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Enhancing Student Learning Through a Real-World Project in a Renewable Energy Courses Course

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Design Based Energy Education

Tagged Division

Energy Conversion and Conservation

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.537.1 - 23.537.17



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Paper Authors

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Oxana S Pantchenko University of California at Santa Cruz


Tiffany Wise-West P.E. University of California Santa Cruz

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My civil engineering background is in utility infrastructure planning, design and project management, specializing in urban water and energy systems. Broadly, I am interested in the sociocultural and political economic dimensions of community-based natural resource management. My current research work is focused on sustainable municipal infrastructure projects, ranging from renewable energy to energy efficiency to energy and water sector workforce development, education and training. My field sites include urban communities in the US and Denmark as well as rural Tanzania.

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Michael S. Isaacson University of California, Santa Cruz


Ali Shakouri Shakouri Purdue University

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Ali Shakouri is the Mary Jo and Robert L. Kirk Director of the Birck Nanotechnology Center and a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University in Indiana. He received his Engineering degree from Telecom Paris, France in 1990 and Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology in 1995. His current research is on nanoscale heat and current transport in semiconductor devices, high resolution thermal imaging, micro refrigerators on a chip, and waste heat recovery systems. He is also working on a new interdisciplinary sustainability curriculum in collaboration with colleagues in engineering and social sciences. He has initiated an international summer school on renewable energy sources in practice. He received the Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering in 1999, the NSF Career award in 2000, and the UC Santa Cruz School of Engineering FIRST Professor Award in 2004

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Enhancing Student Learning Through a Real-World Project in a RenewableEnergy Courses CourseAbstractAt the University of __________, a course on renewable energy sources was complemented witha real-world project. The course was designed for engineering and non-engineeringundergraduate students and did not require any advanced mathematics or physics backgrounds.The course consisted of fifteen bi-weekly lectures, eight weekly laboratory sections, a midterm,and a final exam. The lecture material consisted of an introduction to renewable energy sources,energy harvesting, energy conversion, system efficiency, and energy storage solutions. Thelectures consisted of instructor presentations, discussions, and in-class problem solving. In 2011,for the first time, a real-world project was introduced to a class of 50 students. In groups of five,students were asked to deliver project proposals and presentations on making the Santa CruzMunicipal Wharf operate on 100% renewable energies. The students were given the real data forelectricity and gas consumption for the whole wharf for the year subdivided by the month. Thestudents were given five weeks to complete their work and present it in front of the class. Thegroup with the highest scored proposal and presentation would receive a chance to display theirwork at the newly built Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center in SantaCruz, CA. Each group’s proposal was graded by a civil engineer based on the level ofinvestigation they presented on harvesting local renewable energy sources, assumptions,limitations, recommended technologies, strategies, regulation, economics, and recommendedtimeline. Each group’s final presentation was video recorded and graded by a faculty memberfrom the Sustainability Engineering and Ecological Design Group. This paper presents theresults of our findings and student feedback from a short questionnaire conducted at the end ofthe course.

Pantchenko, O. S., & Wise-West, T., & Isaacson, M. S., & Shakouri, A. (2013, June), Enhancing Student Learning Through a Real-World Project in a Renewable Energy Courses Course Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19551

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