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Beyond technical issues: A case-study approach to introducing environmental engineering students to nontechnical wastewater engineering constraints

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3 Author(s)
Munakata-Marr, J. ; Colorado Sch. of Mines, Golden, CO, USA ; Leydens, J.A. ; Moskal, B.M.

By studying closed-ended technical problems, upper-undergraduate and early graduate environmental engineering students may not appreciate the importance of the nontechnical aspects of sanitation or the critical interrelationship between technical and nontechnical components. A module on sanitation engineering for the developing world was created and implemented in a senior/graduate level wastewater engineering course. Students developed case studies as a means to broaden and deepen their understanding of nontechnical issues of wastewater engineering. The case studies focused on developing countries, but the perceptions, treatment methods, and nontechnical issues are also relevant in developed countries. The goal was to increase student appreciation for the technical and nontechnical complexities and their interplay when designing and implementing sanitation systems in both the developed and developing world. Based on tests administered before and after case-study development, statistically significant change was observed in the students' understanding of technical and nontechnical sanitation issues. This paper presents the module design and implementation, assessment instruments and a detailed statistical and qualitative analysis of the module's impact in the first classroom implementation.

Published in:

Frontiers in Education Conference, 2009. FIE '09. 39th IEEE

Date of Conference:

18-21 Oct. 2009