Traditional approaches to undergraduate hydrology and water resource education are textbook based, adopt unit processes and rely on idealized examples of specific applications, rather than examining the contextual relations in the processes and the dynamics connecting climate and ecosystems. The overarching goal of this study is to address the needed paradigm shift in undergraduate education of engineering hydrology and water resources education to reflect parallel advances in hydrologic research and technology, mainly in the areas of new observational settings, data and modeling resources and web-based technologies. This paper presents efforts to develop a set of learning modules that are case-based, data and simulation driven and delivered via a web user interface. The modules are based on real-world case studies from three regional hydrologic settings: Coastal Louisiana, Florida Everglades, and Utah Rocky Mountains. These three systems unique learning opportunities on topics such as: regional-scale budget analysis, hydrologic effects of human and natural changes, flashflood protection, climate-hydrology teleconnections and water resource management scenarios. The technical design and contents of the modules aim to support students’ ability for transforming their learning outcomes and skills to hydrologic systems other than those used by the specific activity. To promote active learning, the modules take students through a set of highly engaging learning activities that are based on analysis of hydrologic data and model simulations. The modules include user support in the form of feedback and self-assessment mechanisms that are integrated within the online modules. Module effectiveness is assessed through an improvement-focused evaluation model using a mixed-method research approach guiding collection and analysis of evaluation data. Both qualitative and quantitative data are collected through student learning data, product analysis, and staff interviews. The paper discusses lessons learned from the development and implementation of the modules, guidelines on design and content attributes that support active learning in hydrology, and challenges encountered during the class implementation and evaluation of the modules.
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