How to Teach Systems in Engineering Education: The Case of an Energy Systems Course
Paper i proceeding, 2013

Purpose: To design an energy systems course, which should fit into an energy studies master program curriculum and build on students’ earlier gained knowledge put into a systems context. Design/Methodology: The course was based on a number of assignments, which were to be carried out in groups of three students and which should provide simultaneously learning about particular tools and the systems dimensions. Findings: The applied learning concept generally worked well, but many students could not see the value of reusing old knowledge in new contexts; found it difficult to use several different types of software with the learning purpose of the ability to choose software rather than to learn the details of one already chosen by the teacher; and wanted well-defined texts for the exam rather than apply the knowledge and competencies gained during the assignments. The concept of mixing students with varying energy cultural backgrounds worked well. Conclusions: Assignment-based courses work well for teaching systems but there are some constraints, which should be considered. Practical implications: Since a large number of students may find it confusing to be simultaneously introduced to a partly new subject and to apply unconventional teaching methods, there might be trade- offs with regard to the systems learning and teachers should be aware of that. Value: The main value of the paper is that is shows one way of integrating systems learning into the structure of a course.

energy systems course

assignment based

group work

open-ended issues


Erik Ahlgren

Chalmers, Energi och miljö, Energiteknik

Proceedings of the IETEC’13 Conference, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam



Pedagogiskt arbete


Hållbar utveckling


Building Futures


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Pedagogiskt arbete