HydroLearn: A Online Platform for Developing and Sharing of Active Learning Resources in Hydrology and Water Resources Engineering

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

AGU Fall Meeting 2018


American Geophysical Union


Washington, D.C.

Publication Date


Award Number

NSF, Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) 1725989

Award Title

Collaborative Research: Improving Student Learning in Hydrology & Water Resources Engineering by Enabling the Development, Sharing and Interoperability of Active Learning Resources

Funding Agency

NSF, Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)


The HydroLearn online platform is developed to support students and educators in the field of hydrology and water resources engineering. Building on community resources, the HydroLearn web-based platform will (a) enable interoperability and integration with open-source community hydrologic data and modeling resources (e.g., HydroShare); (b) support customization so that faculty users can create their own content modules; (c) enable collaboration, sharing and contribution of learning content with an open source approach to develop a sense of community ownership; and (d) alleviate existing barriers and hindering factors against faculty adoption. The study attempts to close the gap between development of innovations and actual adoption by following an iterative design model that engages potential adopters at early stages using a fellowship sponsored program. The HydroLearn platform is designed using open source tools and provides seamless integration with community-based hydrology datasets and model outputs that can be readily used by faculty. The platform will allow faculty adopters to tap into national-scale models and databases and develop learning experiences that are situated in basins of local interest to students, and thus open the doors for unique opportunities to expose undergraduate students to modern hydrologic analysis tools that are at the forefront of hydrologic research and engineering practice. The current presentation discusses a first set of seed learning modules that aim to engage faculty members in using and testing the HydroLearn platform. The seed modules cover topics such as hydrologic design for flash flood protection; national-scale energy-water nexus; and flood forecasting and warning using the National Water Model. The presentation will also share early efforts towards building critical user support mechanisms into the HydroLearn platform in the form of lesson-based learning outcomes, assessment tools, and assignment rubrics. These support mechanisms are critical for enhancing adoption and ensuring customizability and long-term sustainability of educational developments that use case-based approaches with intensive data and modeling resources.