Now In Session: Energy 101

Project Overview
Positive Impact: Energy 101 continues to grow as a model for energy course creation as universities and colleges around the nation increase offerings in energy education and workforce training in order to provide students new onramps to degrees and careers in energy.
Location: Nationwide in community colleges and universities
Partners: The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the Oak Ridge Association of Universities, and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute
EERE Investment: $200,000

Energy 101 is a peer-reviewed course framework aimed to be a meaningful resource for educators who are interested in creating and promoting energy as a discipline. Energy 101 is not a detailed curriculum, but rather a general course framework in which teachers and professors can tailor to the individual needs of the classroom. It provides common learning goals that can be adapted by community colleges and universities and represents a starting point toward national course equivalency, course credit, and transferability. The creation of fundamentals of energy courses in the nation’s community colleges and universities provides students a new on-ramp toward energy-related degrees and potential careers in energy.

In the 2013 spring semester, the University of Maryland deployed its first course using the EERE Energy 101 framework. The course was part of the University’s I-series courses, which are contemporary classes focused on a top-down, systems-based approach to addressing and understanding real-world issues. The course, Designing a Sustainable World, attracted students across multiple majors (science, engineering, business, public health, agriculture, education, and undeclared) who were taught how to address critical issues in energy and sustainability. More than 90% of the students indicated that the course helped them to think about the complex issues or problems surrounding energy. This Energy 101 framework-based course will be offered again during the 2013–2014 school year to a larger enrollment of up to 200 students at the University of Maryland.

Based on the peer-reviewed and interagency-approved Energy Literacy document, the Energy 101 course framework was developed and peer reviewed by energy education and energy subject matter experts, including two online public comment periods that garnered more than 12,000 page views and numerous helpful commentary, and its April 2013 webinar release was viewed by approximately 500 of the nation’s energy education experts. EERE’s Energy 101 and the Energy Literacy efforts were part of the information presented at the White House Summit on Women in Climate in May 2013 and received an official endorsement by the Virginia Workforce Energy Consortium—a collection of state and local agencies, utilities, organizations, colleges, and universities that exist in the state of Virginia to promote the development of skilled workers in the energy sector. Momentum for Energy 101 continues to build, Harford Community College in Bel Air, Maryland, will launch its own Energy 101 course in the fall 2013 semester.

Energy 101 is a course framework designed by EERE Strategic Programs to empower colleges and universities to create courses that teach interdisciplinary fundamentals of energy.

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