The study of hydraulics and hydrology is a necessary part of civil
and environmental engineering. There are a number of textbooks available
to the undergraduate student in these areas of engineering science.
But it is difficult to find an introductory text that will cover
both hydraulic and hydrologic engineering in a clear and concise
manner. Presently, computer modeling is widely used in the environmental
and civil engineering profession. A number of these programs are
used to determine flooding potential of streams, roads, parking
areas, etc. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has encouraged the
use of two such programs: “Flood Hydrograph Package (HEC-1),”
and “River Analysis System (HEC-RAS).” It is virtually
impossible to find the instructions on the use of these programs
in an introductory course in Water Resource Engineering, thus placing
a burden on those teaching hydraulics and hydrology to the undergraduate
Approximately a decade ago, the course in Water Resource Engineering
(CE 142) (hydraulics and hydrology is introduced to junior civil
engineering students in this course) at the Cooper Union was revised
to include a three hour laboratory and problem solving weekly session.
In order to incorporate the use of the latest techniques in this
course, projects in urban storm water runoff and flooding were assigned.
The HEC-1 and HEC-2 programs were used to determine drainage in
the students’ projects. HEC-RAS is basically the windows version
of HEC-2. It was clear from the beginning that the students needed
more than an introduction to the use of these two programs to be
able to conduct waterdshed runoff and backwater curve computations.
Longer and longer periods of time were necessary to instruct the
students in the use of these necessary tools. This took valuable
time away from the laboratory hydraulic experiments conducted as
part of the required course. At this time, the module was developed
as a learning aid in the proper use of both programs: HEC-1 and
Hydrologic Engineering Unsing the HEC-HMS Module
Hydraulic Engineering Using HEC-RAS Module
a screen shot taken from the HEC-HMS Module, click image to view
The Virtual Classroom project’s goals were to revise CE142
so that the modules could be used as a learning tool in or out of
the classroom, thereby freeing up class time and allowing students’
progress to be reviewed in classroom problem sessions.
the Virtual Classroom Final Report [PDF file]