What is the course about?
The climate change and the shortage of the fossil resources are energy-related topics that lead to discussions about the energy supply of the future: On a local and on a global level, in professional and in private contexts.
Following the catastrophe in Fukushima the awareness for the necessity of discussing increased. In Germany, the reaction resulted in the so-called “Energiewende” – the energy transition.
While English – as lingua franca – cannot solve the problems of energy supply, it can at least aid finding the right words when talking about finding a solution.
Within the wide field of energy, this MOOC focuses on the topics closely related to energy transition. However, it will not give a deep insight into the technical terminology e.g. of a power plant.
Who can participate?
This course is aimed at professionals and students with previous English knowledge, interested in refreshing their language skills and learning the most important vocabulary from the energy world, particularly the topics connected to the energy transition. The course is especially suitable for those who would like to push their international career in the energy sector and those who would like to brush up their language skills before joining the "Energy English" further education course at KIT: www.zml.kit.edu/energy-english.
What do I need to know?
Some prerequisite knowledge is required: English level at A2/B1 or above according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
No particular knowledge is required on the topic of Energy.
What will I learn?
The overall course objective is to acquire a sound basis in the necessary vocabulary for communicating about topics concerning the energy transition. The aim is for students to both understand and be able to use this vocabulary in context. The quantifiable goal is the acquisition of between 20-30 vocabulary words per week.
You will be trained in the passive skills of listening and reading comprehension as well as the active skill of writing when discussing in the forum or completing exercises. After completion of this MOOC the participants shall be supplied with the solid basic vocabulary to follow and participate in discussions on the above mentioned topics in private as well as in professional contexts, to understand texts or videos on energy transition. These discussions could be in a business context e.g. negotiation with an international partner, or with a political background.
Chapter 1: Energy Transition – Introduction
What is the Energy Transition, and why do we need it? A look at the concept of moving away from fossil fuels and toward renewable and sustainable energy sources. Some big-picture ideas: public policy, implementation targets, energy security.
Chapter 2: Generation
How is power generated? An overview of our current situation (fossil fuel and nuclear powered thermal energy plants), a look at turbines and energy conversion, and a short introduction to the mature renewable technologies that are currently on the market (biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, hydro).
Chapter 3: Transmission and Distribution
How does power get from where it is generated, to where it is consumed? An examination of our current infrastructure (the power grid) and the importance and challenges of keeping the grid balanced. Introduction to the next generation of infrastructure: smart grid technology - what it is, and the fundamentals of how it works.
Chapter 4: Storage
How can we integrate renewables into the existing energy infrastructure? The current system is demand-oriented; renewables are inherently supply-driven. One key way to bridge this gap is by using energy storage. This is an overview of the most promising technologies currently available (pumped-storage hydro, batteries, compressed air, thermal energy storage, power-to-gas methane synthesis).
Chapter 5: Efficiency and Usage
The two pillars of the Energy Transition are sustainable energy and energy efficiency. Without efficiency, energy demand continues to grow unchecked and the Transition will fail. This unit focuses particularly on energy use/consumption in buildings, and the enormous role human behaviour plays in efficiency and the reduction of energy demand.
Chapter 6: Future of Energy
Research in sustainable energy and energy efficiency continues to advance - what are some potential untapped sources of energy? What are the effects the technologies of today will have on the future? How can renewable energy improve energy access and energy equality in a world of ever-growing energy demand?
Julia Thompson-Kleser teaches English as a Foreign Language (EFL) for the Centre for Technology-Enhanced Learning (ZML) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Her roles include working as the head teacher of the Iversity MOOC "Power Up: English for the Energy Transition," as well as the tutor for the further education course "Energy English," a course which explores in much greater depth English language for the field of energy. She studied molecular biology and worked as a researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, before deciding to move into education. She obtained a Cambridge teaching certification and has been teaching EFL for the last 10 years in France and Germany. Energy, climate change, and environmental topics have been a lifelong area of intense personal interest, and she is very pleased to be able to combine her personal knowledge and professional skills in order to increase awareness on a vital global topic.