Janja Dolenc, prof. dr. Boštjan Blažič
Our Train the Trainers workshop, as the name already states, has been organized with the aim of knowledge transfer among the teaching experts of several European universities. Organizing such event is challenging, since it aims to provide actual information in an interesting and understandable way and, on the other hand, ensure the highest level of expertise.
The importance of such event should be enlightened with the description of on-going activities of the project. Within the Smagrinet project, three case-based modules for master students and three short-term programs for different target groups (broader public, engineering researchers and electrical engineering workforce) have been prepared.
6 European universities partnered to provide the expert level of knowledge:
- Tallinn University of Technology
- University of Lorraine
- Kaunas University of Technology
- Dresden University of Technology
- Technical University of Berlin
- University of Ljubljana
Each university took over a number of topics describing Smart Grids and prepared presentations, articles, and materials for a video presentation. These materials provided in-depth knowledge regarding a specific topic. These materials have been used to create short-term programs and modules.
Moreover, two universities stepped in together for each module and structured it in a more appropriate way. The modules prepared are:
- Module 1: Artificial Intelligence in a Smart Grid with Prosumers, structured and implemented by Kaunas University of Technology and Dresden University of Technology,
- Module 2: Economic Operation and Societal Challenges, structured and implemented by University of Lorraine and Tallinn University of Technology and,
- Module 3: Connection Planning in Smart Grids, structured and implemented by Technical University of Berlin and University of Ljubljana.
In the first phase, three modules and short-term programs have been implemented by the consortium universities. In the latest research projects developed in the field of electrical engineering, Smart Grids are one of the main focuses, thus being an interesting topic for the electrical engineers and researchers. In addition, this topic is also gaining popularity among the broader public. In the end, it is also important to properly address this topic in the process of education of the future generations of engineers, which will deal with the implementation of the smart grids in power systems.
Abovementioned demands could only be satisfied with the active cooperation of most European universities, which will bring new knowledge to the local citizens. Consequently, universities beyond the consortium were also invited to participate in the Train-the-Trainers Workshop. At this workshop, the topics and methods of module implementation were given in detail, by each consortium university.
Train the Trainers Workshop Agenda:
- Introduction of Smagrinet project was presented during the opening, with the aim of understanding the project's activities and main goals.
- General introduction of each module and short-term programs took place in the second part. Introductions provided a basic overview of the topics covered within each part.
- A major part of the workshop was dedicated to the in-detail presentation of module’s lectures, exercises, and methods of implementation at each consortium university. Each lecture and each exercise were presented separately, describing references and important topics. In addition, there was an oportunity to gather student’s opinions on the implementation method, which lead to possible improvements in the second iteration.
Besides the six consortium universities, five universities beyond consortium that also participated to the workshop are:
- O. M. Beketov National University of Urban Economy in Kharkiv,
- National Technical University of Ukraine “Kyiv Polytechnic Institute”,
- Kyiv National University of Technology and Design,
- Silesian University of Technology and
- Universidade NOVA de Lisboa.
By the end of the workshop, all participating universities were invited to join the project partners and implement modules and/or short-term programs at their local university.
The initial reason that boosted the workshop organization was the presentation of the modules and the short-term programs, that could benefit all universities beyond the consortium. This extended the implementation of the mentioned programs beyond the horizon of the initial six consortium universities, to other universities in Europe. Through this, sharing knowledge and reinforcing the importance of educating new generation of electrical engineers outside the Smagrinet project consortium has been achieved.
Another reason to develop the workshop was the exchange of teaching experiences and knowledge among the teaching experts from the consortium universities. As mentioned before, modules were initially implemented by two consortium universities. Each university gave approximately half of the lectures and exercises. However, in the second phase, each consortium university will implement the modules locally, involving only their teaching experts. Sharing experiences and learning methods will facilitate the preparation for the second phase of the program implementation.
In conclusion, the Train-the-Trainers Workshop was a success. 70 participants joined over the course of two-days and some universities beyond the consortium expressed interest in the implementation of the modules and short-term programs. A lot of experiences were shared, not only through the presentations, but also through the discussions that followed. The only shortcoming was the online implementation of the workshop, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The workshop was otherwise supposed to be organized as a live event in Ljubljana, Slovenia. In person, the implementation would perhaps provide a bit more discussion and knowledge sharing through socializing. Nevertheless, based on the positive feedback from the attendees, the main goals of the workshop were successfully accomplished.