Development and Classroom Implementation of an Environmental Data Creation and Sharing Tool

BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT

Education is essential for solving the complex water-related challenges facing society. The Learning Enhanced Watershed Assessment System (LEWAS) and the Online Watershed Learning System (OWLS) provide data creation and data sharing infrastructures, respectively, that combine to form an environmental learning tool. This system collects, integrates and stores real-time, high-frequency environmental monitoring data and imagery from a small urbanized watershed and makes it available to users at anytime from anywhere they have internet access. This paper discusses both the developmental and maintenance challenges associated with the LEWAS and the design details of the OWLS. A pilot test of the OWLS was implemented in a senior level hydrology course as a part of an NSF funded project. Results indicate that 80% of students (n = 30) valued the anywhere, anytime access to the data and 97% of students believed that access to the OWLS helped them to learn hydrologic concepts. A similar pilot test implemented in a community college freshman engineering course as part of the same project indicates that students (n=27) who used the OWLS felt that the OWLS assignment was valuable and relevant to their coursework even when their academic performance was underwhelming (40% correct on multiple choice questions). Future plans to expand the scope of the LEWAS-OWLS to cover environmental data from other geographical regions are discussed.

Full Text (PDF, 6.27 MB)

Daniel S. Brogan

Daniel S. Brogan

Walter M. McDonald

Walter M. McDonald

Vinod K. Lohani

Vinod K. Lohani

Randel L. Dymond

Randel L. Dymond

Aaron J. Bradner

Aaron J. Bradner

 

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