RWater: A Cyber-enabled Data-driven Tool for Enhancing Hydrology Education

By Adnan Rajib1, Venkatesh Merwade1, Lan Zhao2, Carol Song3

1. Lyles School of Civil Engineering, Purdue University 2. Purdue University 3. Rosen Center for Advanced Computing, Purdue University

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Enhancing students’ analytical ability of interpreting complex hydrologic processes from limited classroom environment has been a subject of long-standing research. From this perspective, a new internet-based educational tool, called RWater, is developed using Purdue University’s HUBzero technology. The current version of RWater interface includes the following three elements: (i) coding workspace, (ii) visualization window, and (iii) instruction modules, providing a self-contained learning environment that instructors and students can use from any location and/or device. Following real-time hydrologic data-driven modules, students can write small scripts in R to create visualizations identifying the effect of rainfall distribution and watershed characteristics on streamflow response, seasonal characteristics of hydrologic cycle, and investigate the impacts of landuse change on streamflow. Each module contains relevant definitions, instructions on data extraction and coding, as well as conceptual questions based on the possible visualizations which the students would create. In order to assess its suitability in real time classroom atmosphere and to evaluate learners’ perception over its utility, the current version of RWater is tested under two different settings: (i) with high school students in a limited week long training program, and (ii) with middle and high school teachers in a two-day workshop mode. The evaluation survey results from these programs suggest that the RWater has potential to improve students’ understanding on various cause-and-effect relationships in natural water cycle, leading towards effective dissemination of hydrology education at K-12 level. 

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Adnan Rajib; Venkatesh Merwade; Lan Zhao; Carol Song (2014), "RWater: A Cyber-enabled Data-driven Tool for Enhancing Hydrology Education,"

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