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Enhancing job-readiness through short courses: A case study in power engineering

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2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

Energy Conversion, Conservation and Nuclear Engineering Division (ECCNE) Technical Session 3

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Energy Conversion and Conservation and Nuclear Engineering Division (ECCNE)

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Paper Authors


Hua Chai University of New South Wales

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Hua Chai received his dual Bachelor's Degrees in both Electrical Engineering and Project Management from North China Electric Power University, China, in 2014. He received his Master's degree (Master of Philosophy) in Electrical Engineering at the University of New South Wales, Australia, in 2019. He is currently a Ph.D. student in the Energy Systems, School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, UNSW. His research interests include power engineering education, curriculum design and development, and condition monitoring of power system equipment.

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Huiye Yu University of New South Wales

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Huiye Yu received her Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from North China Electric Power University, China, in 2021. She is studying a Master of Electrical Engineering at UNSW Sydney. She is currently working as a student Electrical Engineer at Aurecon.

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Kuthsav Thattai University of New South Wales

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Kuthsav Thattai graduated with a Master of Engineering Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of New South Wales, Australia in 2018 and a Bachelor of Technology in Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering from VIT University, India, in 2013. He has close to three years of experience in the Information Technology space and around two and a half years of experience in the Energy Technology space. He is currently pursuing Ph.D. in Energy Systems, at the School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, UNSW. His research interests include energy management, power system analysis, and renewable integration.

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Jayashri Ravishankar University of New South Wales

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A/Prof Jayashri Ravishankar is a Scientia Education Fellow and Associate Dean (Education) in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney. Her teaching and research interests include power system modelling, analysis and control, renewable energy integration, smart grids and micro grids.
Jayashri has a deep interest in learning and teaching, and consistently implements strategies using technology innovations and industry partnerships to improve students’ active learning. She is institutionally and internationally recognized for the impact of her innovative, research-led and highly effective teaching and leadership. She leads best practice advanced teaching in electrical engineering through imaginative initiatives, including blended industry lectures, teamwork and flipped mode strategies. Esteem indicators include Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy awarded by Advance HE (UK), UNSW Teaching Excellence Awards and the Australian Awards for University Teaching Citation.

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The Australian energy system is undergoing a fast transition due to the expanding renewable energy integration. The transition relies heavily on the highly skilled workforce to facilitate the goal of 100% renewables. Performing grid connection studies using industry software packages is one of the greatly appreciated skills for power engineering students to get employed in energy job markets. However, such a skill is not appropriately integrated into the existing curriculum due to limited timeframe, resources, and accreditation concerns, leading to a mismatch between what is being taught and what is demanded.

This paper presents an idea to develop and deliver a short course in energy systems collaboratively between university and industry, as an extra-curricular skill development program, that is beneficial to both students and industry professionals. This short course provides hands-on training for students and early career power system engineers to become familiar with the software package - PSCAD™/EMTDC™. The short course has been run for two iterations in 2022. The first iteration was in-person only, while the second iteration provided both in-person and online options. By surveying the participants during the short course, the responses are analyzed to identify the need for short course programs and the effectiveness of such training programs in expanding the knowledge base and upskilling power systems engineers in modeling and simulation. The survey includes both Likert scale questions (quantitative) and open-ended questions (qualitative), which are analyzed using a mixed-method approach. Additionally, the responses from the industry professionals are compared with the ones from the students to investigate the difference between various target groups.

The results show that 1) Simulation practice and studies improve participants' competence not only in the use of the software package but also in the associated knowledge in the field systematically, e.g., power system modeling and analysis. 2) The industry collaboration brings insights and project experiences in an authentic context, which is greatly appreciated by the participants, especially those from the industry. 3) Hybrid delivery provides greater flexibility for participants, and the perceptions of in-person and online participants are not statistically different due to the extensive and dedicated online support.

Chai, H., & Yu, H., & Thattai, K., & Ravishankar, J. (2023, June), Enhancing job-readiness through short courses: A case study in power engineering Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--43354

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