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Delivery of a Revamped Course on Electric Power Distribution Engineering and Smart Grids

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Energy Conversion and Conservation Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

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Paper Authors


Robert J. Kerestes University of Pittsburgh

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Robert Kerestes, PhD, is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering. Robert was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He got his B.S. (2010), his M.S (2012). and his PhD (2014) from the University of Pittsburgh, all with a concentration in electric power systems. Robert’s academic focus is in education as it applies to engineering at the collegiate level. His areas of interest are in electric power systems, in particular, electric machinery and electromagnetics. Robert has worked as a mathematical modeler for Emerson Process Management, working on electric power applications for Emerson’s Ovation Embedded Simulator. Robert also served in the United States Navy as an interior communications electrician from 1998-2002 on active duty and from 2002-2006 in the US Naval Reserves.

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Paul A. Dolloff PE University of Kentucky

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Paul Dolloff is a senior engineer in the Reliability Team at East Kentucky Power Cooperative. Dr. Dolloff is also an Adjunct Faculty member in the ECE Department at the University of Kentucky. Paul developed and teaches a renewable energy course, a power distribution systems course, and a system protection course with a lab component. Dr. Dolloff received a B.S.E.E. from Tennessee Tech University, an M.S. and a Ph.D. in E.E. from Virginia Tech University, and an M.B.A. from Morehead State University.

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Renee M. Clark University of Pittsburgh

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Renee M. Clark is a research assistant professor of Industrial Engineering and Director of Assessment in the Swanson School of Engineering and the Engineering Education Research Center (EERC). She received her MS in Mechanical Engineering from Case Western and her PhD in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh while working for Delphi Automotive. Her research interests focus on the propagation and assessment of active and experiential learning in engineering education.

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In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on the importance of electric power distribution engineering due to rapid changes in the distribution sector resulting from increased penetration of distributed energy resources and smart grid technologies. With this increased importance comes the need for quality education in this area. A course titled “Electric Power Distribution Engineering and Smart Grids” was developed at the University of Pittsburgh to address the need for education in this area. There have been many iterations of the course given by many different instructors, but assistant professor Robert Kerestes took over the course in 2016.

It was decided that the course should be fully revamped heading into 2018. This revamp was done in collaboration with the University of Kentucky and includes new and relevant lecture material, integration of new ABET outcomes, a renewed focus on smart grid and sustainable engineering, and pedagogical improvements through the use of active learning.

This paper includes a brief overview of the course history (i.e., the 2016 and 2017 offerings of this course), and a thorough description of the newly revamped 2018 version of the course. Also presented is a preliminary presentation of student interview data collected during the summer 2018 course, in which students discussed changes in their knowledge of sustainability, energy conservation, smart grids and/or renewable energy as a result of the course. Students also discussed the perceived applicability of the course to their future careers or coursework and their perspectives towards the active learning used during class. Structured observation data depicting the nature of the in-class time will also be presented.

Lastly, observations including a summary of what was successful versus not as successful are presented. This “lessons learned” summary will include a plan to explore conversion to a “flipped” style course for the summer of 2019.

Kerestes, R. J., & Dolloff, P. A., & Clark, R. M. (2019, June), Delivery of a Revamped Course on Electric Power Distribution Engineering and Smart Grids Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32582

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