It’s the last day of 2012, and I suppose this is as good of a day as any to look at my previous academic semester. The fall 2012 semester was my fifth as a graduate student. Since I’ve been doing grad studies for a while now, I only needed to take two courses. The two courses I took in the fall were a little different than the technical courses that I usually take, and here is what I thought of them.
My first course was on electricity markets and policies, particularly in the United State. This is a change from most of my other power related courses that look at high voltage electricity networks from a technical perspective, while this course looks at it from an economics and markets perspective. While electricity markets is not my research area, I think it’s also useful for people like me who want to work in the industry to know how modern electricity markets work and how they were developed. The course had a reading and discussion-heavy format. Some of the readings were very interesting; others were not as good, and the reading gets a little long at times. However, to my own surprise I liked the discussion format of the class since at the very least it keeps you awake, and keeping people’s attention is not that easy in a three hour course. Overall, the course was a good experience, and I learned some pretty useful stuff.
We had a seminar course featuring presentations from the electric power and energy areas. It was a distance-type of course where most of the presentation were transmitted over the web. The good thing about the course was that there wasn’t much work to do. On the other hand, I don’t think I learned too much from the course. There is technical issues with the sound that makes it harder to hear the presenters, and some presentation just weren’t very good. Giving a long presentation on a deep technical subject that keeps people’s interest is a tough task though. I suppose this was the easiest course I’ve taken at my grad school, so I can’t complain too much.