Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 280

Virtual Reality Learning Environment in Embryology Education
Educational technology is changing the way how students engage and interact with learning materials. This improved the learning process amongst various subjects. Virtual Reality (VR) applications are considered one of the evolving methods that have contributed to enhancing medical education. This paper utilizes VR to provide a solution to improve the delivery of the subject of Embryology to medical students, and facilitate the teaching process by providing a useful aid to lecturers, whilst proving the effectiveness of this new technology in this particular area. After evaluating the current teaching methods and identifying students ‘needs, a VR system was designed that demonstrates in an interactive fashion the development of the human embryo from fertilization to week ten of intrauterine development. This system aims to overcome some of the problems faced by the students’ in the current educational methods, and to increase the efficacy of the learning process.
Developing Improvements to Multi-Hazard Risk Assessments

This paper outlines the approaches taken to assess multi-hazard assessments. There is currently confusion in assessing multi-hazard impacts, and so this study aims to determine which of the available options are the most useful. The paper uses an international literature search, and analysis of current multi-hazard assessments and a case study to illustrate the effectiveness of the chosen method. Findings from this study will help those wanting to assess multi-hazards to undertake a straightforward approach. The paper is significant as it helps to interpret the various approaches and concludes with the preferred method. Many people in the world live in hazardous environments and are susceptible to disasters. Unfortunately, when a disaster strikes it is often compounded by additional cascading hazards, thus people would confront more than one hazard simultaneously. Hazards include natural hazards (earthquakes, floods, etc.) or cascading human-made hazards (for example, Natural Hazard Triggering Technological disasters (Natech) such as fire, explosion, toxic release). Multi-hazards have a more destructive impact on urban areas than one hazard alone. In addition, climate change is creating links between different disasters such as causing landslide dams and debris flows leading to more destructive incidents. Much of the prevailing literature deals with only one hazard at a time. However, recently sophisticated multi-hazard assessments have started to appear. Given that multi-hazards occur, it is essential to take multi-hazard risk assessment under consideration. This paper aims to review the multi-hazard assessment methods through articles published to date and categorize the strengths and disadvantages of using these methods in risk assessment. Napier City is selected as a case study to demonstrate the necessity of using multi-hazard risk assessments. In order to assess multi-hazard risk assessments, first, the current multi-hazard risk assessment methods were described. Next, the drawbacks of these multi-hazard risk assessments were outlined. Finally, the improvements to current multi-hazard risk assessments to date were summarised. Generally, the main problem of multi-hazard risk assessment is to make a valid assumption of risk from the interactions of different hazards. Currently, risk assessment studies have started to assess multi-hazard situations, but drawbacks such as uncertainty and lack of data show the necessity for more precise risk assessment. It should be noted that ignoring or partial considering multi-hazards in risk assessment will lead to an overestimate or overlook in resilient and recovery action managements.

Canada Deuterium Uranium Updated Fire Probabilistic Risk Assessment Model for Canadian Nuclear Plants

The Canadian Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) use some portions of NUREG/CR-6850 in carrying out Fire Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA). An assessment for the applicability of NUREG/CR-6850 to CANDU reactors was performed and a CANDU Fire PRA was introduced. There are 19 operating CANDU reactors in Canada at five sites (Bruce A, Bruce B, Darlington, Pickering and Point Lepreau). A fire load density survey was done for all Fire Safe Shutdown Analysis (FSSA) fire zones in all CANDU sites in Canada. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 557 proposes that a fire load survey must be conducted by either the weighing method or the inventory method or a combination of both. The combination method results in the most accurate values for fire loads. An updated CANDU Fire PRA model is demonstrated in this paper that includes the fuel survey in all Canadian CANDU stations. A qualitative screening step for the CANDU fire PRA is illustrated in this paper to include any fire events that can damage any part of the emergency power supply in addition to FSSA cables.

Prioritization Assessment of Housing Development Risk Factors: A Fuzzy Hierarchical Process-Based Approach

The construction industry and housing subsector are fraught with risks that have the potential of negatively impacting on the achievement of project objectives. The success or otherwise of most construction projects depends to large extent on how well these risks have been managed. The recent paradigm shift by the subsector to use of formal risk management approach in contrast to hitherto developed rules of thumb means that risks must not only be identified but also properly assessed and responded to in a systematic manner. The study focused on identifying risks associated with housing development projects and prioritisation assessment of the identified risks in order to provide basis for informed decision. The study used a three-step identification framework: review of literature for similar projects, expert consultation and questionnaire based survey to identify potential risk factors. Delphi survey method was employed in carrying out the relative prioritization assessment of the risks factors using computer-based Analytical Hierarchical Process (AHP) software. The results show that 19 out of the 50 risks significantly impact on housing development projects. The study concludes that although significant numbers of risk factors have been identified as having relevance and impacting to housing construction projects, economic risk group and, in particular, ‘changes in demand for houses’ is prioritised by most developers as posing a threat to the achievement of their housing development objectives. Unless these risks are carefully managed, their effects will continue to impede success in these projects. The study recommends the adoption and use of the combination of multi-technique identification framework and AHP prioritization assessment methodology as a suitable model for the assessment of risks in housing development projects.

The Importance of Analysis of Internal Quality Management Systems and Self-Examination Processes in Engineering Accreditation Processes

The accreditation process of engineering degree programmes is based on various reports evaluated by the relevant governing bodies of the institution of higher education. One of the aforementioned reports for the accreditation process is a self-assessment report which is to be completed by the applying institution. This paper seeks to emphasise the importance of analysis of internal quality management systems and self-examination processes in the engineering accreditation processes. A description of how the programme fulfils the criteria should be given. Relevant stakeholders all need to contribute in the writing and structuring of the self-assessment report. The last step is to gather evidence in the form of supporting documentation. In conclusion, the paper also identifies learning outcomes in a case study in seeking accreditation from an international relevant professional body.

Evaluation of the Weight-Based and Fat-Based Indices in Relation to Basal Metabolic Rate-to-Weight Ratio

Basal metabolic rate is questioned as a risk factor for weight gain. The relations between basal metabolic rate and body composition have not been cleared yet. The impact of fat mass on basal metabolic rate is also uncertain. Within this context, indices based upon total body mass as well as total body fat mass are available. In this study, the aim is to investigate the potential clinical utility of these indices in the adult population. 287 individuals, aged from 18 to 79 years, were included into the scope of the study. Based upon body mass index values, 10 underweight, 88 normal, 88 overweight, 81 obese, and 20 morbid obese individuals participated. Anthropometric measurements including height (m), and weight (kg) were performed. Body mass index, diagnostic obesity notation model assessment index I, diagnostic obesity notation model assessment index II, basal metabolic rate-to-weight ratio were calculated. Total body fat mass (kg), fat percent (%), basal metabolic rate, metabolic age, visceral adiposity, fat mass of upper as well as lower extremities and trunk, obesity degree were measured by TANITA body composition monitor using bioelectrical impedance analysis technology. Statistical evaluations were performed by statistical package (SPSS) for Windows Version 16.0. Scatterplots of individual measurements for the parameters concerning correlations were drawn. Linear regression lines were displayed. The statistical significance degree was accepted as p < 0.05. The strong correlations between body mass index and diagnostic obesity notation model assessment index I as well as diagnostic obesity notation model assessment index II were obtained (p < 0.001). A much stronger correlation was detected between basal metabolic rate and diagnostic obesity notation model assessment index I in comparison with that calculated for basal metabolic rate and body mass index (p < 0.001). Upon consideration of the associations between basal metabolic rate-to-weight ratio and these three indices, the best association was observed between basal metabolic rate-to-weight and diagnostic obesity notation model assessment index II. In a similar manner, this index was highly correlated with fat percent (p < 0.001). Being independent of the indices, a strong correlation was found between fat percent and basal metabolic rate-to-weight ratio (p < 0.001). Visceral adiposity was much strongly correlated with metabolic age when compared to that with chronological age (p < 0.001). In conclusion, all three indices were associated with metabolic age, but not with chronological age. Diagnostic obesity notation model assessment index II values were highly correlated with body mass index values throughout all ranges starting with underweight going towards morbid obesity. This index is the best in terms of its association with basal metabolic rate-to-weight ratio, which can be interpreted as basal metabolic rate unit.

Sustainable Building Technologies for Post-Disaster Temporary Housing: Integrated Sustainability Assessment and Life Cycle Assessment

After natural disasters, displaced people (DP) require important numbers of housing units, which have to be erected quickly due to emergency pressures. These tight timeframes can cause the multiplication of the environmental construction impacts. These negative impacts worsen the already high energy consumption and pollution caused by the building sector. Indeed, post-disaster housing, which is often carried out without pre-planning, usually causes high negative environmental impacts, besides other economic and social impacts. Therefore, it is necessary to establish a suitable strategy to deal with this problem which also takes into account the instability of its causes, like changing ratio between rural and urban population. To this end, this study aims to present a model that assists decision-makers to choose the most suitable building technology for post-disaster housing units. This model focuses on the alternatives sustainability and fulfillment of the stakeholders’ satisfactions. Four building technologies have been analyzed to determine the most sustainability technology and to validate the presented model. In 2003, Bam earthquake DP had their temporary housing units (THUs) built using these four technologies: autoclaved aerated concrete blocks (AAC), concrete masonry unit (CMU), pressed reeds panel (PR), and 3D sandwich panel (3D). The results of this analysis confirm that PR and CMU obtain the highest sustainability indexes. However, the second life scenario of THUs could have considerable impacts on the results.

The Carbon Footprint Model as a Plea for Cities towards Energy Transition: The Case of Algiers Algeria

Environmental sustainability rather than a trans-disciplinary and a scientific issue, is the main problem that characterizes all modern cities nowadays. In developing countries, this concern is expressed in a plethora of critical urban ills: traffic congestion, air pollution, noise, urban decay, increase in energy consumption and CO2 emissions which blemish cities’ landscape and might threaten citizens’ health and welfare. As in the same manner as developing world cities, the rapid growth of Algiers’ human population and increasing in city scale phenomena lead eventually to increase in daily trips, energy consumption and CO2 emissions. In addition, the lack of proper and sustainable planning of the city’s infrastructure is one of the most relevant issues from which Algiers suffers. The aim of this contribution is to estimate the carbon deficit of the City of Algiers, Algeria, using the Ecological Footprint Model (carbon footprint). In order to achieve this goal, the amount of CO2 from fuel combustion has been calculated and aggregated into five sectors (agriculture, industry, residential, tertiary and transportation); as well, Algiers’ biocapacity (CO2 uptake land) has been calculated to determine the ecological overshoot. This study shows that Algiers’ transport system is not sustainable and is generating more than 50% of Algiers total carbon footprint which cannot be sequestered by the local forest land. The aim of this research is to show that the Carbon Footprint Assessment might be a relevant indicator to design sustainable strategies/policies striving to reduce CO2 by setting in motion the energy consumption in the transportation sector and reducing the use of fossil fuels as the main energy input.

Automated, Objective Assessment of Pilot Performance in Simulated Environment

Nowadays flight simulators offer tremendous possibilities for safe and cost-effective pilot training, by utilization of powerful, computational tools. Due to technology outpacing methodology, vast majority of training related work is done by human instructors. It makes assessment not efficient, and vulnerable to instructors’ subjectivity. The research presents an Objective Assessment Tool (gOAT) developed at the Warsaw University of Technology, and tested on SW-4 helicopter flight simulator. The tool uses database of the predefined manoeuvres, defined and integrated to the virtual environment. These were implemented, basing on Aeronautical Design Standard Performance Specification Handling Qualities Requirements for Military Rotorcraft (ADS-33), with predefined Mission-Task-Elements (MTEs). The core element of the gOAT enhanced algorithm that provides instructor a new set of information. In details, a set of objective flight parameters fused with report about psychophysical state of the pilot. While the pilot performs the task, the gOAT system automatically calculates performance using the embedded algorithms, data registered by the simulator software (position, orientation, velocity, etc.), as well as measurements of physiological changes of pilot’s psychophysiological state (temperature, sweating, heart rate). Complete set of measurements is presented on-line to instructor’s station and shown in dedicated graphical interface. The presented tool is based on open source solutions, and flexible for editing. Additional manoeuvres can be easily added using guide developed by authors, and MTEs can be changed by instructor even during an exercise. Algorithm and measurements used allow not only to implement basic stress level measurements, but also to reduce instructor’s workload significantly. Tool developed can be used for training purpose, as well as periodical checks of the aircrew. Flexibility and ease of modifications allow the further development to be wide ranged, and the tool to be customized. Depending on simulation purpose, gOAT can be adjusted to support simulator of aircraft, helicopter, or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Strategies for E-Waste Management: A Literature Review
During the last few decades, with the high-speed upgrade of electronic products, electronic waste (e-waste) has become one of the fastest growing wastes of the waste stream. In this context, more efforts and concerns have already been placed on the treatment and management of this waste. To mitigate their negative influences on the environment and society, it is necessary to establish appropriate strategies for e-waste management. Hence, this paper aims to review and analysis some useful strategies which have been applied in several countries to handle e-waste. Future perspectives on e-waste management are also suggested. The key findings found that, to manage e-waste successfully, it is necessary to establish effective reverse supply chains for e-waste, and raise public awareness towards the detrimental impacts of e-waste. The result of the research provides valuable insights to governments, policymakers in establishing e-waste management in a safe and sustainable manner.
Exploring the Applicability of a Rapid Health Assessment in India

ASER Centre, the research and assessment arm of Pratham Education Foundation sees measurement as the first stage of action. ASER uses primary research to push and give empirical foundations to policy discussions at a multitude of levels. At a household level, common citizens use a simple assessment (a floor-level test) to measure learning across rural India. This paper presents the evidence on the applicability of an ASER approach to the health sector. A citizen-led assessment was designed and executed that collected information from young mothers with children up to a year of age. The pilot assessments were rolled-out in two different models: Paid surveyors and student volunteers. The survey covered three geographic areas: 1,239 children in the Jaipur District of Rajasthan, 2,086 in the Rae Bareli District of Uttar Pradesh, and 593 children in the Bhuj Block in Gujarat. The survey tool was designed to study knowledge of health-related issues, daily practices followed by young mothers and access to relevant services and programs. It provides insights on behaviors related to infant and young child feeding practices, child and maternal nutrition and supplementation, water and sanitation, and health services. Moreover, the survey studies the reasons behind behaviors giving policy-makers actionable pathways to improve implementation of social sector programs. Although data on health outcomes are available, this approach could provide a rapid annual assessment of health issues with indicators that are easy to understand and act upon so that measurements do not become an exclusive domain of experts. The results give many insights into early childhood health behaviors and challenges. Around 98% of children are breastfed, and approximately half are not exclusively breastfed (for the first 6 months). Government established diet diversity guidelines are met for less than 1 out of 10 children. Although most households are satisfied with the quality of drinking water, most tested households had contaminated water.

Devising a Paradigm for the Assessment of Guilt across Species
While there exist frameworks to study the induction, manifestation, duration and general nature of emotions like shame, guilt, embarrassment and pride in humans, the same cannot be said for other species. This is because such 'complex' emotions have situational inductions and manifestations that supposedly vary due to differences between and within different species' ethology. This paper looks at the socio-adaptive functions of guilt to posit why this emotion might be observed across varying species. Primarily, the experimental paradigm of guilt-assessment in domesticated dogs is critiqued for lack of ethological consideration in its measurement and analysis. It is argued that a paradigm for guilt-assessment should measure the species-specific prosocial approach behavior instead of the immediate feedback of the 'guilty'. Finally, it is asserted that the origin of guilt is subjective and if it must be studied across a plethora of species, its definition must be tailored to fit accordingly.
Project Management at University: Towards an Evaluation Process around Cooperative Learning

The enrollment in current Master's degree programs usually pursues gaining the expertise required in real-life workplaces. The experience we present here concerns the learning process of "Project Management Methodology (PMM)", around a cooperative/collaborative mechanism aimed at affording students measurable learning goals and providing the teacher with the ability of focusing on the weaknesses detected. We have designed a mixed summative/formative evaluation, which assures curriculum engage while enriches the comprehension of PMM key concepts. In this experience we converted the students into active actors in the evaluation process itself and we endowed ourselves as teachers with a flexible process in which along with qualifications (score), other attitudinal feedback arises. Despite the high level of self-affirmation on their discussion within the interactive assessment sessions, they ultimately have exhibited a great ability to review and correct the wrong reasoning when that was the case.

Assessment of Menus in a Selected Social Welfare Home with Regard to Nutritional Recommendations

The aim of the study was to assess diets of residents of nursing homes. Provided by social welfare home, 10 day menus were introduced into the computer program Diet 5 and analyzed in respect of protein, fats, carbohydrates, energy, vitamin D and calcium. The resulting mean values of 10-day menus were compared with the existing Nutrition Standards for Polish population. The analysis menus showed that the average amount of energy supplied from food is not sufficient. Carbohydrates in food supply are too high and represent 257% of normal. The average value of fats and proteins supplied with food is adequate 85.2 g/day and 75.2 g/day. The calcium content of the diet is 513.9 mg/day. The amount of vitamin D supplied in the age group 51-65 years is 2.3 µg/day. Dietary errors that have been shown are due to the lack of detailed nutritional guidelines for nursing homes, as well as state-owned care facilities in general.

Designing a Pre-Assessment Tool to Support the Achievement of Green Building Certifications

The impact of common buildings on climate and environment has prompted people to get involved in the green building standards aimed at implementing rating tools or certifications. Thus, green building rating systems were introduced to the construction industry, and the demand for certified green buildings has increased gradually and succeeded considerably in enhancing people’s environmental awareness. However, the existing certification process has been unsatisfactory in attracting stakeholders and/or professionals who are actively engaged in adopting a rating system. It is because they have faced recurring barriers regarding limited information in understanding the rating process, time-consuming procedures and higher costs, which have a direct influence on pursuing green building rating systems. To promote the achievement of green building certifications within the building industry more successfully, this paper aims at designing a Pre-Assessment Tool (PAT) framework that can help stakeholders and/or professionals engaged in the construction industry to clarify their basic knowledge, timeframe and extra costs needed to activate a green building certification. First, taking the first steps towards the rating tool seems to be complicated because of upfront commitment to understanding the overall rating procedure is required. This conceptual PAT framework can increase basic knowledge of the rating tool and the certification process, mainly in terms of all resources or information of each credit requirements. Second, the assessment process of rating tools is generally known as a “lengthy and time-consuming system”, contributing to unenthusiastic reactions concerning green building projects. The proposed framework can predict the timeframe needed to identify how long it will take for a green project to process each credit requirement and the documentation required from the beginning of the certification process to final approval. Finally, most people often have the initial perception that pursuing green building certification costs more than constructing a non-green building, which makes it more difficult to execute rating tools. To overcome this issue, this PAT will help users to estimate the extra expenses such as certification fees and third-party contributions based on the track of the amount of time it takes to implement the rating tool throughout all the related stages. Also, it can prevent unexpected or hidden costs occurring in the process of assessment. Therefore, this proposed PAT framework can be recommended as an effective method to support the decision-making of inexperienced users and play an important role in promoting green building certification.

Tools and Techniques in Risk Assessment in Public Risk Management Organisations

Risk assessment and the knowledge provided through this process is a crucial part of any decision-making process in the management of risks and uncertainties. Failure in assessment of risks can cause inadequacy in the entire process of risk management, which in turn can lead to failure in achieving organisational objectives as well as having significant damaging consequences on populations affected by the potential risks being assessed. The choice of tools and techniques in risk assessment can influence the degree and scope of decision-making and subsequently the risk response strategy. There are various available qualitative and quantitative tools and techniques that are deployed within the broad process of risk assessment. The sheer diversity of tools and techniques available to practitioners makes it difficult for organisations to consistently employ the most appropriate methods. This tools and techniques adaptation is rendered more difficult in public risk regulation organisations due to the sensitive and complex nature of their activities. This is particularly the case in areas relating to the environment, food, and human health and safety, when organisational goals are tied up with societal, political and individuals’ goals at national and international levels. Hence, recognising, analysing and evaluating different decision support tools and techniques employed in assessing risks in public risk management organisations was considered. This research is part of a mixed method study which aimed to examine the perception of risk assessment and the extent to which organisations practise risk assessment’ tools and techniques. The study adopted a semi-structured questionnaire with qualitative and quantitative data analysis to include a range of public risk regulation organisations from the UK, Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The results indicated the public risk management organisations mainly use diverse tools and techniques in the risk assessment process. The primary hazard analysis; brainstorming; hazard analysis and critical control points were described as the most practiced risk identification techniques. Within qualitative and quantitative risk analysis, the participants named the expert judgement, risk probability and impact assessment, sensitivity analysis and data gathering and representation as the most practised techniques.

Assessment of Socio-Cultural Sustainability: A Comparative Analysis of Two Neighborhoods in Kolkata Metropolitan Area
To transform a space into a better livable and sustainable zone, United Nations Summit in New York 2015, has decided upon 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) that approach directly to achieve inclusive, people-centric, sustainable developments. Though sustainability has been majorly constructed by four pillars, namely, Ecological, Economic, Social and Cultural, but it is essentially reduced to economic and ecological consideration in the context of developing countries. Therefore, in most cases planning has reduced its ambit to concentrate around the tangible infrastructure, ignoring the fundamentals of socio-cultural heritage. With the accentuating hype of infrastructural augmentation, lack of emphasis of traditional concerns like ethnicity and social connection have further diluted the situation, disintegrating cultural continuity. As cultural continuity lacks its cohesion, it’s growing absence increasingly acts as a catalyst to degrade the heritage structures, spaces around and linking these structures, and the ability of stakeholders in identifying themselves rooted in that particular space. Hence, this paper will argue that sustainability depends on the people and their interaction with their surroundings, their culture and livelihood. The interaction between people and their surroundings strengthen community building and social interaction that abides by stakeholders reverting back to their roots. To assess the socio-cultural sustainability of the city of Kolkata, two study areas are selected, namely, an old settlement from the northern part of the city of Kolkata (KMA), imbued with social connection, age-old cultural and ethnic bonding and, another cluster of new high-rises coming up in the Newtown area having portions of planned city extension on the eastern side of the city itself. Whereas, Newtown prioritizes the surging post-industrial trends of economic aspiration and ecological aspects of urban sustainability; the former settlements of northern Kolkata still continue to represent the earliest community settlement of the British-colonial-cum native era and even the pre-colonial era, permeated with socio-cultural reciprocation. Thus, to compare and assess the inlayed organizational structure of both the spaces in the two cases, selected areas have been surveyed to portray their current imageability. The argument of this paper is structured in 5parts. First, an introduction of the idea has been forwarded, Secondly, a literature review has been conducted to ground the proposed ideas, Thirdly, methodology has been discussed and appropriate case study areas have been selected, Fourthly, surveys and analyses has been forwarded and lastly, the paper has arrived at a set of conclusions by suggesting a threefold development to create happy, healthy and sustainable community.
A Holistic Conceptual Measurement Framework for Assessing the Effectiveness and Viability of an Academic Program
In today’s very competitive higher education industry (HEI), HEIs are faced with the primary concern of developing, deploying, and sustaining high quality academic programs. Today, the HEI has well-established accreditation systems endorsed by a country’s legislation and institutions. The accreditation system is an educational pathway focused on the criteria and processes for evaluating educational programs. Although many aspects of the accreditation process highlight both the past and the present (prove), the “program review” assessment is "forward-looking assessment" (improve) and thus transforms the process into a continuing assessment activity rather than a periodic event. The purpose of this study is to propose a conceptual measurement framework for program review to be used by HEIs to undertake a robust and targeted approach to proactively and continuously review their academic programs to evaluate its practicality and effectiveness as well as to improve the education of the students. The proposed framework consists of two main components: program review principles and the program review measurement matrix.
Influence of a High-Resolution Land Cover Classification on Air Quality Modelling
Poor air quality is one of the main environmental causes of premature deaths worldwide, and mainly in cities, where the majority of the population lives. It is a consequence of successive land cover (LC) and use changes, as a result of the intensification of human activities. Knowing these landscape modifications in a comprehensive spatiotemporal dimension is, therefore, essential for understanding variations in air pollutant concentrations. In this sense, the use of air quality models is very useful to simulate the physical and chemical processes that affect the dispersion and reaction of chemical species into the atmosphere. However, the modelling performance should always be evaluated since the resolution of the input datasets largely dictates the reliability of the air quality outcomes. Among these data, the updated LC is an important parameter to be considered in atmospheric models, since it takes into account the Earth’s surface changes due to natural and anthropic actions, and regulates the exchanges of fluxes (emissions, heat, moisture, etc.) between the soil and the air. This work aims to evaluate the performance of the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry (WRF-Chem), when different LC classifications are used as an input. The influence of two LC classifications was tested: i) the 24-classes USGS (United States Geological Survey) LC database included by default in the model, and the ii) CLC (Corine Land Cover) and specific high-resolution LC data for Portugal, reclassified according to the new USGS nomenclature (33-classes). Two distinct WRF-Chem simulations were carried out to assess the influence of the LC on air quality over Europe and Portugal, as a case study, for the year 2015, using the nesting technique over three simulation domains (25 km2, 5 km2 and 1 km2 horizontal resolution). Based on the 33-classes LC approach, particular emphasis was attributed to Portugal, given the detail and higher LC spatial resolution (100 m x 100 m) than the CLC data (5000 m x 5000 m). As regards to the air quality, only the LC impacts on tropospheric ozone concentrations were evaluated, because ozone pollution episodes typically occur in Portugal, in particular during the spring/summer, and there are few research works relating to this pollutant with LC changes. The WRF-Chem results were validated by season and station typology using background measurements from the Portuguese air quality monitoring network. As expected, a better model performance was achieved in rural stations: moderate correlation (0.4 – 0.7), BIAS (10 – 21µg.m-3) and RMSE (20 – 30 µg.m-3), and where higher average ozone concentrations were estimated. Comparing both simulations, small differences grounded on the Leaf Area Index and air temperature values were found, although the high-resolution LC approach shows a slight enhancement in the model evaluation. This highlights the role of the LC on the exchange of atmospheric fluxes, and stresses the need to consider a high-resolution LC characterization combined with other detailed model inputs, such as the emission inventory, to improve air quality assessment.
Applying Resilience Engineering to improve Safety Management in a Construction Site: Design and Validation of a Questionnaire

Resilience Engineering is a new paradigm of safety management that proposes to change the way of managing the safety to focus on the things that go well instead of the things that go wrong. Many complex and high-risk sectors such as air traffic control, health care, nuclear power plants, railways or emergencies, have applied this new vision of safety and have obtained very positive results. In the construction sector, safety management continues to be a problem as indicated by the statistics of occupational injuries worldwide. Therefore, it is important to improve safety management in this sector. For this reason, it is proposed to apply Resilience Engineering to the construction sector. The Construction Phase Health and Safety Plan emerges as a key element for the planning of safety management. One of the key tools of Resilience Engineering is the Resilience Assessment Grid that allows measuring the four essential abilities (respond, monitor, learn and anticipate) for resilient performance. The purpose of this paper is to develop a questionnaire based on the Resilience Assessment Grid, specifically on the ability to learn, to assess whether a Construction Phase Health and Safety Plans helps companies in a construction site to implement this ability. The research process was divided into four stages: (i) initial design of a questionnaire, (ii) validation of the content of the questionnaire, (iii) redesign of the questionnaire and (iii) application of the Delphi method. The questionnaire obtained could be used as a tool to help construction companies to evolve from Safety-I to Safety-II. In this way, companies could begin to develop the ability to learn, which will serve as a basis for the development of the other abilities necessary for resilient performance. The following steps in this research are intended to develop other questions that allow evaluating the rest of abilities for resilient performance such as monitoring, learning and anticipating.

Safety Assessment of Traditional Ready-to-Eat Meat Products Vended at Retail Outlets in Kebbi and Sokoto States, Nigeria

Food safety is a significant and growing public health problem in the world and Nigeria as a developing country, since food-borne diseases are important contributors to the huge burden of sickness and death of humans. In Nigeria, traditional ready-to-eat meat products (RTE-MPs) like balangu, tsire, guru and dried meat products like kilishi, dambun nama, banda, were reported to be highly appreciated because of their eating qualities. The consumption of these products was considered as safe due to the treatments that are usually involved during their production process. However, during processing and handling, the products could be contaminated by pathogens that could cause food poisoning. Therefore, a hazard identification for pathogenic bacteria on some traditional RTE-MPs was conducted in Kebbi and Sokoto States, Nigeria. A total of 116 RTE-MPs (balangu-38, kilishi-39 and tsire-39) samples were obtained from retail outlets and analyzed using standard cultural microbiological procedures in general and selective enrichment media to isolate the target pathogens. A six-fold serial dilution was prepared and using the pour plating method, colonies were counted. Serial dilutions were selected based on the prepared pre-labeled Petri dishes for each sample. A volume of 10-12 ml of molten Nutrient agar cooled to 42-45°C was poured into each Petri dish and 1 ml each from dilutions of 102, 104 and 106 for every sample was respectively poured on a pre-labeled Petri plate after which colonies were counted. The isolated pathogens were identified and confirmed after series of biochemical tests. Frequencies and percentages were used to describe the presence of pathogens. The General Linear Model was used to analyze data on pathogen presence according to RTE-MPs and means were separated using the Tukey test at 0.05 confidence level. Of the 116 RTE-MPs samples collected, 35 (30.17%) samples were found to be contaminated with some tested pathogens. Prevalence results showed that Escherichia coli, salmonella and Staphylococcus aureus were present in the samples. Mean total bacterial count was 23.82×106 cfu/g. The frequency of individual pathogens isolated was; Staphylococcus aureus 18 (15.51%), Escherichia coli 12 (10.34%) and Salmonella 5 (4.31%). Also, among the RTE-MPs tested, the total bacterial counts were found to differ significantly (P < 0.05), with 1.81, 2.41 and 2.9×104 cfu/g for tsire, kilishi, and balangu, respectively. The study concluded that the presence of pathogenic bacteria in balangu could pose grave health risks to consumers, and hence, recommended good manufacturing practices in the production of balangu to improve the products’ safety.

Psychometric Examination of the QUEST-25: An Online Assessment of Intellectual Curiosity and Scientific Epistemology

The current study reports an examination of the QUEST-25 (Q-Assessment of Undergraduate Epistemology and Scientific Thinking) online version for assessing the dispositional attitudes toward scientific thinking and intellectual curiosity among undergraduate students. The QUEST-25 consists of scientific thinking (SIQ-25) and intellectual curiosity (ICIQ-25), which were correlated in hypothesized directions with the Religious Commitment Inventory, Curiosity and Exploration Inventory, Belief in Science scale, and measures of academic self-efficacy. Additionally, concurrent validity was established by the resulting significant differences between those identifying the centrality of religious belief in their lives and those who do not self-identify as being guided daily by religious beliefs. This study demonstrates the utility of the QUEST-25 for research, evaluation, and theory development.

Holistic Simulation-Based Impact Analysis Framework for Sustainable Manufacturing

The emerging approaches to sustainable manufacturing are considered to be solution-oriented with the aim of addressing the environmental, economic and social issues holistically. However, the analysis of the interdependencies amongst the three sustainability dimensions has not been fully captured in the literature. In a recent review of approaches to sustainable manufacturing, two categories of techniques are identified: 1) Sustainable Product Development (SPD), and 2) Sustainability Performance Assessment (SPA) techniques. The challenges of the approaches are not only related to the arguments and misconceptions of the relationships between the techniques and sustainable development but also to the inability to capture and integrate the three sustainability dimensions. This requires a clear definition of some of the approaches and a road-map to the development of a holistic approach that supports sustainability decision-making. In this context, eco-innovation, social impact assessment, and life cycle sustainability analysis play an important role. This paper deployed an integrative approach that enabled amalgamation of sustainable manufacturing approaches and the theories of reciprocity and motivation into a holistic simulation-based impact analysis framework. The findings in this research have the potential to guide sustainability analysts to capture the aspects of the three sustainability dimensions into an analytical model. Additionally, the research findings presented can aid the construction of a holistic simulation model of a sustainable manufacturing and support effective decision-making.

Valorization of Residues from Forest Industry for the Generation of Energy

The use of biomass to produce renewable energy is one of the forms that can be used to reduce the impact of energy production. Like any other energy resource, there are limitations for biomass use, and it must compete not only with fossil fuels but also with other renewable energy sources such as solar or wind energy. Combustion is currently the most efficient and widely used waste-to-energy process, in the areas where direct use of biomass is possible, without the need to make large transfers of raw material. Many industrial facilities can use agricultural or forestry waste, straw, chips, bagasse, etc. in their thermal systems without making major transformations or adjustments in the feeding to the ovens, making this waste an attractive and cost-effective option in terms of availability, access, and costs. In spite of the facilities and benefits, the environmental reasons (emission of gases and particulate material) are decisive for its use for energy purpose. This paper describes a valorization of residues from forest industry to generate energy, using a case study.

Using the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 and Mini Mental State Examination-2 in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Case Studies

From a psychological perspective, psychopathology is the area of clinical psychology that has at its core psychological assessment and psychotherapy. In day-to-day clinical practice, psychodiagnosis and psychotherapy are used independently, according to their intended purpose and their specific methods of application. The paper explores how the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2) and Mini Mental State Examination-2 (MMSE-2) psychological tools contribute to enhancing the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral psychotherapy (CBT). This combined approach, psychotherapy in conjunction with assessment of personality and cognitive functions, is illustrated by two cases, a severe depressive episode with psychotic symptoms and a mixed anxiety-depressive disorder. The order in which CBT, MMPI-2, and MMSE-2 were used in the diagnostic and therapeutic process was determined by the particularities of each case. In the first case, the sequence started with psychotherapy, followed by the administration of blue form MMSE-2, MMPI-2, and red form MMSE-2. In the second case, the cognitive screening with blue form MMSE-2 led to a personality assessment using MMPI-2, followed by red form MMSE-2; reapplication of the MMPI-2 due to the invalidation of the first profile, and finally, psychotherapy. The MMPI-2 protocols gathered useful information that directed the steps of therapeutic intervention: a detailed symptom picture of potentially self-destructive thoughts and behaviors otherwise undetected during the interview. The memory loss and poor concentration were confirmed by MMSE-2 cognitive screening. This combined approach, psychotherapy with psychological assessment, aligns with the trend of adaptation of the psychological services to the everyday life of contemporary man and paves the way for deepening and developing the field.

Study on Practice of Improving Water Quality in Urban Rivers by Diverting Clean Water

With rapid development of industrialization and urbanization, water environmental deterioration is widespread in majority of urban rivers, which seriously affects city image and life satisfaction of residents. As an emergency measure to improve water quality, clean water diversion is introduced for water environmental management. Lubao River and Southwest River, two urban rivers in typical plain tidal river network, are identified as technically and economically feasible for the application of clean water diversion. One-dimensional hydrodynamic-water quality model is developed to simulate temporal and spatial variations of water level and water quality, with satisfactory accuracy. The mathematical model after calibration is applied to investigate hydrodynamic and water quality variations in rivers as well as determine the optimum operation scheme of water diversion. Assessment system is developed for evaluation of positive and negative effects of water diversion, demonstrating the effectiveness of clean water diversion and the necessity of pollution reduction.

Quality Function Deployment Application in Sewer Pipeline Assessment

Infrastructure assets are essential in urban cities; their purpose is to facilitate the public needs. As a result, their conditions and states shall always be monitored to avoid any sudden malfunction. Sewer systems, one of the assets, are an essential part of the underground infrastructure as they transfer sewer medium to designated areas. However, their conditions are subject to deterioration due to ageing. Therefore, it is of great significance to assess the conditions of pipelines to avoid sudden collapses. Current practices of sewer pipeline assessment rely on industrial protocols that consider distinct defects and grades to conclude the limited average or peak score of the assessed assets. This research aims to enhance the evaluation by integrating the Quality Function Deployment (QFD) and the Decision-Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory (DEMATEL) methods in assessing the condition of sewer pipelines. The methodology shall study the cause and effect relationship of the systems’ defects to deduce the relative influence weights of each defect. Subsequently, the overall grade is calculated by aggregating the WHAT’s and HOW’s of the House of Quality (HOQ) using the computed relative weights. Thus, this study shall enhance the evaluation of the assets to conclude informative rehabilitation and maintenance plans for decision makers.

Human Factors as the Main Reason of the Accident in Scaffold Use Assessment

Main goal of the research project is Scaffold Use Risk Assessment Model (SURAM) formulation, developed for the assessment of risk levels as a various construction process stages with various work trades. Finally, in 2016, the project received financing by the National Center for Research and development according to PBS3/A2/19/2015–Research Grant. The presented data, calculations and analyzes discussed in this paper were created as a result of the completion on the first and second phase of the PBS3/A2/19/2015 project. Method: One of the arms of the research project is the assessment of worker visual concentration on the sight zones as well as risky visual point inadequate observation. In this part of research, the mobile eye-tracker was used to monitor the worker observation zones. SMI Eye Tracking Glasses is a tool, which allows us to analyze in real time and place where our eyesight is concentrated on and consequently build the map of worker's eyesight concentration during a shift. While the project is still running, currently 64 construction sites have been examined, and more than 600 workers took part in the experiment including monitoring of typical parameters of the work regimen, workload, microclimate, sound vibration, etc. Full equipment can also be useful in more advanced analyses. Because of that technology we have verified not only main focus of workers eyes during work on or next to scaffolding, but we have also examined which changes in the surrounding environment during their shift influenced their concentration. In the result of this study it has been proven that only up to 45.75% of the shift time, workers’ eye concentration was on one of three work-related areas. Workers seem to be distracted by noisy vehicles or people nearby. In opposite to our initial assumptions and other authors’ findings, we observed that the reflective parts of the scaffoldings were not more recognized by workers in their direct workplaces. We have noticed that the red curbs were the only well recognized part on a very few scaffoldings. Surprisingly on numbers of samples, we have not recognized any significant number of concentrations on those curbs. Conclusion: We have found the eye-tracking method useful for the construction of the SURAM model in the risk perception and worker’s behavior sub-modules. We also have found that the initial worker's stress and work visual conditions seem to be more predictive for assessment of the risky developing situation or an accident than other parameters relating to a work environment.

Comprehensive Risk Assessment Model in Agile Construction Environment

The article focuses on a developed comprehensive model to be used in an agile environment for the risk assessment and selection based on multi-attribute methods. The model is based on a multi-attribute evaluation of risk in construction, and the determination of their optimality criterion values are calculated using complex Multiple Criteria Decision-Making methods. The model may be further applied to risk assessment in an agile construction environment. The attributes of risk in a construction project are selected by applying the risk assessment condition to the construction sector, and the construction process efficiency in the construction industry accounts for the agile environment. The paper presents the comprehensive risk assessment model in an agile construction environment. It provides a background and a description of the proposed model and the developed analysis of the comprehensive risk assessment model in an agile construction environment with the criteria.

Development of Active Learning Calculus Course for Biomedical Program

The paper reviews design and implementation of a Calculus Course required for the Biomedical Competency Based Program developed as a joint project between The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and the University of Texas’ Institute for Transformational Learning, from the theoretical perspective as presented in scholarly work on active learning, formative assessment, and on-line teaching. Following a four stage curriculum development process (objective, content, delivery, and assessment), and theoretical recommendations that guarantee effectiveness and efficiency of assessment in active learning, we discuss the practical recommendations on how to incorporate a strong formative assessment component to address disciplines’ needs, and students’ major needs. In design and implementation of this project, we used Constructivism and Stage-by-Stage Development of Mental Actions Theory recommendations.

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