Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 1019

Search results for: visual perceptual skills.

29 Collaborative and Experimental Cultures in Virtual Reality Journalism: From the Perspective of Content Creators

Authors: Radwa Mabrook

Abstract:

Virtual Reality (VR) content creation is a complex and an expensive process, which requires multi-disciplinary teams of content creators. Grant schemes from technology companies help media organisations to explore the VR potential in journalism and factual storytelling. Media organisations try to do as much as they can in-house, but they may outsource due to time constraints and skill availability. Journalists, game developers, sound designers and creative artists work together and bring in new cultures of work. This study explores the collaborative experimental nature of VR content creation, through tracing every actor involved in the process and examining their perceptions of the VR work. The study builds on Actor Network Theory (ANT), which decomposes phenomena into their basic elements and traces the interrelations among them. Therefore, the researcher conducted 22 semi-structured interviews with VR content creators between November 2017 and April 2018. Purposive and snowball sampling techniques allowed the researcher to recruit fact-based VR content creators from production studios and media organisations, as well as freelancers. Interviews lasted up to three hours, and they were a mix of Skype calls and in-person interviews. Participants consented for their interviews to be recorded, and for their names to be revealed in the study. The researcher coded interviews’ transcripts in Nvivo software, looking for key themes that correspond with the research questions. The study revealed that VR content creators must be adaptive to change, open to learn and comfortable with mistakes. The VR content creation process is very iterative because VR has no established work flow or visual grammar. Multi-disciplinary VR team members often speak different languages making it hard to communicate. However, adaptive content creators perceive VR work as a fun experience and an opportunity to learn. The traditional sense of competition and the strive for information exclusivity are now replaced by a strong drive for knowledge sharing. VR content creators are open to share their methods of work and their experiences. They target to build a collaborative network that aims to harness VR technology for journalism and factual storytelling. Indeed, VR is instilling collaborative and experimental cultures in journalism.

Keywords: Collaborative culture, content creation, experimental culture, virtual reality.

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28 The Mechanism Underlying Empathy-Related Helping Behavior: An Investigation of Empathy-Attitude- Action Model

Authors: Wan-Ting Liao, Angela K. Tzeng

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Empathy has been an important issue in psychology, education, as well as cognitive neuroscience. Empathy has two major components: cognitive and emotional. Cognitive component refers to the ability to understand others’ perspectives, thoughts, and actions, whereas emotional component refers to understand how others feel. Empathy can be induced, attitude can then be changed, and with enough attitude change, helping behavior can occur. This finding leads us to two questions: is attitude change really necessary for prosocial behavior? And, what roles cognitive and affective empathy play? For the second question, participants with different psychopathic personality (PP) traits are critical because high PP people were found to suffer only affective empathy deficit. Their cognitive empathy shows no significant difference from the control group. 132 college students voluntarily participated in the current three-stage study. Stage 1 was to collect basic information including Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), Psychopathic Personality Inventory-Revised (PPI-R), Attitude Scale, Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), and demographic data. Stage two was for empathy induction with three controversial scenarios, namely domestic violence, depression with a suicide attempt, and an ex-offender. Participants read all three stories and then rewrite the stories by one of two perspectives (empathetic vs. objective). They would then complete the VAS and Attitude Scale one more time for their post-attitude and emotional status. Three IVs were introduced for data analysis: PP (High vs. Low), Responsibility (whether or not the character is responsible for what happened), and Perspective-taking (Empathic vs. Objective). Stage 3 was for the action. Participants were instructed to freely use the 17 tokens they received as donations. They were debriefed and interviewed at the end of the experiment. The major findings were people with higher empathy tend to take more action in helping. Attitude change is not necessary for prosocial behavior. The controversy of the scenarios and how familiar participants are towards target groups play very important roles. Finally, people with high PP tend to show more public prosocial behavior due to their affective empathy deficit. Pre-existing value and belief as well as recent dramatic social events seem to have a big impact and possibly reduce the effect of the independent variables (IV) in our paradigm.

Keywords: Affective empathy, attitude, cognitive empathy, prosocial behavior, psychopathic traits.

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27 The Transfer of Energy Technologies in a Developing Country Context Towards Improved Practice from Past Successes and Failures

Authors: Lindiwe O. K. Mabuza, Alan C. Brent, Maxwell Mapako

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Technology transfer of renewable energy technologies is very often unsuccessful in the developing world. Aside from challenges that have social, economic, financial, institutional and environmental dimensions, technology transfer has generally been misunderstood, and largely seen as mere delivery of high tech equipment from developed to developing countries or within the developing world from R&D institutions to society. Technology transfer entails much more, including, but not limited to: entire systems and their component parts, know-how, goods and services, equipment, and organisational and managerial procedures. Means to facilitate the successful transfer of energy technologies, including the sharing of lessons are subsequently extremely important for developing countries as they grapple with increasing energy needs to sustain adequate economic growth and development. Improving the success of technology transfer is an ongoing process as more projects are implemented, new problems are encountered and new lessons are learnt. Renewable energy is also critical to improve the quality of lives of the majority of people in developing countries. In rural areas energy is primarily traditional biomass. The consumption activities typically occur in an inefficient manner, thus working against the notion of sustainable development. This paper explores the implementation of technology transfer in the developing world (sub-Saharan Africa). The focus is necessarily on RETs since most rural energy initiatives are RETs-based. Additionally, it aims to highlight some lessons drawn from the cited RE projects and identifies notable differences where energy technology transfer was judged to be successful. This is done through a literature review based on a selection of documented case studies which are judged against the definition provided for technology transfer. This paper also puts forth research recommendations that might contribute to improved technology transfer in the developing world. Key findings of this paper include: Technology transfer cannot be complete without satisfying pre-conditions such as: affordability, maintenance (and associated plans), knowledge and skills transfer, appropriate know how, ownership and commitment, ability to adapt technology, sound business principles such as financial viability and sustainability, project management, relevance and many others. It is also shown that lessons are learnt in both successful and unsuccessful projects.

Keywords: Technology transfer, technology management, renewable energy, sustainable development.

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26 Reducing Later Life Loneliness: A Systematic Literature Review of Loneliness Interventions

Authors: Dhruv Sharma, Lynne Blair, Stephen Clune

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Later life loneliness is a social issue that is increasing alongside an upward global population trend. As a society, one way that we have responded to this social challenge is through developing non-pharmacological interventions such as befriending services, activity clubs, meet-ups, etc. Through a systematic literature review, this paper suggests that currently there is an underrepresentation of radical innovation, and underutilization of digital technologies in developing loneliness interventions for older adults. This paper examines intervention studies that were published in English language, within peer reviewed journals between January 2005 and December 2014 across 4 electronic databases. In addition to academic databases, interventions found in grey literature in the form of websites, blogs, and Twitter were also included in the overall review. This approach yielded 129 interventions that were included in the study. A systematic approach allowed the minimization of any bias dictating the selection of interventions to study. A coding strategy based on a pattern analysis approach was devised to be able to compare and contrast the loneliness interventions. Firstly, interventions were categorized on the basis of their objective to identify whether they were preventative, supportive, or remedial in nature. Secondly, depending on their scope, they were categorized as one-to-one, community-based, or group based. It was also ascertained whether interventions represented an improvement, an incremental innovation, a major advance or a radical departure, in comparison to the most basic form of a loneliness intervention. Finally, interventions were also assessed on the basis of the extent to which they utilized digital technologies. Individual visualizations representing the four levels of coding were created for each intervention, followed by an aggregated visual to facilitate analysis. To keep the inquiry within scope and to present a coherent view of the findings, the analysis was primarily concerned the level of innovation, and the use of digital technologies. This analysis highlights a weak but positive correlation between the level of innovation and the use of digital technologies in designing and deploying loneliness interventions, and also emphasizes how certain existing interventions could be tweaked to enable their migration from representing incremental innovation to radical innovation for example. This analysis also points out the value of including grey literature, especially from Twitter, in systematic literature reviews to get a contemporary view of latest work in the area under investigation.

Keywords: Loneliness, ageing, innovation, digital.

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25 Impact of Interface Soil Layer on Groundwater Aquifer Behaviour

Authors: Hayder H. Kareem, Shunqi Pan

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The geological environment where the groundwater is collected represents the most important element that affects the behaviour of groundwater aquifer. As groundwater is a worldwide vital resource, it requires knowing the parameters that affect this source accurately so that the conceptualized mathematical models would be acceptable to the broadest ranges. Therefore, groundwater models have recently become an effective and efficient tool to investigate groundwater aquifer behaviours. Groundwater aquifer may contain aquitards, aquicludes, or interfaces within its geological formations. Aquitards and aquicludes have geological formations that forced the modellers to include those formations within the conceptualized groundwater models, while interfaces are commonly neglected from the conceptualization process because the modellers believe that the interface has no effect on aquifer behaviour. The current research highlights the impact of an interface existing in a real unconfined groundwater aquifer called Dibdibba, located in Al-Najaf City, Iraq where it has a river called the Euphrates River that passes through the eastern part of this city. Dibdibba groundwater aquifer consists of two types of soil layers separated by an interface soil layer. A groundwater model is built for Al-Najaf City to explore the impact of this interface. Calibration process is done using PEST 'Parameter ESTimation' approach and the best Dibdibba groundwater model is obtained. When the soil interface is conceptualized, results show that the groundwater tables are significantly affected by that interface through appearing dry areas of 56.24 km² and 6.16 km² in the upper and lower layers of the aquifer, respectively. The Euphrates River will also leak water into the groundwater aquifer of 7359 m³/day. While these results are changed when the soil interface is neglected where the dry area became 0.16 km², the Euphrates River leakage became 6334 m³/day. In addition, the conceptualized models (with and without interface) reveal different responses for the change in the recharge rates applied on the aquifer through the uncertainty analysis test. The aquifer of Dibdibba in Al-Najaf City shows a slight deficit in the amount of water supplied by the current pumping scheme and also notices that the Euphrates River suffers from stresses applied to the aquifer. Ultimately, this study shows a crucial need to represent the interface soil layer in model conceptualization to be the intended and future predicted behaviours more reliable for consideration purposes.

Keywords: Al-Najaf City, groundwater aquifer behaviour, groundwater modelling, interface soil layer, Visual MODFLOW.

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24 Biospeckle Supported Fruit Bruise Detection

Authors: Adilson M. Enes, Juliana A. Fracarolli, Inácio M. Dal Fabbro, Silvestre Rodrigues

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This research work proposed a study of fruit bruise detection by means of a biospeckle method, selecting the papaya fruit (Carica papaya) as testing body. Papaya is recognized as a fruit of outstanding nutritional qualities, showing high vitamin A content, calcium, carbohydrates, exhibiting high popularity all over the world, considering consumption and acceptability. The commercialization of papaya faces special problems which are associated to bruise generation during harvesting, packing and transportation. Papaya is classified as climacteric fruit, permitting to be harvested before the maturation is completed. However, by one side bruise generation is partially controlled once the fruit flesh exhibits high mechanical firmness. By the other side, mechanical loads can set a future bruise at that maturation stage, when it can not be detected yet by conventional methods. Mechanical damages of fruit skin leave an entrance door to microorganisms and pathogens, which will cause severe losses of quality attributes. Traditional techniques of fruit quality inspection include total soluble solids determination, mechanical firmness tests, visual inspections, which would hardly meet required conditions for a fully automated process. However, the pertinent literature reveals a new method named biospeckle which is based on the laser reflectance and interference phenomenon. The laser biospeckle or dynamic speckle is quantified by means of the Moment of Inertia, named after its mechanical counterpart due to similarity between the defining formulae. Biospeckle techniques are able to quantify biological activities of living tissues, which has been applied to seed viability analysis, vegetable senescence and similar topics. Since the biospeckle techniques can monitor tissue physiology, it could also detect changes in the fruit caused by mechanical damages. The proposed technique holds non invasive character, being able to generate numerical results consistent with an adequate automation. The experimental tests associated to this research work included the selection of papaya fruit at different maturation stages which were submitted to artificial mechanical bruising tests. Damages were visually compared with the frequency maps yielded by the biospeckle technique. Results were considered in close agreement.

Keywords: Biospeckle, papaya, mechanical damages, vegetable bruising.

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23 Hospital Administration for Humanized Healthcare in Thailand

Authors: Niwatchai Namwichisirikul

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Due to the emergence of “Humanized Healthcare" introduced by Professor Dr. Prawase Wasi in 2003[1], the development of this paradigm tends to be widely implemented. The organizations included Healthcare Accreditation Institute (public organization), National Health Foundation, Mahidol University in cooperation with Thai Health Promotion Foundation, and National Health Security Office (Thailand) have selected the hospitals or infirmaries that are qualified for humanized healthcare since 2008- 2010 and 35 of them are chosen to be the outstandingly navigating organizations for the development of humanized healthcare, humanized healthcare award [2]. The research aims to study the current issue, characteristics and patterns of hospital administration contributing to humanized healthcare system in Thailand. The selected case studies are from four hospitals including Dansai Crown Prince Hospital, Leoi; Ubolrattana Hospital, Khon Kaen; Kapho Hospital, Pattani; and Prathai Hospital, Nakhonrachasima. The methodology is in-depth interviewing with 10 staffs working as hospital executive directors, and representatives from leader groups including directors, multidisciplinary hospital committees, personnel development committees, physicians and nurses in each hospital. (Total=40) In addition, focus group discussions between hospital staffs and general people (including patients and their relatives, the community leader, and other people) are held by means of setting 4 groups including 8 people within each group. (Total=128) The observation on the working in each hospital is also implemented. The findings of the study reveal that there are five important aspects found in each hospital including (1) the quality improvement under the mental and spiritual development policy from the chief executives and lead teams, leaders as Role model and they have visionary leadership; (2) the participation hospital administration system focusing on learning process and stakeholder- needs, spiritual human resource management and development; (3) the relationship among people especially staffs, team work skills, mutual understanding, effective communication and personal inner-development; (4) organization culture relevant to the awareness of patients- rights as well as the participation policy including spiritual growth achieving to the same goals, sharing vision, developing public mind, and caring; and (5) healing structures or environment providing warmth and convenience for hospital staffs, patients and their relatives and visitors.

Keywords: Hospital administration, Humanized healthcare.

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22 A Case Study on Experiences of Clinical Preceptors in the Undergraduate Nursing Program

Authors: Jacqueline M. Dias, Amina A Khowaja

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Clinical education is one of the most important components of a nursing curriculum as it develops the students’ cognitive, psychomotor and affective skills. Clinical teaching ensures the integration of knowledge into practice. As the numbers of students increase in the field of nursing coupled with the faculty shortage, clinical preceptors are the best choice to ensure student learning in the clinical settings. The clinical preceptor role has been introduced in the undergraduate nursing programme. In Pakistan, this role emerged due to a faculty shortage. Initially, two clinical preceptors were hired. This study will explore clinical preceptors views and experiences of precepting Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) students in an undergraduate program. A case study design was used. As case studies explore a single unit of study such as a person or very small number of subjects; the two clinical preceptors were fundamental to the study and served as a single case. Qualitative data were obtained through an iterative process using in depth interviews and written accounts from reflective journals that were kept by the clinical preceptors. The findings revealed that the clinical preceptors were dedicated to their roles and responsibilities. Another, key finding was that clinical preceptors’ prior knowledge and clinical experience were valuable assets to perform their role effectively. The clinical preceptors found their new role innovative and challenging; it was stressful at the same time. Findings also revealed that in the clinical agencies there were unclear expectations and role ambiguity. Furthermore, clinical preceptors had difficulty integrating theory into practice in the clinical area and they had difficulty in giving feedback to the students. Although this study is localized to one university, generalizations can be drawn from the results. The key findings indicate that the role of a clinical preceptor is demanding and stressful. Clinical preceptors need preparation prior to precepting students on clinicals. Also, institutional support is fundamental for their acceptance. This paper focuses on the views and experiences of clinical preceptors undertaking a newly established role and resonates with the literature. The following recommendations are drawn to strengthen the role of the clinical preceptors: A structured program for clinical preceptors is needed along with mentorship. Clinical preceptors should be provided with formal training in teaching and learning with emphasis on clinical teaching and giving feedback to students. Additionally, for improving integration of theory into practice, clinical modules should be provided ahead of the clinical. In spite of all the challenges, ten more clinical preceptors have been hired as the faculty shortage continues to persist.

Keywords: Baccalaureate nursing education, clinical education, clinical preceptors, nursing curriculum.

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21 A Methodology to Virtualize Technical Engineering Laboratories: MastrLAB-VR

Authors: Ivana Scidà, Francesco Alotto, Anna Osello

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Due to the importance given today to innovation, the education sector is evolving thanks digital technologies. Virtual Reality (VR) can be a potential teaching tool offering many advantages in the field of training and education, as it allows to acquire theoretical knowledge and practical skills using an immersive experience in less time than the traditional educational process. These assumptions allow to lay the foundations for a new educational environment, involving and stimulating for students. Starting from the objective of strengthening the innovative teaching offer and the learning processes, the case study of the research concerns the digitalization of MastrLAB, High Quality Laboratory (HQL) belonging to the Department of Structural, Building and Geotechnical Engineering (DISEG) of the Polytechnic of Turin, a center specialized in experimental mechanical tests on traditional and innovative building materials and on the structures made with them. The MastrLAB-VR has been developed, a revolutionary innovative training tool designed with the aim of educating the class in total safety on the techniques of use of machinery, thus reducing the dangers arising from the performance of potentially dangerous activities. The virtual laboratory, dedicated to the students of the Building and Civil Engineering Courses of the Polytechnic of Turin, has been projected to simulate in an absolutely realistic way the experimental approach to the structural tests foreseen in their courses of study: from the tensile tests to the relaxation tests, from the steel qualification tests to the resilience tests on elements at environmental conditions or at characterizing temperatures. The research work proposes a methodology for the virtualization of technical laboratories through the application of Building Information Modelling (BIM), starting from the creation of a digital model. The process includes the creation of an independent application, which with Oculus Rift technology will allow the user to explore the environment and interact with objects through the use of joypads. The application has been tested in prototype way on volunteers, obtaining results related to the acquisition of the educational notions exposed in the experience through a virtual quiz with multiple answers, achieving an overall evaluation report. The results have shown that MastrLAB-VR is suitable for both beginners and experts and will be adopted experimentally for other laboratories of the University departments.

Keywords: Building Information Modelling, digital learning, education, virtual laboratory, virtual reality.

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20 Analysis of Delays during Initial Phase of Construction Projects and Mitigation Measures

Authors: Sunaitan Al Mutairi

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A perfect start is a key factor for project completion on time. The study examined the effects of delayed mobilization of resources during the initial phases of the project. This paper mainly highlights the identification and categorization of all delays during the initial construction phase and their root cause analysis with corrective/control measures for the Kuwait Oil Company oil and gas projects. A relatively good percentage of the delays identified during the project execution (Contract award to end of defects liability period) attributed to mobilization/preliminary activity delays. Data analysis demonstrated significant increase in average project delay during the last five years compared to the previous period. Contractors had delays/issues during the initial phase, which resulted in slippages and progressively increased, resulting in time and cost overrun. Delays/issues not mitigated on time during the initial phase had very high impact on project completion. Data analysis of the delays for the past five years was carried out using trend chart, scatter plot, process map, box plot, relative importance index and Pareto chart. Construction of any project inside the Gathering Centers involves complex management skills related to work force, materials, plant, machineries, new technologies etc. Delay affects completion of projects and compromises quality, schedule and budget of project deliverables. Works executed as per plan during the initial phase and start-up duration of the project construction activities resulted in minor slippages/delays in project completion. In addition, there was a good working environment between client and contractor resulting in better project execution and management. Mainly, the contractor was on the front foot in the execution of projects, which had minimum/no delays during the initial and construction period. Hence, having a perfect start during the initial construction phase shall have a positive influence on the project success. Our research paper studies each type of delay with some real example supported by statistic results and suggests mitigation measures. Detailed analysis carried out with all stakeholders based on impact and occurrence of delays to have a practical and effective outcome to mitigate the delays. The key to improvement is to have proper control measures and periodic evaluation/audit to ensure implementation of the mitigation measures. The focus of this research is to reduce the delays encountered during the initial construction phase of the project life cycle.

Keywords: Construction activities delays, delay analysis for construction projects, mobilization delays, oil and gas projects delays.

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19 Introducing Principles of Land Surveying by Assigning a Practical Project

Authors: Introducing Principles of Land Surveying by Assigning a Practical Project

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A practical project is used in an engineering surveying course to expose sophomore and junior civil engineering students to several important issues related to the use of basic principles of land surveying. The project, which is the design of a two-lane rural highway to connect between two arbitrary points, requires students to draw the profile of the proposed highway along with the existing ground level. Areas of all cross-sections are then computed to enable quantity computations between them. Lastly, Mass-Haul Diagram is drawn with all important parts and features shown on it for clarity. At the beginning, students faced challenges getting started on the project. They had to spend time and effort thinking of the best way to proceed and how the work would flow. It was even more challenging when they had to visualize images of cut, fill and mixed cross sections in three dimensions before they can draw them to complete the necessary computations. These difficulties were then somewhat overcome with the help of the instructor and thorough discussions among team members and/or between different teams. The method of assessment used in this study was a well-prepared-end-of-semester questionnaire distributed to students after the completion of the project and the final exam. The survey contained a wide spectrum of questions from students' learning experience when this course development was implemented to students' satisfaction of the class instructions provided to them and the instructor's competency in presenting the material and helping with the project. It also covered the adequacy of the project to show a sample of a real-life civil engineering application and if there is any excitement added by implementing this idea. At the end of the questionnaire, students had the chance to provide their constructive comments and suggestions for future improvements of the land surveying course. Outcomes will be presented graphically and in a tabular format. Graphs provide visual explanation of the results and tables, on the other hand, summarize numerical values for each student along with some descriptive statistics, such as the mean, standard deviation, and coefficient of variation for each student and each question as well. In addition to gaining experience in teamwork, communications, and customer relations, students felt the benefit of assigning such a project. They noticed the beauty of the practical side of civil engineering work and how theories are utilized in real-life engineering applications. It was even recommended by students that such a project be exercised every time this course is offered so future students can have the same learning opportunity they had.

Keywords: Land surveying, highway project, assessment, evaluation, descriptive statistic.

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18 Crafting of Paper Cutting Techniques for Embellishment of Fashion Textiles

Authors: A. Vaidya-Soocheta, K. M. Wong-Hon-Lang

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Craft and fashion have always been interlinked. The combination of both often gives stunning results. The present study introduces ‘Paper Cutting Craft Techniques’ like the Japanese –Kirigami, Mexican –PapelPicado, German –Scherenschnitte, Polish –Wycinankito in textiles to develop innovative and novel design structures as embellishments and ornamentation. The project studies various ways of using these paper cutting techniques to obtain interesting features and delicate design patterns on fabrics. While paper has its advantages and related uses, it is fragile rigid and thus not appropriate for clothing. Fabric is sturdy, flexible, dimensionally stable and washable. In the present study, the cut out techniques develop creative design motifs and patterns to give an inventive and unique appeal to the fabrics. The beauty and fascination of lace in garments have always given them a nostalgic charm. Laces with their intricate and delicate complexity in combination with other materials add a feminine touch to a garment and give it a romantic, mysterious appeal. Various textured and decorative effects through fabric manipulation are experimented along with the use of paper cutting craft skills as an innovative substitute for developing lace or “Broderie Anglaise” effects on textiles. A number of assorted fabric types with varied textures were selected for the study. Techniques to avoid fraying and unraveling of the design cut fabrics were introduced. Fabrics were further manipulated by use of interesting prints with embossed effects on cut outs. Fabric layering in combination with assorted techniques such as cutting of folded fabric, printing, appliqué, embroidery, crochet, braiding, weaving added a novel exclusivity to the fabrics. The fabrics developed by these innovative methods were then tailored into garments. The study thus tested the feasibility and practicability of using these fabrics by designing a collection of evening wear garments based on the theme ‘Nostalgia’. The prototypes developed were complemented by designing fashion accessories with the crafted fabrics. Prototypes of accessories add interesting features to the study. The adaptation and application of this novel technique of paper cutting craft on textiles can be an innovative start for a new trend in textile and fashion industry. The study anticipates that this technique will open new avenues in the world of fashion to incorporate its use commercially.

Keywords: Collection, fabric cutouts, nostalgia, prototypes.

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17 Inner and Outer School Contextual Factors Associated with Poor Performance of Grade 12 Students: A Case Study of an Underperforming High School in Mpumalanga, South Africa

Authors: Victoria L. Nkosi, Parvaneh Farhangpour

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Often a Grade 12 certificate is perceived as a passport to tertiary education and the minimum requirement to enter the world of work. In spite of its importance, many students do not make this milestone in South Africa. It is important to find out why so many students still fail in spite of transformation in the education system in the post-apartheid era. Given the complexity of education and its context, this study adopted a case study design to examine one historically underperforming high school in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa in 2013. The aim was to gain a understanding of the inner and outer school contextual factors associated with the high failure rate among Grade 12 students.  Government documents and reports were consulted to identify factors in the district and the village surrounding the school and a student survey was conducted to identify school, home and student factors. The randomly-sampled half of the population of Grade 12 students (53) participated in the survey and quantitative data are analyzed using descriptive statistical methods. The findings showed that a host of factors is at play. The school is located in a village within a municipality which has been one of the poorest three municipalities in South Africa and the lowest Grade 12 pass rate in the Mpumalanga province.   Moreover, over half of the families of the students are single parents, 43% are unemployed and the majority has a low level of education. In addition, most families (83%) do not have basic study materials such as a dictionary, books, tables, and chairs. A significant number of students (70%) are over-aged (+19 years old); close to half of them (49%) are grade repeaters. The school itself lacks essential resources, namely computers, science laboratories, library, and enough furniture and textbooks. Moreover, teaching and learning are negatively affected by the teachers’ occasional absenteeism, inadequate lesson preparation, and poor communication skills. Overall, the continuous low performance of students in this school mirrors the vicious circle of multiple negative conditions present within and outside of the school. The complexity of factors associated with the underperformance of Grade 12 students in this school calls for a multi-dimensional intervention from government and stakeholders. One important intervention should be the placement of over-aged students and grade-repeaters in suitable educational institutions for the benefit of other students.

Keywords: Inner context, outer context, over-aged students, vicious circle.

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16 Land Art in Public Spaces Design: Remediation, Prevention of Environmental Risks and Recycling as a Consequence of the Avant-Garde Activity of Landscape Architecture

Authors: Karolina Porada

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Over the last 40 years, there has been a trend in landscape architecture which supporters do not perceive the role of pro-ecological or postmodern solutions in the design of public green spaces as an essential goal, shifting their attention to the 'sculptural' shaping of areas with the use of slopes, hills, embankments, and other forms of terrain. This group of designers can be considered avant-garde, which in its activities refers to land art. Initial research shows that such applications are particularly frequent in places of former post-industrial sites and landfills, utilizing materials such as debris and post-mining waste in their construction. Due to the high degradation of the environment surrounding modern man, the brownfields are a challenge and a field of interest for the representatives of landscape architecture avant-garde, who through their projects try to recover lost lands by means of transformations supported by engineering and ecological knowledge to create places where nature can develop again. The analysis of a dozen or so facilities made it possible to come up with an important conclusion: apart from the cultural aspects (including artistic activities), the green areas formally referring to the land are important in the process of remediation of post-industrial sites and waste recycling (e. g. from construction sites). In these processes, there is also a potential for applying the concept of Natural Based Solutions, i.e. solutions allowing for the natural development of the site in such a way as to use it to cope with environmental problems, such as e.g.  air pollution, soil phytoremediation and climate change. The paper presents examples of modern parks, whose compositions are based on shaping the surface of the terrain in a way referring to the land art, at the same time providing an example of brownfields reuse and application of waste recycling.  For the purposes of object analysis, research methods such as historical-interpretation studies, case studies, qualitative research or the method of logical argumentation were used. The obtained results provide information about the role that landscape architecture can have in the process of remediation of degraded areas, at the same time guaranteeing the benefits, such as the shaping of landscapes attractive in terms of visual appearance, low costs of implementation, and improvement of the natural environment quality.

Keywords: Brownfields, landscape architecture, contemporary parks, remediation.

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15 The Effect of Information vs. Reasoning Gap Tasks on the Frequency of Conversational Strategies and Accuracy in Speaking among Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners

Authors: Hooriya Sadr Dadras, Shiva Seyed Erfani

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Speaking skills merit meticulous attention both on the side of the learners and the teachers. In particular, accuracy is a critical component to guarantee the messages to be conveyed through conversation because a wrongful change may adversely alter the content and purpose of the talk. Different types of tasks have served teachers to meet numerous educational objectives. Besides, negotiation of meaning and the use of different strategies have been areas of concern in socio-cultural theories of SLA. Negotiation of meaning is among the conversational processes which have a crucial role in facilitating the understanding and expression of meaning in a given second language. Conversational strategies are used during interaction when there is a breakdown in communication that leads to the interlocutor attempting to remedy the gap through talk. Therefore, this study was an attempt to investigate if there was any significant difference between the effect of reasoning gap tasks and information gap tasks on the frequency of conversational strategies used in negotiation of meaning in classrooms on one hand, and on the accuracy in speaking of Iranian intermediate EFL learners on the other. After a pilot study to check the practicality of the treatments, at the outset of the main study, the Preliminary English Test was administered to ensure the homogeneity of 87 out of 107 participants who attended the intact classes of a 15 session term in one control and two experimental groups. Also, speaking sections of PET were used as pretest and posttest to examine their speaking accuracy. The tests were recorded and transcribed to estimate the percentage of the number of the clauses with no grammatical errors in the total produced clauses to measure the speaking accuracy. In all groups, the grammatical points of accuracy were instructed and the use of conversational strategies was practiced. Then, different kinds of reasoning gap tasks (matchmaking, deciding on the course of action, and working out a time table) and information gap tasks (restoring an incomplete chart, spot the differences, arranging sentences into stories, and guessing game) were manipulated in experimental groups during treatment sessions, and the students were required to practice conversational strategies when doing speaking tasks. The conversations throughout the terms were recorded and transcribed to count the frequency of the conversational strategies used in all groups. The results of statistical analysis demonstrated that applying both the reasoning gap tasks and information gap tasks significantly affected the frequency of conversational strategies through negotiation. In the face of the improvements, the reasoning gap tasks had a more significant impact on encouraging the negotiation of meaning and increasing the number of conversational frequencies every session. The findings also indicated both task types could help learners significantly improve their speaking accuracy. Here, applying the reasoning gap tasks was more effective than the information gap tasks in improving the level of learners’ speaking accuracy.

Keywords: Accuracy in speaking, conversational strategies, information gap tasks, reasoning gap tasks.

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14 Modelling the Behavior of Commercial and Test Textiles against Laundering Process by Statistical Assessment of Their Performance

Authors: M. H. Arslan, U. K. Sahin, H. Acikgoz-Tufan, I. Gocek, I. Erdem

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Various exterior factors have perpetual effects on textile materials during wear, use and laundering in everyday life. In accordance with their frequency of use, textile materials are required to be laundered at certain intervals. The medium in which the laundering process takes place have inevitable detrimental physical and chemical effects on textile materials caused by the unique parameters of the process inherently existing. Connatural structures of various textile materials result in many different physical, chemical and mechanical characteristics. Because of their specific structures, these materials have different behaviors against several exterior factors. By modeling the behavior of commercial and test textiles as group-wise against laundering process, it is possible to disclose the relation in between these two groups of materials, which will lead to better understanding of their behaviors in terms of similarities and differences against the washing parameters of the laundering. Thus, the goal of the current research is to examine the behavior of two groups of textile materials as commercial textiles and as test textiles towards the main washing machine parameters during laundering process such as temperature, load quantity, mechanical action and level of water amount by concentrating on shrinkage, pilling, sewing defects, collar abrasion, the other defects other than sewing, whitening and overall properties of textiles. In this study, cotton fabrics were preferred as commercial textiles due to the fact that garments made of cotton are the most demanded products in the market by the textile consumers in daily life. Full factorial experimental set-up was used to design the experimental procedure. All profiles always including all of the commercial and the test textiles were laundered for 20 cycles by commercial home laundering machine to investigate the effects of the chosen parameters. For the laundering process, a modified version of ‘‘IEC 60456 Test Method’’ was utilized. The amount of detergent was altered as 0.5% gram per liter depending on varying load quantity levels. Datacolor 650®, EMPA Photographic Standards for Pilling Test and visual examination were utilized to test and characterize the textiles. Furthermore, in the current study the relation in between commercial and test textiles in terms of their performance was deeply investigated by the help of statistical analysis performed by MINITAB® package program modeling their behavior against the parameters of the laundering process. In the experimental work, the behaviors of both groups of textiles towards washing machine parameters were visually and quantitatively assessed in dry state.

Keywords: Behavior against washing machine parameters, performance evaluation of textiles, statistical analysis, commercial and test textiles.

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13 The Development and Testing of a Small Scale Dry Electrostatic Precipitator for the Removal of Particulate Matter

Authors: Derek Wardle, Tarik Al-Shemmeri, Neil Packer

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This paper presents a small tube/wire type electrostatic precipitator (ESP). In the ESPs present form, particle charging and collecting voltages and airflow rates were individually varied throughout 200 ambient temperature test runs ranging from 10 to 30 kV in increments on 5 kV and 0.5 m/s to 1.5 m/s, respectively. It was repeatedly observed that, at input air velocities of between 0.5 and 0.9 m/s and voltage settings of 20 kV to 30 kV, the collection efficiency remained above 95%. The outcomes of preliminary tests at combustion flue temperatures are, at present, inconclusive although indications are that there is little or no drop in comparable performance during ideal test conditions. A limited set of similar tests was carried out during which the collecting electrode was grounded, having been disconnected from the static generator. The collecting efficiency fell significantly, and for that reason, this approach was not pursued further. The collecting efficiencies during ambient temperature tests were determined by mass balance between incoming and outgoing dry PM. The efficiencies of combustion temperature runs are determined by analysing the difference in opacity of the flue gas at inlet and outlet compared to a reference light source. In addition, an array of Leit tabs (carbon coated, electrically conductive adhesive discs) was placed at inlet and outlet for a number of four-day continuous ambient temperature runs. Analysis of the discs’ contamination was carried out using scanning electron microscopy and ImageJ computer software that confirmed collection efficiencies of over 99% which gave unequivocal support to all the previous tests. The average efficiency for these runs was 99.409%. Emissions collected from a woody biomass combustion unit, classified to a diameter of 100 µm, were used in all ambient temperature trials test runs apart from two which collected airborne dust from within the laboratory. Sawdust and wood pellets were chosen for laboratory and field combustion trials. Video recordings were made of three ambient temperature test runs in which the smoke from a wood smoke generator was drawn through the precipitator. Although these runs were visual indicators only, with no objective other than to display, they provided a strong argument for the device’s claimed efficiency, as no emissions were visible at exit when energised.  The theoretical performance of ESPs, when applied to the geometry and configuration of the tested model, was compared to the actual performance and was shown to be in good agreement with it.

Keywords: Electrostatic precipitators, air quality, particulates emissions, electron microscopy, ImageJ.

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12 From Primer Generation to Chromosome Identification: A Primer Generation Genotyping Method for Bacterial Identification and Typing

Authors: Wisam H. Benamer, Ehab A. Elfallah, Mohamed A. Elshaari, Farag A. Elshaari

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A challenge for laboratories is to provide bacterial identification and antibiotic sensitivity results within a short time. Hence, advancement in the required technology is desirable to improve timing, accuracy and quality. Even with the current advances in methods used for both phenotypic and genotypic identification of bacteria the need is there to develop method(s) that enhance the outcome of bacteriology laboratories in accuracy and time. The hypothesis introduced here is based on the assumption that the chromosome of any bacteria contains unique sequences that can be used for its identification and typing. The outcome of a pilot study designed to test this hypothesis is reported in this manuscript. Methods: The complete chromosome sequences of several bacterial species were downloaded to use as search targets for unique sequences. Visual basic and SQL server (2014) were used to generate a complete set of 18-base long primers, a process started with reverse translation of randomly chosen 6 amino acids to limit the number of the generated primers. In addition, the software used to scan the downloaded chromosomes using the generated primers for similarities was designed, and the resulting hits were classified according to the number of similar chromosomal sequences, i.e., unique or otherwise. Results: All primers that had identical/similar sequences in the selected genome sequence(s) were classified according to the number of hits in the chromosomes search. Those that were identical to a single site on a single bacterial chromosome were referred to as unique. On the other hand, most generated primers sequences were identical to multiple sites on a single or multiple chromosomes. Following scanning, the generated primers were classified based on ability to differentiate between medically important bacterial and the initial results looks promising. Conclusion: A simple strategy that started by generating primers was introduced; the primers were used to screen bacterial genomes for match. Primer(s) that were uniquely identical to specific DNA sequence on a specific bacterial chromosome were selected. The identified unique sequence can be used in different molecular diagnostic techniques, possibly to identify bacteria. In addition, a single primer that can identify multiple sites in a single chromosome can be exploited for region or genome identification. Although genomes sequences draft of isolates of organism DNA enable high throughput primer design using alignment strategy, and this enhances diagnostic performance in comparison to traditional molecular assays. In this method the generated primers can be used to identify an organism before the draft sequence is completed. In addition, the generated primers can be used to build a bank for easy access of the primers that can be used to identify bacteria.

Keywords: Bacteria chromosome, bacterial identification, sequence, primer generation.

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11 Migrant Women English Instructors’ Transformative Workplace Learning Experiences in Post-Secondary English Language Programs in Ontario, Canada

Authors: Justine Jun

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This study aims to reveal migrant women English instructors' workplace learning experiences in Canadian post-secondary institutions in Ontario. Migrant women English instructors in higher education are an understudied group of teachers. This study employs a qualitative research paradigm. Mezirow’s Transformative Learning Theory is an essential lens for the researcher to explain, analyze, and interpret the research data. It is a collaborative research project. The researcher and participants cooperatively create photographic or other artwork data responding to the research questions. Photovoice and arts-informed data collection methodology are the main methods. Research participants engage in the study as co-researchers and inquire about their own workplace learning experiences, actively utilizing their critical self-reflective and dialogic skills. Co-researchers individually select the forms of artwork they prefer to engage with to represent their transformative workplace learning experiences about the Canadian workplace cultures that they underwent while working with colleagues and administrators in the workplace. Once the co-researchers generate their cultural artifacts as research data, they collaboratively interpret their artworks with the researcher and other volunteer co-researchers. Co-researchers jointly investigate the themes emerging from the artworks. They also interpret the meanings of their own and others’ workplace learning experiences embedded in the artworks through interactive one-on-one or group interviews. The following are the research questions that the migrant women English instructor participants examine and answer: (1) What have they learned about their workplace culture and how do they explain their learning experiences? (2) How transformative have their learning experiences been at work? (3) How have their colleagues and administrators influenced their transformative learning? (4) What kind of support have they received? What supports have been valuable to them and what changes would they like to see? (5) What have their learning experiences transformed? (6) What has this arts-informed research process transformed? The study findings implicate English language instructor support currently practiced in post-secondary English language programs in Ontario, Canada, especially for migrant women English instructors. This research is a doctoral empirical study in progress. This study has the urgency to address the research problem that few studies have investigated migrant English instructors’ professional learning and support issues in the workplace, precisely that of English instructors working with adult learners in Canada. While appropriate social and professional support for migrant English instructors is required throughout the country, the present workplace realities in Ontario's English language programs need to be heard soon. For that purpose, the conceptualization of this study is crucial. It makes the investigation of under-represented instructors’ under-researched social phenomena, workplace learning and support, viable and rigorous. This paper demonstrates the robust theorization of English instructors’ workplace experiences using Mezirow’s Transformative Learning Theory in the English language teacher education field. 

Keywords: English teacher education, professional learning, transformative learning theory, workplace learning.

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10 Augmenting Navigational Aids: The Development of an Assistive Maritime Navigation Application

Authors: A. Mihoc, K. Cater

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On the bridge of a ship the officers are looking for visual aids to guide navigation in order to reconcile the outside world with the position communicated by the digital navigation system. Aids to navigation include: Lighthouses, lightships, sector lights, beacons, buoys, and others. They are designed to help navigators calculate their position, establish their course or avoid dangers. In poor visibility and dense traffic areas, it can be very difficult to identify these critical aids to guide navigation. The paper presents the usage of Augmented Reality (AR) as a means to present digital information about these aids to support navigation. To date, nautical navigation related mobile AR applications have been limited to the leisure industry. If proved viable, this prototype can facilitate the creation of other similar applications that could help commercial officers with navigation. While adopting a user centered design approach, the team has developed the prototype based on insights from initial research carried on board of several ships. The prototype, built on Nexus 9 tablet and Wikitude, features a head-up display of the navigational aids (lights) in the area, presented in AR and a bird’s eye view mode presented on a simplified map. The application employs the aids to navigation data managed by Hydrographic Offices and the tablet’s sensors: GPS, gyroscope, accelerometer, compass and camera. Sea trials on board of a Navy and a commercial ship revealed the end-users’ interest in using the application and further possibility of other data to be presented in AR. The application calculates the GPS position of the ship, the bearing and distance to the navigational aids; all within a high level of accuracy. However, during testing several issues were highlighted which need to be resolved as the prototype is developed further. The prototype stretched the capabilities of Wikitude, loading over 500 objects during tests in a major port. This overloaded the display and required over 45 seconds to load the data. Therefore, extra filters for the navigational aids are being considered in order to declutter the screen. At night, the camera is not powerful enough to distinguish all the lights in the area. Also, magnetic interference with the bridge of the ship generated a continuous compass error of the AR display that varied between 5 and 12 degrees. The deviation of the compass was consistent over the whole testing durations so the team is now looking at the possibility of allowing users to manually calibrate the compass. It is expected that for the usage of AR in professional maritime contexts, further development of existing AR tools and hardware is needed. Designers will also need to implement a user-centered design approach in order to create better interfaces and display technologies for enhanced solutions to aid navigation.

Keywords: Compass error, GPS, maritime navigation, mobile augmented reality.

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9 Re-Presenting the Egyptian Informal Urbanism in Films between 1994 and 2014

Authors: R. Mofeed, N. Elgendy

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Cinema constructs mind-spaces that reflect inherent human thoughts and emotions. As a representational art, Cinema would introduce comprehensive images of life phenomena in different ways. The term “represent” suggests verity of meanings; bring into presence, replace or typify. In that sense, Cinema may present a phenomenon through direct embodiment, or introduce a substitute image that replaces the original phenomena, or typify it by relating the produced image to a more general category through a process of abstraction. This research is interested in questioning the type of images that Egyptian Cinema introduces to informal urbanism and how these images were conditioned and reshaped in the last twenty years. The informalities/slums phenomenon first appeared in Egypt and, particularly, Cairo in the early sixties, however, this phenomenon was completely ignored by the state and society until the eighties, and furthermore, its evident representation in Cinema was by the mid-nineties. The Informal City represents the illegal housing developments, and it is a fast growing form of urbanization in Cairo. Yet, this expanding phenomenon is still depicted as the minority, exceptional and marginal through the Cinematic lenses. This paper aims at tracing the forms of representations of the urban informalities in the Egyptian Cinema between 1994 and 2014, and how did that affect the popular mind and its perception of these areas. The paper runs two main lines of inquiry; the first traces the phenomena through a chronological and geographical mapping of the informal urbanism has been portrayed in films. This analysis is based on an academic research work at Cairo University in Fall 2014. The visual tracing through maps and timelines allowed a reading of the phases of ignorance, presence, typifying and repetition in the representation of this huge sector of the city through more than 50 films that has been investigated. The analysis clearly revealed the “portrayed image” of informality by the Cinema through the examined period. However, the second part of the paper explores the “perceived image”. A designed questionnaire is applied to highlight the main features of that image that is perceived by both inhabitants of informalities and other Cairenes based on watching selected films. The questionnaire covers the different images of informalities proposed in the Cinema whether in a comic or a melodramatic background and highlight the descriptive terms used, to see which of them resonate with the mass perceptions and affected their mental images. The two images; “portrayed” and “perceived” are then to be encountered to reflect on issues of repetitions, stereotyping and reality. The formulated stereotype of informal urbanism is finally outlined and justified in relation to both production consumption mechanisms of films and the State official vision of informalities.

Keywords: Cairo, cinema, informal urbanism, representation, stereotype.

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8 Training During Emergency Response to Build Resiliency in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

Authors: Lee Boudreau, Ash Kumar Khaitu, Laura A. S. MacDonald

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In April 2015, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Nepal, killing, injuring, and displacing thousands of people. The earthquake also damaged water and sanitation service networks, leading to a high risk of diarrheal disease and the associated negative health impacts. In response to the disaster, the Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO), a Kathmandu-based non-governmental organization, worked with the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST), a Canadian education, training and consulting organization, to develop two training programs to educate volunteers on water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) needs. The first training program was intended for acute response, with the second focusing on longer term recovery. A key focus was to equip the volunteers with the knowledge and skills to formulate useful WASH advice in the unanticipated circumstances they would encounter when working in affected areas. Within the first two weeks of the disaster, a two-day acute response training was developed, which focused on enabling volunteers to educate those affected by the disaster about local WASH issues, their link to health, and their increased importance immediately following emergency situations. Between March and October 2015, a total of 19 training events took place, with over 470 volunteers trained. The trained volunteers distributed hygiene kits and liquid chlorine for household water treatment. They also facilitated health messaging and WASH awareness activities in affected communities. A three-day recovery phase training was also developed and has been delivered to volunteers in Nepal since October 2015. This training focused on WASH issues during the recovery and reconstruction phases. The interventions and recommendations in the recovery phase training focus on long-term WASH solutions, and so form a link between emergency relief strategies and long-term development goals. ENPHO has trained 226 volunteers during the recovery phase, with training ongoing as of April 2016. In the aftermath of the earthquake, ENPHO found that its existing pool of volunteers were more than willing to help those in their communities who were more in need. By training these and new volunteers, ENPHO was able to reach many more communities in the immediate aftermath of the disaster; together they reached 11 of the 14 earthquake-affected districts. The collaboration between ENPHO and CAWST in developing the training materials was a highly collaborative and iterative process, which enabled the training materials to be developed within a short response time. By training volunteers on basic WASH topics during both the immediate response and the recovery phase, ENPHO and CAWST have been able to link immediate emergency relief to long-term developmental goals. While the recovery phase training continues in Nepal, CAWST is planning to decontextualize the training used in both phases so that it can be applied to other emergency situations in the future. The training materials will become part of the open content materials available on CAWST’s WASH Resources website.

Keywords: Water and sanitation, emergency response, education and training, building resilience.

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7 Modelling of Groundwater Resources for Al-Najaf City, Iraq

Authors: Hayder H. Kareem, Shunqi Pan

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Groundwater is a vital water resource in many areas in the world, particularly in the Middle-East region where the water resources become scarce and depleting. Sustainable management and planning of the groundwater resources become essential and urgent given the impact of the global climate change. In the recent years, numerical models have been widely used to predict the flow pattern and assess the water resources security, as well as the groundwater quality affected by the contaminants transported. In this study, MODFLOW is used to study the current status of groundwater resources and the risk of water resource security in the region centred at Al-Najaf City, which is located in the mid-west of Iraq and adjacent to the Euphrates River. In this study, a conceptual model is built using the geologic and hydrogeologic collected for the region, together with the Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data obtained from the "Global Land Cover Facility" (GLCF) and "United State Geological Survey" (USGS) for the study area. The computer model is also implemented with the distributions of 69 wells in the area with the steady pro-defined hydraulic head along its boundaries. The model is then applied with the recharge rate (from precipitation) of 7.55 mm/year, given from the analysis of the field data in the study area for the period of 1980-2014. The hydraulic conductivity from the measurements at the locations of wells is interpolated for model use. The model is calibrated with the measured hydraulic heads at the locations of 50 of 69 wells in the domain and results show a good agreement. The standard-error-of-estimate (SEE), root-mean-square errors (RMSE), Normalized RMSE and correlation coefficient are 0.297 m, 2.087 m, 6.899% and 0.971 respectively. Sensitivity analysis is also carried out, and it is found that the model is sensitive to recharge, particularly when the rate is greater than (15mm/year). Hydraulic conductivity is found to be another parameter which can affect the results significantly, therefore it requires high quality field data. The results show that there is a general flow pattern from the west to east of the study area, which agrees well with the observations and the gradient of the ground surface. It is found that with the current operational pumping rates of the wells in the area, a dry area is resulted in Al-Najaf City due to the large quantity of groundwater withdrawn. The computed water balance with the current operational pumping quantity shows that the Euphrates River supplies water into the groundwater of approximately 11759 m3/day, instead of gaining water of 11178 m3/day from the groundwater if no pumping from the wells. It is expected that the results obtained from the study can provide important information for the sustainable and effective planning and management of the regional groundwater resources for Al-Najaf City.

Keywords: Al-Najaf city, conceptual modelling, groundwater, unconfined aquifer, visual MODFLOW.

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6 Mental Health Surveys on Community and Organizational Levels: Challenges, Issues, Conclusions and Possibilities

Authors: László L. Lippai

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In addition to the fact that mental health bears great significance to a particular individual, it can also be regarded as an organizational, community and societal resource. Within the Szeged Health Promotion Research Group, we conducted mental health surveys on two levels: The inhabitants of a medium-sized Hungarian town and students of a Hungarian university with a relatively big headcount were requested to participate in surveys whose goals were to define local government priorities and organization-level health promotion programmes, respectively. To facilitate professional decision-making, we defined three, pragmatically relevant, groups of the target population: the mentally healthy, the vulnerable and the endangered. In order to determine which group a person actually belongs to, we designed a simple and quick measurement tool, which could even be utilised as a smoothing method, the Mental State Questionnaire validity of the above three categories was verified by analysis of variance against psychological quality of life variables. We demonstrate the pragmatic significance of our method via the analyses of the scores of our two mental health surveys. On town level, during our representative survey in Hódmezővásárhely (N=1839), we found that 38.7% of the participants was mentally healthy, 35.3% was vulnerable, while 16.3% was considered as endangered. We were able to identify groups that were in a dramatic state in terms of mental health. For example, such a group consisted of men aged 45 to 64 with only primary education qualification and the ratios of the mentally healthy, vulnerable and endangered were 4.5, 45.5 and 50%, respectively. It was also astonishing to see to what a little extent qualification prevailed as a protective factor in the case of women. Based on our data, the female group aged 18 to 44 with primary education—of whom 20.3% was mentally healthy, 42.4% vulnerable and 37.3% was endangered—as well as the female group aged 45 to 64 with university or college degree—of whom 25% was mentally healthy, 51.3 vulnerable and 23.8% endangered—are to be handled as priority intervention target groups in a similarly difficult position. On organizational level, our survey involving the students of the University of Szeged, N=1565, provided data to prepare a strategy of mental health promotion for a university with a headcount exceeding 20,000. When developing an organizational strategy, it was important to gather information to estimate the proportions of target groups in which mental health promotion methods; for example, life management skills development, detection, psychological consultancy, psychotherapy, would be applied. Our scores show that 46.8% of the student participants were mentally healthy, 42.1% were vulnerable and 11.1% were endangered. These data convey relevant information as to the allocation of organizational resources within a university with a considerable headcount. In conclusion, The Mental State Questionnaire, as a valid smoothing method, is adequate to describe a community in a plain and informative way in the terms of mental health. The application of the method can promote the preparation, design and implementation of mental health promotion interventions. 

Keywords: Health promotion, mental health promotion, mental state questionnaire, psychological well-being.

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5 Injunctions, Disjunctions, Remnants: The Reverse of Unity

Authors: Igor Guatelli

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The universe of aesthetic perception entails impasses about sensitive divergences that each text or visual object may be subjected to. If approached through intertextuality that is not based on the misleading notion of kinships or similarities a priori admissible, the possibility of anachronistic, heterogeneous - and non-diachronic - assemblies can enhance the emergence of interval movements, intermediate, and conflicting, conducive to a method of reading, interpreting, and assigning meaning that escapes the rigid antinomies of the mere being and non-being of things. In negative, they operate in a relationship built by the lack of an adjusted meaning set by their positive existences, with no remainders; the generated interval becomes the remnant of each of them; it is the opening that obscures the stable positions of each one. Without the negative of absence, of that which is always missing or must be missing in a text, concept, or image made positive by history, nothing is perceived beyond what has been already given. Pairings or binary oppositions cannot lead only to functional syntheses; on the contrary, methodological disturbances accumulated by the approximation of signs and entities can initiate a process of becoming as an opening to an unforeseen other, transformation until a moment when the difficulties of [re]conciliation become the mainstay of a future of that sign/entity, not envisioned a priori. A counter-history can emerge from these unprecedented, misadjusted approaches, beginnings of unassigned injunctions and disjunctions, in short, difficult alliances that open cracks in a supposedly cohesive history, chained in its apparent linearity with no remains, understood as a categorical historical imperative. Interstices are minority fields that, because of their opening, are capable of causing opacity in that which, apparently, presents itself with irreducible clarity. Resulting from an incomplete and maladjusted [at the least dual] marriage between the signs/entities that originate them, this interval may destabilize and cause disorder in these entities and their own meanings. The interstitials offer a hyphenated relationship: a simultaneous union and separation, a spacing between the entity’s identity and its otherness or, alterity. One and the other may no longer be seen without the crack or fissure that now separates them, uniting, by a space-time lapse. Ontological, semantic shifts are caused by this fissure, an absence between one and the other, one with and against the other. Based on an improbable approximation between some conceptual and semantic shifts within the design production of architect Rem Koolhaas and the textual production of the philosopher Jacques Derrida, this article questions the notion of unity, coherence, affinity, and complementarity in the process of construction of thought from these ontological, epistemological, and semiological fissures that rattle the signs/entities and their stable meanings. Fissures in a thought that is considered coherent, cohesive, formatted are the negativity that constitutes the interstices that allow us to move towards what still remains as non-identity, which allows us to begin another story.

Keywords: Clearing, interstice, negative, remnant, spectrum.

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4 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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3 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.

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2 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.

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1 Leading, Teaching and Learning “in the Middle”: Experiences, Beliefs, and Values of Instructional Leaders, Teachers, and Students in Finland, Germany, and Canada

Authors: Brandy Yee, Dianne Yee

Abstract:

Through the exploration of the lived experiences, beliefs and values of instructional leaders, teachers and students in Finland, Germany and Canada, we investigated the factors which contribute to developmentally responsive, intellectually engaging middle-level learning environments for early adolescents. Student-centred leadership dimensions, effective instructional practices and student agency were examined through the lens of current policy and research on middle-level learning environments emerging from the Canadian province of Manitoba. Consideration of these three research perspectives in the context of early adolescent learning, placed against an international backdrop, provided a previously undocumented perspective on leading, teaching and learning in the middle years. Aligning with a social constructivist, qualitative research paradigm, the study incorporated collective case study methodology, along with constructivist grounded theory methods of data analysis. Data were collected through semi-structured individual and focus group interviews and document review, as well as direct and participant observation. Three case study narratives were developed to share the rich stories of study participants, who had been selected using maximum variation and intensity sampling techniques. Interview transcript data were coded using processes from constructivist grounded theory. A cross-case analysis yielded a conceptual framework highlighting key factors that were found to be significant in the establishment of developmentally responsive, intellectually engaging middle-level learning environments. Seven core categories emerged from the cross-case analysis as common to all three countries. Within the visual conceptual framework (which depicts the interconnected nature of leading, teaching and learning in middle-level learning environments), these seven core categories were grouped into Essential Factors (student agency, voice and choice), Contextual Factors (instructional practices; school culture; engaging families and the community), Synergistic Factors (instructional leadership) and Cornerstone Factors (education as a fundamental cultural value; preservice, in-service and ongoing teacher development). In addition, sub-factors emerged from recurring codes in the data and identified specific characteristics and actions found in developmentally responsive, intellectually engaging middle-level learning environments. Although this study focused on 12 schools in Finland, Germany and Canada, it informs the practice of educators working with early adolescent learners in middle-level learning environments internationally. The authentic voices of early adolescent learners are the most important resource educators have to gauge if they are creating effective learning environments for their students. Ongoing professional dialogue and learning is essential to ensure teachers are supported in their work and develop the pedagogical practices needed to meet the needs of early adolescent learners. It is critical to balance consistency, coherence and dependability in the school environment with the necessary flexibility in order to support the unique learning needs of early adolescents. Educators must intentionally create a school culture that unites teachers, students and their families in support of a common purpose, as well as nurture positive relationships between the school and its community. A large, urban school district in Canada has implemented a school cohort-based model to begin to bring developmentally responsive, intellectually engaging middle-level learning environments to scale.

Keywords: Developmentally responsive learning environments, early adolescents, middle-level learning, middle years, instructional leadership, instructional practices, intellectually engaging learning environments, leadership dimensions, student agency.

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