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HydroViz: evaluation of a web-based tool for improving hydrology education

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Author(s): E. Habib | Y. Ma | D. Williams | H. Sharif | F. Hossain

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

Volume: 9;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 2569;
Date: 2012;
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ABSTRACT
HydroViz is a web-based, student-centered, highly visual educational tool designed to support active learning in the field of Engineering Hydrology. The development of HydroViz is informed by recent advances in hydrologic data, numerical simulations, visualization and web-based technologies. An evaluation study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of HydroViz, to examine the buy-in of the program, and to identify project components that need to be improved. A total of 182 students from seven freshmen and junior-/senior-level undergraduate classes in three universities participated in the study over the course of two semesters (spring 2010 and fall 2010). Data sources included homework assignments, online surveys, and informal interviews with students. Descriptive statistics were calculated for homework and the survey. Qualitative analysis of students' comments and informal interview notes were also conducted to identify ideas and patterns. HydroViz was effective in facilitating students' learning and understanding of hydrologic concepts and increasing related skills. Students had positive perceptions of various features of HydroViz and they believe that HydroViz fits well in the curriculum. The experience with HydroViz was somewhat effective in raising freshmen civil engineering students' interest in hydrology. In general, HydroViz tend to be more effective with students in junior- or senior-level classes than students in freshmen classes. There does not seem to be obvious differences between different universities. Students identified some issues that can be addressed to improve HydroViz. Future adaptation and expansion studies are under planning to scale-up the application and utility of HydroViz into various hydrology and water-resource engineering curriculum settings.
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