Battery Integration Engineering

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In our course, the students and I co-create a culture of creativity and curiosity. This is done by establishing a "power with" relationship with the students via language & learning-positive assessments. My choice of words are intended to appeal to their joy of learning, and not a "right/wrong" framework. In the project-based assessments, students sharpen their communication & critical thinking skills by analyzing, presenting, and reporting on a frontier in battery integration engineering on a self-selected topic.

Tim Patey:
Appeal to the students’ needs, their need to learn, to grow, and their need to have a challenge. If we design our courses to meet those needs, the atmosphere in the classroom is different from a classroom culture where students are in fear of a bad grade. One has to acknowledge the fact that grades do matter, but you can still create an atmosphere where students show up for the joy of learning.
LET staff:
A lot has to do with student’s motivation.
Tim Patey:
If students sign up to study electrical engineering, there is a motivation behind it.
LET staff:
How do you create that motivating atmosphere in your class?
Tim Patey:
The important thing is to take time. Things like making eye contact and learning the student’s names help. Asking them questions about what they are curious about helps to make a connection. Typically, I will have a short discussion with the students before we dive into the power point. This opening dialogue is important to establish the right atmosphere.
LET staff:
Do you allocate time for this dialogue?
Tim Patey:
No, it just happens. I structure my lecture material such that I have some important topics that I want to cover and others that are not so important. There is some flexibility in my syllabus. My course is for MSc/PhD level, so we are past the basics. The content of my class is cutting-edge technology. A good preparation for their future careers is engagement with this cutting-edge technology.

Opening up to a dialogue where you talk about what interests you, prepares you for engaging with a topic more deeply.

LET staff:
What would you say to a colleague who says: “I don’t have time for this in my class; I have to cover my material.”
Tim Patey:
If that colleague is teaching a basics course, say in thermodynamics I, he or she might be right. There is more flexibility at the masters and PhD level. Having said that, there is no reason why you could not use non-violet communication in a bachelor’s course. At that level, students have to do a lot of studying and it is very dense, but you can still create a friendly atmosphere by choosing the type of interaction with the students and chose the words that you use to talk to them. You can appeal to their joy of learning.
LET staff:
What would you recommend to a colleague if she or he would like to try this type of communication in her or his class?
Tim Patey:
I would recommend to think about your own motivation. Why are you teaching this class? Is it a requirement of the system? Or is it the professor’s joy of teaching?
LET staff:
How can one do that?
Tim Patey:
Not only can the students thrive on your energy, but you can also thrive on their energy. It’s all about a “power with” relationship, rather than a “power over” relationship. Consider yourself a partner for their learning.
LET staff:
How exactly does non-violent communication help you to transmit that spark and make a connection to the students?
Tim Patey:
It’s about the mindset and the choice of words. If you are motivated to teach, I tend to pose questions. In students there is often this mindset of right and wrong. I want to exit that mindset. What I would ask them is something like “Would anybody be willing to share some ideas or opinions on how to design XY?” This is in contrast to asking them “What is the way to do design XY?” How you pose your questions really matters. When you exit that right-wrong framework, the students tend to relax and open up and then the dialogue begins.
LET staff:
How is this dialogical framework different from classical lectures?
Tim Patey:
I am teaching on the frontiers of technology. I am not teaching on “all did and done”. And if you are teaching on the frontiers, then there is no right or wrong answer anyway. If we want to stay at the frontier, we have to adopt this attitude of playfulness. If you want your students to adopt that mindset, then you have to act accordingly. Look at how children learn: “They do not do what you say, they do what you do”. This means that your own attitude and demeanor are more powerful than your instructions.
LET staff:
What kind of feedback did you get from the students?
Tim Patey:
First, I get them interested in battery technology. I do survey the students and I get positive feedback throughout. They seem to appreciate the dialogical approach to my teaching. And for me, it helps me enjoy teaching a lot more, keeps up my own curiosity as well.

Course Description

Name:
Battery Integration Engineering
Description:
Batteries enable sustainable mobility, renewable power integration, various power grid services, and residential energy storage. Linked with low cost PV, Li-ion batteries are positioned to shift the 19th-century centralized power grid into a 21st-century distributed one. As with battery integration, this course combines understanding of electrochemistry,
heat & mass transfer, device engineering.
Objective:
• Know the history of batteries and understand the material
science breakthroughs that enabled disruptive battery technologies.
• Understand the physical processes behind making battery models in order to predict lifetime.
• Understand system and battery requirements for various applications in the modern power system and sustainable mobility, with a deep focus on replacing diesel buses with electric buses combined with charging infrastructure.
• Critically assess progresses in material science for novel battery technologies reported in literature, and understand the opportunities and challenges these materials could have.
VVZ:
227-0665-00L
Department:
D-ITET
Level:
MSc/PhD
Format:
Lecture with tutorials
Size:
max. 30
Cohort:
Primarily D-ITET
Type:
Elective
Teaching Power:
1
Assessment:
Project-based assessment (graded semester performance)
It’s all about a “power with” relationship, rather than a “power over” relationship. Consider yourself a partner for their learning.
Tim Patey

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