|Development of a framework for practical Science in alignment with the curriculum standards of grades K-12 for independent schools in Qatar|
Principal investigator: Ziad Said, PhD, Professor
The objectives of the project is:
Funded by: QNRF National Priorities Research Program
Research Period: 01/2015 – 01/2018
a)To explore the current use of science practical activities in science classes in grades K‐12 of independent schools in Qatar;
b)To identify factors that encourage the delivery of good quality practical work in school science and the barriers that may inhibit it;
c)To develop a framework to encourage and support the effective use of practical work in school science in Qatar, aligned to the national curriculum standards of science, and propose a strategy for its implementation.
d)Explore the impact of training teachers on raising students’ motivation and interest in science and attain better achievement on the evidence of a preliminary study, only a few schools provide their students with opportunities to undertake practical science activities.
To achieve the above objectives, it is intended to work with education authorities and schools to:
a)Map practical activities required by science curriculum standards across all grades
b)Audit the facilities and resources for practical science in schools (laboratory provision, availability of materials and equipment, technical support, etc.);
c)Survey the practices and views on practical work in science of science coordinators, teachers, lab technicians, administrators and students;
d)Explore the impact of training teachers on raising students’ motivation and interest in science and attain better achievement.
Synopsis/ impact: As Qatar diversifies its economy, there is an increasing emphasis, in higher education, on subjects that propel a knowledge economy, such as math and science. One among the key challenges to tackle to achieve QNV2030 as stated in QNSD 2011‐16 is: Raising the achievement of Qatari students at all levels, especially in math, science and English and, through that, increasing educational attainment (QNSD p 124). Qatar's Third National Development Report, stated that "declining enrolment in science and mathematics needs to be reversed especially at the tertiary level, to better fulfil the needs of knowledge‐based economy industries" (NHDR2012, p.52). Practical is a distinctive feature of science education. It is regarded as critical to improve student attitudes to an interest in science and to the uptake of more science subjects at university or enrolled in science based disciplines. This project aims to explore the appropriate strategy to develop a framework that can integrate practical science activities within the teaching and learning process of school science. The final objective is to extend students' knowledge towards understanding of natural world, main concepts, ideas and scientific theories by introducing effective system for practicing these activities that are designed to be both " hands on" and "mind on" oriented.
|Establishing a Corrosion Atlas for Qatar Petroleum|
Principal investigator: Hanan Farhat, Professor
Description: Duplex (DSS) and superduplex stainless steels (SDSS) have a dual phase (duplex) microstructure that leads to a combination of toughness, strength, and corrosion resistance not obtainable in conventional austenitic stainless steels (ASS). As such, they have replaced conventional austenitic stainless steels in several industrial applications, especially in petrochemical, desalination and oil and gas production. Despite the superior characteristics of these steels, stress corrosion cracking occurs and propagates within a very short time in a severe marine, high ambient temperature environment. There is no systematic method for predicting the inception of cracking. This research project will yield important data for predicting when such a failure will occur and also for understanding the failure mechanisms.
Funded by: Qatar Petroleum
Research Period: 01/2015 – 03/2022
Synopsis/ impact: Decisions on material selection to prevent certain corrosion mechanism has always been a difficult task. To be safe, one tends to buy expensive material. Therefore, the main objective of this project is to execute field testing of selected stainless steel and nickel alloys to examine the resistance against CSCC which in turn will help QP to better control their costs.
|Build an Environmental Research Robot to clean the beach at Ras Laffan Industrial City—a nesting habitat for the hawksbill turtle in Qatar|
Principal investigator: Sarah Inkpen, Professor
Funded by: ConocoPhillips and Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grant
Research Period: 02/2010 – 12/2017
Description: Ras Laffan is a secure city making it impossible for groups of volunteers to clean the beach. The debris that washes up on the shore is hazardous for people to handle. The cleanup robots will have two missions. The first and obvious one is to make the beach cleaner and therefore safer for the female turtles and the hatchlings. The second mission is to make the path for the data collecting robot easier to maneuver.
Over the past two years, the students have become experts in designing, programming and working with a large array of sensors. With this past experience, we are confident that the students will be able to build the cleanup robots and employ them to remove debris autonomously along the coast of Ras Laffan. To overcome any shortcomings of the robots, they will be programmed to know when to seek human assistance and be able to communicate with a human being in certain given circumstances. The students would be able to aid the robot from the lab without having to go to Ras Laffan.
Synopsis/ impact: The project demonstrated robotic technology that exhibited the best pedagogical theories involving hands-on learning, systems thinking, problem solving and modeling. Our main impetus was to supply opportunities for undergraduate students from the College of the North Atlantic-Qatar to be involved in environmental research issues employing robotic technology. The multidisciplinary team applied classroom theory in a research setting using computer programming, environmental science, statistics, physics, mechanical and electronic engineering.
The project demonstrated the effectiveness of environmental research robots and the challenges inherent to them and the turtles in harsh desert and industrial environments. The ultimate goal was the development of a customized and fully functioning non-intrusive robot for environmental monitoring that can be used to enhance or protect nature.
Augmented Reality (AR) performance and training applications for Qatari industrial trainee
Principal investigator: Robert Stephenson
Funded by: Seed Applied Research Fund and QAPCO
Description: The CNA‐Q ALT‐Centre, in collaboration with the School of Engineering Technology, investigated the potential for Augmented Reality (AR) equipment and applications to enhance the training experience of students preparing for employment in the oil and gas sector. Augmented reality systems are an exciting next generation development in industrial training. Augmented reality takes a user's physical environment and integrates it with digital information such as sound, video and graphics in real time. This overlay of digital information onto a user's view of the world can be used to give a trainee additional guidance to improve their understanding and competency of a task they would encounter, for example, in a process plant environment.
Synopsis/ impact: Qatari students, including technicians employed with QAPCO, will benefit from an enhanced learning experience, and more effective preparation for their careers in the oil and gas sector. This enhanced learning experience will include the ability of augmented reality training solutions to exploit students' interest in experiential, hands‐on learning. Further, it is widely known, for example, that students at the College are strong visual learners but weak readers. Given its visual nature, augmented reality taps into students' preferential learning style and simultaneously helps to overcome language barriers with working in English. Additionally, because the Augmented Reality learning objects are customized to QAPCO's equipment and procedures, the students will have higher levels of job readiness, which decreases additional in‐house training for QAPCO and increases safety awareness for students.
QAPCO will benefit from a better prepared trainee workforce and from exposure to performance support and training solutions that can potentially be integrated into its own workplace training programs which can be supported by CNA‐Q.
CNA‐Q will gain a better understanding of the potential for AR‐based training solutions, as well as the technical and pedagogical requirements for the effective integration of such training solutions.
Both CNA‐Q and QAPCO will benefit from this project through their establishment as leaders and first adopters in the use of augmented reality training and performance support solutions in the oil and gas sector in Qatar and in the GCC region.
Antimicrobial Activities of Traditional Arab Medicinal Plants
Principal investigators: Susan Maszia, Professor Funded by: QNRF Undergraduate Research Experience Program Research Period: 09/2011 – 06/2012
This research focused on testing antimicrobial properties of traditional medicines used in Arab culture. The main objectives of this study were to search literature on the medicinal plants used in Qatar, choose a number of traditional herbal medicines used by the Arab culture, record their medicinal uses, and to test their antimicrobial activities against a number of known bacterial and fungal species. These in vitro screenings are necessary to determine if the plant extracts exhibit useful antimicrobial properties.
This UREP ethnobotanical study is especially important for a number of reasons,
i) knowledge of the mode of preparation and use of traditional herbal medicines lies primarily with the generation of elders
Nineteen desert plants were collected in winter 2011. All 19 plants exhibited varying levels of antimicrobial activity against 10 Gram –positive and Gram-negative human pathogenic bacteria and one fungal species. One plant in particular, Paronychia argyrocoma, accounted for 22% of all positive tests, particularly as methanol extracts.
ii) traditional knowledge, as with many cultures, is verbal rather than written and recorded
iii) few scientific studies have been completed exhibiting the local herbal medicinal properties
iv) aspects of the Arab traditions are disappearing with progress and a more modern way of life
iv) Arab desert environment is changing due to construction and expansion into ecologically sensitive areas which affect the habitat of local flora
v) environmental changes may lead to the extinction of some desert plant species which are an important source of local herbal medicine.