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The interaction between climate and the hydrologic cycle is complex due to intricate feedback mechanisms that can have multiple impacts on key hydrologic variables. Under a changing climate, it is becoming increasingly important for undergraduate engineering students to have a better understanding of climate and the hydrologic cycle to ensure future engineering systems are more climate resilient. One way of teaching undergraduate students about these key interactions between climate and the hydrologic cycle is through numerical models that mimic these relationships. However, this is difficult to do in an undergraduate engineering course because these models are complex, and it is not feasible to devote class time and resources to teaching students the knowledge base required to run and analyze these numerical models. In addition, the recent COVID-19 pandemic required a rapid change to flexible teaching methods that can be implemented in online, hybrid, or in-person courses. To overcome these limitations, a backward design and constructive alignment approach was used to develop an active learning module in the HydroLearn framework that allows students to explore the connection between snow processes and streamflow and how this will change under different climate scenarios using numerical models and analysis. This learning module provides learning activities and tools that help the student develop a basic knowledge of snow formation and terminology, snow measurements, numerical models of snow processes, and changes in snow and streamflow under future climate. This module is particularly innovative in that it uses Google Colabs and an interactive user interface to facilitate the students' active learning in an environment that is accessible for all students and is sustainable for continued use and adaptation. This paper describes the approach, best practices and lessons learned in developing and implementing this active learning module in a remote and in-person course. In addition, it presents the results from motivation and student self-assessment surveys and discusses opportunities for improvement and further implementation that have implications for the future of hydrologic education.more » « less
The creation of high-quality curricular materials requires knowledge of curriculum design and a considerable time commitment. Instructors often have limited time to dedicate to the creation of curricular materials. Additionally, the knowledge and skills needed to develop high-quality materials are often not taught to instructors. Furthermore, similar learning material is often prepared by multiple instructors working at separate institutions, leading to unnecessary duplication of effort and inefficiency that can impact quality. To address these problems, we established the HydroLearn platform and associated professional learning experiences for hydrology and water resources instructors. HydroLearn is an online platform for developing and sharing high-quality curricular materials, or learning modules, focused on hydrology and water resources. The HydroLearn team has worked with three cohorts of instructors from around the world who were dedicated to creating high-quality curricular materials to support both their students and the broader community. In order to overcome some of the aforementioned barriers, we tested and revised several different models of professional learning with these cohorts. These models ranged from (a) instructors working individually with periodic guidance from the HydroLearn team, to (b) small groups of instructors collaborating on topics of shared interests guided through an intensive HydroLearn training workshop. We found the following factors to contribute to the success of instructors in creating modules: (1) instructor pairs co-creating modules enhanced the usability and transferability of modules between universities and courses, (2) dedicating an intensive block of time (∼63 h over 9 days) to both learning about and implementing curriculum design principles, (3) implementing structures for continuous feedback throughout that time, (4) designing modules for use in one’s own course, and (5) instituting a peer-review process to refine modules. A comprehensive set of learning modules were produced covering a wide range of topics that target undergraduate and early graduate students, such as: floodplain analysis, hydrologic droughts, remote sensing applications in hydrology, urbanization and stormwater runoff, evapotranspiration, snow and climate, groundwater flow, saltwater intrusion in coastal regions, and stream solute tracers. We share specifics regarding how we structured the professional learning models, as well as lessons learned and challenges faced.more » « less