Design teaching is seen as important, both in itself and as an integrated theme running throughout environmental degree courses. One of the prime objectives is to show the requirement for incorporating the material covered in traditional environmental engineering courses within a design framework.
In this way, the importance, relevance and application of water resources and environmental engineering courses can be highlighted. In addition to this, it is recognized that project-based work is important in developing student enthusiasm for engineering and can therefore provide a mechanism for maintaining the required levels of interest throughout the course (Hopkinson et al., 2008).
Design projects are often carried out with the students working in groups, which can be applied to develop teamwork and effective communication.One of the major advantages of project-based design work over traditional, formal lectures is that it is student-centered, requiring active learning rather than the passive acquisition of information through lectures.
Even though the material that is possible to cover within a design project is challenging in terms of both student and faculty time, it is argued that project-based work may be a more effective method for acquiring knowledge and developing understanding.
The importance of authenticity in effective design teaching has been highlighted by other authors who argue that the creation of an artifact or system designed is an essential part of the educational process (Koehler and Mishra, 2005). Project-based design teaching often offers the opportunity assessing an existing design through an audit or for producing a new prototype, which would not normally be possible within a conventional lecture course.
Project-based teaching, therefore, presents the extra benefit to students of dealing with real problems and it is arguably more tangible than other teaching techniques. Although formal lectures provide an important means for acquiring knowledge, it is suggested that students often have more difficulty in understanding the material and realizing the relevance in course material when it is delivered in this way alone.
The educational purpose of project-based design teaching within water resources and environmental engineering degree courses are not always fully appreciated. Therefore, it is the aim of this paper to discuss a range of objectives and show how they may be achieved within the perspective of a particular storm-water management design project.
A shelter belt system along with a storm-water transfer management system was analyzed using calculations and formulas taught in the class. The shelter-belt technology is a proven technology being used in Germany and the Netherlands for controlling storm-water (Meurk, 2005). It was combined with the most-advanced Japanese water transfer technology (Saraswat, 2016).
A group of students worked on storm-water management using different alternatives like shelter-belt technology and rainwater gardens and calculated various parameters. Students were encouraged to search for the information on the internet (like scholar.google.com, usepa.gov and uspto.gov) and other sources. Required information and guidance were provided by the instructor.
The project aims to demonstrate the importance of integrating water resources and environmental engineering in the design process as well as to develop team work and communication skills. In the following sections, an outline of the project specifications is first given. The educational objectives are then presented in detail and the educational value of project based design teaching is discussed.
The design process may be considered to comprise the following well-established phases: project specifications, common conceptualization, demonstration, and detail. This process pertains largely to original designs, but aspects of the overall process are also relevant to variant design into which category the current design projects in general fall.
The present design projects identify a case study in variant design. The generation of design solutions requires some consideration of the original design process discussed above. But the majority of the project is concerned with the detailed design phase.
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