficient classification of radiological procedures. It also provides an explicit representation of the relations between the different components of the studied concept. In fact, an ontology based-radioprotection expert system, when used in radiological center, could implement systematic radioprotection best practices during patient exam and a regulatory compliance service auditing afterwards.

Keywords: Ontology, radiology, medicine, knowledge, radiation protection, audit.

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38 Comparative Quantitative Study on Learning Outcomes of Major Study Groups of an Information and Communication Technology Bachelor Educational Program

Authors: Kari Björn, Mikael Soini

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Higher Education system reforms, especially Finnish system of Universities of Applied Sciences in 2014 are discussed. The new steering model is based on major legislative changes, output-oriented funding and open information. The governmental steering reform, especially the financial model and the resulting institutional level responses, such as a curriculum reforms are discussed, focusing especially in engineering programs. The paper is motivated by management need to establish objective steering-related performance indicators and to apply them consistently across all educational programs. The close relationship to governmental steering and funding model imply that internally derived indicators can be directly applied. Metropolia University of Applied Sciences (MUAS) as a case institution is briefly introduced, focusing on engineering education in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and its related programs. The reform forced consolidation of previously separate smaller programs into fewer units of student application. New curriculum ICT students have a common first year before they apply for a Major. A framework of parallel and longitudinal comparisons is introduced and used across Majors in two campuses. The new externally introduced performance criteria are applied internally on ICT Majors using data ex-ante and ex-post of program merger.  A comparative performance of the Majors after completion of joint first year is established, focusing on previously omitted Majors for completeness of analysis. Some new research questions resulting from transfer of Majors between campuses and quota setting are discussed. Practical orientation identifies best practices to share or targets needing most attention for improvement. This level of analysis is directly applicable at student group and teaching team level, where corrective actions are possible, when identified. The analysis is quantitative and the nature of the corrective actions are not discussed. Causal relationships and factor analysis are omitted, because campuses, their staff and various pedagogical implementation details contain still too many undetermined factors for our limited data. Such qualitative analysis is left for further research. Further study must, however, be guided by the relevance of the observations.

Keywords: Engineering education, integrated curriculum, learning outcomes, performance measurement.

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37 Web-Based Instructional Program to Improve Professional Development: Recommendations and Standards for Radioactive Facilities in Brazil

Authors: Denise Levy, Gian M. A. A. Sordi

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This web based project focuses on continuing corporate education and improving workers' skills in Brazilian radioactive facilities throughout the country. The potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) shall contribute to improve the global communication in this very large country, where it is a strong challenge to ensure high quality professional information to as many people as possible. The main objective of this system is to provide Brazilian radioactive facilities a complete web-based repository - in Portuguese - for research, consultation and information, offering conditions for learning and improving professional and personal skills. UNIPRORAD is a web based system to offer unified programs and inter-related information about radiological protection programs. The content includes the best practices for radioactive facilities in order to meet both national standards and international recommendations published by different organizations over the past decades: International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and National Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN). The website counts on concepts, definitions and theory about optimization and ionizing radiation monitoring procedures. Moreover, the content presents further discussions related to some national and international recommendations, such as potential exposure, which is currently one of the most important research fields in radiological protection. Only two publications of ICRP develop expressively the issue and there is still a lack of knowledge of fail probabilities, for there are still uncertainties to find effective paths to quantify probabilistically the occurrence of potential exposures and the probabilities to reach a certain level of dose. To respond to this challenge, this project discusses and introduces potential exposures in a more quantitative way than national and international recommendations. Articulating ICRP and AIEA valid recommendations and official reports, in addition to scientific papers published in major international congresses, the website discusses and suggests a number of effective actions towards safety which can be incorporated into labor practice. The WEB platform was created according to corporate public needs, taking into account the development of a robust but flexible system, which can be easily adapted to future demands. ICTs provide a vast array of new communication capabilities and allow to spread information to as many people as possible at low costs and high quality communication. This initiative shall provide opportunities for employees to increase professional skills, stimulating development in this large country where it is an enormous challenge to ensure effective and updated information to geographically distant facilities, minimizing costs and optimizing results.

Keywords: Distance learning, information and communication technology, nuclear science, radioactive facilities.

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36 Towards a Proof Acceptance by Overcoming Challenges in Collecting Digital Evidence

Authors: Lilian Noronha Nassif

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Cybercrime investigation demands an appropriated evidence collection mechanism. If the investigator does not acquire digital proofs in a forensic sound, some important information can be lost, and judges can discard case evidence because the acquisition was inadequate. The correct digital forensic seizing involves preparation of professionals from fields of law, police, and computer science. This paper presents important challenges faced during evidence collection in different perspectives of places. The crime scene can be virtual or real, and technical obstacles and privacy concerns must be considered. All pointed challenges here highlight the precautions to be taken in the digital evidence collection and the suggested procedures contribute to the best practices in the digital forensics field.

Keywords: Digital evidence, digital forensic processes and procedures, mobile forensics, cloud forensics.

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35 Innovation in Lean Thinking to Achieve Rapid Construction

Authors: Muhamad Azani Yahya, Vikneswaran Munikanan, Mohammed Alias Yusof

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Lean thinking holds the potential for improving the construction sector, and therefore, it is a concept that should be adopted by construction sector players and academicians in the real industry. Bridging from that, a learning process for construction sector players regarding this matter should be the agenda in gaining the knowledge in preparation for their career. Lean principles offer opportunities for reducing lead times, eliminating non-value adding activities, reducing variability, and are facilitated by methods such as pull scheduling, simplified operations and buffer reduction. Thus, the drive for rapid construction, which is a systematic approach in enhancing efficiency to deliver a project using time reduction, while lean is the continuous process of eliminating waste, meeting or exceeding all customer requirements, focusing on the entire value stream and pursuing perfection in the execution of a constructed project. The methodology presented is shown to be valid through literature, interviews and questionnaire. The results show that the majority of construction sector players unfamiliar with lean thinking and they agreed that it can improve the construction process flow. With this background knowledge established and identified, best practices and recommended action are drawn.

Keywords: Construction improvement, rapid construction, time reduction, lean construction.

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34 Performance Management of Tangible Assets within the Balanced Scorecard and Interactive Business Decision Tools

Authors: Raymond K. Jonkers

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The present study investigated approaches and techniques to enhance strategic management governance and decision making within the framework of a performance-based balanced scorecard. The review of best practices from strategic, program, process, and systems engineering management provided for a holistic approach toward effective outcome-based capability management. One technique, based on factorial experimental design methods, was used to develop an empirical model. This model predicted the degree of capability effectiveness and is dependent on controlled system input variables and their weightings. These variables represent business performance measures, captured within a strategic balanced scorecard. The weighting of these measures enhances the ability to quantify causal relationships within balanced scorecard strategy maps. The focus in this study was on the performance of tangible assets within the scorecard rather than the traditional approach of assessing performance of intangible assets such as knowledge and technology. Tangible assets are represented in this study as physical systems, which may be thought of as being aboard a ship or within a production facility. The measures assigned to these systems include project funding for upgrades against demand, system certifications achieved against those required, preventive maintenance to corrective maintenance ratios, and material support personnel capacity against that required for supporting respective systems. The resultant scorecard is viewed as complimentary to the traditional balanced scorecard for program and performance management. The benefits from these scorecards are realized through the quantified state of operational capabilities or outcomes. These capabilities are also weighted in terms of priority for each distinct system measure and aggregated and visualized in terms of overall state of capabilities achieved. This study proposes the use of interactive controls within the scorecard as a technique to enhance development of alternative solutions in decision making. These interactive controls include those for assigning capability priorities and for adjusting system performance measures, thus providing for what-if scenarios and options in strategic decision-making. In this holistic approach to capability management, several cross functional processes were highlighted as relevant amongst the different management disciplines. In terms of assessing an organization’s ability to adopt this approach, consideration was given to the P3M3 management maturity model.

Keywords: Outcome based management, performance management, lifecycle costs, balanced scorecard.

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33 Learning Outcomes Alignment across Engineering Core Courses

Authors: A. Bouabid, B. Bielenberg, S. Ainane, N. Pasha

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In this paper, a team of faculty members of the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi, UAE representing six different courses across General Engineering (ENGR), Communication (COMM), and Design (STPS) worked together to establish a clear developmental progression of learning outcomes and performance indicators for targeted knowledge, areas of competency, and skills for the first three semesters of the Bachelor of Sciences in Engineering curriculum. The sequences of courses studied in this project were ENGR/COMM, COMM/STPS, and ENGR/STPS. For each course’s nine areas of knowledge, competency, and skills, the research team reviewed the existing learning outcomes and related performance indicators with a focus on identifying linkages across disciplines as well as within the courses of a discipline. The team reviewed existing performance indicators for developmental progression from semester to semester for same discipline related courses (vertical alignment) and for different discipline courses within the same semester (horizontal alignment). The results of this work have led to recommendations for modifications of the initial indicators when incoherence was identified, and/or for new indicators based on best practices (identified through literature searches) when gaps were identified. It also led to recommendations for modifications of the level of emphasis within each course to ensure developmental progression. The exercise has led to a revised Sequence Performance Indicator Mapping for the knowledge, skills, and competencies across the six core courses.

Keywords: Curriculum alignment, horizontal and vertical progression, performance indicators, skill level.

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32 Volunteers’ Preparedness for Natural Disasters and EVANDE Project

Authors: A. Kourou, A. Ioakeimidou, E. Bafa, C. Fassoulas, M. Panoutsopoulou

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The role of volunteers in disaster management is of decisive importance and the need of their involvement is well recognized, both for prevention measures and for disaster management. During major catastrophes, whereas professional personnel are outsourced, the role of volunteers is crucial. In Greece experience has shown that various groups operating in the civil protection mechanism like local administration staff or volunteers, in many cases do not have the necessary knowledge and information on best practices to act against natural disasters. One of the major problems is the lack of volunteers’ education and training. In the above given framework, this paper presents the results of a survey aimed to identify the level of education and preparedness of civil protection volunteers in Greece. Furthermore, the implementation of earthquake protection measures at individual, family and working level, are explored. More specifically, the survey questionnaire investigates issues regarding pre-earthquake protection actions, appropriate attitudes and behaviors during an earthquake and existence of contingency plans in the workplace. The questionnaires were administered to citizens from different regions of the country and who attend the civil protection training program: “Protect Myself and Others”. A closed-form questionnaire was developed for the survey, which contained questions regarding the following: a) knowledge of self-protective actions; b) existence of emergency planning at home; c) existence of emergency planning at workplace (hazard mitigation actions, evacuation plan, and performance of drills); and, d) respondents` perception about their level of earthquake preparedness. The results revealed a serious lack of knowledge and preparedness among respondents. Taking into consideration the aforementioned gap and in order to raise awareness and improve preparedness and effective response of volunteers acting in civil protection, the EVANDE project was submitted and approved by the European Commission (EC). The aim of that project is to educate and train civil protection volunteers on the most serious natural disasters, such as forest fires, floods, and earthquakes, and thus, increase their performance.

Keywords: Civil protection, earthquake preparedness, volunteers.

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31 An Agile, Intelligent and Scalable Framework for Global Software Development

Authors: Raja Asad Zaheer, Aisha Tanveer, Hafza Mehreen Fatima

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Global Software Development (GSD) is becoming a common norm in software industry, despite of the fact that global distribution of the teams presents special issues for effective communication and coordination of the teams. Now trends are changing and project management for distributed teams is no longer in a limbo. GSD can be effectively established using agile and project managers can use different agile techniques/tools for solving the problems associated with distributed teams. Agile methodologies like scrum and XP have been successfully used with distributed teams. We have employed exploratory research method to analyze different recent studies related to challenges of GSD and their proposed solutions. In our study, we had deep insight in six commonly faced challenges: communication and coordination, temporal differences, cultural differences, knowledge sharing/group awareness, speed and communication tools. We have established that each of these challenges cannot be neglected for distributed teams of any kind. They are interlinked and as an aggregated whole can cause the failure of projects. In this paper we have focused on creating a scalable framework for detecting and overcoming these commonly faced challenges. In the proposed solution, our objective is to suggest agile techniques/tools relevant to a particular problem faced by the organizations related to the management of distributed teams. We focused mainly on scrum and XP techniques/tools because they are widely accepted and used in the industry. Our solution identifies the problem and suggests an appropriate technique/tool to help solve the problem based on globally shared knowledgebase. We can establish a cause and effect relationship using a fishbone diagram based on the inputs provided for issues commonly faced by organizations. Based on the identified cause, suitable tool is suggested, our framework suggests a suitable tool. Hence, a scalable, extensible, self-learning, intelligent framework proposed will help implement and assess GSD to achieve maximum out of it. Globally shared knowledgebase will help new organizations to easily adapt best practices set forth by the practicing organizations.

Keywords: Agile project management, agile framework, distributed teams, global software development.

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30 A Comparative Study of Afghan Traditional and Contemporary Courtyard Housing Regarding Affordable Planning and Sustainability

Authors: Mohammad Saraj Sharifzai, Keisuke Kitagawa, Mohammad Kamil Halimee, Javid Habib, Daishi Sakaguchi

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The purpose of this research is to upgrade a pleasing, sustainable and safe shelter in the Afghan urban community. It also aims to maintain traditional housing, which is fitted to its environment, while attempting to upgrade it with new, traditional standards. The three main objectives of this study are to upgrade the traditional courtyard house to become safe and sustainable today and tomorrow; to fit the contemporary house environmentally and culturally, and to suppress or reduce the broad gap between traditional and contemporary housing. The paper tries to exhibit and analyze the sustainably best practices available in both traditional and contemporary courtyard housing in Afghanistan. For instance, the use of thick walls and Tawa-Khana (floor heating system) shows the best sustainable practice in that context.

Keywords: Afghan Traditional Courtyard Housing (ATCH), Afghan Contemporary Courtyard Housing (ACCH), suitability planning, affordable and thermal comfort.

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29 Integration of Best Practices and Requirements for Preliminary E-Learning Courses

Authors: Sophie Huck, Knut Linke

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This study will examine how IT practitioners can be motivated for IT studies and which kind of support they need during their occupational studies. Within this research project, the challenge of supporting students being engaged in business for several years arose. Here, it is especially important to successfully guide them through their studies. The problem of this group is that they finished their school education years ago. In order to gather first experiences, preliminary e-learning courses were introduced and tested with a group of users studying General Management. They had to work with these courses and have been questioned later on about their approach to the different methods. Moreover, a second group of potential students was interviewed with the help of online questionnaires to give information about their expectations regarding extra occupational studies. We also want to present best practices and cases in e-education in the subarea of mathematics and distance learning. Within these cases and practices, we use state of the art systems and technologies in e-education to find a way to increase teaching quality and the success of students. Our research indicated that the first group of enrolled students appreciated the new preliminary e-learning courses. The second group of potential students was convinced of this way of learning as a significant component of extra occupational studies. It can be concluded that this part of the project clarified the acceptance of the e-learning strategy by both groups and led to satisfactory results with the enrolled students.

Keywords: E-learning evaluation, self-learning, virtual classroom, virtual learning environments.

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28 Benefits of Construction Management Implications and Processes by Projects Managers on Project Completion

Authors: Mamoon Mousa Atout

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Projects managers in construction industry usually face a difficult organizational environment especially if the project is unique. The organization lacks the processes to practice construction management correctly, and the executive’s technical managers who have lack of experience in playing their role and responsibilities correctly. Project managers need to adopt best practices that allow them to do things effectively to make sure that the project can be delivered without any delay even though the executive’s technical managers should follow a certain process to avoid any factor might cause any delay during the project life cycle. The purpose of the paper is to examine the awareness level of projects managers about construction management processes, tools, techniques and implications to complete projects on time. The outcome and the results of the study are prepared based on the designed questionnaires and interviews conducted with many project managers. The method used in this paper is a quantitative study. A survey with a sample of 100 respondents was prepared and distributed in a construction company in Dubai, which includes nine questions to examine the level of their awareness. This research will also identify the necessary benefits of processes of construction management that has to be adopted by projects managers to mitigate the maximum potential problems which might cause any delay to the project life cycle.

Keywords: Construction Methodology, Design Process, Project Managers, Scheduling and Resource Planning.

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27 Botswana and Nation-Building Theory

Authors: Rowland M. Brucken

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This paper argues nation-building theories that prioritize democratic governance best explain the successful postindependence development of Botswana. Three main competing schools of thought exist regarding the sequencing of policies that should occur to re-build weakened or failed states. The first posits that economic development should receive foremost attention, while democratization and a binding sense of nationalism can wait. A second group of experts identified constructing a sense of nationalism among a populace is necessary first, so that the state receives popular legitimacy and obedience that are prerequisites for development. Botswana, though, transitioned into a multi-party democracy and prosperous open economy due to the utilization of traditional democratic structures, enlightened and accountable leadership, and an educated technocratic civil service. With these political foundations already in place when the discovery of diamonds occurred, the resulting revenues were spent wisely on projects that grew the economy, improved basic living standards, and attracted foreign investment. Thus democratization preceded, and therefore provided an accountable basis for, economic development that might otherwise have been squandered by greedy and isolated elites to the detriment of the greater population. Botswana was one of the poorest nations in the world at the time of its independence in 1966, with little infrastructure, a dependence on apartheid South Africa for trade, and a largely subsistence economy. Over the next thirty years, though, its economy grew the fastest of any nation in the world. The transparent and judicious use of diamond returns is only a partial explanation, as the government also pursued economic diversification, mass education, and rural development in response to public needs. As nation-building has become a project undertaken by nations and multilateral agencies such as the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Botswana may provide best practices that others should follow in attempting to reconstruct economically and politically unstable states.

Keywords: Botswana, democratization, economic development, nation-building.

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26 Knowledge Management (KM) Practices - A Study of KM Adoption among Doctors in Kuwait

Authors: B. Alajmi, L. Marouf, A. S. Chaudhry

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Knowledge management is considered as an important factor in improving health care services. KM facilitates the transfer of existing knowledge and the development of new knowledge in hospitals. This paper reviews practices adopted by doctors in Kuwait for capturing, sharing, and generating knowledge. It also discusses the perceived impact of KM practices on performance of hospitals. Based on a survey of 277 doctors, the study found that KM practices among doctors in the sampled hospitals were not very effective. Little attention was paid to the main activities that support the transfer of expertise among doctors in hospitals. However, as predicted by previous studies, good km practices were perceived by doctors to have a positive impact on performance of hospitals. It was concluded that through effective KM practices hospitals could improve the services they provide. Documentation of best practices and capturing of lessons learnt for re-use of knowledge could help transform the hospitals into learning organizations.

Keywords: Health Sector, Hospitals, Knowledge Management, Kuwait, Tools and Practices.

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25 Measurement Tools of the Maturity Model for IT Service Outsourcing in Higher Education Institutions

Authors: Victoriano Valencia García, Luis Usero Aragonés, Eugenio J. Fernández Vicente

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Nowadays, the successful implementation of ICTs is vital for almost any kind of organization. Good governance and ICT management are essential for delivering value, managing technological risks, managing resources and performance measurement. In addition, outsourcing is a strategic IT service solution which complements IT services provided internally in organizations. This paper proposes the measurement tools of a new holistic maturity model based on standards ISO/IEC 20000 and ISO/IEC 38500, and the frameworks and best practices of ITIL and COBIT, with a specific focus on IT outsourcing. These measurement tools allow independent validation and practical application in the field of higher education, using a questionnaire, metrics tables, and continuous improvement plan tables as part of the measurement process. Guidelines and standards are proposed in the model for facilitating adaptation to universities and achieving excellence in the outsourcing of IT services.

Keywords: IT Governance, IT Management, IT Services, Maturity Model, Measurement Tools, Outsourcing.

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24 A Comparative Analysis of E-Government Quality Models

Authors: Abdoullah Fath-Allah, Laila Cheikhi, Rafa E. Al-Qutaish, Ali Idri

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Many quality models have been used to measure egovernment portals quality. However, the absence of an international consensus for e-government portals quality models results in many differences in terms of quality attributes and measures. The aim of this paper is to compare and analyze the existing e-government quality models proposed in literature (those that are based on ISO standards and those that are not) in order to propose guidelines to build a good and useful e-government portals quality model. Our findings show that, there is no e-government portal quality model based on the new international standard ISO 25010. Besides that, the quality models are not based on a best practice model to allow agencies to both; measure e-government portals quality and identify missing best practices for those portals.

Keywords: E-government, portal, best practices, quality model, ISO, standard, ISO 25010, ISO 9126.

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23 Knowledge Transfer in Industrial Clusters

Authors: Ana Paula Lisboa Sohn, Filipa Dionísio Vieria, Nelson Casarotto, Idaulo José Cunha

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This paper aims at identifying and analyzing the knowledge transmission channels in textile and clothing clusters located in Brazil and in Europe. Primary data was obtained through interviews with key individuals. The collection of primary data was carried out based on a questionnaire with ten categories of indicators of knowledge transmission. Secondary data was also collected through a literature review and through international organizations sites. Similarities related to the use of the main transmission channels of knowledge are observed in all cases. The main similarities are: influence of suppliers of machinery, equipment and raw materials; imitation of products and best practices; training promoted by technical institutions and businesses; and cluster companies being open to acquire new knowledge. The main differences lie in the relationship between companies, where in Europe the intensity of this relationship is bigger when compared to Brazil. The differences also occur in importance and frequency of the relationship with the government, with the cultural environment, and with the activities of research and development. It is also found factors that reduce the importance of geographical proximity in transmission of knowledge, and in generating trust and the establishment of collaborative behavior.

Keywords: Industrial clusters, interorganizational learning, knowledge transmission channels, textile and clothing industry.

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22 Towards a Measurement-Based E-Government Portals Maturity Model

Authors: Abdoullah Fath-Allah, Laila Cheikhi, Rafa E. Al-Qutaish, Ali Idri

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The e-government emerging concept transforms the way in which the citizens are dealing with their governments. Thus, the citizens can execute the intended services online anytime and anywhere. This results in great benefits for both the governments (reduces the number of officers) and the citizens (more flexibility and time saving). Therefore, building a maturity model to assess the egovernment portals becomes desired to help in the improvement process of such portals. This paper aims at proposing an egovernment maturity model based on the measurement of the best practices’ presence. The main benefit of such maturity model is to provide a way to rank an e-government portal based on the used best practices, and also giving a set of recommendations to go to the higher stage in the maturity model.

Keywords: Best practices, e-government portal, maturity model, quality model.

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