The Winter School, an activity of the Erasmus+ TEACHENER project took off on Monday 11th February, with 22 students coming from Poland, the Czech Republic and Barcelona. The objective of this Winter School was to test the modules developed within the project which integrate aspects of social sciences and humanities in energy engineering teaching.The project is a partnership between 7 institutions from technical higher level institutions and social sciences from the Czech Republic Germany, Poland and Spain.
The Winter School took place from 11th to 15th February at the School of Engineering at the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC) in Vilanova i la Geltrú. The contents of the modules taught range from basic concepts like the importance of energy awareness for our lives to more specific such as assessing social impacts of energy technologies based on Social Life Cycle Assessment to social perception related to smart metering and social aspects of energy production and use in decentralized energy systems. These four modules encourage interactive and dynamic learning methodologies like debates, games, discussions, role play, etc. The objective is not only to test the social sciences and humanities modules but to provide Masters and PhD students with skills and competences in social and ethical dimensions of energy issues and new methods and approaches they can use for their teaching classes. Piotr Stankiewicz, coordinator of the TEACHENER project commented: “the students enjoyed very much the interactive format and were really engaged in all the discussions and exercises organised”. In the same vein, Andrea Ramírez Agudelo, a PhD student at UPC remarked that “our interactive exercises showed us how to create a chain reaction of positive feelings and understandings”. Another participant from the Czech Technical University in Prague, Kateřina Jiráková, stated that “the TEACHENER course was, more than anything, enjoyable. Thanks to its ubiquitous use of interactive methods of teaching, other winter schools pale in comparison. I was happy to spend the week in Vilanova and even today I feel like my awareness of energy consumption has risen a great deal”.
At the end of each module, students assess the different aspects involved in that module, like comprehensibility, content, method, execution, etc. The programme includes a technical guided visit to the Railway Museum in Vilanova i la Geltrú. The museum is an important historical and cultural facility, which opened its doors in 1990. The Museum is located in the original installations of the depot of steam locomotives from the late 19th century of Vilanova i la Geltrú. Michał Brodzicki, a student from Gdansk Technical University in Poland, stated that “the most impressive thing of the museum was the view of all the steam trains”.
The next TEACHENER Winter School will take place in Leipzig from 25th February to 1st March 2019. The contents of the modules which will be taught at the Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig include ethics and philosophy of energy development, understanding public response to energy challenges, conflict management and organizing societal discourse on innovative energy technologies.