Natural Attenuation of Groundwater Contaminants: Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)

Dr. Pedro Alvarez | Rice University

ER-201572-T2

Background

This Massive Open Online Course is a unique educational resource for environmental professionals and others interested in learning more about how Monitored Natural Attenuation (MNA) can be used for cleaning up contaminated groundwater sites. Over the past 10 years, there have been important developments in the understanding of key attenuation processes and technologies for evaluating these processes, and changing institutional perspectives on when and where MNA may be applied. This course builds upon basic environmental science and engineering principles to describe how to best implement MNA. Additionally, it delves into the history behind MNA and makes predictions about new directions for this technology.  This project was led by Rice University with help from GSI Environmental.  Instructors for the course are Dr. Pedro Alvarez (Rice University), Dr. Charles Newell (GSI Environmental) and Dr. David Adamson (GSI Environmental).

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Technology Description

Accessing the Course

The course content is hosted on Coursera and can be viewed in several different ways:

  • OPTION 1. Enroll and Complete Full Course:  Every month, students can sign up in Coursera (using the above link) and watch the video lectures in order. Each section contains 6 to 9 videos on a specific topic (see syllabus below).  Each video is approximately 10 minutes long. The videos are followed by a set of brief questions and quizzes that are automatically graded. Students who successfully complete the entire course can purchase a certificate of completion ($5).  All content can be applied to continuing education credit.
  • OPTION 2. Enroll and Access Selected Content: Anyone can watch videos without committing to completing the entire course. Simply enroll via Coursera and then click on videos that cover specific topics of interest. Students will not be able to access quizzes or be eligible for the certificate unless they watch all the videos, but any completed videos will still apply as continuing education credit.

Course Syllabus

  • Week 1 – Course Overview and MNA as an Evolving Technology (9 videos) (Instructors: Newell/Alvarez/Adamson)
  • Week 2 – Biodegradation Principles (7 videos; Instructors: Alvarez/Adamson)
  • Week 3 – Abiotic Degradation Principles (6 videos: Instructors: Adamson/Newell)
  • Week 4 – Attenuation and Storage in Low-K Zones (6 videos: Instructors: Adamson/Newell)
  • Week 5 – Dilution as an Attenuation Process, Sometimes (6 videos: Instructors: Newell/Adamson)
  • Week 6 – Better Technologies: Compound Specific Isotopes and Molecular Biological Tools (6 videos: Instructors: Adamson/Alvarez)
  • Week 7 – Monitoring for MNA (6 videos: Instructors: Newell/Adamson)
  • Week 8 – Modeling Tools to Support MNA (6 videos: Instructors: All)
  • Week 9 – New Directions for MNA (6 videos: Instructors: All)

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Points of Contact

Principal Investigator

Dr. Pedro Alvarez

Rice University

Phone: 713-348-5903

Fax: 703-348-5203

Program Manager

Environmental Restoration

SERDP and ESTCP

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