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Introduction To Educational Use Of Environmental Engineering Software

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.378.1 - 3.378.8

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Aaron A. Jennings

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

Session 3251

Introduction to Educational Use of Environmental Engineering Software Aaron A. Jennings Department of Civil Engineering Case Western Reserve University


Between May, 1995 and August 1997 collaborators from seven Gateway consortium universities worked to develop shared resource modules to help support Environmental Engineering education. This paper discusses how module development priorities were established based on initial prototype results. The paper also discusses the general criteria that were used to identify proprietary professional environmental software products that could serve well in engineering education applications. Details of modules developedfor the selected “impact” areas will be discussed in a series offollowing manuscripts.


The work presented here and in the series of papers to follow grew out of an NSF sponsored project to share educational resources among members of the Gateway consortium of universities. The “Environmental Group” of the coalition was formed in the summer of 1995 at a workshop held at Ohio State University, May 22-23. At this workshop, participants agreed to work in three focus groups on a series of projects to explore “shared resource” opportunities built around “Case Studies”, “Databases” and “Environmental Software”. The concept evolved from the observation that, as individual professors, we were all developing instructional materials in one or more of these areas, but that individual efforts were limited by available resources. The long-term usefulness of some efforts was also believed to be constrained by the difficulties of repeated use. This led to the concept of “shared resource modules”. The idea was that we could support one another by sharing resources, and in doing so, expand the value of our individual efforts.

The focus on “Case Studies” was selected because of the observation that it can be difficult to acquire or develop a realistic problem for student design projects. Simplistic problems are easy to find, but do not provide a very realistic vision of the practice of Environmental Engineering. Complete case studies present problems in rich detail. Students can (and must) pour over this information and synthesize a considerable amount of detail before experimenting with potential solutions. Clearly, one must apply this type of assignment with care, but it can be an extremely valuable learning experience as a complement to traditional homework assignments. Unfortunately, it is difficult for one person to repeatedly generate the volume of resource material required for a real case study. Further, problems lose impact with reuse because students begin recycling ideas. Therefore, the idea emerged that if we could share such resources among a larger group of professors, we could all contribute to and benefit from a larger volume of available

Jennings, A. A. (1998, June), Introduction To Educational Use Of Environmental Engineering Software Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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