University College Dublin (IRELAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN18 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 112-121
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.0044
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
This paper discusses the set up of Jupyter Notebooks for the computer-based laboratories of the module “Power System Dynamics and Control” taught by the authors in the academic year 2017/2018 at University College Dublin.

Jupyter is an open-source project that started in 2014 based on IPython, and has quickly become popular in the scientific and academic community. While IPython was limited to the utilization of the Python language, Jupyter notebooks can leverage several different programming and scripting languages, including the bash shell, which is the interface utilized in the laboratories discussed in this paper. Jupyter notebooks are basically interactive webpages, that can be easily and efficiently designed for testing live code, embedding narrative text and visualizing results. The term “computational narrative” has been coined for these virtual notebooks and well summarizes the feature of Jupyter notebooks.

The first author is the developer of a Python-based software suite, called Dome, for power system modelling and dynamic analysis. Dome has been utilized by the first author for research since 2009 and for education since 2012 first at University of Castilla La-Mancha and then at University College Dublin. A variety of papers on the utilization of Dome for educational purposes has been presented in past editions of EDULEARN and ICERI conferences since 2011.

The main difficulty encountered by the students that attended the labs based on Dome has always been the need to interact with the command line of a Unix server. Dome, in fact, has no graphical interface and can be launched only through a Unix terminal. While Unix terminal has several advantages, the new generation of students are not used to it and a consistent amount of time of the labs was dedicated to familiarize with Unix commands. This clearly reduced the time that could be dedicated to the simulations.

This paper, shows that using Jupyter notebooks for teaching can improve the students learning experience by minimizing the need to know how to interact with a Unix server and thereby effectively increasing the ability of the students to run more tests and simulations. The structure of Jupyter notebooks, however, does not preclude motivated students from actually taking advantage of the flexibility of Unix terminal and thus offers a versatile solution that can seemlessly be adapt to the skills and the interests of the students.

The final paper will provide the following contributions:
• A description of the key features of Jupyter notebooks for the interaction with the software tool Dome and the preparation of computer-based laboratory activities on power system dynamics and control.
• A complete example of a laboratory activity that focuses on the control of renewable resources, frequency-controlled loads and energy storage devices. The sample notebook will be made available on-line for testing.
• The experience and comments of the teaching assistant that have set up and run the laboratories of the module “Power System Dynamics and Control”.
• The feedback of the undergraduate students that attended the module “Power System Dynamics and Control”.
Power system dynamics, power system control, simulation, Jupyter project, bash shell, computer-based laboratory.