Results from Virtual Hackathon for Co-development and Sharing of Authentic Learning Modules in Hydrology and Water Resources
Tuesday, 8 December 2020: 07:25
The recent pandemic outbreak poses new challenges as well as opportunities for developing innovative approaches that can support the educational community in ways that have not been explored previously. This study reports on a virtual hackathon experiment that brought together 30 hydrollogy and water resources instructors to collaborate remotely and co-create online learning resources that can serve the larger community. The participating instructors worked in small groups (2 to 3) and used the HydroLearn online platform (www.hydrolearn.org) to collaboratively develop and share new learning modules. The hackathon was concurrently conducted along with a workshop that included training on the development of teaching content using research-based pedagogical approaches. The design of the learning modules followed a “backward-design” that starts with setting the learning objectives that the students are supposed to achieve, followed by developing a set of assessment-based authentic tasks that the students will need to complete, and then the actual educational content that will support the student in completing the learning tasks. This process was iterative in nature to ensure constructive alignment between the learning objectives, the content, and the assessments tasks. Rubrics were also developed for each authentic task to defined clear criteria for assessing the achievement of the learning objectives.
The resulting learning resources covered a wide range of topics that target undergraduate and early-graduate students, including: groundwater flow; aquifer characterization; hydrologic droughts; floodplain analysis; evapotranspiration; hydrologic design; fluid mechanics; open channel flow and modeling; physical hydrology; remote sensing in applications in hydrology; water planning for sustainability; pollutant loads; hydrologic storage; intelligent Earth computational and cata science methods. The modules are intended to support the increased focus on online teaching, given the current COVID-19 situation, but should also serve the transition back to in-class learning by harnessing ongoing efforts to develop effective digital teaching resources.