Journal of
Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics

 ISSN: 1690-4524 (Online)    DOI: 10.54808/JSCI


Techniques for Engaging Students in an Online Computer Programming Course
Eman M. El-Sheikh
Pages: 1-12
Many institutions of higher education are significantly expanding their online program and course offerings to deal with the rapidly increasing demand for flexible educational alternatives. One of the main challenges that faculty who teach online courses face is determining how to engage students in an online environment. Teaching computer programming effectively requires demonstration of programming techniques, examples, and environments, and interaction with the students, making online delivery even more challenging. This paper describes efforts to engage students in an online introductory programming course at our institution. The tools and methods used to promote student engagement in the course are described, in addition to the lessons learned from the design and delivery of the online course and opportunities for future work.

Design of the RFID for Storage of Biological Information
Yu-Lee Choi, Seok-Man Kim, Sang-Hee Son, Kyoung-Rok Cho
Pages: 13-17
Recent advances in RFID (radio frequency identification) technology promises to create a wireless circuitry capable of interfacing with biological systems for acquisition, identification and processing of biological data based on radio frequency interaction. Thus, the RFID tag can be attached not only to consumer products and form part of the supply chain, but also to animals, plants and in particular human body. This paper describes the strategy for the design of a novel RFID tag, which stores vital biological information such as body temperature and blood pressure and heartbeat in accordance with the EPC global Class-1 standard. Biological data is obtained from a sensor technology that is based on resistance deviation-to-pulse width converter. The integrated chip consists of an analog front end, command interpreter, collision avoidance block, data storage, sensors, and interface circuitry. The system is capable of supporting heartbeats in the range of 40~200 beats per a minute and blood pressure 0~300mmHg. The proposed system employs collision free algorithm that supports access to single tag within a multiple tag environment. The approach facilitates intelligent management of patients in hospitals as part of an integrated healthcare management system.

A Petri Net-based Approach to Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems Modeling
Linda L. Zhang, Brian Rodrigues
Pages: 18-24
Reconfigurable manufacturing systems (RMSs) have been used to provide manufacturing companies with the required capacities and capabilities, when needed. Recognizing (1) the importance of dynamic modeling and visualization in decision making support in RMSs and (2) the limitations of the existing studies, we model RMSs based on Petri net (PN) techniques with focus on the process of reconfiguring system elements while considering constraints and system performance. In response to the modeling difficulties identified, a new formalism of colored timed PNs is introduced. In conjunction with colored tokens and timing in colored PNs and timed PNs, we further define a reconfiguration mechanism to meet the modeling difficulties. A case study of an electronics product is reported as an application of the proposed colored timed PNs to RMS modeling.

Incorporating Gaming in Software Engineering Projects: Case of RMU Monopoly
Sushil Acharya, David Burke
Pages: 25-29
A major challenge in engineering education is retaining student interest in the engineering discipline. Active student involvement in engineering projects is one way of retaining student interest. Such involvement can only be realized if project inception comes entirely from the student. This paper presents a software game, RMU Monopoly, developed as a project requirement for a software engineering course and describes the challenges and gains of implementing such a project.

The RMU Monopoly was proposed by three junior software engineering students. The game is a multi-platform software program that allows up to eight players and implements the rules of the Monopoly board game. To ensure agility the game was developed using the spiral software development model. The Software Requirements Specification (SRS) document was finalized through an iterative procedure. Standard Unified Modeling Language (UML) diagrams were used for product design. A Risk Mitigation, Monitoring, and Management Plan (RMMM) was developed to ensure proactive risk management. Gantt chart, weekly progress meetings and weekly scrum meetings were used to track project progress. C# and Sub- Version were used in a client-server architecture to develop the software. The project was successful in retaining student interest in the software engineering discipline

Mitigating Reputational Risks - A Proposal With A Knowledge-Based Stakeholder Information Leitstand
Martin Stößlein
Pages: 30-35
The Internet plays a crucial role in the communication strategy of organizations. However, information is often distributed at the “wrong” time and does not always satisfy the particular requirements of key customers, suppliers, governments, shareholders or financial analysts. Serious mistakes might not only create negative sequela, for example, stakeholders remain unsatisfied, downgrade their opinions about products and companies, and subsequently make ‘wrong’ decisions. Such mistakes could also have tremendous effects on the primary objectives of an enterprise, e.g., the reputation suffers and subsequently the share price plunges. In this paper, we present how companies can take advantage of actively providing targeted information with a knowledge-based Stakeholder Information Leitstand (information planning and control center). It helps executives stabilize relationships with key customers, journalists, politicians, investors, and assists in promoting trust and enhancing reputation, especially in times of risk situations. We focus on the design phase of the system, and propose that current decision support systems could be enriched with “business content”, i.e. predefined situation-oriented and individualized information categories and messages.

Professionalism and Work Ethic among U. S. and Asian University Students in a Global Classroom: A Multi-Cultural Comparison
William Swart, Steve Duncan, Rosina Chia
Pages: 36-40
Professionalism and work ethic, as reflected by selfregulation, has been and continues to be an important attribute of a competitive work force. This paper compared the academic self-regulation of U.S. vs. Asian students enrolled in a Global Classroom course at a large southeastern university. Students were asked to respond to 10 specific pro-academic behaviors in regard to what they were actually doing (actual engagement) and what they felt they should be doing (intended engagement) specific to achieving academic success. The results indicated that students from both the U.S. and Asia exhibited limited self-regulation in the pursuit of behaviors leading to academic success in comparison to what they reported they should be doing. There was not a significant difference between U.S. and Asian students in self-reported actual engagement in pro-academic behaviors. However, Asian students presented less of a discrepancy between actual and intended engagement in proacademic behaviors in comparison to their U.S. counterparts. This was based on Asian students’ rating of intended behaviors lower than U.S. students. A notable difference was also found in that the Asian students self-regulated better than their U.S. counterparts in terms of pro-academic behaviors that were not directly observable. For Asian students there was not a discrepancy in self-reported engagement of observable vs. non-observable behaviors The U.S. students, however, appeared to be more amenable to external motivation (e.g. having the instructor be able to observe their behavior) and less likely to engage in non-observable behaviors leading to academic success.

Platform for the analysis of written texts in terms of conceptual graphs: study case, Cybernetics of Cybernetics course
José Bermeo, Germán Bravo-Córdoba, Sebastián Contreras, Roberto Zarama
Pages: 41-48
The objective of this work is to observe and analyze the conceptual-relation structures in texts written in Spanish, from the perspective of second-order cybernetics. Texts are shaped by the syntactic structure of the sentences they contain. Conceptual-relationships emerge by transforming the text, using a text analysis platform named PAST. The transformation is guided by a set of established rules, permitting to observe a system. PAST can be defined as a powerful operator to transform texts written by the students in a Master’s Program class. The platform is introduced as a tool enabling a graph representation of relationships among the concepts in the text.

The internal procedure of the platform and the graph construction concerns the linguistic analysis. Although the resulting graphic representation does not follow a formal definition, it reflects an iterative construction to define a topology to create a semantic network. This network only makes sense to the author of the text. In other words, the author (observer), based on the cybernetics of the observing systems, uses a tool that enables him to make a second-order observation of a document that he/she has linearly written. The main epistemological concepts mentioned throughout the development of the proposal are discourse and distinction. The contribution of this work is the application of a methodology that conducts a recursive observation of both the direct and indirect relationships established by the words the author puts together in his/her written discourse. In the discussion of results the next phases of this work are presented.

An Integrated AI and RFID System for People Detection and Orientation
Bonifacio Castaño, María D. R-Moreno
Pages: 49-55
A common problem that visitors have to face in big buildings, with several floors, corridors and departments, is their accurate location and orientation. The problem gets even worst when there are a big number of users and they have time constraints. A typical example is a medical centre where the patients have got scheduled doctor’s appointments and, in some cases, severe movement difficulties. A possibility for solving this problem is to provide the building with an intelligent system for user detection and orientation. In addition, this strategy would allow to find and locate all the people inside the building and to carry out an individual search if it were necessary. This is the framework we have chosen in this article. We have developed a complete hardware and software system for people detection, location and orientation in this scenario. The hardware part of the system is based on the RFID technology and it has been successfully implemented in a fully operational prototype. The software uses artificial intelligence techniques, specifically planning and scheduling.

Increasing the Retention of Females of Color in Engineering and Technology Degree Programs through Professional Development Activities
Sherri S. Frizell, Felecia M. Nave
Pages: 56-59
This paper provides an overview of professional development activities designed to provide minority female engineering students with the knowledge and essential skills to enhance their preparedness to transition into the engineering workforce and their ability to sustain a successful career. Three professional development workshops are discussed that focused on such topics as breaking the glass ceiling, leadership, soft skills development, balancing technical and non-technical skill development, professional etiquette, mentoring, and creating a growth plan. Industry partnerships have been a critical component to the success of these activities.

Parallel Task Processing on a Multicore Platform in a PC-based Control System for Parallel Kinematics
Yannick Dadji, Jochen Maass, Harald Michalik
Pages: 60-65
Multicore platforms are such that have one physical processor chip with multiple cores interconnected via a chip level bus. Because they deliver a greater computing power through concurrency, offer greater system density multicore platforms provide best qualifications to address the performance bottleneck encountered in PC-based control systems for parallel kinematic robots with heavy CPU-load. Heavy load control tasks are generated by new control approaches that include features like singularity prediction, structure control algorithms, vision data integration and similar tasks. In this paper we introduce the parallel task scheduling extension of a communication architecture specially tailored for the development of PC-based control of parallel kinematics. The Sche-duling is specially designed for the processing on a multicore platform. It breaks down the serial task processing of the robot control cycle and extends it with parallel task processing paths in order to enhance the overall control performance.

Effect of Changing Governance System: Result of Western Style Management Adoption to Japanese Culture of Ambiguity
Kohichiro Hotta
Pages: 66-71
This paper considers the difficulty of management style change through observation of the management style of Company-A, one of the biggest Japanese IT companies. Japanese economy grew after World War II until the early 1990’s. During that era, Ba or SECI process worked in Japanese organizations very well. Further, there was an ambiguous culture in the background of such characteristics. Some kinds of ambiguity or adhocracy made positive effects for Japanese organizational activity, or ambiguity played an important role for Ba activity. There were nested Ba’s in each organization with ambiguity. Ambiguous descriptions of roles for each organizational unit activated nested Ba’s and generated hot groups. After the economic crisis, Company-A changed its governance and gave clear targets for each organizational unit and for each employee. This change gave new difficulty and diminishes its competence. The change denied the ambiguity in the organization but it was the basis of the competence. Adopting a new system of governance is not a simple activity. Systems must be adjusted to the culture of the organization. Company-A should study competitors in different cultures and adjust the methodology for its culture.

Using Marking Criteria to Improve Learning: An Evaluation of Student Perceptions
Swapna Koshy
Pages: 72-76
This paper is an exploratory study on the use of Marking Criteria in the offshore campus of an Australian University in the Middle East. The purpose of the study is to analyse student attitudes to the use of Marking Criteria with a view to maximizing its use. Most educators agree that assessment plays a key role in education and the use of Marking Criteria helps to streamline assessment. The study notes that most students were aware of the benefits of reviewing criteria before they worked on an assessment but few actually used it. The paper offers ways to help students internalise criteria to make learning effective. It also proposes the use of Marking Criteria as a tool that aids teachers in giving feedback in large classes.

Development and Validation in Air Traffic Control by Means of Real-Time Simulations
Stephan Herr, Michael Teichmann, Tim Gesekus
Pages: 77-84
The airspace in Central Europe is already one of the busiest airspaces in the world and the forecasts predict further traffic increases. The current air transport system is reaching its capacity limits, not only at airports but also in parts of the en-route area. This is mainly due to the workload constraints of air traffic controllers. In the past, many technical system functionalities were developed with the aim of reducing controller workload and thus enabling the safe handling of the predicted traffic growth. But these new functionalities alone will not provide adequate relief to air traffic controllers. Their working procedures and the airspace structure will have to be adapted accordingly. In order to obtain real operational benefits, these technical innovations must be integrated into an overall concept which – in addition to the above-mentioned factors – also takes account of ergonomic aspects and human-machine interfaces. When developing such an overall concept, additional evaluation and validation measures are indispensable to ensure that the desired operational benefits are achieved. This is why DFS has for many years used fast- and real-time simulations to assess and optimise any changes to be made to the air traffic control system. The working methods of DFS in this context are in keeping with the European Operational Concept Validation Methodology of 2007, in short E-OCVM. This paper outlines the development and validation activities of DFS using the MSP D/L project as an example. The project deals with the introduction of the new role of air traffic controllers as multi-sector planners (MSP) and new system functionalities, such as air/ground data link (D/L). The project included the development of an operational concept for using the new functionalities as well as for defining working procedures and the airspace structure. This concept was subsequently evaluated by means of a fast-time simulation and two real-time simulations and gradually optimised. This paper focuses on how data were collected during the real-time simulation. In addition to collecting traffic-specific indicators and data concerning the taskload situation, we also performed an eye-tracking analysis in cooperation with the Darmstadt University of Technology to analyse changes relating to the working methods and the information used. Another objective of the paper is to compare the use of the prototype simulation platform for the real-time simulation with the use of operational systems for simulation purposes. Adapting operational systems to new operational procedures and functionalities is always associated with considerable costs. Air traffic controllers, however, need a realistic working environment for such simulations. Otherwise, it is impossible to obtain reliable results. It is not easy to develop a simulation platform that ensures both a realistic environment and quick and flexible adaptation capabilities. The project successfully met this challenge with the help of the Advanced Function Simulator (AFS) of the R&D Centre at DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung. The major features of the prototype simulation platform, i.e. rapid data adaptation, iterative development and automatic compilation of all user interactions, are shown using Project MSP D/L as an example. An overview of the results achieved in the real-time simulation is given at the end of the paper.

Developing Knowledge Generation, Communication and Management in Teacher Education: A Successful Attempt at Teaching Novice Computer Users
Esther Zaretsky
Pages: 85-89
This unique colloquium of research for lecturers took place in an academic college of education focused on discussing and peer reviewing through an On-Line Forum and on participating in a conference. Both aimed at enhancing the level and quality of the research activity in the college by developing knowledge generation, communication and management. This study followed studies, which indicated that lecturers do not know and experience enough about generating, communicating and managing knowledge, especially with regards to the didactics of knowledge. Most of the studies carried out by the lecturers who participated in the colloquium focused on integrating disciplines with pedagogic-didactic applications. The method of the colloquium was based on virtual peer teaching, sharing their generated knowledge and experience, and then managing it. The findings indicated that the process was advanced very fast. The lecturers were able to integrate theory and practice while carrying out their research and instruction. This certainly affected the lecturers