Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 3672

Search results for: e-marketing information

12 Towards Bridging the Gap between the ESP Classroom and the Workplace: Content and Language Needs Analysis in English for an Administrative Studies Course

Authors: Vesna Vulić

Abstract:

Croatia has made large steps forward in the development of higher education over the past 10 years. Purposes and objectives of the tertiary education system are focused on the personal development of young people so that they obtain competences for employment on a flexible labour market. The most frequent tensions between the tertiary institutions and employers are complaints that the current tertiary education system still supplies students with an abundance of theoretical knowledge and not enough practical skills. Polytechnics and schools of professional higher education should deliver professional education and training that will satisfy the needs of their local communities. The 21st century sets demand on undergraduates as well as their lecturers to strive for the highest standards. The skills students acquire during their studies should serve the needs of their future professional careers. In this context, teaching English for Specific Purposes (ESP) presents an enormous challenge for teachers. They have to cope with teaching the language in classes with a large number of students, limitations of time, inadequate equipment and teaching material; most frequently, this leads to focusing on specialist vocabulary neglecting the development of skills and competences required for future employment. Globalization has transformed the labour market and set new standards a perspective employee should meet. When knowledge of languages is considered, new generic skills and competences are required. Not only skillful written and oral communication is needed, but also information, media, and technology literacy, learning skills which include critical and creative thinking, collaborating and communicating, as well as social skills. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the needs of two groups of ESP first year Undergraduate Professional Administrative Study students taking ESP as a mandatory course: 47 first-year Undergraduate Professional Administrative Study students, 21 first-year employed part-time Undergraduate Professional Administrative Study students and 30 graduates with a degree in Undergraduate Professional Administrative Study with various amounts of work experience. The survey adopted a quantitative approach with the aim to determine the differences between the groups in their perception of the four language skills and different areas of law, as well as getting the insight into students' satisfaction with the current course and their motivation for studying ESP. Their perceptions will be compared to the results of the questionnaire conducted among sector professionals in order to examine how they perceive the same elements of the ESP course content and to what extent it fits into their working environment. The results of the survey indicated that there is a strong correlation between acquiring work experience and the level of importance given to particular areas of law studied in an ESP course which is in line with our initial hypothesis. In conclusion, the results of the survey should help lecturers in re-evaluating and updating their ESP course syllabi.

Keywords: English for Specific Purposes, ESP, language skills, motivation, needs analysis.

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 748
11 Importance of Macromineral Ratios and Products in Association with Vitamin D in Pediatric Obesity Including Metabolic Syndrome

Authors: Mustafa M. Donma, Orkide Donma

Abstract:

Metabolisms of macrominerals, those of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, are closely associated with the metabolism of vitamin D. Particularly magnesium, the second most abundant intracellular cation, is related to biochemical and metabolic processes in the body, such as those of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. The status of each mineral was investigated in obesity to some extent. Their products and ratios may possibly give much more detailed information about the matter. The aim of this study is to investigate possible relations between each macromineral and some obesity-related parameters. This study was performed on 235 children, whose ages were between 06-18 years. Aside from anthropometric measurements, hematological analyses were performed. TANITA body composition monitor using bioelectrical impedance analysis technology was used to establish some obesity-related parameters including basal metabolic rate (BMR), total fat, mineral and muscle masses. World Health Organization body mass index (BMI) percentiles for age and sex were used to constitute the groups. The values above 99th percentile were defined as morbid obesity. Those between 95th and 99th percentiles were included into the obese group. The overweight group comprised of children whose percentiles were between 95 and 85. Children between the 85th and 15th percentiles were defined as normal. Metabolic syndrome (MetS) components (waist circumference, fasting blood glucose, triacylglycerol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, systolic pressure, diastolic pressure) were determined. High performance liquid chromatography was used to determine Vitamin D status by measuring 25-hydroxy cholecalciferol (25-hydroxy vitamin D3, 25(OH)D). Vitamin D values above 30.0 ng/ml were accepted as sufficient. SPSS statistical package program was used for the evaluation of data. The statistical significance degree was accepted as p < 0.05. The important points were the correlations found between vitamin D and magnesium as well as phosphorus (p < 0.05) that existed in the group with normal BMI values. These correlations were lost in the other groups. The ratio of phosphorus to magnesium was even much more highly correlated with vitamin D (p < 0.001). The negative correlation between magnesium and total fat mass (p < 0.01) was confined to the MetS group showing the inverse relationship between magnesium levels and obesity degree. In this group, calcium*magnesium product exhibited the highest correlation with total fat mass (p < 0.001) among all groups. Only in the MetS group was a negative correlation found between BMR and calcium*magnesium product (p < 0.05). In conclusion, magnesium is located at the center of attraction concerning its relationships with vitamin D, fat mass and MetS. The ratios and products derived from macrominerals including magnesium have pointed out stronger associations other than each element alone. Final considerations have shown that unique correlations of magnesium as well as calcium*magnesium product with total fat mass have drawn attention particularly in the MetS group, possibly due to the derangements in some basic elements of carbohydrate as well as lipid metabolism.

Keywords: Macrominerals, metabolic syndrome, pediatric obesity, vitamin D.

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 447
10 Contraception in Guatemala, Panajachel and the Surrounding Areas: Barriers Affecting Women’s Contraceptive Usage

Authors: Natasha Bhate

Abstract:

Contraception is important in helping to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates by allowing women to control the number and spacing in-between their children. It also reduces the need for unsafe abortions. Women worldwide use contraception; however, the contraceptive prevalence rate is still relatively low in Central American countries like Guatemala. There is also an unmet need for contraception in Guatemala, which is more significant in rural, indigenous women due to barriers preventing contraceptive use. The study objective was to investigate and analyse the current barriers women face, in Guatemala, Panajachel and the surrounding areas, in using contraception, with a view of identifying ways to overcome these barriers. This included exploring the contraceptive barriers women believe exist and the influence of males in contraceptive decision making. The study took place at a charity in Panajachel, Guatemala, and had a cross-sectional, qualitative design to allow an in-depth understanding of information gathered. This particular study design was also chosen to help inform the charity with qualitative research analysis, in view of their intent to create a local reproductive health programme. A semi-structured interview design, including photo facilitation to improve cross-cultural communication, with interpreter assistance, was utilized. A pilot interview was initially conducted with small improvements required. Participants were recruited through purposive and convenience sampling. The study host at the charity acted as a gatekeeper; participants were identified through attendance of the charity’s women’s-initiative programme workshops. 20 participants were selected and agreed to study participation with two not attending; a total of 18 participants were interviewed in June 2017. Interviews were audio-recorded and data were stored on encrypted memory sticks. Framework analysis was used to analyse the data using NVivo11 software. The University of Leeds granted ethical approval for the research. Religion, language, the community, and fear of sickness were examples of existing contraceptive barrier themes recognized by many participants. The influence of men was also an important barrier identified, with themes of machismo and abuse preventing contraceptive use in some women. Women from more rural areas were believed to still face barriers which some participants did not encounter anymore, such as distance and affordability of contraceptives. Participants believed that informative workshops in various settings were an ideal method of overcoming existing contraceptive barriers and allowing women to be more empowered. The involvement of men in such workshops was also deemed important by participants to help reduce their negative influence in contraceptive usage. Overall, four recommendations following this study were made, including contraceptive educational courses, a gender equality campaign, couple-focused contraceptive workshops, and further qualitative research to gain a better insight into men’s opinions regarding women using contraception.

Keywords: Barrier, contraception, machismo, religion.

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 151
9 Evaluation of the Role of Advocacy and the Quality of Care in Reducing Health Inequalities for People with Autism, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals

Authors: Jonathan Sahu, Jill Aylott

Abstract:

Individuals with Autism, Intellectual and Developmental disabilities (AIDD) are one of the most vulnerable groups in society, hampered not only by their own limitations to understand and interact with the wider society, but also societal limitations in perception and understanding. Communication to express their needs and wishes is fundamental to enable such individuals to live and prosper in society. This research project was designed as an organisational case study, in a large secondary health care hospital within the National Health Service (NHS), to assess the quality of care provided to people with AIDD and to review the role of advocacy to reduce health inequalities in these individuals. Methods: The research methodology adopted was as an “insider researcher”. Data collection included both quantitative and qualitative data i.e. a mixed method approach. A semi-structured interview schedule was designed and used to obtain qualitative and quantitative primary data from a wide range of interdisciplinary frontline health care workers to assess their understanding and awareness of systems, processes and evidence based practice to offer a quality service to people with AIDD. Secondary data were obtained from sources within the organisation, in keeping with “Case Study” as a primary method, and organisational performance data were then compared against national benchmarking standards. Further data sources were accessed to help evaluate the effectiveness of different types of advocacy that were present in the organisation. This was gauged by measures of user and carer experience in the form of retrospective survey analysis, incidents and complaints. Results: Secondary data demonstrate near compliance of the Organisation with the current national benchmarking standard (Monitor Compliance Framework). However, primary data demonstrate poor knowledge of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, poor knowledge of organisational systems, processes and evidence based practice applied for people with AIDD. In addition there was poor knowledge and awareness of frontline health care workers of advocacy and advocacy schemes for this group. Conclusions: A significant amount of work needs to be undertaken to improve the quality of care delivered to individuals with AIDD. An operational strategy promoting the widespread dissemination of information may not be the best approach to deliver quality care and optimal patient experience and patient advocacy. In addition, a more robust set of standards, with appropriate metrics, needs to be developed to assess organisational performance which will stand the test of professional and public scrutiny.

Keywords: Autism, intellectual developmental disabilities, advocacy, health inequalities, quality of care.

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 450
8 University Curriculum Policy Processes in Chile: A Case Study

Authors: Victoria C. Valdebenito

Abstract:

Located within the context of accelerating globalization in the 21st-century knowledge society, this paper focuses on one selected university in Chile at which radical curriculum policy changes have been taking place, diverging from the traditional curriculum in Chile at the undergraduate level as a section of a larger investigation. Using a ‘policy trajectory’ framework, and guided by the interpretivist approach to research, interview transcripts and institutional documents were analyzed in relation to the meso (university administration) and the micro (academics) level. Inside the case study, participants from the university administration and academic levels were selected both via snow-ball technique and purposive selection, thus they had different levels of seniority, with some participating actively in the curriculum reform processes. Guided by an interpretivist approach to research, documents and interview transcripts were analyzed to reveal major themes emerging from the data. A further ‘bigger picture’ analysis guided by critical theory was then undertaken, involving interrogation of underlying ideologies and how political and economic interests influence the cultural production of policy. The case-study university was selected because it represents a traditional and old case of university setting in the country, undergoing curriculum changes based on international trends such as the competency model and the liberal arts. Also, it is representative of a particular socioeconomic sector of the country. Access to the university was gained through email contact. Qualitative research methods were used, namely interviews and analysis of institutional documents. In all, 18 people were interviewed. The number was defined by when the saturation criterion was met. Semi-structured interview schedules were based on the four research questions about influences, policy texts, policy enactment and longer-term outcomes. Triangulation of information was used for the analysis. While there was no intention to generalize the specific findings of the case study, the results of the research were used as a focus for engagement with broader themes, often evident in global higher education policy developments. The research results were organized around major themes in three of the four contexts of the ‘policy trajectory’. Regarding the context of influences and the context of policy text production, themes relate to hegemony exercised by first world countries’ universities in the higher education field, its associated neoliberal ideology, with accountability and the discourse of continuous improvement, the local responses to those pressures, and the value of interdisciplinarity. Finally, regarding the context of policy practices and effects (enactment), themes emerged around the impacts of the curriculum changes on university staff, students, and resistance amongst academics. The research concluded with a few recommendations that potentially provide ‘food for thought’ beyond the localized settings of this study, as well as possibilities for further research.

Keywords: Curriculum, policy, higher education, global-local dynamics.

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 239
7 Accessible Facilities in Home Environment for Elderly Family Members in Sri Lanka

Authors: M. A. N. Rasanjalee Perera

Abstract:

The world is facing several problems due to increasing elderly population. In Sri Lanka, along with the complexity of the modern society and structural and functional changes of the family, “caring for elders” seems as an emerging social problem. This situation may intensify as the county is moving into a middle income society. Seeking higher education and related career opportunities, and urban living in modern housing are new trends, through which several problems are generated. Among many issues related with elders, “lack of accessible and appropriate facilities in their houses as well as public buildings” can be identified as a major problem. This study argues that welfare facilities provided for the elderly people, particularly in the home environment, in the country are not adequate. Modern housing features such as bathrooms, pantries, lobbies, and leisure areas etc. are questionable as to whether they match with elders’ physical and mental needs. Consequently, elders have to face domestic accidents and many other difficulties within their living environments. Records of hospitals in the country also proved this fact. Therefore, this study tries to identify how far modern houses are suited with elders’ needs. The study further questioned whether “aging” is a considerable matter when people are buying, planning and renovating houses. A randomly selected sample of 50 houses were observed and 50 persons were interviewed around the Maharagama urban area in Colombo district to obtain primary data, while relevant secondary data and information were used to have a depth analysis. The study clearly found that none of the houses included to the sample are considering elders’ needs in planning, renovating, or arranging the home. Instead, most of the families were giving priority to the rich and elegant appearance and modern facilities of the houses. Particularly, to the bathrooms, pantry, large setting areas, balcony, parking slots for two vehicles, ad parapet walls with roller-gates are the main concerns. A significant factor found here is that even though, many children of the aged are in middle age and reaching their older years at present, they do not plan their future living within a safe and comfortable home, despite that they are hoping to spent the latter part of their lives in the their current homes. This fact highlights that not only the other responsible parts of the society, but also those who are reaching their older ages are ignoring the problems of the aged. At the same time, it was found that more than 80% of old parents do not like to stay at their children’s homes as the living environments in such modern homes are not familiar or convenient for them. Due to this context, the aged in Sri Lanka may have to be alone in their own homes due to current trend of society of migrating to urban living in modern houses. At the same time, current urban families who live in modern houses may have to face adding accessible facilities in their home environment, as current modern housing facilities may not be appropriate them for a better life in their latter part of life.

Keywords: Aging population, elderly care, home environment, housing facilities.

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 543
6 Radish Sprout Growth Dependency on LED Color in Plant Factory Experiment

Authors: Tatsuya Kasuga, Hidehisa Shimada, Kimio Oguchi

Abstract:

Recent rapid progress in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) has advanced the penetration of sensor networks (SNs) and their attractive applications. Agriculture is one of the fields well able to benefit from ICT. Plant factories control several parameters related to plant growth in closed areas such as air temperature, humidity, water, culture medium concentration, and artificial lighting by using computers and AI (Artificial Intelligence) is being researched in order to obtain stable and safe production of vegetables and medicinal plants all year anywhere, and attain self-sufficiency in food. By providing isolation from the natural environment, a plant factory can achieve higher productivity and safe products. However, the biggest issue with plant factories is the return on investment. Profits are tenuous because of the large initial investments and running costs, i.e. electric power, incurred. At present, LED (Light Emitting Diode) lights are being adopted because they are more energy-efficient and encourage photosynthesis better than the fluorescent lamps used in the past. However, further cost reduction is essential. This paper introduces experiments that reveal which color of LED lighting best enhances the growth of cultured radish sprouts. Radish sprouts were cultivated in the experimental environment formed by a hydroponics kit with three cultivation shelves (28 samples per shelf) each with an artificial lighting rack. Seven LED arrays of different color (white, blue, yellow green, green, yellow, orange, and red) were compared with a fluorescent lamp as the control. Lighting duration was set to 12 hours a day. Normal water with no fertilizer was circulated. Seven days after germination, the length, weight and area of leaf of each sample were measured. Electrical power consumption for all lighting arrangements was also measured. Results and discussions: As to average sample length, no clear difference was observed in terms of color. As regards weight, orange LED was less effective and the difference was significant (p < 0.05). As to leaf area, blue, yellow and orange LEDs were significantly less effective. However, all LEDs offered higher productivity per W consumed than the fluorescent lamp. Of the LEDs, the blue LED array attained the best results in terms of length, weight and area of leaf per W consumed. Conclusion and future works: An experiment on radish sprout cultivation under 7 different color LED arrays showed no clear difference in terms of sample size. However, if electrical power consumption is considered, LEDs offered about twice the growth rate of the fluorescent lamp. Among them, blue LEDs showed the best performance. Further cost reduction e.g. low power lighting remains a big issue for actual system deployment. An automatic plant monitoring system with sensors is another study target.

Keywords: Electric power consumption, LED color, LED lighting, plant factory.

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 501
5 Perceptions of Teachers toward Inclusive Education Focus on Hearing Impairment

Authors: Chalise Kiran

Abstract:

The prime idea of inclusive education is to mainstream every child in education. However, it will be challenging for implementation when there are policy and practice gaps. It will be even more challenging when children have disabilities. Generally, the focus will be on the policy gap, but the problem may not always be with policy. The proper practice could be a challenge in the countries like Nepal. In determining practice, the teachers’ perceptions toward inclusive will play a vital role. Nepal has categorized disability in 7 types (physical, visual, hearing, vision/hearing, speech, mental, and multiple). Out of these, hearing impairment is the study realm. In the context of a limited number of researches on children with disabilities and rare researches on CWHI and their education in Nepal, this study is a pioneering effort in knowing basically the problems and challenges of CWHI focused on inclusive education in the schools including gaps and barriers in its proper implementation. Philosophically, the paradigm of the study is post-positivism. In the post-positivist worldview, the quantitative approach with the description of the situation and inferential relationship are revealed out in the study. This is related to the natural model of objective reality. The data were collected from an individual survey with the teachers and head teachers of 35 schools in Nepal. The survey questionnaire was prepared and filled by the respondents from the schools where the CWHI study in 7 provincial 20 districts of Nepal. Through these considerations, the perceptions of CWHI focused inclusive education were explored in the study. The data were analyzed using both descriptive and inferential tools on which the Likert scale-based analysis was done for descriptive analysis, and chi-square mathematical tool was used to know the significant relationship between dependent variables and independent variables. The descriptive analysis showed that the majority of teachers have positive perceptions toward implementing CWHI focused inclusive education, and the majority of them have positive perceptions toward CWHI focused inclusive education, though there are some problems and challenges. The study has found out the major challenges and problems categorically. Some of them are: a large number of students in a single class; availability of generic textbooks for CWHI and no availability of textbooks to all students; less opportunity for teachers to acquire knowledge on CWHI; not adequate teachers in the schools; no flexibility in the curriculum; less information system in schools; no availability of educational consular; disaster-prone students; no child abuse control strategy; no disabled-friendly schools; no free health check-up facility; no participation of the students in school activities and in child clubs and so on. By and large, it is found that teachers’ age, gender, years of experience, position, employment status, and disability with him or her show no statistically significant relation to successfully implement CWHI focused inclusive education and perceptions to CWHI focused inclusive education in schools. However, in some of the cases, the set null hypothesis was rejected, and some are completely retained. The study has suggested policy implications, implications for educational authority, and implications for teachers and parents categorically.

Keywords: Children with hearing impairment, disability, inclusive education, perception.

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 193
4 Modern Detection and Description Methods for Natural Plants Recognition

Authors: Masoud Fathi Kazerouni, Jens Schlemper, Klaus-Dieter Kuhnert

Abstract:

Green planet is one of the Earth’s names which is known as a terrestrial planet and also can be named the fifth largest planet of the solar system as another scientific interpretation. Plants do not have a constant and steady distribution all around the world, and even plant species’ variations are not the same in one specific region. Presence of plants is not only limited to one field like botany; they exist in different fields such as literature and mythology and they hold useful and inestimable historical records. No one can imagine the world without oxygen which is produced mostly by plants. Their influences become more manifest since no other live species can exist on earth without plants as they form the basic food staples too. Regulation of water cycle and oxygen production are the other roles of plants. The roles affect environment and climate. Plants are the main components of agricultural activities. Many countries benefit from these activities. Therefore, plants have impacts on political and economic situations and future of countries. Due to importance of plants and their roles, study of plants is essential in various fields. Consideration of their different applications leads to focus on details of them too. Automatic recognition of plants is a novel field to contribute other researches and future of studies. Moreover, plants can survive their life in different places and regions by means of adaptations. Therefore, adaptations are their special factors to help them in hard life situations. Weather condition is one of the parameters which affect plants life and their existence in one area. Recognition of plants in different weather conditions is a new window of research in the field. Only natural images are usable to consider weather conditions as new factors. Thus, it will be a generalized and useful system. In order to have a general system, distance from the camera to plants is considered as another factor. The other considered factor is change of light intensity in environment as it changes during the day. Adding these factors leads to a huge challenge to invent an accurate and secure system. Development of an efficient plant recognition system is essential and effective. One important component of plant is leaf which can be used to implement automatic systems for plant recognition without any human interface and interaction. Due to the nature of used images, characteristic investigation of plants is done. Leaves of plants are the first characteristics to select as trusty parts. Four different plant species are specified for the goal to classify them with an accurate system. The current paper is devoted to principal directions of the proposed methods and implemented system, image dataset, and results. The procedure of algorithm and classification is explained in details. First steps, feature detection and description of visual information, are outperformed by using Scale invariant feature transform (SIFT), HARRIS-SIFT, and FAST-SIFT methods. The accuracy of the implemented methods is computed. In addition to comparison, robustness and efficiency of results in different conditions are investigated and explained.

Keywords: SIFT combination, feature extraction, feature detection, natural images, natural plant recognition, HARRIS-SIFT, FAST-SIFT.

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 509
3 Rethinking the Languages for Specific Purposes Syllabus in the 21st Century: Topic-Centered or Skills-Centered

Authors: A. Knezović

Abstract:

21st century has transformed the labor market landscape in a way of posing new and different demands on university graduates as well as university lecturers, which means that the knowledge and academic skills students acquire in the course of their studies should be applicable and transferable from the higher education context to their future professional careers. Given the context of the Languages for Specific Purposes (LSP) classroom, the teachers’ objective is not only to teach the language itself, but also to prepare students to use that language as a medium to develop generic skills and competences. These include media and information literacy, critical and creative thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills, effective written and oral communication, as well as collaborative work and social skills, all of which are necessary to make university graduates more competitive in everyday professional environments. On the other hand, due to limitations of time and large numbers of students in classes, the frequently topic-centered syllabus of LSP courses places considerable focus on acquiring the subject matter and specialist vocabulary instead of sufficient development of skills and competences required by students’ prospective employers. This paper intends to explore some of those issues as viewed both by LSP lecturers and by business professionals in their respective surveys. The surveys were conducted among more than 50 LSP lecturers at higher education institutions in Croatia, more than 40 HR professionals and more than 60 university graduates with degrees in economics and/or business working in management positions in mainly large and medium-sized companies in Croatia. Various elements of LSP course content have been taken into consideration in this research, including reading and listening comprehension of specialist texts, acquisition of specialist vocabulary and grammatical structures, as well as presentation and negotiation skills. The ability to hold meetings, conduct business correspondence, write reports, academic texts, case studies and take part in debates were also taken into consideration, as well as informal business communication, business etiquette and core courses delivered in a foreign language. The results of the surveys conducted among LSP lecturers will be analyzed with reference to what extent those elements are included in their courses and how consistently and thoroughly they are evaluated according to their course requirements. Their opinions will be compared to the results of the surveys conducted among professionals from a range of industries in Croatia so as to examine how useful and important they perceive the same elements of the LSP course content in their working environments. Such comparative analysis will thus show to what extent the syllabi of LSP courses meet the demands of the employment market when it comes to the students’ language skills and competences, as well as transferable skills. Finally, the findings will also be compared to the observations based on practical teaching experience and the relevant sources that have been used in this research. In conclusion, the ideas and observations in this paper are merely open-ended questions that do not have conclusive answers, but might prompt LSP lecturers to re-evaluate the content and objectives of their course syllabi.

Keywords: Languages for specific purposes (LSP), language skills, topic-centered syllabus, transferable skills.

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 2237
2 Gamification of eHealth Business Cases to Enhance Rich Learning Experience

Authors: Kari Björn

Abstract:

Introduction of games has expanded the application area of computer-aided learning tools to wide variety of age groups of learners. Serious games engage the learners into a real-world -type of simulation and potentially enrich the learning experience. Institutional background of a Bachelor’s level engineering program in Information and Communication Technology is introduced, with detailed focus on one of its majors, Health Technology. As part of a Customer Oriented Software Application thematic semester, one particular course of “eHealth Business and Solutions” is described and reflected in a gamified framework. Learning a consistent view into vast literature of business management, strategies, marketing and finance in a very limited time enforces selection of topics relevant to the industry. Health Technology is a novel and growing industry with a growing sector in consumer wearable devices and homecare applications. The business sector is attracting new entrepreneurs and impatient investor funds. From engineering education point of view the sector is driven by miniaturizing electronics, sensors and wireless applications. However, the market is highly consumer-driven and usability, safety and data integrity requirements are extremely high. When the same technology is used in analysis or treatment of patients, very strict regulatory measures are enforced. The paper introduces a course structure using gamification as a tool to learn the most essential in a new market: customer value proposition design, followed by a market entry game. Students analyze the existing market size and pricing structure of eHealth web-service market and enter the market as a steering group of their company, competing against the legacy players and with each other. The market is growing but has its rules of demand and supply balance. New products can be developed with an R&D-investment, and targeted to market with unique quality- and price-combinations. Product cost structure can be improved by investing to enhanced production capacity. Investments can be funded optionally by foreign capital. Students make management decisions and face the dynamics of the market competition in form of income statement and balance sheet after each decision cycle. The focus of the learning outcome is to understand customer value creation to be the source of cash flow. The benefit of gamification is to enrich the learning experience on structure and meaning of financial statements. The paper describes the gamification approach and discusses outcomes after two course implementations. Along the case description of learning challenges, some unexpected misconceptions are noted. Improvements of the game or the semi-gamified teaching pedagogy are discussed. The case description serves as an additional support to new game coordinator, as well as helps to improve the method. Overall, the gamified approach has helped to engage engineering student to business studies in an energizing way.

Keywords: Engineering education, integrated curriculum, learning experience, learning outcomes.

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 534
1 Comparing Test Equating by Item Response Theory and Raw Score Methods with Small Sample Sizes on a Study of the ARTé: Mecenas Learning Game

Authors: Steven W. Carruthers

Abstract:

The purpose of the present research is to equate two test forms as part of a study to evaluate the educational effectiveness of the ARTé: Mecenas art history learning game. The researcher applied Item Response Theory (IRT) procedures to calculate item, test, and mean-sigma equating parameters. With the sample size n=134, test parameters indicated “good” model fit but low Test Information Functions and more acute than expected equating parameters. Therefore, the researcher applied equipercentile equating and linear equating to raw scores and compared the equated form parameters and effect sizes from each method. Item scaling in IRT enables the researcher to select a subset of well-discriminating items. The mean-sigma step produces a mean-slope adjustment from the anchor items, which was used to scale the score on the new form (Form R) to the reference form (Form Q) scale. In equipercentile equating, scores are adjusted to align the proportion of scores in each quintile segment. Linear equating produces a mean-slope adjustment, which was applied to all core items on the new form. The study followed a quasi-experimental design with purposeful sampling of students enrolled in a college level art history course (n=134) and counterbalancing design to distribute both forms on the pre- and posttests. The Experimental Group (n=82) was asked to play ARTé: Mecenas online and complete Level 4 of the game within a two-week period; 37 participants completed Level 4. Over the same period, the Control Group (n=52) did not play the game. The researcher examined between group differences from post-test scores on test Form Q and Form R by full-factorial Two-Way ANOVA. The raw score analysis indicated a 1.29% direct effect of form, which was statistically non-significant but may be practically significant. The researcher repeated the between group differences analysis with all three equating methods. For the IRT mean-sigma adjusted scores, form had a direct effect of 8.39%. Mean-sigma equating with a small sample may have resulted in inaccurate equating parameters. Equipercentile equating aligned test means and standard deviations, but resultant skewness and kurtosis worsened compared to raw score parameters. Form had a 3.18% direct effect. Linear equating produced the lowest Form effect, approaching 0%. Using linearly equated scores, the researcher conducted an ANCOVA to examine the effect size in terms of prior knowledge. The between group effect size for the Control Group versus Experimental Group participants who completed the game was 14.39% with a 4.77% effect size attributed to pre-test score. Playing and completing the game increased art history knowledge, and individuals with low prior knowledge tended to gain more from pre- to post test. Ultimately, researchers should approach test equating based on their theoretical stance on Classical Test Theory and IRT and the respective  assumptions. Regardless of the approach or method, test equating requires a representative sample of sufficient size. With small sample sizes, the application of a range of equating approaches can expose item and test features for review, inform interpretation, and identify paths for improving instruments for future study.

Keywords: Effectiveness, equipercentile equating, IRT, learning games, linear equating, mean-sigma equating.

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 682