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  1. Flexible, contingent, or 'agile,' working arrangements provide workers with greater autonomy over when, where, or how to fulfill their responsibilities. In search of increased productivity and reduced absenteeism, organizations have increasingly turned to flexible work arrangements. Although access to flexible work arrangements is more prevalent among high-skilled workers, in the form of flextime or co-working, the past decade has also witnessed growth of independent contractors, digital nomadism, digitally enabled crowdwork, online freelancing, and on-demand platform labor. Flexible work arrangements reduce commutes and can enable workers with care-responsibilities to stay in the workforce. Younger workers also see flexibility as a topmore »priority when considering career opportunities. Flexible working arrangements can also be mutually beneficial, enabling organizations to scale dynamically. Specific skill sets can be immediately accessed by turning to freelancers to fill organizational gaps. A growing number of organizations and workers rely on short-term and project-based relationships, using online platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr to connect. However, flexible work arrangements often come entwined with precarity cloaked in emancipatory narratives. Fixed salaries and benefits have given way to hourly rates and quantified ratings. Flexible workers often face unpredictability and uncertainty as they carry more risk and responsibility, and are burdened with a great portion of administrative costs (that is, overhead) associated with organizational support systems. Flexible workers at Google, for instance, outnumber full time workers but face far more unpredictability. Current formulations consider organizations as relatively fixed 'containers', which encapsulate the work performed and the information and communications technology (ICT) systems used to perform it.12 However, flexible work arrangements take place outside of organizational containers. In this new sociotechnical dynamic, flexible workers interact with a diversity of digital tools that defy centralized, top-down standardization or governance. We capture this diversity of digital tools through the concept of Personal Digital Infrastructures (PDIs), which denote an individualized assemblage of tools and technologies, such as personal laptops, smartphones, cloud services, and applications brought together by workers to perform their work tasks. Yet, flexible workers constantly reconfigure their PDIs as the technology landscape, client-relationship, and task requirements shift. For flexible work arrangements to be mutually beneficial, PDI integration in ICT systems for work is increasingly necessary, beyond a narrow focus on enterprise systems supporting standard work. Our collective research on flexible work arrangements indicates that PDIs present non-trivial challenges, but a more effective design of ICT systems for work can facilitate the integration of these bottom-up infrastructures. The nuanced understanding of PDIs presented here highlights their interplay with flexible work arrangements across key dimensions (spatial, temporal, organizational, and technological) and suggests key priorities for technology and platform developers.« less
  2. Process safety incidents, ranging from the relatively minor to the catastrophic, are a major concern in the chemical engineering profession with impacts including lost time incidents, serious personal injury, fatalities, and negative public perception. These events can also have significant impacts on the environment and local infrastructure. However, many of these incidents could be avoided if better process safety management or risk mitigation was employed. For example, the fire and explosion that occurred at ExxonMobil in Baton Rouge was the result of operators manually opening a gearbox due to lack of familiarity with the equipment. This incident could have beenmore »avoided if better maintenance or training procedures had been in place, if the operators had recognized the old valve had a different design than the new ones, or if the old valves had been switched to a newer valve design. This accident indicates how process safety incidents can occur due to a series of decisions.« less
  3. This paper provides an overview of the general process and types of informal reasoning that undergraduate chemical engineering students use when approaching hypothetical process safety decisions.
  4. Family forest owners in the United States have underscored the need for forest insect pest (FIP) information, and numerous Extension programs have been developed to meet pest information needs. We developed the Pest Awareness Index to illustrate the heterogeneity of familiarity, knowledge, and experience regarding three FIPs (hemlock woolly adelgid, emerald ash borer, Asian long-horned beetle) in four New England states. Using mail survey data of family forest owners, we calculated an index from three components and provided comparisons based on region and actual insect presence. The differences in the index across these domains have implications for measurement and deliverymore »of Extension programs.« less
  5. Despite process safety and ethical decision making being recognized priorities in many chemical companies, process safety incidents continue to occur with unfortunate regularity. In order to understand why such incidents keep occurring, and to prevent future accidents from happening, it is important to study the decision-making habits of people employed at chemical companies, and to inform students of the difference between the influences of ethics and behavioral ethics in process safety decision making. This study seeks to determine how senior chemical engineering students approach reasoning through process safety scenarios through the use of a mixed methods study. This study foundmore »that four out of the five students who participated in the study demonstrated post-conventional reasoning, and the remaining student showed conventional reasoning based on the quantitative analysis of their responses. Students showed mostly post-conventional reasoning in their responses based on a qualitative analysis; however, through comparison of these results it was found that the moral schema students were classified as was not always truly representative of their moral reasoning.« less
  6. Process safety has become a critical component of chemical engineering education. However, students may find it difficult to fully understand the ramifications of decisions they make during classroom exercises due to their lack of real world experience. Use of an immersive digital environment where students could role play as chemical engineering employees making process safety decisions could be one method of achieving this goal. Through this experience, students could observe the outcomes of their decisions in a safe, controlled environment without the disastrous real-world consequences that could come from making a mistake. This digital environment could have further features, suchmore »as time constraints or interactions with other characters, to make the experience feel more authentic than an in-class discussion or case study. In order to evaluate the efficacy of such a virtual environment, a portion of this work centered around the creation of the Engineering Process Safety Research Instrument (EPSRI). The instrument asks participants to evaluate process safety dilemmas and rank a set of considerations based on how influential they were in their decision-making process. The instrument then classifies each decision based on the stages of Kohlberg’s moral development theory, ranging from pre-conventional (i.e. more self-centered) thinking to post-conventional (i.e. more global) thinking. This instrument will be used to assess how students’ thinking about process safety decisions changes as a result of engaging in the virtual safety decision making environment. This paper will summarize the progress since the project’s start in summer 2017, highlighting the work completed in development and validation of the EPSRI. This process included content validation, think-aloud studies to improve clarity of the instrument, and factor analysis based on a large scale implementation at multiple universities. The paper will also discuss the development of the minimum viable product digital process safety experience, including establishment of learning outcomes and the mechanics that reinforce those outcomes. By presenting these findings, we intend to spread awareness of the EPSRI, which can evaluate the safety decisions of chemical engineering students while having the potential to launch discussions about safety and ethics in other engineering disciplines. We also hope that these results will provide educators with insights into how to translate educational objectives to elements of a digital learning environment through collaboration with digital media companies.« less
  7. Process safety has become a critical component of chemical engineering education. However, students may find it difficult to fully understand the ramifications of decisions they make during classroom exercises due to their lack of real world experience. Use of an immersive digital environment where students could role play as chemical engineering employees making process safety decisions could be one method of achieving this goal. Through this experience, students could observe the outcomes of their decisions in a safe, controlled environment without the disastrous real-world consequences that could come from making a mistake. This digital environment could have further features, suchmore »as time constraints or interactions with other characters, to make the experience feel more authentic than an in-class discussion or case study. In order to evaluate the efficacy of such a virtual environment, a portion of this work centered around the creation of the Engineering Process Safety Research Instrument (EPSRI). The instrument asks participants to evaluate process safety dilemmas and rank a set of considerations based on how influential they were in their decision-making process. The instrument then classifies each decision based on the stages of Kohlberg’s moral development theory, ranging from pre-conventional (i.e. more self-centered) thinking to post-conventional (i.e. more global) thinking. This instrument will be used to assess how students’ thinking about process safety decisions changes as a result of engaging in the virtual safety decision making environment. This paper will summarize the progress since the project’s start in summer 2017,, highlighting the work completed in development and validation of the EPSRI. This process included content validation, think-aloud studies to improve clarity of the instrument, and factor analysis based on a large scale implementation at multiple universities. The paper will also discuss the development of the minimum viable product digital process safety experience, including establishment of learning outcomes and the mechanics that reinforce those outcomes. By presenting these findings, we intend to spread awareness of the EPSRI, which can evaluate the safety decisions of chemical engineering students while having the potential to launch discussions about safety and ethics in other engineering disciplines. We also hope that these results will provide educators with insights into how to translate educational objectives to elements of a digital learning environment through collaboration with digital media companies.« less