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Energy 101

What is the Energy 101 Initiative?

The Energy 101 Dialogue Series:  Dialogue #1: Energy in the Classroom Webinar Slides

Increasing opportunities for students learning about energy in the Nation’s two-year and four-year colleges and universities

The Energy 101 initiative is an effort to support energy education in the post-secondary setting to increase students’ opportunities to enter the energy workforce, ensuring that the Nation excels in energy research and innovation, and also to maintain a world-leading technical workforce. An initial product of the energy 101 initiative was the Energy 101 Framework. The framework serves as a conceptualization in the form of a course outline, of a multidisciplinary approach to learning about energy.  The creation of the framework uncovered a multitude of outstanding efforts in energy education across the Nation’s two and  four year colleges and universities, and a goal of the initiative is to support this ecosystem and to coalesce a community around post-secondary energy education. As part of the initiative, and to identify and support a community of practice, the initiative is introducing a series of online Energy 101 national dialogues to share best practices in energy education.

What is the Energy 101 Framework?

The framework has 5 units for a semester-long course structure with each of the units being composed of 1-3 sections and 36 supporting core concepts. The structure of the framework was the result of the mapping of the Energy Literacy Principles and Fundamental Concepts to "introduction to energy" curricula from universities and community colleges, and from the discourse among energy educators from across the country. The framework is:

  • Designed for a semester-long course structure
  • Consists of 5 units, 3 sections and 36 core concepts from the Energy Literacy Principles
  • A model framework to teach energy using an interdisciplinary perspective
  • An effort to capture the dynamic role that energy plays in our lives – including the scientific, technological, and societal aspects
  • Flexible to fit your university and college requirements
  • Aimed at increasing pathways for energy-related degrees and careers

The Department of Energy (DOE) led the development of a peer-reviewed course framework, in cooperation with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Oak Ridge Association of Universities with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute providing outreach, peer-review, and content development.

Download the full Energy 101 Course Framework

Preview the Energy 101 Course Framework with this Info Sheet

How has the Framework been used?

The Energy 101 framework has used in a number of different ways and settings. The University of Maryland created a pilot Energy Fundamentals course aligned to the framework in the spring of 2013, as well as an energy-based math course for veterans and active military. There are currently two other Maryland Community colleges that have used the framework in the creation of fundamentals of energy courses, with the framework informing a number of other institutions in their course and content creation.

The Energy 101 Dialogue Series

There will be a series of online Energy 101 dialogues throughout the year focusing on different topics in teaching energy in the post-secondary setting. The Energy 101 dialogue series goals are to:

  • Identify best practices surrounding teaching energy in the post-secondary setting
  • Amplify those best practices,
  • Support the creation of a community of practice of energy education experts

This first dialogue will concentrate on issues surrounding teaching energy fundamentals in the classroom within the first two years of post-secondary education and will feature energy education subject matter experts and an online discussion panel. For more information about the dialogues and to register for current and future dialogues, visit the Energy 101 Dialogue webpage.

Learn more about the Initiative

Want an introduction to the Energy 101 Course Framework? Check out the webcast from the April 11, 2013 release of the course framework. The presentation, resources and previous webinars on Energy 101 are available on our "Multimedia Page."

How to get involved

Do you teach fundamentals of energy course that you’d like us and others to know more about or have you utilized the Energy 101 framework in the creation of a course? Are there examples of best practices and sharable content that you want to share? Do you want to get involved in the online Energy 101 dialogues or have something to share? Please reach out to us at