June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.394.1 - 26.394.13
Connect2U Approach to Teaching Introduction to Water Resources Management as a General Education CourseThe purpose of undergraduate general education courses (GeDC) is to develop a wide range ofskills in a student beyond the student’s chosen field. However, a GeDC class generally comprisesstudents with different levels of interest, preparation, prior knowledge, work style and ethics.Hence, teaching a GeDC urges a different pedagogy from that is required in teaching a course ina student’s major discipline. This paper presents an approach, “Connect to you” (Connect2U) toteach a GeDC for the natural science requirement based on a twelve semester period of teachingexperience with the course, Introduction to Water Resources Management.Introduction to Water Resources Management has been taught for fifteen years as a GeDC in thetraditional textbook based teaching and evaluation. The fundamentals of hydrology were taughtwith an introductory level book. The students were evaluated with the textbook assignments,three closed book examinations and class participation. In this approach, six drawbacks wereidentified: 1. Although students learned the concepts of hydrology, they lacked the stimulatinglearning of their practical applications; 2. They did not get enough information about theemerging water issues pertinent to them; 3. Students had limited opportunities to learn about thesocial, economic, administrative and legal issues related to water resources management(WRM); 4. Many students were inclined to think the course as an imposed GeDC rather thantaking the opportunity to connect it to their major field of study for creating unique expertise; 5.They lacked simple laboratory experiences to visualize the concepts and field trips to provideknowledge about how water works and its careers develop; and, 6. The evaluation methods didnot facilitate the students to develop enough inquiry, research and communication skills.Connect2U was developed on shared teaching-student learning concept to minimize thesedrawbacks and implemented in gradual steps for six years. The success of the approach wasassessed with the student performance indicators.In Connect2U, topics on water resources applications, and the social, economic, administrativeand legal issues related to WRM were included into the curriculum. Since no single fittingtextbook was found, additional teaching materials were developed by the instructor and thecolleagues. Simple laboratory demonstrations and field trips were added. Current water issuesand emerging water problems were learned in the class ‘icebreaker minutes’ and throughdocumentary review assignments. Important assignments and teaching materials were posted onBlackboard. Students were guided to research and gather water related information relevant totheir neighborhoods. They were encouraged to work on a term paper topic that could eitherconnect water resources to their majors or be on a water issue.While grading, exams, research assignments, textbook questions and attendance were given50%, 35%, 5% and 10% respectively.It was evident from the evaluation that the Connect2U approach stimulated a student’s interestand raised the awareness of the water resources. The teaching materials developed for this classare currently available as a textbook. The instructor is working on a complete online GeDCcourse that could help the distant learning students.
Kandiah, R. (2015, June), Connect2U Approach to Teaching Introduction to Water Resources Management as a General Education Course Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23733
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