ENGG1000 Design & Innovation

About this course

This course is offered to all students as part of their engineering studies or as an elective for non-engineering students.  It introduces students to engineering design through participation in a multi-disciplinary project-based team activity.

The course structure allows students to participate in a project which is not necessarily aligned with their major area of study.  For example, a student who is intending to study mechanical engineering may participate in a chemical engineering focussed project, or a student who is uncertain of which engineering discipline to study may chose a project which covers multiple areas of interest.

Course Summary

Engineers solve problems.  These problems can range from rather simple ones, such as how to keep a door from blowing open on a windy day, to highly complex ones, such as how to land an unmanned spacecraft on the surface of a distant planet.  You might ask what two vastly different types of problems could have in common.  The answer is simple: Design. However, design is anything but simple and it can take an entire lifetime to master.

Design is the act of creating solutions to problems. What new technologies, materials and techniques can we bring to bear on a problem and how can we do this whilst ensuring that we can deliver our solution within real cost and time constraints?

This course looks at what it means to be an engineering designer. You will see the big picture and how all your studies, such as mathematics and science, fit together.  This course will also look at some of the non-technical issues which are just as vital to a successful engineering career as the technical ones. You will also be given the opportunity to experience engineering in a multi-disciplinary capacity.

You will study and experience Engineering Design as a multi-faceted activity, which requires creativity, as well as judgment, decision making and problem-solving skills. You will see the need to complete design projects on time and within specification and budget. The problem solving and project management skills and approach to learning that you develop in this course will be invaluable for later courses in your degree, in your career and for life in general.

The specific aims of the course are to:

  • Introduce you to the principles and methods of engineering design.
  • Involve you in a hands-on design and engineering project, with a team of engineers with diverse technical skill sets.
  • Improve your skills in written and verbal expression.
  • Begin to acquire basic skills in a technical engineering field.
  • Introduce you to the manner in which a professional engineer conducts themselves.
  • Provide a team-based environment so you can experience and learn collaborative skills.
  • Help you learn the professional use of information resources.

Detailed Aims of the Course

Through the semester, the specific aims of the course can be summarised as:

1. Introduce you to the principles and methods of engineering design.

We will focus on the skills, concepts and methods needed to design innovative solutions to Engineering problems.  We will look at Design as a multi-faceted activity which requires considerable creativity, sound decision making and problem solving skills as well as excellent interpersonal and communication skills.  The problem solving and project management skills that you hone here will be invaluable for later courses in your degree.

2. Involve you in a number of hands-on design and engineering activities.

You will get the opportunity to demonstrate your competency at these skills by experiencing first-hand what is required to design, build and test your solution to an interesting design problem in the same way that professional engineers all over the world are doing right at this moment. 

3. Provide a team-based environment so you can experience and learn collaborative skills.

For the work in this Course, everyone will be assigned to a team for the duration.  Most of the activities and assessments in this Course will be conducted through the team although individual performance will be monitored and assessed as it would be in industry.  Make use of the wide range of experience within your team - you are all well-educated and capable and there is much you can learn from one another.  

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of ENGG1000, you will be expected to have the following capabilities: 

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the process of engineering design and the use of design methods for:

        a) Defining an open-ended design problem;
        b) Generating alternative and innovative conceptual solutions; and
        c) Evaluating these solutions.

  2. Understand the dynamics of collaborative teams and how to work effectively within a team to accomplish tasks within given deadlines. 
  3. Understand the basic elements of project management and be able to plan and schedule work activities in accordance with standard practice. 
  4. Be able to convey your thoughts and ideas effectively in an engineering design report. 
  5. Become familiar with the tangible elements of mechanical, electrical and computing design:

        d) Demonstrate the safe and effective usage of basic workshop tools or basic electronic test equipment or computer software environment; and
        e) Recognise some basic engineering materials, devices and mechanisms which form the “building blocks” of much of the world’s machinery and circuitry.

Learning and Teaching Philosophy

The philosophy which underlies the structure of this Course is based on making problem solving knowledge and skills explicit, rather than implicit.  The basis for this approach is that if you are aware of how you solve problems you can improve your effectiveness over time in a clear and systematic manner.  This behaviour is intrinsic to effective engineering. 

Because good designers also rely on their intuition and experience, the Course provides many experiential activities with emphasis on reflection on the design process.  This is because design is an extremely broad activity that is best learnt by doing.  The life of a graduate engineer is full of experiential learning; the differences in this university Course are that you will formally learn about the design process and you will reflect on your understanding of it as you go. 

This is a learner-focused Course, which requires you to take responsibility for your own learning.  You will work together in teams to design a solution to a specified but open-ended problem.  In industry, you seldom choose your workmates and you won't here either.  For the work in this Course, everyone will be assigned to a team for the duration. Most of the activities and assessments in this Course will be conducted through the team although individual performance will be monitored and assessed as it would be in industry. 

This Project will be supported with a variety of additional student experiences to help you acquire individual and group skills in areas needed for communicating the design, including graphical representation, collaboration, report writing and any necessary technical knowledge.