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Flowing with the changing needs of hydrogeology instruction

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Author(s): T. Gleeson | D. M. Allen | G. Ferguson

Journal: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions
ISSN 1812-2108

Volume: 9;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1115;
Date: 2012;
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ABSTRACT
Hydrogeology is now taught in a broad spectrum of departments and institutions to students with diverse backgrounds. Successful instruction in hydrogeology thus requires a variety of pedagogical approaches depending on desired learning outcomes and the diverse background of students. We review the pedagogical literature in hydrogeology to highlight recent advances and analyze a 2005 survey of 68 hydrogeology instructors. The literature and survey results suggest there are ~15 topics that are considered crucial by most hydrogeologists and >100 other topics that are considered crucial by some hydrogeologists. The crucial topics focus on properties of aquifers and fundamentals of groundwater flow, and should likely be part of all undergraduate hydrogeology courses. Other topics can supplement and support these crucial topics, depending on desired learning outcomes. Classroom settings continue to provide a venue for emphasizing fundamental knowledge. However, recent pedagogical advances are biased towards field and laboratory instruction with a goal of bolstering experiential learning. Field methods build on the fundamentals taught in the classroom and emphasize the collection of data, data uncertainty, and the development of vocational skills. Laboratory and computer-based exercises similarly build on theory, and offer an opportunity for data analysis and integration. The literature suggests curricula at all levels should ideally balance field, laboratory, and classroom pedagogy into an iterative and integrative whole. An integrated approach leads to greater student motivation and advancement of theoretical and vocational knowledge.
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