Learning Objectives for GEP 373 Energy, Technology, and Society

Course-level learning objectives (on syllabus)

  • Development of critical thinking skills applied to global energy issues
  • Develop model thinking and quantitative estimation skills for energy use
  • Understanding of the multiple technical, social, and policy issues surrounding energy implementations

Section-level learning objectives

Background and Context

  • Describe the role of energy technologies in human history.
  • Describe the basics of how we gather information and science around energy.

Energy Estimations and Models

  • Describe the physical meaning, units, and dimensions of unit conversions, energy densities, carbon intensities, and energy efficiencies/efficacies
  • Use unit conversions, energy densities, carbon intensities, and energy efficiencies/efficacies to make energy estimations
  • Recognize and distinguish between dimensions and units
  • Use scientific notation and metric prefixes to represent large quantities
  • Use appropriate methods (factor-label or other) to communicate estimations clearly
  • Describe modeling assumptions to others in verbal or written form
  • Use time to convert between power and energy in estimation problems
  • Recognize which quantities are relevant to solve energy word problems

Energy Services and Conversion

  • Describe how energy services are distinct from the energy itself
  • Develop intuition about the relative amounts of energy needed for different tasks
  • Recognize categories of energy (kinetic, potential, chemical, etc.)
  • Describe the energy conversions to provide transportation, industry, agriculture, and shelter

Energy Production

  • Describe operation and energy conversion of major energy production technologies
    • Fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas)
    • Solar thermal and solar photovoltaic
    • Wind
    • Hydropower and tidal energy
  • Describe potential environmental impacts of these energy production sources and technologies
  • Recognize and describe primary and secondary sources of energy
  • Find and interpret data on the relative contributions of each energy source
  • Describe combustion and photosynthesis

Energy and Society

  • Explain why GDP energy intensity is a common way of describing national economies.
  • Interpret energy per capita and GHG emissions per capita data from nations.
  • Recognize and describe the role of fundamental concepts (commons, dilemma, externality) in energy issues and events.
  • Interpret current events and disputes using fundamental concepts of social science.
  • Describe the tools (regulations, taxes) we use to encourage the energy system we think is best.

SSU Carbon Baseline

  • Define scope 1, 2, and 3 carbon emissions
  • Classify SSU carbon emissions in the appropriate scope
  • Describe plausible estimation methods for SSU carbon emissions for a chosen sector
  • Use carbon intensity of fuels to calculate scope 1 emissions
  • Use carbon intensity of electricity to calculate scope 2 emissions