Enhancing introductory hydrology curriculum by integrating perspectives from multi-disciplinary graduate fields of study

Monday, 14 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Thomas Elliott Arnold1, Wesley Henson2, Courtney J Reijo3, Joelle Laing1 and Grant Weinkam1, (1)University of Florida, Ft Walton Beach, FL, United States, (2)USGS Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, United States, (3)University of Florida, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, Ft Walton Beach, FL, United States
A cross-disciplinary hydrology course was developed that combined field and classroom based techniques to educate undergraduate level students on issues related to water resources in Florida, USA. Six instructors from separate departments brought a different perspective, research experience, and view on water quality and quantity issues. The course progressed by examining hydrologic processes at different spatio-temporal scales beginning with the geologic scale (the formation of aquifers) and ending with present-day water management and policy concerns. We were challenged to introduce students from various academic backgrounds and levels to the core concepts of hydrology and water chemistry. Additionally, the instructors faced the task of making our research fit together seamlessly, such that one topic would naturally progress to the next topic. We ensured that students’ knowledge progressed enough so they could address complex management issues through critical thinking and application of basic field techniques. It is our objective to share the experiences and challenges in developing an interdisciplinary course that: 1) introduced new research ideas and concepts from six separate fields, 2) enhanced lecture concepts by hands-on, field-based activities, and 3) would keep students from science and non-science backgrounds engaged and challenged but not overwhelmed.