The project is a collaboration involving Texas A&M University, Stanford University, The Pennsylvania State University, California State University Long Beach, and, Prairie View A&M University. The team of investigators is developing a continuously updated online textbook on energy sustainability to support core science and engineering courses for both majors and non majors. The project builds on an earlier NSF project in which attempts to develop a traditional textbook suggested the need for alternative educational material for such a dynamic and extensive field. This need is being met by an online resource that grows and is updated systematically as the knowledge base expands, using technologies that are not available in a typical printed textbook. The textbook addresses fossil, alternative, and renewable energy sources; energy conversions, utilization and extraction; and environmental impacts. The project goals are to: (1) implement collaborative technology that enables many content writers to work simultaneously (2) write the textbook content and assemble it in a form that is effective for each of the partner institutions, (3) assess the pedagogical value to student learning compared to that with a printed textbook, (4) conduct outreach to underrepresented groups in the K-12 teacher population as potential developers and users of the created on line content, and (5) disseminate the textbook itself and study results assessing its pedagogical value. Evaluation efforts, under the direction of an independent expert, are using an assortment of approaches to monitor (1) the impact of the online textbook on student content leaning, attitudes about energy and the engineering field, and learning skills with online resources; (2) the characteristics of faculty collaboration in developing online resources; and (3) the adoption of the developed resources. The Connexions website is being used to publicize and disseminate the textbook; evaluation results will be posted on the investigators' website, presented at engineering education conferences, and described in journal articles. Broader impacts include the collaboration among a diverse set of institutions, the focus on underrepresented groups in the K-12 outreach, and the dissemination of the material and evaluation results.

Project Report

The Live Energy project team included 6 professors, Dr. Anthony R. Kovscek, Stanford University, Dr. Sarma V. Pisupati, The Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Reza Toossi , California State University Long Beach, Dr. Sunil S. Chirayath, Texas A&M University and Dr. Sukesh Aghara, now with the University of Massachessetts Lowel, 2 learning scientists, Dr. Bugrahan Yalvac and Dr. Emily Binks Cantrell, the project manager, Don Gillman, Dr. Dennie Smith who served as project evaluator, and students who provided considerable technical support all from Texas A&M University. All are grateful to NSF for funding this project and seeing the merits in our approach. The project had subprojects and the NSF grant Grant # 1023055 was a subproject award and was awarded to work on developing two chapters on nuclear energy under the supervision of Principal Investigators of this subproject award Drs. Chirayath and Aghara. This report is about this subproject award. The entire team and the sub project award team worked together in weekly virtual teleconference meetings to accomplish the project goals. We also made use of real time collaborative environments including Google docs and DropBox and an Access database custom designed to manage permissions for images used in the book. At this point we contributed two chapters on nuclear energy about 70 pages towards the completion of an iBook on "Live Energy" which depicts curriculum subject reading on all forms of energy generation such as coal, gas, nuclear, wind, solar and hydro. The team found a publisher for the content on multiple eBook platforms. We chose to go with the iBook platform at the time because it was by far the most advanced platform for preparing the book with the level of interactivity, color, and flexibility that we had in mind, but iBooks features can be fully appreciated only on Apple devices, principally the iPad. The publisher that we are not engaging arranged peer review that provided very useful input we were able to incorporate into the content. Our publisher of choice, Kendall Hunt, is agreeing to do an eBook with all of the features that originally attracted us to the iBook platform and to enable us the option to do updates of the book to keep the energy topics current. Since we began this work, there have been many important changes in the energy landscape, and we anticipate this will continue in the future. The authors are now continuing to work as a team with the publisher to arrange regular, very likely annual, eBook updates and to continue using the book in our energy courses. We will also work with Kendall Hunt to interest faculty in other universities in the eBook, and very likely there will be interest as well at the secondary school level.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
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Susan Finger
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Texas Engineering Experiment Station
College Station
United States
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