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Introduction Video

Welcome to Global Sustainable Energy: Past, Present, and Future. My name is Dr. Wendell Porter and that initials by my name is, stands for professional engineer. I'm here at the University of Florida, and this is a partnership with Coursera that's delivering this course to you.

Introduction Video

What we're going to talk about in this short intro is how did the course evolve? And how did it come to be set up this way? And what are you required to do as students? So I'm going to discuss the course goals, and also give a short introduction to the course materials.

Introduction Video

This course was first taught online at the University of Florida in 2008. We revamped that to be delivered on the Coursera platform in the spring of 2013. When you go through the course materials, if you ever get confused, make sure to read the course instructions and also remember the FAQ site. That's Frequently Asked Questions, and many times your question is already been answered.

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So how did this course evolve? How do we get to this point of view?

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It was created as a collaboration between myself and an instructional designer at the University of Florida Center for Instructional Technology and Training. What I wanted to do with this course was to realistically explore the world of energy. Demand side and also supply side. Also debug popular myths. You know sometimes we read headlines and the real story is not what the headline is saying. Also raise awareness about how we critically analyze the information given to us and how we deal with this as students and citizens of the world. Another thing I'd like to do is change the energy-use behavior of our students because a lot of things are like wow really, I didn't know that and if we raise awareness we can change that behavior. And also, more importantly, develop realistic solutions and plans to transform energy use worldwide in the countries we live in. And, hopefully, at the end of the course I'll leave you with a new perspective on the world of energy.

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So, Becky, how did this course evolve? >> Well, my name is Becky Williams and I am an instructional designer at US instructional technology and training and I've been working with Dr. Porter since 2008 on this course and various versions of it and we were together again to revamp it to offer it on Coursera. And Dr. Porter came to us in 2008 because he is an expert on energy. But, he wanted some help on the methodology education side and that's what we do. So we've worked together with Dr. Porter's expertise on energy, and our expertise on distance education to put together this class. So this is built on Dr. Porter's, vision for the class, and we made sure that it's built on very measurable learning objects so that everything that you're asked to do is product oriented. And everything that we do in this class is based on distance education learning methodologies that have been shown to be really effective in teaching at a distance. So we didn't want to just take a class and film a bunch of lectures and put them online with quizzes, which you often see. We want to put together a course that was really well developed, that asks the students to really take, control over their own learning and, and at the end have something they can walk away really being able to do. So we have a lot of relevant readings, we keep our lectures very short and informative so that you have a lot of time to work with on assignments to actually use your information that your learning in the class practically to collaborate between students, which we feel like is very important, especially in a global class. And we give you very specific grading criteria, so you always know what's expected of you.

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So, a few things that you want to keep in mind, Dr. Porter? >> First of all, the data may change during the course. This is a rapidly changing field the field of energy, and very different aspects of it will change almost on a monthly basis. If you're in doubt, use the material in the course to answer your questions, quiz questions. The United States of America will be the primary example because that's where we're from. But that's just the starting point. We have many opportunities in here for you to work with in your own countries and also, you know, good or bad, use the USA as an example. There are a lot of things we don't do right in this country and so, you'll have fun pointing that out I'm sure. The grading policy is firm. [INAUDIBLE] Again, as Becky just said in the previous slide, we put together this course to enhance critical understanding and critical analysis and critical thinking. So, put together in the way it is, every piece of this course has a part to play. And so it's your responsibility to keep track of the requirements and your completion of them. We'll have to add, because some of our websites and some of our access to the internet around the world are a little bit slower in certain areas, our lectures are available streaming and in print, so you can speed along if you have a slow collect connection.

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So, why did the course end up being set up this way?

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So we have three major components in this course. One of them is, is our quizzes. And our quizzes are really designed to test lower order understanding. So whether or not you've completed the readings in the lecture and you understand what you've read and what you've seen. So we're not trying to do critical thinking skills or really high level assessment with the quizzes. We just want to know that you understand the information that we're telling you.

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Next up we have discussion boards. The discussion boards take things up a level. So now that you have that basic understanding that we've checked in the quizzes, now you're going to be asked to apply that in some kind of a situation where you can think really critically about the information that's in the course. So the discussion boards are a very integral part of this course, which is why they're one of our requirements. And our course, as we said before, is a little bit different than some of the others, where it's a lecture and a quiz. The discussion boards, the peer assessments that are coming up next are all really important components of the class. So this will give you the opportunity to learn about other people, about other perspectives. You can agree or disagree with the information in the class. You can give critiques of it. There are a lot of different opportunities for you to apply the information that you're learning in a discussion context. So this is going to test your middle level understanding such as comprehension, application and analysis of the course materials.

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And then we have peer review projects. And these are your highest level of learning where you're being asked to take everything that you've learned in the class and apply in a way where you are evaluating a problem and coming up with a solution to that problem. So this is kind of the capstone of the class where, you know, now you've learned all the basic information, you've discussed with your peers and got some new perspectives, and now what are we going to do about energy problems? And so then you're going to be asked to create proposals, create projects, and then, because we like for students to be able to collaborate, you're going to be asked to evaluate some of the other people in your class to see how they've done their work.

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So, what are we required to do for these different levels of accomplishment for this class? We have a statement of accomplishment, or a statement of accomplishment with distinction.

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So your grades going to be made up of three components that are weighted equally. The quizzes, the discussion boards, and the peer reviewed projects. And now we get to see what we've been talking about. You develop your understand of this course through different methodologies. Each one of those is evaluated and set down as part of your grade.

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So your statement of accomplishment has discussion boards. We have 22 total discussion boards that require one original post and two responses to peers. That's 66 chances to post. For a statement of accomplishment, you need a minimum of 20 posts, for a statement of accomplishment. This is where we have a bit of a disagreement by some of our students and it's sort of related to passive learning. You teach me and I learn. It's not what this class is about. The discussion really cements or helps you retain your knowledge, so it's very important that we get involved. The quizzes, we have twelve quizzes. We drop the two lowest. We need a seventy percent better on ten quizzes. You got three chances to take quiz, and sixty minutes each chance. It's a question bank so you'll get different questions each time. It's based on the readings and the lecture. And again, if the data's changed because the world has moved on. When in doubt, it's based on the readings and lecture. There's one peer-review project,uh, for, statement of accomplishment. We have more than one, but we have a requirement of three projects with peer-reviews, plus one self-review, 50 points each, must participate and achieve at 25 or better on one peer-review for a statement of accomplishment.

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Now, statement of accomplishment with distinction ups the ante on all of these. Instead of 20 posts for the statement of accomplishment, we have 33 post requirements for a statement of accomplishment with distinction. The quizzes have the same requirement, 70% better on 10 quizzes, and two lowest grades will be dropped. We have, still, the same three peer-reviewed projects, and what we have to do is participate on all three peer-reviews and score a 25 or better, to get the statement of accomplishment with distinction. And we should say, Dr. Porter, that we would love for them to post on all the discussion boards because they really are the foundation for the course, so the more you post in the discussion boards, and the more you talk to your peers, the more you're going to learn. >> I would have to say [INAUDIBLE] that is where some of the best learning happens, because we understand from different countries and different peoples that we all have common problems. We might have attacked them different ways because of our own circumstances, but that's a very integral part of the course.

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So what else should I know about this course?

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So there are a few more things that would make this course, that we would like to explain to you so you know what's expected of you in the class. So first of all, is the discussion posts. You know, we often will get questions, you know, is I agree enough, or can I just, you know, post 20 times and post one sentence and is that enough? Well, the answer is no, it's not enough. You really should post at least a minimum of a paragraph for each of your posts. Some of your posts may be quite a bit longer than that, especially if you're really interested in the topic, or if you, you know, somebody has said something that really shows a lot of interest to you. So we really want you to talk to your peers. And we do realize that there are some possible language barriers, so we're not asking you to have perfect English. I've lived abroad, and, and you know, I speak Spanish, and I certainly don't have the best Spanish in the entire world, but I did live two years in a developing country. And, you know, so I do, I do speak Spanish, and I understand what it's like to be uncomfortable with the language that you're being asked to write in. But still, we want you to participate in these discussion boards to a minimum of a paragraph is what's acceptable. And of the peer review projects. Please remember to grade others the way that you would want to be graded. You don't want to be incredibly harsh on somebody because somebody else might be incredibly harsh on you. We do give you very specific grading criteria and we want you to follow those. So we don't want you to be easy on people but the same time. We want you to grade in a fair manner. So err on the side of caution. If you're really kind of tossing up between giving somebody a high score or a middle score you know, think how would you want to be graded? And the last thing is again, grade on the contents. Grade on what people are writing, not on their language skills. The next major issue that we want to talk about is academic honesty. So, there's two things that we've notice in Coursera that we'd like to address. The first is when you cheat the system. So 17

Introduction Video right now, Coursera isn't sophisticated enough for us to be able to know that you've made a detailed discussion post of a minimum of a paragraph and you're hitting all the information we want to hit. We're hoping that soon Coursera will have that because there's other systems that do. At the moment, you could probably get away with, with posting I agree and have that count as a post, but that's really cheating the system. So you have to ask yourself in a class that you're volunteering to take, how much do you really want to get out of it? You know, we would encourage you to do the work and not cheat the system. And the second is plagiarism. Plagiarism is copying somebody else's work and passing it off as your own. Going and copying an entire Wikipedia article and posting it in a discussion forum, that's not your work. We want you to write things in your own words. And put it up on the discussion boards and on the peer review projects. In peer review, if you plagiarize and other students catch it, they have the abil, ability to give you a zero, which will basically take away your ability to get a statement of accomplishment or an accomplishment with distinction. So keep that in mind. Write things in your own words. And the last is that there are help forums in in Coursera. Be sure to use those if you have a question. And students are encouraged to answer each other, >> Mm-hm. >> if they know the, if they know their response, because we aren't able to necessarily go in and check every single day. >> Alright, so. Thanks Becky for that intro and explanation of the course background from an instructional designers point of view. >> Thank you and we hope that you enjoy the course, and I'm going to let Dr. Porter take it from here.

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Alright. We'll finish up our introduction and talk a little bit about class goals and, and what we're going to do with the class material.

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Critical evaluation of, of the world around us with regards to energy. Sometimes we'll see popular press give a headline and then we dig into it we find that, that is not necessarily true. Or maybe only half true. We're also going to develop viable scenarios that can transform our energy landscape as people, as citizens, and within our countries around the world.

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Awhile back I read a newspaper article that said oil inventories are low in Cushing, Oklahoma. You know, what the heck who cares? Why is that important? Well, you know, it might be the most important words in the paper that day to you, for the effect it has on your life, and we'll find out why.

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About wind farms, we see these wonderful pictures, especially over in Europe where we see a lot more of that. We'll see people argue: wind farms aren't going to make it here, they'll never amount to much. And other people come in and say wind power can supply more electricity than is used by the entire world. What's correct? Where's our true point of view? What do we need to look out? How do we evaluate those two statements?

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And how about this picture. There's something about this picture, that the caption that goes with it always drives me crazy. You'll find out why in this course.

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And, Biomass. You know, around the world, Biomass is used for a lot of our energy but, many times in an old-fashioned way where you might use sticks to heat up the evening meal, or even dung that's collected as burnable in some areas of the world. No, and biomass in the context here is how to effectively use the, the growing world around us, the biomass world around us to produce electrical energy and thermal energy that we can use to power our modern society. So, agronomists and soil scientists get upset that we take too much out of the soil, we're going to kill the soil and starve us to death. What's the real truth in there and how do we deal with that topic?

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And then, in the case of many countries around the world, particularly in China, they're rapidly moving into a very modern society. But they are now using more than half the world's coal. One of the areas where they use it, is these little briquettes where they're coal fines, a little powder left over as you process coal. You mix it with some wood fiber and a little bit of glue, and all of a sudden you've got a briquette that can heat the family home and cook your meal. Very polluting though, there's no pollution control on these devices so how about our effects on pollution, efficiency, health? How do we deal with these topics?

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So what future do we want? The non-renewable one that we have right now, where you see things like the deep horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico or Mountain top removal to get at coal where you destroy a mountain and the associated streams next it forever. Tar sands, where you scrape off the the tundra and get at the tar sands underneath. A very energy intensive industry and its scars can be seen from outer space. So, that is our current situation.

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Or do we look to a renewable future? Where we have solar energy, wind power, geothermal, use the heat of the Earth itself to power our processes. And biomass so the choices are ours. And what we'll do this semester is explore all these avenues. How we got there? How we're working with that right now and what do we think our future will be and how do we get there? So thank you and welcome to this class of Global Sustainable Energy. [BLANK_AUDIO]

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