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  • Migration Intentions of Romanian Engineering Students

    Vasile Gherheș; Gabriel-Mugurel Dragomir; Mariana Cernicova-Buca (MDPI AG, 2020-06-01)
    This paper aims to diagnose Romanian engineering students in relation to their migration intentions, motivations, and destinations, and to predict the magnitude of migration in the polled population. It presents the results of a quantitative study based on a questionnaire survey consistent in terms of number and structure of variables and responses. The online questionnaire was self-administered by 1782 students from the five major technical Romanian universities, which are the main providers of the highly skilled labor force in the area of engineering. Regression analysis was carried out to correlate the drivers of migration and the potential for real migration. According to the results, Romanian students from technical universities are inclined to migrate in a significant proportion; the economic factor being the main migration driver. The predictive model built on the logistical regression and the collected data accounts only partially for the variations of the variable decision to migrate, so further research is needed. The analysis of the students’ mindset can prove useful to understand the future interactions between the new graduates and the labor market, to develop regional and national policies regarding human capital, and to root development plans towards sustainable economic growth in solid databases concerning the engineering profession.
  • Sustainability Living Labs as a Methodological Approach to Research on the Cultural Drivers of Sustainable Development

    Grzegorz Baran; Aleksandra Berkowicz (MDPI AG, 2020-06-01)
    Given that culture-driven processes cannot be researched and designed if taken out from the real-life environment, an appropriate methodology to study the impact of culture on sustainable development is needed. The aim of the research was to develop a model of a sustainability living lab as a methodological approach based on the living lab concept and its capabilities to study the cultural drivers of sustainable development. The research was carried out with use of the conceptual research framework based on analyzing existing knowledge on cognitive processes within living laboratories and their interpretation in the light of the relationship between culture and sustainable development. First, the results of the analysis of sustainability cultural drivers and the living lab concept are presented, which constitute the research framework of the study. Then, the main contribution as a novel theoretical concept of sustainability living lab is elaborated and discussed. The novelty of this approach to research on the cultural drivers of sustainable development is based on linking together in a coherent model the consequences of the dual nature of culture and the arguments for conducting such research beyond the limitations of closed laboratories towards the highly dynamic environment of real life.
  • Influence of Particle Size on the Properties of Boards Made from Washingtonia Palm Rachis with Citric Acid

    Maria Teresa Ferrandez-Garcia; Antonio Ferrandez-Garcia; Teresa Garcia-Ortuño; Clara Eugenia Ferrandez-Garcia; Manuel Ferrandez-Villena (MDPI AG, 2020-06-01)
    The manufacture of technical materials of mineral and synthetic origin currently used for thermal insulation in buildings consumes a large amount of energy and they are not biodegradable. In order to reduce the environmental problems generated by their manufacture, an increasing amount of research is being carried out on the use of renewable and ecological resources. Consequently, the use of plant fibers and natural adhesives in the development of new thermal insulating products is increasing worldwide. Palm trees were used as a replacement for wood in some traditional constructions in places with scarce wood resources. This paper discusses the use of palm pruning waste in the manufacture of particleboards, using citric acid as a natural binder. Five particle sizes of Washingtonia palm rachis were used as the raw material for manufacturing the boards and the citric acid content was set at 10% by weight, in relation to the weight of the rachis particles. Single-layer agglomerated panels were made, applying a pressure of 2.6 MPa and a temperature of 150 °C for 7 min. Twenty panels were produced and their density, thickness swelling, water absorption, modulus of rupture, internal bonding strength and thermal conductivity properties were studied. Smaller particle size resulted in better mechanical properties. The boards had an average thermal conductivity of 0.084 W/m<sup>·</sup>K, meaning that these boards could be used for thermal insulation in buildings.
  • Digital Competence and University Teachers’ Conceptions about Teaching. A Structural Causal Model

    Ana B. Mirete; Javier J. Maquilón; Lucía Mirete; Raimundo A. Rodríguez (MDPI AG, 2020-06-01)
    <i>Introduction</i>: University teachers, in their ongoing scientific and pedagogical updating, must master the new methodologies and trends in their professional field. ICT’s importance for any person requires ethical responsibility, and it is incumbent on the educational professionals to preserve, improve and update their level of digital competence, and so improve learning and teaching. <i>Method</i>: This study uses a representative sample of 186 university teachers and follows the quantitative descriptive survey method. Two questionnaires were applied (CEE-ACUTIC). The first identified the approach for the transmission of information or the construction of knowledge, and the second measured attitude, knowledge and use of ICT. <i>Results</i>: A causal model of structural equations of maximum likelihood was run. We highlight the positive and significant relationship between the teaching approach oriented to the construction of knowledge and the use of ICTs (<i>β</i> = 0.17, <i>p</i> < 0.01) and, in another sense, a statistically significant but negative relationship between the use of ICTs and the teaching approach focused on the transmission of information (<i>β</i> = −0.16, <i>p</i> < 0.05). <b>Discussion</b>: It is empirically confirmed that the teaching approach conditions the use of technologies for teaching. There is no research in other contexts showing a causal relationship between teaching approaches and digital teaching competence.
  • Consumer Moral Dilemma in the Choice of Animal-Friendly Meat Products

    Li Lin-Schilstra; Arnout R. H. Fischer (MDPI AG, 2020-06-01)
    More and more consumers, at least in Western developed countries, are attentive to the sustainability aspects of their food, one of which concerns animal welfare. The conflict of harming an animal for the joy of eating meat causes a moral dilemma, affecting consumers’ reactions to, and choices of, animal-friendly products. This systematic review identified 86 studies from Scopus and Web of Science. The review outlines: (1) What are the personal antecedents among consumers regarding moral conflicts?; (2) In what situation do moral conflicts occur in consumer food choice?; (3) How do consumers emotionally experience the moral dilemma?; (4) How do consumers resolve moral conflicts over animal products? Researchers have studied personal factors and situational factors that arouse consumers’ moral dilemma and how the dilemma is solved, during which emotions and dissonance come into play. When synthesizing these findings into a comprehensive model, we notice that the current research is lacking on how personal factors change and interact with situations, which limits the understanding of the real-life context of consumers’ moral dilemma as well as their choices of animal-friendly products. More in-depth studies are needed to find situational factors that contribute to this complex psychological process.

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