Mini short course: Teaching about Modeling Flood Hazards

Thursday March 25, 2021

12-2 pm PT | 1-3 pm MT | 2-4 pm CT | 3-5 pm ET | 7-9 pm UTC

Capacity reached. Registration is closed.

This course is part of the GETSI Virtual Mini Short Course Series.


Venkatesh Merwade (Purdue University)
Beth Pratt-Sitaula (UNAVCO)

Mini-course Description

This mini-course will give instructors a chance to learn about the Modeling Flood Hazards majors-level GETSI module and ideas for teaching it virtually and in-person. It will include interactive opportunities for instructors to actually work through parts of student exercises, learn to use HEC-RAS modeling software, discuss ideas with peers, and work on implementation planning. A great opportunity to start to learn flood hazard modeling. $50 stipend* for completion of the course and short implementation plan. All module units are online-ready or online-adaptable.

Flooding is an essential component of natural riverine ecosystems, yet is one of the most damaging and frequent natural hazards throughout the world. In this module, five units are provided that introduce students to 1) the physical concepts of flooding and its impact on natural environment and humans, 2) methods to estimate flood frequency, 3) using lidar to compute hydraulic properties of streams, 4) hydraulic modeling tools (HEC-RAC) to map flood-prone areas for different return periods. A fifth unit guides students towards translating these probabilities and flow rates to flood risk in a culminating assignment. This module is intended for upper level geosciences and engineering students.

Mini-course elements

  • Complete a couple short preparatory steps (see details below)
  • Participate in the full 2-hour session.
    (If you are unable to attend the mini-course at its scheduled time, we recommend watching the recorded webinar related to teaching the same module: Teaching undergrads about floods: frequency, modeling, and mitigation.)
  • Complete an Implementation Planning Form by the end of Sunday following the mini-course (expected time ~20-30 minutes; you will have some time near the end of the 2-hour session but may need to take a bit of additional time to complete your plan and feedback)
  • $50 stipend* for participants who complete the Implementation Planning Form by the deadline (Sunday March 28) . Must be US citizen or permanent resident to receive a stipend; however, others are welcome to participate without compensation.


The mini-courses are intended for undergraduate instructors: college and university faculty (including adjunct), post-docs expecting to teach soon, and graduate students with teaching or TAing responsibilities. You may attend multiple mini-courses and receive the $50 stipend for each. Maximum of 50 registrants per mini-course so please only sign up if you intend to attend.

If you attended the GETSI short course during AGU 2019 (Using Geophysics Data to Teach About Flooding, Landslides, and Climate Change in Undergraduate Majors Courses), you have already been introduced to this module.


Participants will:

  • Learn about geodetic methods related to flood hazard mapping
  • Access online teaching resources presented in the short course
  • Practice using teaching resources
  • Start implementation plan for use of teaching resources

Software and files for the course

Participants will need to use Windows- or LINUX-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 mini-course. You will need HEC-RAS software download (Hydrologic Engineering Center's River Analysis System) - for generating flood hazard maps.
Prior to the start of the mini-course:


Beth Pratt-Sitaula - prattsitaula AT

*Must be US citizen or permanent resident to receive a stipend; however others are welcome to participate without compensation.
You may attend multiple mini-courses. Stipends will be compiled and sent out after the end of the term during which the mini-course was held.

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