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A Web-Based Learning Module for Teaching GIS within the Context of Environmental Engineering

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

What Else do Environmental Engineers Need to Know

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.123.1 - 22.123.14



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Paper Authors

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Sirjana Dahal Missouri University of Science & Technology

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Richard H. Hall Missouri University of Science & Technology

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Glenn Morrison Missouri University of Science & Technology


Seth Paul Lamble Missouri University of Science & Technology

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Currently a Masters student at Missouri S&T pursuing his degree in Environmental Engineering.

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Ronaldo Luna Missouri University of Science & Technology

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Ronaldo Luna is a Professor and Assistant Chair for Civil Engineering at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri. He received his Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1995. His research interests include: engineering education, geotechnical earthquake engineering, and hazard mitigation.
Address: Department of Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering, 130 Butler Carlton Hall, Missouri S&T, Rolla, MO, 65409; telephone: (+1) 573-341-4484; email:

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A Web-Based Learning Module for Teaching GIS within the Context of Environmental EngineeringThere is a growing need for teaching Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in engineeringdisciplines, such as environmental. However, there has been limited focus on GIS inundergraduate programs, since it’s difficult to fit a GIS class into the large number of classrequirements already included in engineering curricula. The purpose of this research is theevaluation of web-based learning module created by a multidisciplinary team at a Midwesterntechnological research university, which allows instructors to integrate GIS instruction intoexisting courses. This module is one part of a large scale National Science Foundation fundedproject in which GIS modules are being developed for several areas in civil engineering. Theprincipal goals of this evaluation are to determine the overall effectiveness of the module,identify the factors that mediate the effectiveness, and to determine ways in which the modulecan be made more effective.Data were collected from 56 students, 28 in an experimental group and 28 in a control group.Students in an experimental group participated in a laboratory session, which utilized themodule, to solve a problem on urban ozone events and census tract analysis; whereas students ina control group attended a class lecture covering the same information. Students in theexperimental group completed a questionnaire and students in both groups completed a quiz overthe material.Quantitative analysis was carried out on the quantitative portion of the scale for the experimentalgroup, and for both groups on the quiz. A qualitative analysis was applied to the open-endedquestionnaire items for the experimental group. Students in the experimental (learning system)section scored significantly higher on the quiz. Students in the learning systems group rated thelaboratory session as significantly more effective for learning, and more motivational than theclass texts. They also rated the lab significantly more applicable to real world engineering thanboth their text books and class lecture. The qualitative analysis revealed a number of ways thesystem can be further improved to make the module more effective.

Dahal, S., & Hall, R. H., & Morrison, G., & Lamble, S. P., & Luna, R. (2011, June), A Web-Based Learning Module for Teaching GIS within the Context of Environmental Engineering Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17405

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