Applied Hydraulics and Laboratory

Applied Hydraulics and Laboratory, CIV E 444

About the Instructor

Hassan Tavakol, San Diego State University

Discipline and interests: Civil Engineering, Water Resources Management

Teaching philosophy: My philosophy is based on creating a student-centered environment in the classroom by reflection upon and adjustment of my teaching strategies in response to assessment of students. I continuously pay attention to student’s learning process and hear their voices throughout the semester on how they best learn each part of the course. For instance, I give several anonymous surveys at the beginning of and during the semester, where I ask about their preferred learning methods, my areas of strength/improvement, etc. I am also committed to creating an inclusive environment by presenting in ways that engage diverse student populations, especially those from low-income and/or underrepresented groups, by removing financial barriers. 

Courses you teach: CIV E 444 Applied Hydraulics, CIV E 696 Stormwater Management & Green Infrastructure, CIV E 730 Advanced Topics in Water Engineering

The majority of CIV E 444 students are junior and senior. The vast majority of students are Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering majors, although there are occasionally Mechanical Engineering majors as well. The students come from a wide range of socio-economic demographics, while Hispanic and Black students are still underrepresented in engineering. Many students, especially those from underrepresented socio-economic demographics, openly complain about the substantial costs of engineering textbooks. Students have incoming knowledge through passing a course in Aerospace Engineering, called Fluid Mechanics, which is irrelevant to their majors and they cannot connect to its concepts, so they usually guard against my course at the beginning thinking this is another useless, mandatory course where they have to pay over $100 to purchase a textbook they are never going to use again.

OER Adoption Process

1. Briefly describe what motivated you to adopt OER for this course

Save students money and get them to use what they are eventually required to use (when they start their career after graduation) to improve the workforce training.

2. How did you find and select OER for this course?
Attended a CTL Lunch event at SDSU Faculty & Staff Club in 2018, where Kate Holvoet and James Frazee from the Affordable Learning Solution initiative presented about OER. I then worked with them to find the right OER, and also used my experience as a professional engineer. 

3. Describe any challenges you experienced and how you resolved them.
Some individuals were not clear how OER materials could comply with Copyright rules, and I clarified it for them, then they supported my efforts.

Course Description

Course number and title: CIV E 444 – Applied Hydraulics

Course Description: Review of fluid statics. Forces on submerged surfaces. Close-conduit flow. Pumps and turbines. Open-channel flow. Dams and reservoirs. Flood control.

Course classification: Major Course

Prerequisite: AE-340 Fluid Mechanics

Student Learning Outcomes by ABET Definitions:

This course emphasizes the following outcomes through lecture, laboratory, homework, quizzes, semester project, midterms and final exams.

Outcome 1. “An ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics.” Assessed by homework assignments, quizzes and exams

  1. Apply knowledge of geometry, calculus and physics to calculate hydrostatic forces on submerged objects.
  2. Apply knowledge of geometry, calculus and physics to calculate open channel flow characteristics in terms of flow depth, velocity and energy.
  3. Apply knowledge of geometry, calculus and physics to calculate closed-conduit flow characteristics in terms of flow depth, velocity and energy.

Outcome 2. “An ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors.” Assessed by homework assignments, quizzes and exams

  1. Design closed‐conduit hydraulic systems including pipes, valves, fittings, and pumps to meet water supply and/or drainage needs.
  2. Design open channel hydraulic systems including channel materials, dimension and slope to meet water supply and/or drainage needs.
  3. Design pump systems including pump capacity, head and pressure requirements to meet water supply needs.

Outcome 10. “An ability to analyze and solve problems in at least four technical areas appropriate to civil engineering.” Assessed by homework assignments, quizzes and exams

  1. Determine pipe discharges through a water distribution system given a specific set of parameters in a civil engineering context.
  2. Calculate the height of a hydraulic jump given a specific set of flow parameters.
  3. Analyze hydraulic forces and demands and calculate the minimum forces to operate hydraulic systems in a civil engineering context.

Outcome 12. “An ability to design a system, component, or process in at least two civil engineering contexts.” Assessed by homework assignments, quizzes and exams

  1. Interpret design requirements, perform design calculations, and consider alternative designs in the field of hydraulics, as a civil engineering context.

Outcome 13. “An ability to include principles of sustainability in design.” Assessed by exams and projects

  1. Design a flood control infrastructure using green methods and determine the cost of the project.
  2. Understand the pillars of sustainability and their application in hydraulic projects.

Curricular Changes and Student Access

1. What did you change as part of the OER adoption?

2. How and where do students access materials?
On Blackboard, where I post course materials that I have developed, and online:

Teaching and Learning Impact

Describe effects on teaching and learning that resulted from adopting OER e.g.

  • Do you collaborate more with other faculty now or use a broader range of teaching materials and methodologies, etc.? I used a broader range of materials and methodologies, e.g. educational videos.
  • Have student grades improved or stayed the same? Improved by 2% on average.
  • Did student retention improve? I do not have the data on this.
  • Did you experience any unintended results? What were they? No.

Student Feedback or Participation

Please describe what students say or how they responded to OER usage.
Student quote: “I appreciate your support of zero cost course materials and open educational resources in your Applied Hydraulics course for several reasons: 1) it helped us to keep our educational costs low and have an overall better quality of life as students 2) we did not have to carry heavy books and worry about their storage and transportation 3) we did not have to worry how and for what price we can sell the textbooks when the course is over, and 4) your materials where all online meaning that no trees where cut to create them as it is the case for traditional textbooks. Plus, we can keep useful resources for our future applications and exams for engineering licenses.”

Cost Savings

~ $5,000 per course section.

Accessibility, Affordability, and Diversity

  • Are the technologies used readily available and affordable for students? Yes
  • Do the pedagogical strategies support learners with diverse cultural, ethnic, and gender backgrounds? Yes. I define group project activities during the semester, where teams are set randomly. Because of the need for creativity in visualizations, our team leaders are all the time female students, while the field of engineering is historically dominated by male individuals.

Sharing Best Practices

How do you plan to share this OER experience with other faculty, staff, etc. who develop curriculum and teach? 

Each year, I volunteer to attend the new faculty orientation at SDSU, where all new faculty from all different departments are present. I share my story during the Kate Holvoet and James Frazee’s presentation for new faculty.