Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

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This collection contains digitized SFU theses except for those theses submitted within the last 12 months. If you cannot find the thesis you are looking for please search Recently Submitted Theses as it may be a recently submitted thesis and thus not yet available in Summit.

Emotion recognition through voice by MLP classifier and Deep Sequential Neural Network

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-12-16
Abstract: 

This thesis aspires to provide a thorough study on Speech Emotion Recognition in the field of Machine Learning. The main objective is to simplify the path towards emotion recognition by voice without sacrificing efficiency. In other words, the presented thesis studies the limits of least computationally complex algorithms in SER. By the end of this study, a traditional method which is MLP classifier and a Deep Learning approach with Deep Sequential Neural Network are compared. The algorithms use RAVDESS for training. Different combinations of three features, MFCC, Mel-spectrogram, and Chroma are utilized in both algorithms to determine the most efficient combination.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Ahmad Rad
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.Sc.

Centering a right to food in the vision for a just and resilient circular food economy in Vancouver, B.C.: Theory of change application

Date created: 
2022-04-01
Abstract: 

Food loss and waste occurs at an alarming rate while many households in Vancouver are food insecure; Meaning they go without stable access to sufficient food to fulfill the requirements for a healthy diet. This project incorporates a right to food framework in a circular food economy to centre justice and equity to address the issue of food loss and waste. Drawing upon interviews with n=20 agri-food experts, this study developed a theory of change which identified the challenges, needed interventions, and overall vision for a just circular food economy in Vancouver. Findings from this research identified the importance of dynamic governance system that targets critical points for change including regulation, funding, and capacity building. The novel approach taken to incorporate a right to food framework contributes to food systems planning by centring equity and justice in the development of a sustainable and just food system that fosters circularity.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Tammara Soma
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)

An example-based customization sharing platform to support educators with using feature-rich classroom software

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-03-09
Abstract: 

Educators often lack the time and resources to learn, integrate, and customize featurerich software applications for their classes, and many struggle to keep up with the latest educational technologies. This dissertation introduces Customizer, a novel customizationsharing platform designed to streamline how educators can discover, interactively experiment with, and appropriate examples of their colleagues’ software customizations in a widely-used learning management system (LMS). To inform the design of Customizer, we carried out two studies that allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of educators’ current approaches and challenges in learning and customizing their classroom software. In the first study, we conducted interviews with 20 K-12 teachers revealing the staggering variety of software tools being used in modern classrooms and highlighting the large extent to which educators rely on a social fabric of friends and colleagues for support with software usage and customization. In the second study, we analyzed posts from the Q&A forum for a popular LMS and found that educators’ questions about more idiosyncratic customization needs frequently go unanswered. To mitigate the challenges educators face in customizing their LMS, we designed, built, and evaluated the Customizer platform allowing educators to “peek” at their colleagues’ setups and “borrow” their customizations. Finally, we carried out a two-week field deployment of Customizer to 10 instructors, which shed light on how instructors might integrate such a tool into their day-to-day workflows to improve LMS feature awareness, test out potential changes, and streamline their knowledge-sharing routines. The central thesis of this dissertation is that providing educators with in-context access to colleague-recommended examples of software customizations, and the ability to interactively experiment with and appropriate those customizations, can provide a useful and usable means to overcome the challenge of learning to customize feature-rich classroom software.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Parmit Chilana
Department: 
Applied Sciences: School of Computing Science
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Backlist to the future: Updating Orca Book Publishers' hi-lo backlist during ultra-readable reprints to support a new generation of readers

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-11-30
Abstract: 

In the last twenty years the world has seen great social, technological, and language changes that have left even best-selling backlist titles in need of updating. When Orca Book Publishers decided to print their hi-lo backlist in a new ultra-readable format, they seized the opportunity to update the content, design, and book information in order to better support their readers and serve their mandate. This report explores Orca’s reprint process for the Orca Currents and Orca Soundings series. Chapter One provides information on Orca, the hi-lo genre, reprints, and Orca’s decision to update their backlist. The next three chapters follow the editorial, design, marketing, and sales processes for these reprinted titles. The report concludes with project considerations, key benefits, and why other publishers should consider updating their backlist. Overall, this report argues that publishers must consider the context books are reprinted into if they want to continue reaching their audience.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Leanne Johnson
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: Publishing Program
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.Pub.

The places we carry

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-10-20
Abstract: 

THE PLACES WE CARRY combines windows, texts, and images to perform like a memoir of fragmented images of place and time. These images, are representations of the immediate urban landscape that has surrounded me since moving to Canada, which are fractured, displaced and repositioned within the gallery space. Together, the three handmade books, a video and the site-specific installation build a dialogue both within and outside of the site. The piece interacts with its architecture, its built environment, and the sun’s movement. Alluding to a window’s dual quality of inside and outside as a symbol of interconnection that both reveals and dissolves invisible barriers, I map my attempts to understand the complexity of defining, sustaining, encountering, and accepting a place as a social complex rather than a geographical identity. By collecting windows across Vancouver, by stitching, painting, tracing, and binding books, and by experimenting with light, I explore the implications of individuality in relation to how a place becomes home. In these works, I attempt to weave an understanding of place and home in which each element negotiates its presence through the other.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Sabine Bitter
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School for the Contemporary Arts
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.F.A.

Exploring health, ageing and care for short-term Canadian international retirement migrants living seasonally in Yuma, Arizona: A case study

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-08-24
Abstract: 

Short-term international retirement migration is a voluntary lifestyle where people around the age of retirement relocate from areas, typically those with cold winters, to areas with warmer and drier conditions during the winter months. This seasonal pattern of migration is common in many Global North countries, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and many northern European countries. In this dissertation, I use qualitative methods informed by case study methodology to explore the lived experiences of Canadian short-term international retirement migrants managing their health while living in Yuma, Arizona. I specifically present four analyses. The first is a scoping review that synthesizes the literature about motivations for participating in international retirement migration. The second analysis presents the findings of focus groups conducted with health care providers and administrators at the main hospital in Yuma. It explores the opportunities and challenges of treating Canadian international retirement migrants. The third analysis thematically explores interviews conducted with older Canadians while in Yuma regarding how they plan to manage their health while abroad. Finally, an analysis of dyad interviews conducted with caregiver-care recipient partners explores the practice of informal caregiving among Canadian international retirement migrants while abroad and the supports used by caregivers. Overall, these analyses show how international retirement migration presents both opportunities and challenges for older Canadians, and that they serve to underscore the heterogeneity of this diverse group of travelers who have different understandings of risk as it relates to managing health while abroad. Further research is needed to explore other popular sites for retirement migration to further contextualise the experience of older Canadians living seasonally in the Southern United States and beyond.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Valorie Crooks
Department: 
Environment: Department of Geography
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Preventing school violence: A survey of school threat assessment practices, perceived impact, and challenges

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-08-30
Abstract: 

Schools have increasingly adopted threat assessment to prevent violence, but there is limited insight into whether assessors adhere to recommended practices and consider assessment acceptable and feasible in their schools. Therefore, the present study surveyed 146 assessors from schools in the United States and Canada. Most assessors (79%) reported that their school has a mandated protocol and most (>70%) use practices consistent with several recommendations (e.g., form a multidisciplinary team, collect information, determine risk level). However, a third were local models rather than well-known models discussed in the literature. Some shortcomings in practices were also reported (e.g., in training teams, educating about reporting concerns, screening concerns). Although assessors perceive assessment as having a positive impact, such as increasing support for individuals, most (>60%) do not perceive it to reduce suspensions and expulsions. The primary challenges assessors reported relate to training, time, and monitoring.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Jodi Viljoen
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.

Tracking progress towards global biodiversity targets for data-poor longer-lived species: A case study of Northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean sharks and rays

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-06-23
Abstract: 

Biodiversity loss is increasingly well understood on land, but the extinction risk trajectory remains largely unknown in the comparatively data-poor oceans. The Red List Index is used to track progress towards global biodiversity targets, but it cannot incorporate data-poor species and may not track recovery particularly well. Here, I explore three methods to improve the representation and responsiveness of the Red List Index for data-poor and longer-lived species. I use Class Chondrichthyes in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea as a case study, representing the most data-poor and long-lived marine species group to be reassessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in two regions with widely diverging fisheries management. First, I categorically predict the IUCN status of species assessed as Data Deficient, showing that Data Deficient species are equally or more threatened with an elevated risk of extinction than data-sufficient species. Second, I incorporate these predicted categorisations into a Red List Index with the remaining data-sufficient species. Regional chondrichthyan extinction risk is increasing, with higher overall risk levels and a faster rate of deterioration in the Mediterranean Sea than the Northeast Atlantic. Finally, I incorporate population trend (stable, increasing, or decreasing) into the Red List Index formula to improve index responsiveness to population recovery of species with generation lengths exceeding the ten-year framework of biodiversity targets and Red List reassessments. This ‘Red List Population Index’ has the potential to forewarn of species’ population recovery ten years ahead of the current Red List Index formulation and requires no more data collection or expertise to complete. Together, these studies present novel, cost-effective, and time-sensitive methods for broadening the representativeness of data-poor, longer-lived species in progress tracking towards imminent biodiversity targets and for conservation prioritisation.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Nicholas K Dulvy
Department: 
Science: Biological Sciences Department
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Benchtop nanocontact replication via unconventional polycarbonate molding: From fingerprint phantom, designed nanostructure, to superhydrophobicity

Author: 
Date created: 
2021-05-05
Abstract: 

In this thesis, a benchtop protocol for one-to-one replication of micro and nanostructures is described. Polycarbonate (PC) replicas are constructed via unconventional solvent-assisted molding using a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) negative to imprint the softened PC. The versatility of this protocol is highlighted by the broad array of applications that have been explored, from the preparation of 3D fingerprint phantoms and replication of designed nanostructures, to the creation of superhydrophobic surfaces. To achieve the best molding performance we characterized how solvent compatibility, time, and physical disruption modulate degree of crystallization and the PC morphology. By making an impression of a fingerprint into solvent-softened PC and casting it with PDMS, a 3D reproduction of the fingerprint (namely, a fingerprint phantom) can be created. Such a phantom contains all three levels of details on human fingerprints. The phantoms are detected by conventional optical and capacitive fingerprint scanners and match well with the original fingerprints. Improved fingerprint scanners and algorithms which enhance security by detecting third level details (such as sweat pores) could be developed using these phantoms as imaging standards. Replicas of structural “masters” with much smaller features than fingerprints can be constructed with this protocol; length scales down to 100 nm can be successfully replicated across large (>10 cm) areas. Confirmed with electron and atomic force microscopy, PC replicas are as effective as masters, enabling the duplication and preservation of expensive lithographically designed masters. Exact reproduction of a nanostructured master is important for lowering the cost of fabricating materials which utilize micro/nanoscale features, such as electronics, optics, sensors, and structural elements. It has been shown that the growth and development of crystalline spherulites are interrupted and limited by the molding operation. Understanding how crystallization can be regulated during solvent assisted molding is essential for developing nanofabrication techniques that utilize other polymers susceptible to crystallization. Controlled PC crystallization was further utilized to fabricate superhydrophobic PDMS. The porous network of spherulites developed is rough on the µm-scale while the spherulites consist of nanoscale tendrils. By casting PDMS from PC the extensive multi-scale roughness is transferred, producing PDMS with an optimized water contact angle of 172±1° and a sliding angle less than 1°. The performance of the superhydrophobic PDMS is superior to those constructed with more elaborate laser etching and plasma sputtering techniques.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Hua-Zhong Yu
Department: 
Science: Department of Chemistry
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.

Developing Indigenous health indicators for cumulative effects management

Date created: 
2022-03-25
Abstract: 

Resource development projects impact Indigenous communities’ health, leading to increased chronic conditions prevalence and reduced access to health services. Through an analysis linking colonization on Turtle Island, ongoing industrial development, and the social determinants of health in an Indigenous context, this research aims to identify culturally relevant indicators that can give early signals of increased chronic conditions prevalence and reduced access to health services for the Metlakatla First Nation. This research took place within the Metlakatla Cumulative Effect Management Program, a community-partnered resource management system for monitoring the status of Metlakatla values and responding proactively to cumulative change in Metlakatla Territory. To identify indicators, a thematic analysis of qualitative data gathered through three focus groups with Metlakatla members and staff (n = 6) and five interviews with health experts (n = 8) was carried out using a collaborative approach. Additionally, the Metlakatla Membership Census provided quantitative data to corroborate the indicators identified. Results suggest that the most appropriate indicators linking resource development impacts to increased chronic conditions prevalence and limited access to health services for the Metlakatla First Nation include Social and Cultural Connectedness (metric: Sense of Connectedness to Metlakatla Culture, Community, History, and Traditional Lands and Waters), Continuity of Care (metric: Presence of a Primary Care Provider), and a food-related indicator (metric: further investigation required). Our findings emphasize the importance of engagement and collaboration with Indigenous peoples to ensure cultural relevance and appropriateness of health indicators in a resource development context.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Clifford Atleo
Department: 
Environment: School of Resource and Environmental Management
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)