2-page proposal file

Learning about Environmental Sustainability through Real-Time Access to Weather and
Water Quality Data
Parhum Delgoshaei
Department of Engineering Education
Virginia Tech
Divyang Prateek
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Virginia Tech
Vinod K. Lohani
Department of Engineering Education
Virginia Tech
Abstract: LabVIEW Enabled Watershed Assessment System (LEWAS) enables students to
remotely monitor water quality and flow data from an impaired stream (Webb branch of Stroubles
Creek) and access weather quality data for the site. The collected parameters such as the amount
of dissolved oxygen and turbidity are indicators of the streams health. Therefore, through a webbased real time monitoring, students can monitor how the health of the stream is influenced by
manmade factors such as construction especially during runoff related to heavy rainfall.
One of the educational objectives of freshman engineering course, ENGE 1024, is raising
students’ awareness in environmental and energy sustainability. In this regard, for the past two
offerings of this course, students enrolled in the course were provided access to the LEWAS
system. According to data from exit surveys collected at the end of each semester the course is
offered, students have found the setup both useful and motivating in learning about the
environment. This fall, for the first time, students will be provided with a variety of water and
weather environmental parameters from the field as opposed to access to parameters
corresponding to lab samples. Accordingly, a short survey will be administered to measure to
impact of real time access to field data. Student attitudinal responses will be collected prior and
after they have been provided real time access to environmental sensors installed in the field. In
addition, the impact of the system on raising student motivation will be assessed by collecting
student perceptions on the value they place on environmental monitoring and their expectancy to
succeed in it. The responses will be interpreted in the framework of value-expectancy theory of