taking on an engineering approach - Mohammed El Makkaoui

Mohammed El Makkaoui
Sierra Leone

"I was motivated to widen my knowledge of PV by taking on an engineering approach."

Mohammed El Makkaoui is a Electrical Engineering student from Sierra Leone. He enrolled in the online Solar Energy Engineering MicroMasters Program in 2018.

What was your motivation for enrolling in the course?
The main motivation was to enhance my prospects for working in the field of Photovoltaics. Having prior knowledge of PV materials synthesis, I was motivated to widen my knowledge of PV by taking on an engineering approach, which along with my chemistry background could improve my chances of finding a job.

How would you describe your online learning experience?
It exceeded my expectations. Not only did I gather more PV knowledge, I managed to get a better sense of available job opportunities. I was encouraged to pursue an MSc in electrical power engineering at TU Delft, given the exemptions granted. The experience gave me a head start in my education at TU Delft, as I am excelling in all my courses, en route to graduating Cum Laude. I was also able to take extra courses, in place of those I am exempt from, garnering even further understanding of the field.

What did you think of the online learning environment?
The environment was fairly user-friendly and straightforward. There were glitches at times, especially in PV4x, and the grading scheme was a bit harsh (80% of the grade was the exam). One of the main issues was that TA’s were not responding in a timely fashion to the discussions, which did make the experience frustrating at times. Now as the new TA of the MicroMasters program I’m eager to provide students with a lot of more support, knowing how important it is.

What is your advice to someone who would like to take a similar online program?
Regarding this particular MicroMasters, I highly recommend students complete the whole course and get certified, if they plan to do an MSc afterwards. They are far more likely to succeed and find a high-end job after completing their studies. For those who are working in PV, I would also recommend taking all the courses, so as to get a better idea about the different fields they can work in. A PV systems installation expert may find he/she is more interested in working with Smart Grids for example.

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