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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Self-Guided Smartphone Excursions in University Teaching-Experiences From Exploring "Water in the City"

Schwarzenbach, Franziska M.; Seibert, Jan; van Meerveld, H. J. (Ilja)


Like many other university teachers, we were faced with an unprecedented situation in spring 2020, when we had to cancel on-site teaching and excursions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, we were in the fortunate position that we had already started to develop a smartphone-based self-guided excursion on the topic of "Water in the City". We accelerated this development and used it to replace the traditional group excursion in our Bachelor level introductory course in Hydrology and Climatology. The excursion of this course is visited by around 150 students each year. Because the student feedback was overall very positive, we used the self-guided excursion again in 2021 and plan to continue to use it in the coming years. In this paper, we describe the excursion, discuss the experiences of the students and ourselves, and present recommendations and ideas that could be useful for similar excursions at other universities.


field trip; undergraduate teaching; hydrology; mobile phone; treasure hunt; student evaluation

Published in

Frontiers in Environmental Science
2022, volume: 10, article number: 875712

Authors' information

Schwarzenbach, Franziska M.
University of Zurich
University of Zurich
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
van Meerveld, H. J. (Ilja)
University of Zurich

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

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