WSEAS CONFERENCES. WSEAS, Unifying the Science

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 Volume 6, 2009
Print ISSN: 1790-1979
E-ISSN: 2224-3410








Issue 1, Volume 6, January 2009

Title of the Paper:  Virtual Laboratory for Study of Synchronous Machine Parameters


Authors: Gabriela Petropol Serb, Ion Petropol Serb, Aurel Campeanu, Anca Petrisor, Sonia Degeratu

Abstract: In the areas of engineering education due to various shortcomings of the traditional laboratories, virtual laboratories have appeared as a potential alternative to traditional laboratories. Every system – mechanical, electrical, biological– can be accurately described by a mathematical model. The models can be applied in practice because the computers allow us to solve it in a numerically way. In this paper, we focus on the theory of the modeling, applied on the areas of electrical machines. Three key problems are discussed in this application: the purpose, the content and the impact of such a laboratory in studying and learning the scientific and engineering principles of electrical machines areas.

Keywords: Virtual laboratory, mathematical model, synchronous machine, Park – Blondel’s equations, d, q reference system, per unit normalization, GUIDE of Matlab

Title of the Paper:  Enhancing Motivation and Satisfaction of Students: Analysis of Quantitative Data in Three Subjects of Industrial Engineering


Authors: Juan A. Marin-Garcia, Monica Martinez Gomez, Jaime Lloret

Abstract: Many lecturers question the necessity to incorporate changes in the methodology of their subjects and the lack of instruments to verify if the changes that these active methodologies have a desirable effect. In this sense, the validation of the JDS adapted to university teaching, allow to fill up this deficiency. Any lecturer that want to know the satisfaction of students with his teaching, have with this tool a robust procedure that can complement or clarify the information that arrives by the student’s surveys or other sources. The model consists of seven scales that measure the characteristics of the job as well as an indicator of the motivate profile of the work (MPS) and six scales of satisfaction with diverse aspects of the job. The scales vary significantly when we compared the data obtained from an experimental group with active methodologies teaching with respect to two control groups with traditional teaching. The adapted version of JDS scales has suitable values of internal consistency. Only the models hypothesized with correlated factors, display accepted values respect to the reliability of construct and the variance extracted and also the best values of goodness-of-fit indicators.

Keywords: Teamwork methodologies, student perceptions, engineering students

Title of the Paper:  Using Multimedia Activities for Homework and in-Class Exercises to Improve the Results of University Students


Authors: Jaime Lloret, Miguel Garcia, Diana Bri, Hugo Coll

Abstract: A regular subject of a degree course can be split into 4 main parts: Lecturing classes, hands-on skills, homework exercises and in-class exercises. There are many researches on lecturing classes and hands-on skills and, although there are many related with homework and in-class exercises, they are focused on the methodology more than of the type of media used to perform them. Homework and in-class exercises have the objective of the reinforcement of the knowledge learned in lecture classes. Generally, these problems or exercises are presented written in a paper or, sometimes, in an electronic format using a word processor or pdf. Despite of the type of exercise or problems proposed for the students, we suggest the use of multimedia activities as a medium to propose these exercises. In this paper we will show different kind of multimedia activities that can be used for homework and in-class exercises. This classification will allow us to choose the type of multimedia activity depending on the type of knowledge that it is wanted to transfer to the student. These multimedia activities have been used in the subjects “Redes de Area Local” and “Integracion de Redes” that are lectured in the third course of the Telecommunications Technical Engineering in the higher Polytechnic School of Gandia of the Polytechnic University of Valencia. We will show the measurements taken from a questionnaire presented to the students and we will discuss their results obtained. We will also compare the marks of the students in both subjects in the last two course years.

Keywords: Multimedia Activities, Homework, Lecturing classes exercises, TICs for the education

Title of the Paper:  A Study of Virtual Learning Environments


Authors: Diana Bri, Miguel Garcia, Hugo Coll, Jaime Lloret

Abstract: This paper analyzes several features of virtual learning environments. These tools are basic for new models of education because their basic idea is to reduce the number of hours face-to-face in the classroom and to promote remote individual work. This is the main purpose of the new European models given by the Bologna process. Four studies have been made. First of them, shows level of popularity of each environment according number of entrances in two web searchers. From this previous study, we have chosen the most popular environments and we will give the details of their features and main differences between them. We are going analyze existing environments to create online learning communities and so, promoting online learning. Next, we will show a study this type of educational social software. This study involves a questionnaire to some lecturers of our university, Polytechnic University of Valencia. Our analysis presents most important results. Then, we have studied the virtual learning environments used in the Spanish universities. It will show us which of them are more used in Spain. Finally in the last part of the paper, we will show a performance evaluation of the two main environments.

Keywords: LMS, e-learning, Virtual learning environment, educational environments, LCMS, CMS

Issue 2, Volume 6, February 2009

Title of the Paper:  Conception, Elaboration and Characterization of Silica-Zirconia based Nanostructured Optical Fibres Obtained by the Sol-Gel Process


Authors: Brasse Gurvan, Restoin Christine, Auguste Jean-Louis, Roy Philippe, Leparmentier Stephanie, Blondy Jean-Marc

Abstract: This paper presents an original nanostructured optical fibre obtained by the sol-gel process. The studied fibre is composed with zirconia nanocrystals dispersed inside an amorphous silica matrix as core surrounded by a pure silica cladding. The conception and the elaboration of the fibre are described, as well as its structural and optical characterization. A preliminary study of the rheological properties of the initial silica-zirconia sol has been realized to determine the evolution of the sol behaviour as a function of the time .The introduction of ytterbium ions in the core composition is also investigated and the luminescence properties of the fibre are exposed and discussed.

Keywords: Optical fibre, Nanostructure, Sol-Gel, Nanocrystals, Rare-earth ions, Silica-zirconia gel, Luminescence

Title of the Paper:  Advancing Laboratory Education in Control Engineering with Practical Implementation Approaches


Authors: Zhengmao Ye, Habib Mohamadian, Hang Yin, Guoping Zhang, Su-Seng Pang

Abstract: Some practical approaches have been presented successfully, which can be applied for control engineering education. Compared with conventional lecturing and laboratory exercising, instructing outcomes can be improved significantly. Two independent sets of instruments from Feedback Instruments Limited are selected to conduct experiments on a basis of the fundamental control theories. In particular, the 33-110 servo system is selected, consisting of three components: mechanical unit, analogue unit and digital unit. The 150 servo system contains a number of major discrete component units. Both systems can be used to test the fundamental control principles, such as the PID control. Matlab is employed for data analyzing, simulation, plotting and programming. Simulink is also employed to implement numerical simulations for advanced control practices. For practical control problems in real time, such as robotic control and engine control, Labview can be applied considering its merits of the graphical user interface design and block diagram approach. Some typical examples to improve classes at the system and control laboratory are presented, using software or hardware instructing tools such as the Matlab, Simulink and Labview.

Keywords: Engineering Education, Control Laboratories, Control Courses, Matlab, Simulink, Labview

Issue 3, Volume 6, March 2009

Title of the Paper:  Educational Managerial Capital and the Logic of Decentralization: A Statistically - Based Analysis


Authors: Ioan Neacsu, Mihaela Suditu, Catalin Popescu

Abstract: The present study examines the confrontation between the rigor and the flexibility of the school manager when dealing with the needs of the actual troubled context, generated by issues like: hasty decentralization, the illusion of the social participation, economic and financial recession, poorly motivating wages. The answers offered by the authors aim at the stimulation of the field of managerial tactics centred/ based on the increase of the quality of the processes and curricula for the initial and continuous formation, of the decisional style, of the power of the professional action and display, based on competences, values and intelligent projects.

Keywords: Critical context, efficient style, professional motivation, performing curricula

Title of the Paper:  Improvement of Delivery Methods in Teaching Materials Technology


Authors: R. Hamid, K. M. Yusof, S. A. Osman, R. A. O. K. Rahmat

Abstract: Since opting to Outcome Based Education method, the teaching of the subject Material Technology had resorted to problem-based learning method to achieve the outcomes attributed to this course. For the students to attain communication skill and life-long learning, problem-based learning is utilized to replace traditional lectures and laboratory works. Traditionally, lectures are given for 28 hours in a 42-hour per semester course and the rest allocated for laboratory works. In the newly endorsed method, the lecture hours are reduced to 14 hours and the rest is for presentation and seminars by the students. As for laboratory work, instead of doing individual experiment with individual report, the whole laboratory work for the semester is designed as components of a project. The results of the transition are: the students are more interested to attend class especially during presentation sessions where they provide high commitment; for a descriptive-form courses, such as Materials Technology, boring lectures can be made interesting by the students themselves presenting the materials with the lecturer’s guide and as for the laboratory work, no more free riders and lack of understanding the relationship between individual experiment with the problem to be solved. The work load of the students is calculated using the definition of notional credit hour and the new improved delivery method for this course still maintain the three credit allocation.

Keywords: Problem-based learning, traditional method, transition, notional credit hour

Issue 4, Volume 6, April 2009

Title of the Paper:  A Didactical Electronic Project for Graduated Students: Initiation to GPS Localisation and Navigation using a Small-Scale Model Electric Car


Authors: Ph. Dondon, T. Tsing, F. Sandoval

Abstract: In this paper, we explain first some major evolution in the student’s behaviour. Then, we suggest here, an alternating teaching approach to better fit with the new student’s needs: Indeed, far from the theoretical and difficult traditional courses, “learning by project” can be an interesting alternating practical way of teaching. We describe, as example, a GPS navigation project to illustrate this approach. Technical specifications and some design details are given. Finally, we show how Hermann brain modelling and team management tools are helpful to guarantee the success of this pedagogical process.

Keywords: Pedagogical experience, Learning by project, Multi thematic electronic project, GPS navigation

Title of the Paper:  Time Evolution of Degradations in Bituminous Pavements


Authors: Liliana Stelea, Ion Costescu

Abstract: The paper presents the quantitative evolution of 16 types of degradations, which were found and followed on certain road sections, between the years 1996 and 2007. The road sections were chosen to be different from the point of view of the pavement, traffic and climate conditions. Based on the results obtained, the evolution laws of 9 types of degradations were determined.

Keywords: RO-LTPP sections, degradations, evolution laws, EA/Limdep program, prediction relation

Title of the Paper:  Problem Identification Based on Fuzzy Functions


Authors: Sylvia Encheva, Sharil Tumin

Abstract: The creation of knowledge from information can be promoted by proper representations of information which make the inherent logical structure of the information transparent. Since concepts are the basic units of human thought and hence the basic structures of logic, the logical structure of information is based on concepts and concept systems. Methods from the theory of formal concept analysis and frequent set mining are applied for automated extraction of information from students’ responses to preliminary tests about their lack of knowledge or misconception of fundamental terms and skills. Personalized recommendations are suggested to each student once possible difficulties in learning a new subject are detected.

Keywords: Decision support services, uncertainty management

Title of the Paper:  R: A Valuable Tool for Linking High Education and Research


Authors: Gabriel Ibarra-Berastegi, Unai Ganzedo, Jon Saenz, Agustin Ezcurra, Inigo Errasti, Ana Elias, Astrid Barona, Leyre Insausti

Abstract: The use of non-comercial sofware is sometimes disregarded and not properly considerd in all its implications and possibilities for scientific research and higher education. One example is R, is a freely available software which is increasingly being used in a wide range of scientifc fields and adopted by many institutions as a standard. It can be a most valuable tool to bring together the efforts from all the scientific community, ranging from students to senior scientists worldwide. Two examples corresponding to two research groups from the University of the Basque Country (Spain) are shown. The conclusion is that R is an excellent tool to bridge high education and research and may represent a valuable contribution to the advantage of scientific knowledge.

Keywords: High education, research, R, fluid mechanics, applied physics, chemical engineering

Issue 5, Volume 6, May 2009

Title of the Paper:  Bending Stress Measurement System and Procedure for Experimental Training of Undergraduates on Electronics and Measurement Techniques


Authors: Dorina Purcaru, Cornelia Gordan, Ion Purcaru, Marius Niculescu, Victor Proca, Adrian Vintila

Abstract: An accurate training on measurement techniques and measurement system design can be obtained by carrying out real experiments with real electronic components and circuits. The measurement system presented in this paper performs the computer aided study of the bending stress sensor. This experimental system is very useful for engineering undergraduates because they can test the theoretical knowledge about measurement techniques, sensors and transducers, signal conditioning circuits, data acquisition boards, signal processing methods and computers (hardware and software). The bending stress sensor consists of four strain gauges connected in a full-bridge circuit, and it transforms the load or force into measurable voltage change. An instrumentation amplifier and a noise suppression circuit and amplifier are designed for conditioning the output voltage of the bending stress sensor. The computer aided study of this sensor imposes a data acquisition board with a microcontroller, adequate software and a friendly user interface. The procedure for strain gauge sensor study supposes the following four stages: assignation of the measurement points, plotting the transfer characteristic of the force transducer, computing some parameters of the force transducer (zero error, differential sensitivity, relative sensitivity), weighing some objects using the strain gauge sensors. The architecture and design considerations for signal conditioning module and data acquisition board are also presented in this paper.

Keywords: Undergraduates, experimental training, measurement system, bending stress sensor, signal conditioning circuit, data acquisition board, computer, user interface, procedure.

Title of the Paper:  Key Factors Affecting Efficiency of Virtual Mobility – Case Study


Authors: Petra Poulova, Miloslava Cerna, Libuse Svobodova

Abstract: The article acquaints readers with over four-year experience with virtual mobility gained during development of the network of interuniversity study in the Czech Republic. Virtual mobility represents utilization of information and communication technologies to obtain the same benefits as one would have with physical mobility but without the need to travel. The contribution describes two projects based on the issue of virtual mobility. The system of interuniversity study is depicted; special attention is devoted to the efficiency of virtual mobility. The efficiency is in this paper understood as a difference in numbers of students who got enrolled in courses at the beginning of the academic year and those who completed courses successfully at the end of the year. Reasons of the unsuccessful study are explored in detail.

Keywords: Case study, education, eLearning, interuniversity study, study failure, study efficiency, virtual mobility

Title of the Paper:  Universal Access and Universal Design – State of the Art and as Seen by Future Design and Construction Professionals in Greece


Authors: Konstantina Theresia Vozikis, Ioanna Kontzinou

Abstract: Over the last couple of decades, Universal Access and Universal Design have started to become an inseparable aspect in every design and construction project. Unfortunately, this still is not reality if a glance at education of relevant future professionals is taken. In order to reveal the existing situation in planning schools, a survey was carried out in Greece in autumn 2008 in order to interrogate the level of knowledge and understanding of students of design and construction professions as regards matters of accessibility. This paper presents this survey’s results and discusses its outcome. In the end some conclusions are drawn and future perspectives are portrayed.

Keywords: Universal design, accessibility, education, future design professionals, survey, Greece

Issue 6, Volume 6, June 2009

Title of the Paper:  Language Portal Solutions from User's Perspective


Authors: Miloslava Cerna, Petra Poulova

Abstract: The issue of current situation in the field of language portals is described in several stages. In the introductory part the width of the problem is outlined where an aspect of education is highlighted. Theoretical insight into portals provides readers with a number of definitions and explanations of key expressions related to portal solutions; like portal, its services and characteristics. The main part with plentiful subsections deals with usability study on language educational portals. Likewise other case studies it follows the standard research pattern: methodological frame covers usability terms and techniques. The research on the portal usability is built on an empiric observation of ways how common users under common circumstances browse through web pages. Factors influencing user/s behavior like intuitiveness, satisfaction and conventions are emphasized due to their significant role in user/s move in the portal environment. Study itself is preceded by detail description of methodological course in language portal selection. Selection of portals was based on the width and quality of portal facilities and on findings gained within repetitive thematic discussions conducted during 2 years. Ten portals were finally selected: five national and five foreign language portals were tested. User testing was conducted with five participants. The outcome of the testing were reports on portal usability. One portal is described in detail in this contribution, final results and findings are summarized and visualized in graphs so as the complex situation can be seen. Conclusion brings outline of further utilization of gained findings within the research of current trends of educational portal solution development.

Keywords: Case-study, communication channel, internet, information, portal, portal services, usability testing

Title of the Paper:  Secure Processes in Applications Workflow Facilitating Systems for On-line Exams


Authors: Sharil Tumin, Sylvia Encheva

Abstract: By employing basic security applications readily provided by well established cryptographic technologies, workflows in a system for on-line students’ assessments and on-line exams can be done securely. By analyzing data flow between actors in the workflow, secure processes can be implemented using Web, database and cryptographic techniques. The goals of the implementation are to provide system users with data privacy, data authenticity and non-repudiation for different phases in the workflow depending on data sensitivity issues and policies.

Keywords: Student assessments, applications security, multi-tier Web-based application, workflow modeling

Title of the Paper:  Dynamic Characterization of the Power MOSFETs


Authors: Elena Niculescu, Dorina-Mioara Purcaru, Marian Maria, Marius-Cristian Niculescu

Abstract: The paper proposes an easy extraction path of almost static and dynamic parameters of a power MOSFET based on a laboratory technique that requires only one test circuit. Hard switching the power MOSFET on a resistive load, the gate charge, the forward transconductance, the on-state resistance and the switching times, and the intrinsic capacitances are extracted from the waveforms of the gate voltage, drain voltage, and drain current. The extraction procedure for all these parameters of device is described step by step in the paper. A simple test allows students to evaluate the switching performance of a power MOSFET and to teach the difference between MOSFET technologies comparing the Figure of Merit (FOM) index of devices. This test can be repeated for many MOSFETs and IGBTs to compare their overall switching performance and to observe the device behavior for various operating conditions of the device under test (resistive or inductive loads and different supply voltages, and drive gate currents) and it can be used as an education tool in Power Electronics at its basic level.

Keywords: Power MOSFETs, Dynamic Characterization, Figure of Merit

Issue 7, Volume 6, July 2009

Title of the Paper:  Earthquake Engineering Education through Distance Learning using Advanced Synchronous and Asynchronous Technologies


Authors: Amadeo Benavent-Climent

Abstract: Experiments play an essential role in teaching earthquake engineering because the response of the structures is of dynamic nature and students are not usually accustomed to earthquake loads. Fortunately, severe earthquakes have long return periods, thus testing models in a shaking table until collapse is the best way to make the students understand the effects of earthquakes on structures and stimulate their interest on the field. However, testing a structure on a shaking table up to collapse can be dangerous and it is not feasible in the physical presence of a large number of inexperienced students. This paper presents an innovative approach for teaching earthquake engineering, based on an enhanced distance learning system, that uses synchronous ("video streaming") and asynchronous ("e-learning platforms") technologies. An extensive use of online educational tools are proposed to motivate students' participation in dynamic tests and competition for predicting the responses. As an example of implementation, a recent experience at the University of Granada is described. Here, several shaking table tests on two half scale models are combined with numerical simulations aimed at predicting the observed response. Based on this experience, the advantages and practical problems from the perspective of engineering are identified. In closing, several recommendations are made for improving the results of this teaching method.

Keywords: Computer simulation, distance learning, dynamic tests, earthquake engineering, online, model

Title of the Paper:  Optimization of Traffic Signal Coordination System on Congestion: A Case Study


Authors: Mahmood Mahmoodi Nesheli, Othman Che Puan, Arash Moradkhani Roshandeh

Abstract: Signal coordination is perceived by many agencies as an advantageous improvement to the community or corridor in consideration. In many cases, signal coordination techniques have proven to be successful in improving the quality of life and mobility through the area. This study determines the coordination system pattern of traffic signal for four consecutive intersections spaced at 780 m distance. Data for vehicles movement were collected using video camera during morning and evening peak hour with congested conditions. For evaluation of the possible coordination of signalized intersections a simulation model, TRANSYT7F, was used. The results show after coordinating, the amount of delay, travel time, and queue reduce.

Keywords: Congestion, Coordination System, Delay, Intelligent Transportation Systems, Maximum Back of Queue, Travel Time

Title of the Paper:  The Perspectives of the Amateur University Networks – AMUNETs (Part 3)


Authors: Miroslav Skoric

Abstract: This paper discusses results of recent experiments, which intention was to simulate direct and indirect access to a remote amateur radio e-mail server from a chain of amateur radio relay systems (nodes). We based the experiments on publicly available node-networking software, which is compatible with Microsoft Windows and MS DOS / PC DOS operating systems. Nevertheless, a prospective experimenter is also encouraged to perform tests by using Linux operating system and appropriate solutions that come with that OS. In addition to the opportunities for experimenting with repeater programs for personal computers, networking procedures and commands are implemented in non-computer, or so-called 'hardware' types of radio relay devices. This work suggests the readers a couple of basic methods of communication in a wired local area network (LAN) which aim is to give a picture of what the amateur radio networking is about and how it can be practically implemented within an educational computer network.

Keywords: Amateur radio, AMUNET, communication, computer, relay, node, university, education

Issue 8, Volume 6, August 2009

Title of the Paper:  The Challenge of Implementing a Student-Centred Learning Approach in Large Engineering Classes


Authors: Cristina C. Danko, Antonio A. L. S. Duarte

Abstract: The renovation of teaching and learning methodologies, promoted by the onset of the Bologna Declaration, is leading to shifting perceptions of roles and responsibilities of both teachers and students. Particularly in large engineering classes, certain subjects benefit from more active approaches to learning, namely those associated with team work and tutorial practices, rather than traditional lecture/teacher-driven presentations. Project-led education (PLE) and Project/problem-based learning (PBL) are successful student-centred teaching strategies by directing team work towards independent learning. These new approaches transfer the teacher’s role from a mere transmitter of knowledge to that of advisor and facilitator of the learning process, by providing guidance and suggestions designed to encourage students to find their own solutions for proposed problems. This paper describes a methodology for promoting and encouraging independent team work using tutorial techniques for the practical sessions of the Environmental Impact Assessment course (mandatory and elective) included in the Civil Engineering programme at the University of Minho. The authors were faced with a multi-faceted problem: managing and motivating a large class of civil engineering students in a transdisciplinary and non-traditional civil engineering setting. So, they decided to implement a project-based strategy aiming to foster the development and enhancement of student /skills and aptitudes. The learning objectives were well-defined, as well as a set of pre-scheduled tutorial meetings for team work monitoring and assessment. The overall project goal was to conduct a critical analysis of one or more cases concerning environmental impact assessment, in view of the concepts apprehended in lecture and through literature review of pertinent documents and applicable regulations. The students were pleased with the requirement to use and critically analyse procedural documents and regulations, favouring a broader understanding of the subject. The opportunity to study and analyse real cases was referred as a particularly positive aspect of this methodology, which allowed for another learning dimension towards the development of professional competencies. At the end of the semester and upon submitting the final written report, each student was required to conduct a simple exercise of self and peer-assessment. The results of the Teaching/Learning Evaluation institutional survey were used to determine how successful the implementation of the new EIA course design had been, and, overall, both instructors and students considered the implemented methodology to be positive and suitable. The ability to conduct independent work and the freedom to manage their own work schedules were particularly appreciated, especially by students with heavier workloads from other courses. The experience described represents a significant move towards innovative approaches for handling and motivating large engineering classes in a transdisciplinary context, by encouraging active and collaborative learning activities, and by leading with real-world problems.

Keywords: PLE, PBL, team work, large engineering classes, active and collaborative learning, self and peer-assessment, teaching evaluation, tutorial and monitoring meetings

Title of the Paper:  Developing a System View Approach for the Multimedia Communication Systems Course


Authors: Rodica Stoian, Lucian Andrei Perisoara, Radu Florian Pavel, Adrian Victor Raileanu

Abstract: The Multimedia Communication Systems (MCS) course focuses on multimedia data representation and transmission over communications networks. This paper illustrates some pedagogical techniques used to maximize learning results and facilitate creating a mindset that can drive further innovation for this domain. Besides presenting multimedia standards and communication techniques, these methods focus on setting a system view approach, understanding parameters that influence or control the multimedia systems. They also allow determining the handful of concepts that govern the entire field of multimedia compression, formats and network communications based on the Information Theory and Coding paradigms.

Keywords: System Approach, Control and Performance Parameters, Active Learning, Multimedia

Title of the Paper:  Multi-Board (Multimedia-Blackboard) Approach for Engineering Education


Authors: Hilmi Coskun

Abstract: The rapid advances in computers have led to the implementation of advanced computer-based methods and new opportunities for the delivery of instruction in engineering education and practice. It is anticipated that the technology will continually change the way of which instruction is imparted throughout the educational system. This study is based on the assumption that students can better understand the difficult subjects by using animated lessons in addition to instructors’ explanations called here as multi-board approach. Several modules on selected engineering freshmen courses based on perceptional and conceptual difficulties of the students are prepared. The main features of the developed courseware are (i) animated interactive learning materials, (ii) virtual and real video recording of lab experiments, and (iii) a web based learning environment. The courseware was tested and evaluated at different institutions. Student assessments of the instructional materials and the multi-board approach were obtained using quantitative evaluation questionnaires. The initial results indicated that this approach was helpful for learning and teaching.

Keywords: Internet, interactivity, multimedia, modular learning, courseware, visualization

Title of the Paper:  Virtualization as a Teaching Tool for IT-based Courses


Authors: Jiri Vojtesek, Michal Bliznak, Radek Matusu, Tomas Dulik

Abstract: Nowadays, the virtualization technologies are more and more often used in many informatics areas. They are applied for better utilization of existing hardware or software resources, servers’ consolidation and for security reasons as well. This article shows the possibility of the virtualization technology usage also in the academic environment as a support of laboratory exercises of two academic courses. The case study is based on the idea of virtualization of the physical computer for lower costs and security reasons. The VMware products are used nowadays in our university and the article want to show other, especially free, alternatives to this commercial product like VirtualBox, Microsoft Virtual PC, XEN etc. Described approaches and techniques can be applied to many others similar subjects, not only in these two courses.

Keywords: Virtualization, VMware, VirtualBox, XEN, Virtual PC, VNC, NoMachine NX server, Paravirtualization, Operating systems

Issue 9, Volume 6, September 2009

Title of the Paper:  A New Approach Applied to a Thermal Power Plant Controller Using Fuzzy Logic


Authors: Hamid Bentarzi, Rabah Amr Chentir, Nadir Belaidi, Samah Dif, Nikos E.Mastorakis

Abstract: This work presents a new approach for controlling dynamic parameters of thermal power plant using Fuzzy logic. The control strategy is based on supervisor level using Fuzzy logic that is required to determine automatically the optimal process set points of regulations level. A thermal power plant simulator has been developed through the use of Matlab-Simulink. Besides, this paper describes hardware implementation using PLC based DCS.

Keywords: Thermal power plant, Coordinated Control Mode, Optimal Controller, DCS, Fuzzy Logic

Title of the Paper:  One Solution of Web Based Modular System for Distance Learning and Testing


Authors: Zlatko Covic, Biljana Radulovic, Vanja Voskresenski, Kosta Voskresenski

Abstract: This paper presents the research which was conducted at the Polytechnical Engineering College in Subotica. The aim of this research was to collect information from students of their level of usage of e-learning and internet services, to train students to use the existing system and to improve and develop the new modular system for the needs of distance learning. This web system is developed by the use of the following techniques: XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, AJAX, MySQL, XML and Python. XML-RPC web service will be realized to make better communication with the new desktop application and teaching system. The information system will be available at the following web address:

Keywords: Adaptive, php, xml, distance learning, web, internet, self-testing, web service

Title of the Paper:  Perceptions and Expectation Toward Engineering Graduates by Employers: A Malaysian Study Case


Authors: Azami Zaharim, Yuzainee Md Yusoff , Mohd. Zaidi Omar, Azah Mohamed, Norhamidi Muhamad, Ramli Mustapha

Abstract: Rapid and drastic changes in economic growth nowadays are creating higher demands for employability skills in the workforce. Labour market becoming more competitive and depends on quality of knowledge and skills as the globalisation come across in all industry. Employers have high expectations on fresh engineering graduates to perform in their organisation as soon as they are hired. Engineering employability skills are therefore necessary for Malaysia industry to remain competitive in global market. The study investigates the perception of the level of satisfactory on skills owned by engineering graduates in work place, and the expectation of employers on the level of important for each skills required in engineering graduates for future employment. The finding indicates that the majority of those companies employing graduates have been satisfy with the knowledge and skills of the graduates they hired. They expected for new engineers are very important to be equipped with relevant employability skills and abilities. Employers’ perception and expectation play an important role in determining the employability skills needed. Besides, the results provide valuable insight of as they effort towards getting employed with competitive company.

Keywords: Engineering graduates, perception, expectation, employers, and employability skills

Title of the Paper:  Employers Perception towards Engineering Employability Skills In Asia


Authors: Azami Zaharim, Yuzainee Md Yusoff, Mohd. Zaidi Omar, Azah Mohamed, Norhamidi Muhamad, Ramli Mustapha

Abstract: Employers nowadays place main concern on and give emphasis to employability skills in potential engineers which caused a significant increase in unemployment among engineering graduates in Malaysia. There are several discussions and studies on “What types of skills and abilities are needed in the workplace?” How the government and higher education overcomes this rising phenomenon? This study attempts to look into engineering employability skills that have been required for their new engineers by other countries in Asia such as Malaysia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. This paper will put forward a list comprised of the essential skills needed by these four countries, and compare the existing similarities and differences of these enlisted skills. Information was gathered from articles, journals, papers and reports. The findings indicate that these countries have published reports on the necessary frameworks of employability skills to prepare engineering graduates for the employment today and in the future. Overall, the studies suggest that the engineering graduates should acquire a set of generic skills such as communication skills, problem solving and interpersonal skills.

Keywords: Engineering, graduates, employers, employability and generic skills

Title of the Paper:  Daylight Availability and Cooling in Commercial Buildings - The Influence of Facade Design


Authors: Hendrik Voll, Teet-Andrus Koiv

Abstract: The modern design of office buildings shows a tendency to increase the window share per facade to be more impressive with grand visibility and well daylit rooms. An increased window share in general results in an increased use of energy and costs for cooling, but these disadvantages can be reduced with a more careful design. The aim of this paper is to show the influence of window design and room layout on cooling demand and daylight availability in office buildings in Northern Europe. The results in the paper are based on design calculations for two different room types and daylight measurements on two room scale models in a daylight laboratory. Calculations show the influence of window design parameters on the cooling demand. The daylight measurements show the influence of window design parameters on the availability for daylight. The results have then been combined to show feasible window design regarding daylight availability and resulting cooling demand for different window orientations. The results show that, in most cases, it is possible to find a combination of window share and window solar factor that is feasible from daylight as well as cooling point of view. The main finding is that there is a smaller or wider range of feasible design for different window orientations. Here, the product of window share and solar factor is introduced as a guideline to find feasible designs.

Keywords: Commercial buildings, window share, solar factor, cooling demand, daylight

Issue 10, Volume 6, October 2009

Title of the Paper:  Considerations Regarding the Advisability of the Training Modules “Virtual Instrumentation in Science Education” Organized in the Frame of the VccSSe European Project


Authors: Gabriel Gorghiu, Mihai Bizoi, Laura Monica Gorghiu, Ana-Maria Suduc

Abstract: Nowadays, it is an evidence considering the Knowledge Society as a result of advances in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) where people from all over the world have many benefits from the technological progress. In this sense, it is clear that the introduction of ICT in education has changed the traditional way of teaching and learning and forced the teachers and students to adapt their technical abilities and knowledge of ICT. Generally, the ICT support can be retrieved in teacher training programmes, education management and information systems, educational content, distance learning, education policy, media outreach and assistance for equipment and related facilities. But the implementation of ICT in the teaching/learning process mainly conducted to the change of the educational perspectives and instruments. One of the best examples is given by the e-learning technology which promotes modern methods of interaction by using ICTs. E-learning technology is also proposed as an educational technology in many educational projects where initial and in-service teachers are the main actors who work inside different e-platforms. Courses, training modules, tasks and homework, surveys and assessment forms have been proposed together with other solutions that enhance the participation of teachers for working in a collaborative way. In this respect, the three years European Socrates Comenius 2.1 Project “VccSSe - Virtual Community Collaborating Space for Science Education” (128989-CP-1-2006-1-RO-COMENIUS-C21) tried to promote the use of virtual instrumentation and virtual experiments in educational environment, like new and modern teaching methods for the Mathematics and Science teachers. Taking also into consideration that the training sessions were developed using the Moodle course management system, the paper illustrates some considerations related to the training process made in the frame of the mentioned project and other aspects regarding the advisability of the training modules “Virtual Instrumentation in Science Education”, on the basis of the participants’ opinions emphasized in the project web-assessment forms.

Keywords: Virtual experiment, training modules, Sciences education, e-learning, Moodle, virtual interaction, Comenius 2.1 project

Title of the Paper:  Analysis of 1000 Days of Collaborative Activities in Two Multinational Educational Projects


Authors: Mihai Bizoi, Ana-Maria Suduc, Gabriel Gorghiu, Laura-Monica Gorghiu

Abstract: Effective and efficient communication and collaboration is a prerequisite for the success of a project. This paper presents the numerical data which relieve the amount of the collaborative activity developed through collaborative platforms in the frame of two European educational projects during around one thousand days of these projects life-time. The paper extends the research presented in [7] by including the data of the last four months of the two projects considered. The aim of this paper is to show how much a collaborative platform can be used during a three years educational project life-time and what types of project activities requests a more intense use, in terms of quantity, of these platforms. For this evaluation, it is proposed a method which has as basis the processing of the statistical data from the log files generated by the web server which hosts the collaborative platforms.

Keywords: Multinational educational projects, collaborative platforms, activities reports, groupware

Title of the Paper:  Linguistic Clues for Developing Research Questionnaires on English e-learning in Engineering


Authors: Suzana Carmen Cismas

Abstract: Questionnaires investigating foreign language acquisition in engineering via traditional or web-based methods are versatile, allowing the collection of both subjective and objective data through the use of open or closed format questions. Modern computers have only made the task of collecting and extracting valuable material more efficient. Just as well, they have made English learning easier, more interactive and accessible. Therefore we are currently confronted with clear progress and a shift in teacher/student roles, whose impact must be thoroughly investigated in point of effectiveness and possible unwanted side effects. However, a questionnaire is only as good as the questions it contains, and as relevant as its respondents/pools of subjects are. Many standards must be met before a questionnaire can be considered a sound research tool. The majority deal with making the questionnaire understandable and free of bias. Mindful review and testing are necessary to weed out minor mistakes that can generate significant changes in meaning and interpretation. When these guidelines are followed, the questionnaire becomes a powerful and economic evaluation tool. Additionally, when it is designed and applied together with students, it becomes a valuable instrument for developing their research abilities and furthering both their theoretical background and field research skills. The present questionnaire constantly generated data in 1999-2009, a relevant decade in investigating the Romanian learning and labour markets, and is a subsequent implementation of a Leonardo da Vinci program entitled: Recipes for successful e-language teaching, Guidelines for the implementation of effective and dynamic language teaching in ODL environment.

Keywords: Open distance learning, web-based English teaching in engineering, questionnaire, learning market

Title of the Paper:  Application for Measuring the Preferred Learning Style


Authors: Robert Pinter, Sanja Maravic Cisar

Abstract: This project presents some new problems facing the study process in the distant learning system (DLS), and also tries answering the central question: “Why do we need personalized e-learning curricula?”. Web application was developed in order to detect changes in learning styles and measure the level of satisfaction of the students with the presented e-curriculum for C++ programming language. This research would contribute to creating those type of learning objects which will be preferred for each student with different learning style. Also, the data collected from the students can help educators in choosing type of learning activities or in the design of those activities which can suit all types of learner.

Keywords: E-learning, learning style, personalized curriculum, distant learning system, adaptive hypermedia, web based learning

Title of the Paper:  Combining Product Development Methods with Activity Theory to Trigger New Concept Generation


Authors: Denis A. Coelho

Abstract: This paper reviews literature on product development established processes, showing how these emphasize requirements specification as a starting point in new concept generation. Rather than limiting inputs for new concept generation to verbal requirement lists, industrial design students seem to prefer to be stimulated with ideas in context. Activity theory is considered to the benefit of many human activity processes, as the fundamental ground-laying theory on this matter illustrates. A new method that takes as point of departure human activity to search for new product concepts was developed and is presented in this paper. It supports pushing the envelope of creativity beyond the mere upgrade of existing concepts. Systematic design procedures are also used to evaluate and improve the initial concepts and guide their development. Paradigm shift may represent a great opportunity but also a challenge for widespread adoption of new concepts. The proposed method is put into perspective with activity based methods for systems design. The paper concludes with further application area suggestions for activity theory within the engineering domain.

Keywords: Study of human activity, Design theory, Science of design, Conceptual design, Ergonomics

Issue 11, Volume 6, November 2009

Title of the Paper:  Effective Foreign Language Portfolios in Engineering Education


Authors: Suzana Carmen Cismas

Abstract: Critical to any form of assessment is accountability. In the educational arena for example, teachers are accountable to themselves, to their students and the families, to schools and society. Portfolios constitute an evaluation practice increasingly implemented both in instruction and in employment procedures. The process of selecting evidence for inclusion in portfolios involves ongoing dialogue and feedback between participants and service providers. Portfolio assessment of the program or participants provides a means of conducting evaluation throughout the life of that program, addressing the evolving needs and assets of the participants and of the community involved, helping to maintain focus on program outcomes and on the steps required to meet them. Well-designed portfolios represent important, contextualized learning that requires complex thinking and communication skills. Traditional tests have been criticized as being insensitive to local curriculum and instruction, and assessing not only student achievement but aptitude. Portfolios are being heralded as vehicles that provide a more equitable and sensitive portrait of what students know and are able to do. This modern method encourages teachers and schools to focus on important student outcomes, provide parents and the community with credible evidence of student achievement, and inform policy and practice at every level of the educational system.

Keywords: Portfolio assessment, scoring criteria, e-portfolios, professors’ portfolios, English in engineering

Title of the Paper:  Virtual Conversations


Authors: Laura Guerra, Francisca Grimon

Abstract: The formation of engineers involve enabling students in their own specialty knowledge, and, in skills related with critical thinking, reflection, argument development with verifiable and sustainable evidence, discussion management, negotiation and consensus solutions, and convincing, allowing them to improve the decision-making. This research contributes to the study of argumentative discourse, introducing a pilot scheme which is to characterize how students gathered in groups to argue their positions during a speech to their peers, via the Internet, to solve a mathematical problem. The study focuses on the connection between the academic performance of the students and the activities of building knowledge. Besides that, epistemological, argumentative aspects and pattern of dialogue are considered. The research is classified as exploratory, descriptive and experimental design. The methodology is a combination of proposals by Weinberger, Chang, and the author. A Case Study was used, specifically the Problem Solving to design tasks. A Virtual Classroom was built under Moodle platform, where there were exercises materials, interactive program to study, and self-assessment links to related books, etc, available to the students. In this place, discussion forums were developed without a teacher’s presence in order to save the students messages that come from the discussion to do the task. In order to analyze the results of the investigation, it is taken as an analysis unit the full message posted by each student: all messages were coded by two different researchers, and then the Kappa coefficient was 82%. Among the results obtained is a large proportion of interactions that reflects a correct handling of the relationship between the given problem and the theoretical foundations to applications in specific situations, showing a good level of knowledge construction. However, the new approaches and ways of solving problems were few. Often, the students ignored the messages of other members of the group, leading to a repetition of the issues that were previously raised and, therefore, most of the discussions were not focused on the task. No evidence different to the result of the mathematical calculation was presented. Although the social interactions were out of this research, it was clear that the members of the group did not get rapport between them and, consequently, the engagement to participate in the forum activities was not strengthened. For all these reasons, there is not a enough evidence to ensure that the academic performance of the students make be better using these strategies. Finally, to optimize the successful implementation of this type of methodological strategies, the presence of the teacher in the discussion forums should be considered so that he performs the necessary interventions to guide students towards constructing knowledge.

Keywords: Argumentation, discourse analysis, dialogue patterns, academic performance

Title of the Paper:  A Gap Study between Employers' Perception and Expectation of Engineering Graduates in Malaysia


Authors: Azami Zaharim, Mohd. Zaidi Omar, Hassan Basri, Norhamidi Muhamad, Farah Liza Mohd Isa

Abstract: This paper discusses a comprehensive study of employers’ perception and expectation of Malaysian engineering graduates towards assessing measurable qualities. To have better overview in this issue, a survey on the needs, perception and expectation of Malaysian industries towards graduate engineers is conducted. In order to create a smoother transition from education to practice, some argue that engineering education should put more emphasis on the engineering-based knowledge. Thus, this study investigates also the gap analysis which is defined as the difference between expectation and perception among majority of Malaysian industries towards existing engineering graduates. Literally, it is to investigate the discrepancies between employers’ perception and expectation towards future engineering work force of all the sectors or industries in Malaysia for non-technical and technical proficiencies. For the purpose of this paper, both technical and non technical attributes are analyzed and discussed. A total of 422 companies from various industries in Malaysia were chosen for the face-to-face interview sessions using a set of questionnaires. The respondents were mainly from high ranking personnel in their firm. The outcomes of this study will later be considered as a revision guideline for the engineering education curricula of Malaysian Institutions of Higher Learning.

Keywords: Perception, expectation, gap analysis, technical attributes, non technical attributes

Title of the Paper:  Effect of Object Outline Color and Width on Visual Preferences of Young Children for PDA-based Learning Applications


Authors: Chien-Yu Lin, Yu-Ming Chang, Yi-Kuan Lee

Abstract: In visual applications, the color and width of an object’s outline determine the feelings invoked in the viewer. This study investigates the effect of the outline color and width on the preference of young children for objects presented in PDA-based learning applications. The impact of three different outline colors [the original object color, a darker color of the same hue and saturation as the original object color, and black] and three different outline widths [1 pixel, 2 pixels, and 4 pixels] on the visual preferences of young children is examined in a series of experiments conducted with kindergarten and elementary school students in Taiwan. The analysis of variance results suggest that young children prefer the outline of the object to be the same color as the object itself or at most to have a thin frame with the same color as the original object, but with a slightly darker shade.

Keywords: Color, Preference, Displays, Children, Graphic arts, Outline

Title of the Paper:  A Survey of Engineering Education in Developing Countries - The Lebanese Case


Authors: Nazih Moubayed, Mouafac Bernard, Ahmad Jammal

Abstract: Industrial and service providing organizations employ a large number of graduating engineers. They can thus be viewed as important customers of engineering faculties. This paper discusses the major objectives of accreditation which should encourage the institutions to continually strive towards the attainment of excellence. The evaluation processes is designed to facilitate the identification of the strengths and weaknesses of the programs under accreditation. This will help the institutions in improving the quality and effectiveness of their programs. Finally, the accreditation of engineering programs in Lebanon is treated.

Keywords: Globalization, engineering education, accreditation, evaluation criterion, grading, quality

Issue 12, Volume 6, December 2009

Title of the Paper:  Evaluation of Applications of Personal Digital Assistants in Elementary Education


Authors: Chiung-Hui Chiu, Chun-Ming Hung

Abstract: This study investigates the possibilities associated with elementary students using PDA Phones and built-in software in mobile learning. The participants comprised 21 6th grade students in southern Taiwan, including 12 boys and nine girls. Students participated in five experimental learning activities over 15 weeks. Furthermore, four semi-structured questionnaires, two unstructured individual interviews and two semi-structured individual interviews were conducted. The results demonstrate that students can easily use PDA Phones in learning activities. Besides, Internet, music, game, photo and phone were the most commonly used applications. This study also probes into the problems associated with students using PDA Phones.

Keywords: Mobile learning, wireless network, PDA (personal digital assistant), elementary education

Title of the Paper:  Outcome Based Education (OBE) Curriculum Assessment for Industrial Training Program: Based on Students' Perception


Authors: Siti Aminah Osman, Mohd Zaidi Omar, Kamaruzaman Mat, Norhisham Tan Kofli, Mohd Nizam Ab. Rahman, Zuhairusse M. Darus

Abstract: The implementation of outcome-based education (OBE) curriculum in the university syllabus nowadays plays an important role in producing quality graduates students. Assurance to the effectiveness of OBE, a steady and continuous assessment must be carried out through each course as well as the industrial training program. This paper discussed the perceptions of the undergraduate students from Civil and Structural Engineering Department who have undergone their industrial training program. Questionnaires were prepared and summarized into three main aspects i.e. 'personal attitude', 'communication' and 'work attitude' of the students before and after the training program. The results show that the overall student's performance before the training averaging from 48% to 63% for these three main aspects. Interestingly the percentage has tremendously increased to 89% - 95% after completion of the training program. This proved that the OBE implementation in university syllabus is beneficial for improvement to the engineering education and engineering profession in general.

Keywords: Industrial training, program outcomes (PO), course outcomes (CO), attitude, work attitude, communication

Title of the Paper:  Assessment of Student Participation and Critical Thinking in Engineering Students' Teamwork


Authors: Ma Angeles Andreu-Andres, Miguel Garcia-Casas, Beverly Rising

Abstract: Aware of the qualities besides knowledge which are most valued by engineering firms (the ability to make decisions, a capacity for teamwork, initiative, capacity for solving problems and efficient communication, among others), an experience based on Problem-based Learning (PBL) has been carried out in which students have had to decide on what they understand as critical thinking and participation in multi-task teamwork in order to self-assess their own participation and critical thinking and evaluate that of their team-mates. A quantitative analysis of the grades indicated that there were no significant differences except with regard to the students’ preparation time. A qualitative analysis showed that the students experienced the process as one similar to that of facing their professional future.

Keywords: Assessment, Self-assessment, Participation, Critical thinking, Teamwork, Engineering, PBL

Title of the Paper:  Educational Software for Teaching the Basics of Computer Science


Authors: Manuela Panoiu, Anca Iordan, Caius Panoiu, Loredana Ghiorghioni

Abstract: In this paper we describe the visual environment for learning the basics of computer science: the binary, octal and hexadecimal numeration systems and the rules of storing the information in the computers memory. The software package is an interactive programming environment with graphical user interface that has user friendly interface and logic of usage. It offers all of the essential functions needed to understand the basics of binary, octal and hexadecimal numeration systems, the conversion between these systems and arithmetical operation with numbers in these numeration systems. The software offers also options needed to understand the two’s complement code, the floating point numbers single and double precision. Another option of the software is for on-line testing of the students. This option can be use both for evaluation and self-evaluation. The software package is implemented in Java language.

Keywords: Java, numeration system, educational software, Interactive Tutorials, virtual laboratory


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