Try Out Our Stormwater Beta Class!

Rain Icon - Source: you ask public works professionals what are the most common concerns or issues they handle in their community, you will probably hear stormwater or flooding mentioned. So when we thought about developing online courses related to public works, we decided to begin by creating one about this topic. The entire course is still in development, but we have several sessions completed. And now with the software we are using ready for a public release this summer, we believe we are ready to invite a group of beta testers in to try it out. There are no costs associated with taking any of the courses so if you think you might be interested in testing out this class, read on . . .

One of the exciting aspects of this course is the software which allows for quite a different experience than what is usually offered by more traditional online educational delivery systems. All courses are created in and managed through 3D GameLab – a quest-based learning platform (a screenshot of the interface is included later in this post). When you join the class you are entered into a group with other students of that course. Everyone's progress is tracked in the group tab of the class. As you proceed through each session, or quest, you gain points, and as you complete a series of tasks, rewards are earned to track your progress. Each session leading up to a reward builds on the material in the last one. 

So far, the classes we have ready in the Stormwater Course are shown below. And because stormwater and flooding are ongoing concerns for many, we expect to continue adding quest groups to the course over time.

Introductory Quest Group – at completion the student achieves the "Climateer" Level and badge

  • Welcome to Exploring DrainageClimateer Badge
  • When it Rains, It Pours
  • Take the Damage Tour
  • The Flood Lineup
  • The Role of Government

Government Liaison Quest Group – at completion the student achieves the title of Government Liaison and earns a badge

  • Government Liaison BadgeFlood Zones
  • Flood Maps
  • Flood Insurance
  • Designing for the Storm

Castle Steward Quest Group – at completion the student achieves the Castle Steward level and earns the related badge

This group is still in development with the grayed-out quests not yet ready:

  • The Lay of the LandCastle Steward Badge
  • Pump that Sump
  • Never Saw that Coming
  • The 500 Year Storm
  • Preparing for the Flood

So who should take this type of course? It is designed to offer information in a format that would be interesting and relevant to property owners, people interested in stormwater, and even engineers and others working in public works who are just getting started in working with stormwater. At this time the signup process will ask you to verify you are 18 years or older. We can accommodate people younger including classes of high school students; however, we would want to discuss the access process before setting up accounts to ensure we comply with FERPA and COPPA. 

Stormwater Class Screenshot

If you sign up to try it out, we would appreciate any feedback you have including ideas about how we can make the course better or ideas for other courses you would like to have us develop. At this time the class is limited to 60 people so if you are interested, make sure you sign up now with the form below to secure your spot!


Note: Thanks to for the first image in this post


Glogging My Virtual Experiences

If you've been reading this blog since its early days, you know I'm a big supporter of the use of virtual worlds and 3D immersive spaces. Although I realize these technologies are not yet mainstream or even well accepted or understood, my experience with them has been tremendously positive. They have quite simply changed my life and career forever. Through using virtual worlds, I've learned skills with computer programs and found information about places and ideas I would have never picked up anywhere else. I've also developed better presentation and delivery skills through interactions in these environments. And most importantly, I've met people I never would have met without entering these spaces. It's been an incredible journey that isn't over yet.

Because of my involvement in all this, I became aware of and decided to participate in 3D Game Lab – a summer class focusing on learning how to use gaming techniques and frameworks to supplement or enhance learning. And this experience has led me to even more information and skills and techniques to help me further develop my career. The class finishes up this weekend. But as with virtual worlds, this experience is not over yet either. All of us who participated can choose to continue on creating our own classes using their software. And after September 1st, we can invite up to 60 people or students to participate in our class. My plan is to start with building a class that will teach drainage, and it will be offered online for free. After the beta period, they are opening up the software for anyone to use to build classes – right now it appears that if classes will be offered for free, the use of the software will be free. I'm hoping to be able to continue creating classes for citizens and for other professionals. When I get closer to launching, I will blog more about the experience.

In the meantime, I'm embedding below a visual summary of my virtual experiences – creating this was one of the assignments in our 3D Game Lab class. And it helped me find out about and learn how to use the Glogster site where anyone can create an educational poster. I can see a lot of uses for people in public works who need to create posters for their department.