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Community Based, Service Learning Approach To Teaching Site Remediation Design

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.151.1 - 5.151.8



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Paper Authors

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Traxon Rachell

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Kaori Sakaguchi-Hall

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2793

Community-Based, Service Learning Approach to Teaching Site Remediation Design

Christopher W. Swan, Traxon Rachell, Kaori Sakaguchi-Hall Tufts University


A common difficulty in teaching environmental site remediation is how to consider both hard and soft constraints in course design, in a fashion that leads to students being able to drill down to the core of problem and formulate their design accordingly. This paper describes how hard and soft constraints were addressed in engineering design using community-based, service learning (CSL) design projects. In the site remediation course at Tufts University, three design projects required the development of a remediation scheme for actual brownfield sites in Boston, MA. In their designs, students had to consider both hard (limited and conflicting contaminant information for site soil and groundwater) and soft (the viewpoints of the various community stakeholders) constraints.

Based on student, faculty and staff feedback, the design experience carried more meaning and encouraged greater learning because it involved a real problem. Additionally, the experience extended student learning beyond the technical aspects of site remediation as a result of working and interfacing with people from a variety of interests and professional backgrounds. By including service learning in the course design project, the students then had a dual vehicle in which to refine their designs in ways that deepened their understanding and learning. From our experience overseeing this course, we conclude that to truly realize the benefits of service learning, integration of CSL throughout the curriculum is needed along with better management of service learning components.

I. Introduction

Site remediation, as a profession, requires a broad range of technical expertise including, but not limited to engineering (civil, mechanical, chemical, and electrical); natural sciences (geology, hydrogeology, chemistry, physics, and biology); advanced sciences (microbiology, geochemistry, toxicology, etc.) and engineering management. At Tufts University, a course entitled Site Remediation Techniques is offered through the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and serves as one of the design electives in the department’s Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredited bachelor of science degrees in civil engineering (BSCE) and environmental engineering (BSEvE). With to respect to ABET 2000 criteria, the course objectives are to present the design aspects of various remediation technologies used for cleaning up sites with contaminated soil/sediment and/or groundwater and to technically prepare students for the practice of site remediation.

Rachell, T., & Sakaguchi-Hall, K., & Swan, C. (2000, June), Community Based, Service Learning Approach To Teaching Site Remediation Design Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8214

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