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Work-in-Progress: The Platform-Independent Remote Monitoring System (PIRMS) for Situating Users in the Field Virtually

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Computers in Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1398.1 - 24.1398.16



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Paper Authors


Daniel S. Brogan Virginia Tech

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Daniel S. Brogan is a PhD student in Engineering Education with BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering. He has completed several graduate courses in engineering education pertinent to this research. He is the key developer of the PIRMS and leads the LEWAS lab development and implementation work. He has mentored two NSF/REU Site students in the LEWAS lab. He assisted in the development and implementation of curricula for introducing the LEWAS at VWCC including the development of pre-test and post-test assessment questions. Additionally, he has a background in remote sensing, data analysis and signal processing from the University of New Hampshire.

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Vinod K. Lohani Virginia Tech

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Dr. Vinod K Lohani is a professor in the Engineering Education Department and an adjunct faculty in the Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. His research interests are in the areas of sustainability, computer-supported research and learning systems, hydrology, and water resources. In a major ($1M+, NSF) curriculum reform and engineering education research project from 2004 to 2009, he led a team of engineering and education faculty to reform engineering curriculum of an engineering department (Biological Systems Engineering) using Jerome Bruner’s spiral curriculum theory. Currently, Dr. Lohani leads an NSF/REU Site on ”interdisciplinary water sciences and engineering” which has
already graduated 56 excellent undergraduate researchers since 2007. This Site is renewed for the third cycle which will be implemented during 2014-16. He also leads an NSF/TUES type I project in which a real-time environmental monitoring lab is being integrated into a freshman engineering course, a senior-level Hydrology course at Virginia Tech, and a couple of courses at Virginia Western Community College, Roanoke for enhancing water sustainability education. He is a member of ASCE and ASEE and has published 70+ refereed publications.

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Randel L. Dymond Virginia Tech

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Dr. Randy Dymond is an Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. With degrees from Bucknell and Penn State, Dr. Dymond has more than 30 years of experience academics, consulting, and software development. He has taught at Penn State, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and has been at Virginia Tech for 15 years. Dr. Dymond has published more than 50 refereed journal articles and proceedings papers, and been the principal or co-principal investigator for more than 110 research proposals from many diverse funding agencies. His research areas include urban stormwater modeling, low impact development, watershed and floodplain management, and sustainable land development. Dr. Dymond has had previous grants working with the Montgomery County Public Schools and with the Town of Blacksburg on stormwater research and public education. He teaches classes in GIS, land development, and water resources and has won numerous teaching awards, at the Departmental, College, and National levels.

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Work-in-Progress: The Platform-Independent Remote Monitoring System (PIRMS) for Situating Users in the Field VirtuallyA recent report on Challenges and Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences by the NationalAcademy of Sciences states that the solutions to the complex water-related challenges facingsociety today begin with education. Given the increasing levels of integration of technology intomodern society, how can this technology best be harnessed to educated people at variousacademic levels about water sustainability issues? The Platform-Independent Remote MonitoringSystem (PIRMS) interactively delivers integrated live and/or historical remote system data(visual, environmental, geographical, etc.) to end users regardless of the hardware (desktop,laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc.) and software (Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, etc.) platforms oftheir choice. The PIRMS accomplished this via an HTML5-driven web-interface. One of thestrengths of such a design is the idea of anywhere, anytime access to live system data.In this research, weather and water quantity and quality data and time-stamped imagery from theLabVIEW Enabled Watershed Assessment System (LEWAS) have been integrated with localgeographical data in the PIRMS environment in order to situated users within a small urbanwatershed virtually. Previous studies using exposure to the LEWAS showed increased levels ofstudent motivation. The current research investigates increases in student learning related towater sustainability topics. Bloom’s Revised Cognitive Taxonomy is used to link components ofPIRMS to water sustainability topics on different learning levels. Using the framework ofsituated learning, longitudinal true-experimental and pre-test-post-test quasi-experimentaldesigns are applied to students in a senior level undergraduate course and freshmen engineeringcommunity college courses, respectively, in order to compare student learning from physicalfield visits, virtual field visits via PIRMS and/or virtual field visits via pre-recorded videos. Inaddition to these physical and/or virtual field visits, all students are given LEWAS imagery filesand measurement data in spreadsheet formats. Pre- and post-test assessments entail the studentswriting narrative responses to prompts. These narrative responses are assessed using rubrics tolook for increases in student learning. Preliminary results are presented. This work is ongoing.

Brogan, D. S., & Lohani, V. K., & Dymond, R. L. (2014, June), Work-in-Progress: The Platform-Independent Remote Monitoring System (PIRMS) for Situating Users in the Field Virtually Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22788

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