Interdisciplinary Teaching in the Field of Resilient Energy Systems: Experiences with Expert Lecture Series Combined with Workshops

  • Herena Torio University of Oldenburg, Germany
  • Adrian Jimenez University of Oldenburg, Germany
  • Michael Golba University of Oldenburg, Germany
Keywords: resilience energy research, interdisciplinary teaching, higher education


The increased complexity of renewable energy systems derives in uncertain and vulnerable systems behavior, making necessary for energy experts to understand and apply resilience studies with interdisciplinary approaches. With this aim, we have designed a postgraduate course on resilience of energy systems, pursuing an “exchange interdisciplinarity” level that enables students to (i) become aware of competing approaches in terms of methods and theories stemming from different disciplines, and (ii) to critically argue on the suitability of presented concepts for energy systems design and management. The course aimed at achieving a sound level of exchange interdisciplinarity as defined in relevant literature. We chose the following specific teaching methods and didactic items to facilitate this aim and address the different challenges of interdisciplinary education identified from the literature: fundamental introduction (FI), expert interviews and deepening workshops. The FI aimed at providing a sound common basis for understanding the perspectives and approaches from different disciplines. The expert lecture series exposed students to the broadness of state-of-the-art approaches existing in resilience research for energy systems, while the deepening workshops allowed students to develop a deep and critical appraisal of the disciplinary approaches and their relations. The course impact is evaluated through the standard questionnaire for teaching evaluation from the University of Oldenburg. The evaluation shows that the course fostered a critical and interdisciplinary thinking, with a high and interactive participation through the use of multiple didactic measures. This is supported by the high satisfaction of the students, the high level of engagement and academic performance and the qualitative perception from the lecturers. Topics of similar complexity or interdisciplinarity in energy higher education, such as sustainability, technology assessment or energy systems analysis could also benefit from such a course design.


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