Developing fieldwork experiments for water resources students of Hanoi University of Natural Resources and Environment, Vietnam

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The study of water is without question an important one. We can learn a lot by studying the theory but in the end, it is essential to actually go out into the field and see the hydrological processes in practice for ourselves. The educational value of fieldwork lies not only in seeing theory become reality but also in experiencing the difficulties and limitations of gathering data first-hand.

The water resources department of the Hanoi University of Natural Resources and Environment (HUNRE) wanted to expand its curriculum with a fieldwork excursion that will be part of three courses related to surface water, groundwater, and water quality. During our ten weeks in Vietnam, we assisted the teaching staff of the Water Management faculty in the development of these courses. We selected multiple experiments and found suitable locations for their execution, about a three-hour drive from the university. Several times we visited the fieldwork site together with students and teachers to explore the catchment, perform experiments, and gather data. For every experiment, a comprehensive manual was written with accompanying assignments and sheets tailor-made for the fieldwork excursion. All manuals are combined into a practical document that can be brought into the field.

The experiments require a wide variety of specific pieces of equipment. Most but not all of these were present at the university. With financial support from the Orange Knowledge Project (OKP), we were able to repair existing equipment and acquire new equipment that was lacking in order to facilitate the experiments that were deemed essential. We also re-organized part of the water lab where all equipment is stored to improve the equipment’s maintenance and organization.
With the completion of this project, we believe to have made a contribution to the improvement of the quality of education at HUNRE. We hope that a lot of students can benefit from our efforts as they go on the fieldwork excursion in the coming years.