Virginia Tech Courses

Virginia Tech Courses

            Integration of LEWAS with Virginia Tech courses is being carried out under the type-I NSF-TUES project. The goal of this project is to implement the use of a remote lab (i.e., LEWAS) to enhance the quality of undergraduate and graduate instruction. At Virginia Tech, we have developed and integrated LEWAS‐based learning module(s) into EngE 1024 (Engineering Exploration), EngE 1216 (Foundations of Engineering), CS 3114 (Data Structures and Algorithms), CEE 2814 (CEE Measurements), CEE 3314 (Water Resources Engineering), CEE 4304 (Hydrology), CEE 5734 (Urban Hydrology), GEOS 1124 (Resources and the Environment), GEOS 4804 (Groundwater Hydrology), and CSES 4314 (Water Quality). 


 EngE 1216 | Foundations of Engineering Freshman level course

            Foundations of Engineering II is a freshman level course in the Department of Engineering Education in Virginia Tech, where students learn in a project based environment. In Spring 2015, more than 1400 students, with around 30 students in each of the 48 sections completed two projects to understand the engineering design process. The second project emphasized data analysis with Matlab programming. LEWAS team developed this second project with an objective to help students understand the practical problems related to their own Webb Branch watershed and solve it using real-world noisy data. Students were given water quality and water quantity data related to storm events, which they had to analyze with a Decision Support System developed in the Matlab environment. They found out the impact of the storm on water quantity and also its effect on water quality parameters in regards to road salt and biological indicator species (fish, invertebrates). In addition student reported the implications (ethical and otherwise) of planned construction on the Virginia Tech Blacksburg campus to the stream habitat at the Webb Branch site.


CEE 2814 | CEE Measurements Sophmore level course

            The Civil Engineering Measurements course uses real-time turbidity data in statistical analysis assignments.  The students learn several standard deviation methods while also learning how turbidity is an important metric when evaluating water quality. Many students in the measurements lab recorded GPS data points at the LEWAS site with a TSI in order to develop stream cross-sections and a topography map. 


CS 3114 | Data Structures and Algorithms Junior level course


CEE 3314 | Water Resources Engineering Junior level course


CEE 5734 | Urban Hydrology Graduate level course 

            Urban Hydrology students use LEWAS data to find significant water quality events that occurred over the course time period. Each student has to prepare a hydrograph, hyetograph, and pollutographs for the events while describing changes in data.  The objective is for each student to assess large quantities of water quality data and hypothesize what may have caused the events. Later in the semester, students complete a similar assignment but are given the Online Watershed Learning System (OWLS) to analyze data rather than deciphering raw data. 


GEOS 1124 | Resources and the Environment Freshman level course


GEOS 4804 | Groundwater Hydrology Senior level course

           Groundwater Hydrology students tour the LEWAS field site after a classroom presentation and analyzed LEWAS data for an assignment.

CSES 4314 | Water Quality Senior level course

           Lab director, Dr. Lohani and PhD student, Daniel Brogan, introduce LEWAS and describe the field site's water quality monitoring equipment. Students manually collect water quality samples from the field site and compare their findings with the lab's continous water quality data captured by the Sonde. 

CEE 4304 | Hydrology Senior level course

Taught by: Dr. Scardina , CEE

          The first phase of implementation was accomplished in Fall 2012, and based on success these modules are being carried out into this course in Spring 2014. The Watershed Wiki Module was the final LEWAS module in the course and was implemented in order to motivate student learning about the importance of monitoring environmental resources. This module promoted active learning through hands-on group assignments that gave students the opportunity to investigate physical changes in the watershed and draw their own assessments. Students were assigned to teams that took turns throughout the semester to visit the LEWAS field site and write daily reports on the class Wiki about the conditions of the site, performance of the equipment, and the monitoring results. Figure 3 shows students at the field site collecting data as well as an example of a Wiki post. The groups took on the responsibility as a watershed assessment team for an assigned week and prepared data tables and graphs of weather, flow, and water quality data. During their assigned week, teams took photos and reported in a Wiki post about the general site conditions such as the weather, flow, and noticeable pollutants. At the end of the week the teams compiled a report which included data tables and graphs of weather, flow, and water quality data. Students conducted research into water quality parameters and discussed the notable differences or events in which parameters exceeded normal values. This module stressed the importance of understanding where data comes from and the difference between simply collecting data and deriving knowledge from the data. Details of achievement can be seen in the publication listed below.

Hydrology 4304 pic

 Download a detailed presentationthat shows how LEWAS is being used in CEE4304 with case studies on urbanization, stream health, impairment and water quality deviations.

Students observations on the class blog:

Publication: Integration of a Real-Time Water and Weather Monitoring System into a Hydrology Course (Download)

EngE 1024 | Engineering Exploration Freshmen course (1400 to 1600 enrollments each year)

Introduction to College of Engineering and the Engineering profession. The main focus  is to provide students an application of the programming language LabVIEW (introduced at VT since Fall 2007) in the form of a real-time remote water quality system. Since LEWAS is developed based on LabVIEW and students have been already introduced to programming in a dataflow language and its applications in data acquisition (DAQ) before LEWAS demonstration, it is a logical extension of the hands-on LabVIEW modules that have been successfully implemented in EngE1024. Extending the DAQ component of the class to real-time water quality data also enhances the sustainability component of EngE1024 and introduces the internet in the data flow.

Watch some past live demos of LEWAS Lab in EngE 1024 classrooms. 

NR 4614 | Watershed Assessment, Management, and Policy Senior Level course

Involves multidisciplinary perspectives of assessment, management, and policy issues for protecting and improving watershed ecosystems. Students of this course have benefited from real-time data available from LEWAS Watershed site on Stroubles Creek. 

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Pictures of the week

Rain Event: April 10, 2015 

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