June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.1353.1 - 26.1353.13
Sampling in the Field: A Case Study of Connecting Theory to PracticeThe connection between practice and theory is essential in promoting student engagement,perception, and understanding, yet in lab exercises students are often given an artificial samplelacking in any real world connections. Although experimental procedures performed in the labmay provide cognitive benefits for students, the theory behind the methods might be lost whenno connection is made to real world scenarios. One way to overcome these limitations is throughapplications and experiences for students at the undergraduate level through field work. Thispaper presents an effort to introduce junior and senior civil engineering students to the real worldbased problems through the use of developed field studies, redefining the current pedagogy oflab studies. Students from three different lab sections of an introduction to environmentalengineering lab course visited different locations along a lake system in Lubbock, Texas that actsas a final cleaning step for discharged wastewater where they were tasked to sample the lakewater and taken in field test results for certain water quality parameters. The locations along thelake were chosen in order for students to see a contrast in water quality parameters along theflow of the system. Samples were taken at the site of discharge, one section in the middle of thesystem, and one section towards the end of the lake system. Students were given backgroundinformation and asked to develop a study question to be used across all three lab sections.Students over the semester analyzed their field sample for different water quality parameters anddetermined whether the lake system’s water quality parameters were affected as you traveleddown the watershed. Data collected from their sample was then gathered into a larger data setrepresenting data from all three lab sections and the three lake sites. Students were then given thetask of analyzing and reporting the data throughout the semester. To examine the relationshipbetween field work and student attitudes and perception on field studies, students in anenvironmental engineering laboratory course were assigned a reflection paper before and afterperforming the lake field work exercise. Further reflection was given by the instructor of the labcourse on student’s performance, attitudes, and the instructor’s perception of the field study.Initial results from instructor’s observations showed a higher depth of engagement by studentsand a larger connection between content knowledge and real world practices by the students.
Brundrett, M. M., & Christenson, D., & Monaco, P. A., & Nguyen, K. A., & Morse, A. N. (2015, June), Sampling in the Field: A Case Study of Connecting Theory to Practice Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24690
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