Asee peer logo

Development of Student-centered Modules to Support Active Learning in Hydrology

Download Paper |


2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session II

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Emad Habib University of Louisiana, Lafayette

visit author page

Dr. Emad Habib is a Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. His research interests are in Hydrology, Water Resources, Rainfall Remote Sensing, Water Management, Coastal Hydrology, and Advances in Hydrology Education Research

visit author page


David G Tarboton Utah State University

visit author page

David Tarboton is a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Utah Water Research Laboratory, Utah State University. He received his Sc.D. and M.S. in Civil Engineering (Water Resources and Hydrology) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his B.Sc Eng in Civil Engineering from the University of Natal in South Africa. His research and teaching are in the area of surface water hydrology. His research focuses on advancing the capability for hydrologic prediction by developing models that take advantage of new information and process understanding enabled by new technology. He has developed a number of models and software packages including the TauDEM hydrologic terrain analysis and channel network extraction package that has been implemented in parallel, and a snowmelt model. He is lead on the National Science Foundation HydroShare project to expand the data sharing capability of Hydrologic Information Systems to additional data types and models and to include social interaction and collaboration functionality. He teaches Hydrology and Geographic Information Systems in Water Resources.

visit author page

author page

Matthew Wayne Deshotel University of Louisiana at Lafayette

author page

David J Farnham Columbia University

Download Paper |


Traditional approaches to undergraduate hydrology and water resource education are textbook based, adopt unit processes and rely on idealized examples of specific applications, rather than examining the contextual relations in the processes and the dynamics connecting climate and ecosystems. The overarching goal of this study is to address the needed paradigm shift in undergraduate education of engineering hydrology and water resources education to reflect parallel advances in hydrologic research and technology, mainly in the areas of new observational settings, data and modeling resources and web-based technologies. This paper presents efforts to develop a set of learning modules that are case-based, data and simulation driven and delivered via a web user interface. The modules are based on real-world case studies from three regional hydrologic settings: Coastal Louisiana, Florida Everglades, and Utah Rocky Mountains. These three systems unique learning opportunities on topics such as: regional-scale budget analysis, hydrologic effects of human and natural changes, flashflood protection, climate-hydrology teleconnections and water resource management scenarios. The technical design and contents of the modules aim to support students’ ability for transforming their learning outcomes and skills to hydrologic systems other than those used by the specific activity. To promote active learning, the modules take students through a set of highly engaging learning activities that are based on analysis of hydrologic data and model simulations. The modules include user support in the form of feedback and self-assessment mechanisms that are integrated within the online modules. Module effectiveness is assessed through an improvement-focused evaluation model using a mixed-method research approach guiding collection and analysis of evaluation data. Both qualitative and quantitative data are collected through student learning data, product analysis, and staff interviews. The paper discusses lessons learned from the development and implementation of the modules, guidelines on design and content attributes that support active learning in hydrology, and challenges encountered during the class implementation and evaluation of the modules.

Habib, E., & Tarboton, D. G., & Deshotel, M. W., & Farnham, D. J. (2016, June), Development of Student-centered Modules to Support Active Learning in Hydrology Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26831

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015