This collaborative project between a four-year and a two-year institution is developing an Internet-based laboratory curriculum in water science, with a goal of preparing future water science technicians for the increasingly high-technology, interdisciplinary, and often contentious world of water resource management in the 21st century. Through the on-line curriculum, students learn and apply their knowledge and skills using inquiry-based problems derived from real-world and real-time data collected by state-of-the- art water quality monitoring technology. The curriculum is designed as a two-semester lab sequence targeted toward second-year technical students in water resource management, water science, or environmental resource management programs. It consists of six key units that cover the range of knowledge and skills needed by future water science technicians: the knowledge base, experimental design, data collection, data management, data analysis and interpretation, and management policy, outreach and education. Each unit in turn consists of a series of three to eight interactive modules that cover specific topics (e.g. the Data Analysis Unit includes web-based modules on Exploratory Data Analysis, Trend Analysis, Spatial Analysis, and Modeling). The modules are linked through a series of inquiry lessons designed around current water quality management issues and using real-time water quality data. This approach allows community college teachers considerable flexibility in adopting the entire curriculum, or in using the units, modules and inquiry lessons to fit the needs of their particular program. This curriculum serves as either a capstone experience for students completing a technician program, or a gateway for students interested in pursuing water science degrees at four-year institution.
Collaborative Research: Training Water Science Technicians