Topic outline

  • Welcome to the fascinating world of water and environmental engineering!

    Kindly note that the timetables available in MyCourses calendar are indicative only: correct timetables will be available in Weekly Sub-pages! Also note that the morning sessions start at 9.00 sharp!

    This course is the 15 ECTS common course of WAT Master's Programme and is also called "The WAT Course".

    Participating this WAT Course course means a full schedule and full-time studying, and we expect you to be able to participate in teaching and group work activities from Monday morning till Friday afternoon during the entire Period I (13th Sept-29th Oct). The schedule is the same, whether attending the teaching fully online or at campus (see details concerning teaching arrangements in sub-page Online practicalities).

    The WAT Course will introduce you to our research group as well as to our field, including its key themes and methods (see the circle below). The idea is also to get to know your fellow students, and majority of learning thus takes place in groups. WAT-E1100 also includes a Personal Learning Portfolio process that runs through your entire Master's studies and corresponds 2 credits i.e. around 54 hours of work. For more information on the portfolio process, see its own MyCourses pages here

  • The WAT Course will be arranged both, online and as hybrid teaching (teaching at campus but streamed in Teams).

    Hybrid teaching: All weeks start on Monday mornings at 9.00 sharp at campus (Otakaari 4, 2nd floor, lecture hall 215), unless otherwise specified through course Announcements. These sessions can be attended also remotely through the course Teams (for students unable to attend teaching at campus). In addition, laboratory exercises (weeks 3 & 6) will take place at campus (Water Building laboratories @ Tietotie 1). Possibilities to pass the lab exercises fully remotely will be specified during the course.

    Online teaching: All other session then those specified above will, in principle, arranged onine in Microsoft Teams, unless otherwise specified through course Announcements. Students accepted to the course will receive instructions on how to register to Aalto University Teams, and how to join the WAT-E1100 Teams group. This information will be sent by email before the course starts. All students should join the course Teams group before the first session on Monday 13Sept.

    Below you’ll find detailed information on the online and hybrid teaching practicalities of the course (only for registered and accepted students).

    A more general guide with more information by Aalto IT can be found here.

  • Here you'll find all information you need to know to get our WAT studies started! The sections below give you information on the WAT Orientation Days on Tuesday 7.9. and Wednesday 8.9 and about the practicalities concerning the WAT Course's first, introductory session on Monday 13.9. morning. Read through everything carefully!

  • This week will give you a brief overview of global water issue, sustainability and development in general. You'll also get an introduction to using statistics. Note the week starts with a context session on group work; see previous page for more information.

    The week consists of the following submitted tasks:

      • Thematic task: SWOT analysis, group work (DL Wed 15.9. at 11:00)
      • Weekly exercise: Statistical analysis (DL Fri 24.9. at 23:59)

    General schedule for the week is shown in the figure below, while the detailed schedule can be found below the figure.

  • Starting on Monday 20 Sep at 9.00 at class 215 (Otakaari 4), the second week provides a view on hydrology and water resources management.

    Monday morning reviews the hydrological cycle and runoff generation with the aim to facilitate discussion in the class. Selected aspects of water resources management are viewed.

    Monday afternoon starts with research highlight presentations. The afternoon ends with a hydrological measurement demonstration and data analysis session.

    Tuesday's Thematic Task focuses on the application of a hydrological model through an exercise. The day is organised online, where students can run the model and perform computations. The Thematic Task i.e. hydrological modelling exercise itself is a group work. Each group will be given data and hydrological model for different catchments. The group will get familiar with their site, data, and the model and make an assessment of hydrological processes in the catchment. The application part of the exercise is to extract transient climate scenarios extending from the current conditions to future, run the hydrological model with the scenarios, and assess how the climate change is seen in the studied catchments.

    Wednesday is the day to get familiar the Weekly Exercise, simulation modeling and related tools and procedures, such as model calibration, validation, and sensitivity analysis. Wednesday teaching will be organized online.

    Thursday is devoted to individual work on the Weekly Exercise. Extra help is available for completing the exercise in the afternoon (online).

    Friday is the day to finished the computations of each groups and prepare a presentation about their thematic task results. A mini seminar is held in the afternoon to wrap up the results.

    The week consists of the following submitted tasks:

      • Thematic task: HBV Modelling  (DL for group presentation slides: Friday 24 September at 14:00)
      • Weekly exercise: Simulation Modelling (DL Friday 1 October at 23:59)

    General schedule for the week is shown in the figure below, while the detailed schedule can be found below the figure.

    Week 2 schedule

  • Week 3 of WAT course deals with environmental hydraulics and environmentally sound hydraulic engineering. They form a rapidly developing research domain with an objective to protect and restore quality of the environment when using water resources. We seek to improve our understanding of the dynamics and processes of water, sediment, vegetation, nutrients, and harmful substances in the hydro-environment. The proper understanding of the associated physical, chemical and biological attributes and processes is the basis for the development of reliable modelling tools for river hydraulics, and sediment and pollutant transport. At the Aalto University, environmental hydraulics is a transdisciplinary field combining technological, environmental, economical, and societal interests in a wide context. Our studies cover both natural and built environments, in particular rivers, agricultural channels, and urban water features.

    This week focuses on experimental research methods using the Environmental Hydraulics Flow Channel. You will learn how laboratory and field-scale experiments and numerical models can be used to develop potential engineering solutions to transdisciplinary problems, with a view on nature-based solutions (NBS). The broader context is treated with help of an article-based task. We'll wrap on Friday discussing both general concepts and detailed analyses.

    Two exercises are organized in this week: 

      • 1) Weekly exercise: Flume assignment (group work; DL on Thursday) 
      • 2) Thematic task: Scientific communication (individual work; DL on Friday). 

    General schedule for the week is shown in the figure, followed by the detailed daily schedule below.

  • Water supply and sanitation week combines the weekly theme and method with the help of entrepreneurship and innovation thinking (which is one of our key contexts), done in cooperation with Aalto Ventures Programme AVP. 

    The week consists of the following submitted tasks:

      • Thematic task: User research and pitch (DL Friday 8.10. at 16:30)
      • Weekly exercise: Spatial analysis (DL Friday 15.10. at 23:59)

    General schedule for the week is shown in the figure below, while the detailed schedule can be found below the figure.

  • This thematic week introduces you to environmental management and sustainability, including key aspects related to sustainability awareness, values and worldviews, and life cycle analysis LCA. 

    The week consists of the following submitted tasks:

      • Thematic task: Board game Pre-tasks (DL: part A: Fri 15.10 at 9.00 / part B: Sun 17.10. at 23.00)
      • Weekly exercise: Environmentally extended input-output (EE IO) analysis (DL Wed 13.10. 12:00)

    General schedule for the week is shown in the figure below, while the detailed schedule can be found below the figure.

    Week 5

  • Landscape

    On week 6 of the WAT course we'll dive into water and environmental quality.

    The week consists of the following submitted tasks:

      • Thematic task: Home exam on Water and Environmental Quality (DL Friday 29.10. at 23:00)
      • Weekly exercise: Laboratory analysis (DL for presentation Friday 22.10. at 14:00, DL for report Wednesday 27.10. at 23:00)

    Kindly note that in order to be able to carry out the laboratory analysis, you have to pass the Laboratory Safety Exam. This has to be completed by Sunday 26.9. (before week 3). If you have already done a similar exam and/or worked in our lab, contact Aino Peltola.

    General schedule for the week is shown in the figure below, while the detailed schedule can be found soon below the figure.

    Image of schedule for week 6 in WAT course. Described in more detail below in text.

  • The last week of WAT Course takes a broader view on the course's' content, synthesising the six thematic weeks and reflecting what you have learned. The week also includes a structured way to give and receive feedback with your group. 

    The Synthesis Week includes contact sessions on Monday morning, Tuesday full day and Wednesday morning: all sessions start at 09.00. Monday afternoon is reserved for personal synthesis task, while Thursday and Friday are free from Contact Sessions (to be used to draft your portfolio, to meet your mentor, to finalise your assignments and to take a small break before Period II). 

    The week consists of the following submitted tasks:

      • Personal Synthesis Task: (DL draft by Tue 26.10. at 9:00, final DL Fri 29.10. at 23:00)
      • Group Synthesis Task: Presentation (DL Tue 26.10. at 18:00)

    General schedule for the week is shown in the figure below, while the detailed schedule can be found below the figure.

    Timetable 7th Week

  • Large part of the work for WAT-E1100 course is done independently in groups. This gives a big responsibility to yourself, and you thus have also a possibility (and responsibility) to assess your learning during the course - and hence to influence the grade you will get from the course.  

    The grade for this WAT Course comes as follows:

    • One third of the grade comes from the assessment of your Thematic Tasks and other activities (by teachers)
    • One third comes from the average of Weekly exercises (by teachers)
    • One third comes from Peer and Self Assessment (by students)


    Peer and Self Assessment provides you a possibility to reflect your own and your group members (peers) activity and input for your group work process as well as to give constructive feedback to your peers. 

    Peer and Self Assessment will be done at the end of the course, and it is complemented by self-facilitated ‘I like, I wish’ exercise that we will do in groups during the last week. You are thus encouraged to take your discussions during that exercise into account when carrying out the assessment.

    Peer and Self Assessment will be done online with a Webropol questionnaire, and you will receive a link and detailed instructions for the questionnaire during the last week of the course.

  • Your feedback is very valuable for the development of the course, so please be active and provide your feedback both during and after the course! We have used the feedback from the previous courses to develop this course further (see courses 2020, 2019).

    Feedback during the course

    The most efficient way to give feedback is to provide it during the course directly to the teachers. You can also send your feedback by email to, or use the anonymous feedback box below. 

    Feedback after the course

    There are three main ways to give feedback after the course: 

    • Aalto's electronic feedback survey through Webropol
    • Specific WAT Course electronic feedback during Synthesis Week (also through Webropol)
    • Through the Reflection & Feedback Session on our last day 

    The first two forms of feedback are anonymous, while the discussion during the Reflection & Feedback Session are done in groups. The session also provides you with a facilitated way to give feedback to your group with the help of Aalto's award-winning 'I like, I wish' activity, complementing your Peer and Self Assessment.

    Feedback on your feedback

    Thank you for all the valuable feedback you provided through the two Feedback Surveys (Aalto + detailed WAT feedback), as well as during the synthesis week!  Here's some feedback to your feedback ('vastapalaute').  

    Overall you seemed to appreciate the course and also the hybrid practicalities. You specifically appreciated starting the weeks at campus and thus, getting to know each other and us better compared to being totally online. Many of you paid attention to thought-through hybrid/online arrangements and we thank you for that - the whole WAT teaching staff aims at high quality teaching and it is nice that is shows. According to the synthesis week discussions, the Feedback Survey answers and your final grades, the hybrid (mostly online) implementation of the course didn't seem to have an impact on your final learning outcomes, at least if we compare to the similar results from non-pandemic years.

    Group work seemed to go ok, which was visible also in the self and peer grades you gave. However, some of the groups were rather large this year, which naturally affected how the tasks were divided between group members and how the work was flowing. The number of groups is under consideration for the following years of WAT Course to avoid similar challenges. Despite some group work challenges, you found all the exercises and tasks very useful. 

    Overall, you seemed to appreciate the general introduction that WAT Course provides to our field and Master's Programme, and understand how it links to our advanced courses. This is indeed among the main aims of the WAT Course: to get an understanding of different themes and methods our Master's Programme has, so that you are able to select those Advanced Courses that teach them in more detail.

    Based on your feedback we plan to keep the general structure of the WAT Course similar, but continue fine-tuning it and e.g. consider having a clearer start for each week (exact information on the week's deadlines, key content etc.). Also scheduling and task instructions require still some work from us, as well as paying attention that some feedback would be given from all the tasks (within reasonable time).

    Thank you once again for your feedback, and good luck with your Advanced Courses! Remember also that you can always contact myself or Marko (or your own mentor) if you have questions regarding those. Remember also to keep in touch with each other e.g. through Akva activities to support and sustain your WAT2021 group spirit!

    Kind regards, 

     Meeri & co