Designing and delivering an Energy Systems Modelling workshop for C-DICE – Reflections of a postdoc
As a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Warwick, a C-DICE partner institute, I was able to leverage the opportunity to design and deliver an expert-led workshop for the C-DICE network. I was keen to make the most of this opportunity to share my expertise and develop my teaching skills through planning and leading this online training session. I had teaching experience from my PhD tenure as a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Energy Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay and as an independent instructor for a private renewable energy skill development organisation. However, I wanted to further develop my skills portfolio for the post-pandemic era of hybrid/online delivery. C-DICE provided me with the ideal platform to achieve my aims.
The seed for this workshop germinated during my first interaction with the C-DICE project team, in an online event on transforming postdoctoral development, subsequently developed in C-DICE’s peer-to-peer training workshop. My line managers have always supported my career development aspirations and offered me different avenues to work towards them. I was gaining good experience of co-supervising MEng as well as MSc students in their research projects and being on an evaluation panel for MSc research projects in my earlier role at the University of Birmingham. My post-doctoral positions have enabled me to gain both research and enterprise experience by providing a platform to collaborate with industrial partners and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). However, I aimed to equip myself with current requirements of teaching online. I was looking for opportunities to get direct experience of teaching in the UK. I had previously attended a ‘Getting Started with Teaching’ in my first postdoctoral position at the University of Southampton, where I learnt about different teaching frameworks. Through the workshop for C-DICE, I was now able to apply my learning.
As part of this process of designing the training workshop, I prepared learning outcomes not only for the session attendees but also for myself, linked to my professional development aims. I included hands-on-practice sessions and case studies in the workshop to ensure ‘learning by doing’. Though this meant a longer duration webinar, I was encouraged by the C-DICE team to include interactive elements as part of the training workshop. Together we agreed the format and timing during regular catch-up sessions in the lead up to the workshop. I was fully supported with the milestones and planning through these collaborative planning opportunities. We agreed to include interactive poll questions, break-out room sessions for solving case studies and group work. The C-DICE team helped me in smoothly executing my ideas using technology and it was rewarding to see all attendees actively participating in the training on the day. I engaged with participants to answer their questions and inputs on the case studies. Overall, it was great learning experience, and it gave me confidence to design and deliver training on energy systems modelling, a research area which I ventured into only in the last couple of years. The learning outcomes for participants and for myself were accomplished and I am delighted that I have made the most of the opportunity to collaborate with C-DICE as a postdoctoral researcher.
Dr Amruta Joshi, Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at the University of Warwick