Understanding the Programming Techniques Using a Complex Case Study to Teach Advanced Object-Oriented Programming

Teaching Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) as part of a Computing-related university degree is a very difficult task; the road to ensuring that students are actually learning object oriented concepts is unclear, as students often find it difficult to understand the concept of objects and their behavior. This problem is especially obvious in advanced programming modules where Design Pattern and advanced programming features such as Multi-threading and animated GUI are introduced. Looking at the students’ performance at their final year on a university course, it was obvious that the level of students’ understanding of OOP varies to a high degree from one student to another. Students who aim at the production of Games do very well in the advanced programming module. However, the students’ assessment results of the last few years were relatively low; for example, in 2016-2017, the first quartile of marks were as low as 24.5 and the third quartile was 63.5. It is obvious that many students were not confident or competent enough in their programming skills. In this paper, the reasons behind poor performance in Advanced OOP modules are investigated, and a suggested practice for teaching OOP based on a complex case study is described and evaluated.

Exploring Students’ Self-Evaluation on Their Learning Outcomes through an Integrated Cumulative Grade Point Average Reporting Mechanism

An Integrated Cumulative Grade Point Average (iCGPA) is a mechanism and strategy to ensure the curriculum of an academic programme is constructively aligned to the expected learning outcomes and student performance based on the attainment of those learning outcomes that is reported objectively in a spider web. Much effort and time has been spent to develop a viable mechanism and trains academics to utilize the platform for reporting. The question is: How well do learners conceive the idea of their achievement via iCGPA and whether quality learner attributes have been nurtured through the iCGPA mechanism? This paper presents the architecture of an integrated CGPA mechanism purported to address a holistic evaluation from the evaluation of courses learning outcomes to aligned programme learning outcomes attainment. The paper then discusses the students’ understanding of the mechanism and evaluation of their achievement from the generated spider web. A set of questionnaires were distributed to a group of students with iCGPA reporting and frequency analysis was used to compare the perspectives of students on their performance. In addition, the questionnaire also explored how they conceive the idea of an integrated, holistic reporting and how it generates their motivation to improve. The iCGPA group was found to be receptive to what they have achieved throughout their study period. They agreed that the achievement level generated from their spider web allows them to develop intervention and enhance the programme learning outcomes before they graduate.

The Role of Blended Modality in Enhancing Active Learning Strategies in Higher Education: A Case Study of a Hybrid Course of Oral Production and Listening of French

Learning oral skills in an Arabic speaking environment is challenging. A blended course (material, activities, and individual/ group work tasks …) was implemented in a module of level B1 for undergraduate students of French as a foreign language in order to increase their opportunities to practice listening and speaking skills. This research investigates the influence of this modality on enhancing active learning and examines the effectiveness of provided strategies. Moreover, it aims at discovering how it allows teacher to flip the traditional classroom and create a learner-centered framework. Which approaches were integrated to motivate students and urge them to search, analyze, criticize, create and accomplish projects? What was the perception of students? This paper is based on the qualitative findings of a questionnaire and a focus group interview with learners. Despite the doubled time and effort both “teacher” and “student” needed, results revealed that the NTIC allowed a shift into a learning paradigm where learners were the “chiefs” of the process. Tasks and collaborative projects required higher intellectual capacities from them. Learners appreciated this experience and developed new life-long learning competencies at many levels: social, affective, ethical and cognitive. To conclude, they defined themselves as motivated young researchers, motivators and critical thinkers.

Complementing Assessment Processes with Standardized Tests: A Work in Progress

ABET accredited programs must assess the development of student learning outcomes (SOs) in engineering programs. Different institutions implement different strategies for this assessment, and they are usually designed “in house.” This paper presents a proposal for including standardized tests to complement the ABET assessment model in an engineering college made up of six distinct engineering programs. The engineering college formulated a model of quality assurance in education to be implemented throughout the six engineering programs to regularly assess and evaluate the achievement of SOs in each program offered. The model uses diverse techniques and sources of data to assess student performance and to implement actions of improvement based on the results of this assessment. The model is called “Assessment Process Model” and it includes SOs A through K, as defined by ABET. SOs can be divided into two categories: “hard skills” and “professional skills” (soft skills). The first includes abilities, such as: applying knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering and designing and conducting experiments, as well as analyzing and interpreting data. The second category, “professional skills”, includes communicating effectively, and understanding professional and ethnical responsibility. Within the Assessment Process Model, various tools were used to assess SOs, related to both “hard” as well as “soft” skills. The assessment tools designed included: rubrics, surveys, questionnaires, and portfolios. In addition to these instruments, the Engineering College decided to use tools that systematically gather consistent quantitative data. For this reason, an in-house exam was designed and implemented, based on the curriculum of each program. Even though this exam was administered during various academic periods, it is not currently considered standardized. In 2017, the Engineering College included three standardized tests: one to assess mathematical and scientific reasoning and two more to assess reading and writing abilities. With these exams, the college hopes to obtain complementary information that can help better measure the development of both hard and soft skills of students in the different engineering programs. In the first semester of 2017, the three exams were given to three sample groups of students from the six different engineering programs. Students in the sample groups were either from the first, fifth, and tenth semester cohorts. At the time of submission of this paper, the engineering college has descriptive statistical data and is working with various statisticians to have a more in-depth and detailed analysis of the sample group of students’ achievement on the three exams. The overall objective of including standardized exams in the assessment model is to identify more precisely the least developed SOs in order to define and implement educational strategies necessary for students to achieve them in each engineering program.

Porul: Option Generation and Selection and Scoring Algorithms for a Tamil Flash Card Game

Games can be the excellent tools for teaching a language. There are few e-learning games in Indian languages like word scrabble, cross word, quiz games etc., which were developed mainly for educational purposes. This paper proposes a Tamil word game called, “Porul”, which focuses on education as well as on players’ thinking and decision-making skills. Porul is a multiple choice based quiz game, in which the players attempt to answer questions correctly from the given multiple options that are generated using a unique algorithm called the Option Selection algorithm which explores the semantics of the question in various dimensions namely, synonym, rhyme and Universal Networking Language semantic category. This kind of semantic exploration of the question not only increases the complexity of the game but also makes it more interesting. The paper also proposes a Scoring Algorithm which allots a score based on the popularity score of the question word. The proposed game has been tested using 20,000 Tamil words.

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

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.

The Influence of Project-Based Learning and Outcome-Based Education: Interior Design Tertiary Students in Focus

Technology has been developed dramatically in most of the educational disciplines. For instance, digital rendering subject, which is being taught in both Interior and Architecture fields, is witnessing almost annually updated software versions. A lot of students and educators argued that there will be no need for manual rendering techniques to be learned. Therefore, the Interior Design Visual Presentation 1 course (ID133) has been chosen from the first level of the Interior Design (ID) undergraduate program, as it has been taught for six years continually. This time frame will facilitate sound observation and critical analysis of the use of appropriate teaching methodologies. Furthermore, the researcher believes in the high value of the manual rendering techniques. The course objectives are: to define the basic visual rendering principles, to recall theories and uses of various types of colours and hatches, to raise the learners’ awareness of the value of studying manual render techniques, and to prepare them to present their work professionally. The students are female Arab learners aged between 17 and 20. At the outset of the course, the majority of them demonstrated negative attitude, lacking both motivation and confidence in manual rendering skills. This paper is a reflective appraisal of deploying two student-centred teaching pedagogies which are: Project-based learning (PBL) and Outcome-based education (OBE) on ID133 students. This research aims of developing some teaching strategies to enhance the quality of teaching in this given course over an academic semester. The outcome of this research emphasized the positive influence of applying such educational methods on improving the quality of students’ manual rendering skills in terms of: materials, textiles, textures, lighting, and shade and shadow. Furthermore, it greatly motivated the students and raised the awareness of the importance of learning the manual rendering techniques.

The Emotional Life of Patients with Chronic Diseases: A Framework for Health Promotion Strategies

Being a patient with a chronic disease is both a physical and emotional experience. The ability to recognize a patient’s emotional health is an important part of a health care provider’s skills. For the purposes of this paper, emotional health is viewed as the way that we feel, and the way that our feelings affect us. Understanding the patient’s emotional health leads to improved provider-patient relationships and health outcomes. For example, when a patient first hears his or her diagnosis from a provider, they might find it difficult to cope with their emotions. Struggling to cope with emotions interferes with the patient’s ability to read, understand, and act on health information and services. As a result, the patient becomes more frustrated and confused, creating barriers to accessing healthcare services. These barriers are challenging for both the patient and their healthcare providers. There are five basic emotions that are part of who we are and are always with us: fear, anger, sadness, joy, and compassion. Living with a chronic disease however can cause a patient to experience and express these emotions in new and unique ways. Within the provider-patient relationship, there needs to be an understanding that each patient experiences these five emotions and, experiences them at different times. In response to this need, the paper highlights a health promotion framework for patients with chronic disease. This framework emphasizes the emotional health of patients.

Business Skills Laboratory in Action: Combining a Practice Enterprise Model and an ERP-Simulation to a Comprehensive Business Learning Environment

Business education has been criticized for being too theoretical and distant from business life. Different types of experiential learning environments ranging from manual role-play to computer simulations and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems have been used to introduce the realistic and practical experience into business learning. Each of these learning environments approaches business learning from a different perspective. The implementations tend to be individual exercises supplementing the traditional courses. We suggest combining them into a business skills laboratory resembling an actual workplace. In this paper, we present a concrete implementation of an ERP-supported business learning environment that is used throughout the first year undergraduate business curriculum. We validate the implementation by evaluating the learning outcomes through the different domains of Bloom’s taxonomy. We use the role-play oriented practice enterprise model as a comparison group. Our findings indicate that using the ERP simulation improves the poor and average students’ lower-level cognitive learning. On the affective domain, the ERP-simulation appears to enhance motivation to learn as well as perceived acquisition of practical hands-on skills.

Robot Technology Impact on Dyslexic Students’ English Learning

Involving students in English language learning process and achieving an adequate English language proficiency in the target language can be a great challenge for both teachers and students. This can prove even a far greater challenge to engage students with special needs (Dyslexia) if they have physical impairment and inadequate mastery of basic communicative language competence/proficiency in the target language. From this perspective, technology like robots can probably be used to enhance learning process for the special needs students who have extensive communication needs, who face continuous struggle to interact with their peers and teachers and meet academic requirements. Robots, precisely NAO, can probably provide them with the perfect opportunity to practice social and communication skills, and meet their English academic requirements. This research paper aims to identify to what extent robots can be used to improve students’ social interaction and communication skills and to understand the potential for robotics-based education in motivating and engaging UAEU dyslexic students to meet university requirements. To reach this end, the paper will explore several factors that come into play – Motion Level-involving cognitive activities, Interaction Level-involving language processing, Behavior Level -establishing a close relationship with the robot and Appraisal Level- focusing on dyslexia students’ achievement in the target language.

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

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.

An Electronic and Performance Test for the Applicants to Faculty of Education for Early Childhood in Egypt for Measuring the Skills of Teacher Students

The current study presents an electronic test to measure teaching skills. This test is a part of the admission system of the Faculty of Education for Early Childhood, Cairo University. The test has been prepared to evaluate university students who apply for admission the Faculty. It measures some social and physiological skills which are important for successful teachers, such as emotional adjustment and problem solving; moreover, the extent of their love for children and their capability to interact with them. The test has been approved by 13 experts. Finally, it has been introduced to 1,100 students during the admission system of the academic year 2016/2017. The results showed that most of the applicants have an auditory learning style. In addition, 97% of them have the minimum requirement skills for teaching children.

Nurses’ Views on ‘Effective Nurse Leader’ Characteristics in Iraq

This research explored ward nurses’ views about the characteristics of effective nurse leaders in the context of Iraq as a developing country, where the delivery of health care continues to face disruption and change. It is well established that the provision of modern health care requires effective nurse leaders, but in countries such as Iraq the lack of effective nurse leaders is noted as a major challenge. In a descriptive quantitative study, a survey questionnaire was administered to 210 ward nurses working in two public hospitals in a major city in the north of Iraq. The participating nurses were of the opinion that the effectiveness of their nurse leaders was evident in their ability to demonstrate: good clinical knowledge, effective communication and managerial skills. They also viewed their leaders as needing to hold high-level nursing qualifications, though this was not necessarily the case in practice. Additionally, they viewed nurse leaders’ personal qualities as important, which included politeness, ethical behaviour, and trustworthiness. When considered against the issues raised in interviews with a smaller group (20) of senior nurse leaders, representative of the various occupational levels, implications identify the need for professional development that focuses on how the underpinning competencies relate to leadership and how transformational leadership is evidenced in practice.

High School Stem Curriculum and Example of Laboratory Work That Shows How Microcomputers Can Help in Understanding of Physical Concepts

We are witnessing the rapid development of technologies that change the world around us. However, curriculums and teaching processes are often slow to adapt to the change; it takes time, money and expertise to implement technology in the classroom. Therefore, the University of Split, Croatia, partnered with local school Marko Marulić High School and created the project "Modern competence in modern high schools" as part of which five different curriculums for STEM areas were developed. One of the curriculums involves combining information technology with physics. The main idea was to teach students how to use different circuits and microcomputers to explore nature and physical phenomena. As a result, using electrical circuits, students are able to recreate in the classroom the phenomena that they observe every day in their environment. So far, high school students had very little opportunity to perform experiments independently, and especially, those physics experiment did not involve ICT. Therefore, this project has a great importance, because the students will finally get a chance to develop themselves in accordance to modern technologies. This paper presents some new methods of teaching physics that will help students to develop experimental skills through the study of deterministic nature of physical laws. Students will learn how to formulate hypotheses, model physical problems using the electronic circuits and evaluate their results. While doing that, they will also acquire useful problem solving skills.

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

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

Implementation of Student-Centered Learning Approach in Building Surveying Course

The curriculum of architecture department in Prince Sultan University includes ‘Building Surveying’ course which is usually a part of civil engineering courses. As a fundamental requirement of the course, it requires a strong background in mathematics and physics, which are not usually preferred subjects to the architecture students and many of them are not giving the required and necessary attention to these courses during their preparation year before commencing their architectural study. This paper introduces the concept and the methodology of the student-centered learning approach in the course of building surveying for architects. One of the major outcomes is the improvement in the students’ involvement in the course and how this will cover and strength their analytical weak points and improve their mathematical skills. The study is conducted through three semesters with a total number of 99 students. The effectiveness of the student-centered learning approach is studied using the student survey at the end of each semester and teacher observations. This survey showed great acceptance of the students for these methods. Also, the teachers observed a great improvement in the students’ mathematical abilities and how keener they became in attending the classes which were clearly reflected on the low absence record.

Metal Ship and Robotic Car: A Hands-On Activity to Develop Scientific and Engineering Skills for High School Students

Metal Ship and Robotic Car is one of the hands-on activities in the course, the Fundamental of Engineering that can be divided into three parts. The first part, the metal ships, was made by using engineering drawings, physics and mathematics knowledge. The second part is where the students learned how to construct a robotic car and control it using computer programming. In the last part, the students had to combine the workings of these two objects in the final testing. This aim of study was to investigate the effectiveness of hands-on activity by integrating Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) concepts to develop scientific and engineering skills. The results showed that the majority of students felt this hands-on activity lead to an increased confidence level in the integration of STEM. Moreover, 48% of all students engaged well with the STEM concepts. Students could obtain the knowledge of STEM through hands-on activities with the topics science and mathematics, engineering drawing, engineering workshop and computer programming; most students agree and strongly agree with this learning process. This indicated that the hands-on activity: “Metal Ship and Robotic Car” is a useful tool to integrate each aspect of STEM. Furthermore, hands-on activities positively influence a student’s interest which leads to increased learning achievement and also in developing scientific and engineering skills.

MAGNI Dynamics: A Vision-Based Kinematic and Dynamic Upper-Limb Model for Intelligent Robotic Rehabilitation

This paper presents a home-based robot-rehabilitation instrument, called ”MAGNI Dynamics”, that utilized a vision-based kinematic/dynamic module and an adaptive haptic feedback controller. The system is expected to provide personalized rehabilitation by adjusting its resistive and supportive behavior according to a fuzzy intelligence controller that acts as an inference system, which correlates the user’s performance to different stiffness factors. The vision module uses the Kinect’s skeletal tracking to monitor the user’s effort in an unobtrusive and safe way, by estimating the torque that affects the user’s arm. The system’s torque estimations are justified by capturing electromyographic data from primitive hand motions (Shoulder Abduction and Shoulder Forward Flexion). Moreover, we present and analyze how the Barrett WAM generates a force-field with a haptic controller to support or challenge the users. Experiments show that by shifting the proportional value, that corresponds to different stiffness factors of the haptic path, can potentially help the user to improve his/her motor skills. Finally, potential areas for future research are discussed, that address how a rehabilitation robotic framework may include multisensing data, to improve the user’s recovery process.

Reverse Engineering of Agricultural Machinery: A Key to Food Sufficiency in Nigeria

Agriculture employs about three-quarter of Nigeria's workforce and yet food sufficiency is a challenge in the country. This is largely due to poor and outdated pre-harvest and post-harvest farming practices. The land fallow system is still been practised as fertiliser production in the country is grossly inadequate and expensive. The few available post-harvest processing facilities are faced with ageing and are inefficient. Also, use of modern processing equipment is limited by farmers' lack of fund, adequate capacity to operate and maintain modern farming equipment. This paper, therefore, examines key barriers to agricultural products processing equipment in the country. These barriers include over-dependence on foreign technologies and expertise; poor and inadequate manufacturing infrastructure; and lack of political will by political leaders; lack of funds; and lack of adequate technical skills. This paper, however, sees the increase in the domestic manufacturing of pre-harvest and post-harvest machinery and equipment through reverse engineering approach as a key to food production sufficiency in Nigeria.

Public-Public Partnership and Tourism Development Strategy: The Case of Municipality of Gazi Baba in Macedonia

Tourism development strategies are an important link in the tourism policy that is used to make its management better and easier. A public-public partnership (PUP) is a partnership between two or more public authorities or between a public authority and any non-profit organization with the goal of providing services and facilities or transferring technical skills. The paper presents this kind of partnership between two public authorities in Macedonia, the Municipality of Gazi Baba on one hand, and the University of Goce Delcev on the other. The main idea of this partnership is the development of a tourism strategy for the Municipality of Gazi Baba by the University on one side, and on the other, the construction of a mini park in the court of the University by the Municipality. This paper presents the causes and analyzes the procedures relating to this partnership and the methodology of the tourism development strategy. It contains a relevant literature review related to PUPs and tourism development strategy. The results and benefits of this partnership are presented with figures.