Initial Publication Date: October 28, 2020

Short course @AWRA: Floods to Droughts: Teaching Undergraduates About Water Issues Using Data, Modeling, & Math

Sunday November 8, 2020

10 am-2 pm PT | 11 am-3 pm MT | 12-4 pm CT | 1-5 pm ET | 6-10 pm UTC
In association with the American Water Resources Association Annual Meeting(virtual)


Venkatesh Merwade (Purdue University)
Bruce Douglas (Indiana University)
Beth Pratt-Sitaula (UNAVCO)

Looking for ways to include real data, modeling, and compelling societal hooks into your hydrology and water resources courses?

This short course gives undergraduate instructors hands-on experience working with teaching modules from the free online NSF-funded GEodesy Tools for Societal Issues (GETSI) project. Teaching resources span topics from flood hazard modeling to traditional and geodetic methods for measuring ground water. The Modeling Flood Hazards module has students working with HEC-RAS to generated flood maps and city mitigation plans. Two modules related to ground and surface water resources will also be presented Eyes on the Hydrosphere: Tracking Water Resources (intro level) and Measuring Water Resources with GPS, Gravity, and Traditional Methods (majors level). These have students working with data sets from GRACE (gravity) satellites and GPS to ground water wells and stream gages to better plan for water issues.


Short course is intended for undergraduate instructors and graduate students with teaching responsibilities. Participants who are instructors or teaching assistants and who complete the entire short course will receive a stipend of $100 in the month following the workshop. An additional $100 is available for instructors who use the materials in subsequent courses and give feedback.

Note: AWRA requires meeting registration for all short course attendees.

Learning Objectives

Participants of this short course will:

  1. Be able to access online teaching resources presented in the short course.
  2. Practice using a cross section of available resources.
  3. Analyze which resources are most appropriate for the courses they teach.
  4. Initiate implementation plans for adopting and/or adopting relevant teaching resources.

Anticipated Agenda

The short course is four hours long. The agenda shows times from short course start as participants will be from many times zones.

Attendee Requirements

Participants will need to use Windows-based machine during the workshop (or one with an emulator or virtual machine that will allow use of Windows-based software HEC-RAS). Participants will be asked to install and test the software and do a couple other small tasks prior to the start of the workshop. HEC-RAS software download (Hydrologic Engineering Center's River Analysis System) - for generating flood hazard maps

Files for the course

All these files are available in the modules Modeling Flood Hazards and Measuring Water Resources with GPS, Gravity, and Traditional Methods. However, we have bundled the specific files that we are using during the course here for simplicity.