In this unit, students will explore the role and importance of engineering in society, at both the national and international level. This will include identifying issues facing engineers such as sustainability; existing trends and practices; and innovations to meet future challenges. Students will examine the development of engineering as a profession and look at the varying disciplines within the profession. This will enable students to establish their own learning and career goals and develop strategies to achieve those goals.

Students will also examine the activities that constitute the engineering method, a problem-solving process, and apply the method to an identified problem. Case studies will be presented to students introducing them to descriptions of real situations that provide a context for engineers to explore decision-making in the face of socio-technical issues, such as environmental, political, and ethical issues. Students will work on a number of deliverables that will require them to work both individually and collaboratively, and communicate their work and findings in oral and written forms. Workshops, field trips, and presentations will form an integral part of the unit and attendance on those will be mandatory.

Unit details

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Identify the key roles of engineering in the local and global communities, and understand the key features of the different disciplines of engineering practice;  
  2. Develop their own learning and career goals, and use self-management skills to plan and manage their work;  
  3. Recognise the professional responsibilities of engineers as well as ethical and sustainability issues in engineering practice;  
  4. Identify and interpret strategies for practising sustainable engineering and evaluate a solution in terms of environmental, social and economic costs and benefits;  
  5. Describe the engineering method as well as the activities that constitute this problem-solving process and apply the method to an identified problem;  
  6. Communicate effectively with others orally and in writing on a range of engineering-related topics using appropriate language; and  
  7. Work individually and with others, as both a team member and leader in both formal and informal teams, to complete tasks.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Essay Individual Reflection Essay 20%
Case Study Individual Case Study Report 30%
Presentation Team Oral Presentation (15 minutes) 10%
Project A Team Project Report 40%
Total combined assessment word equivalence is approximately 3000 words. For any team assessment, a percentage of student's mark is based on observations of their contribution to the overall task, as such; attendance is mandatory in the workshops, field trips and presentations.

Required reading

Engineering Your Future: an Australasian Guide. 2nd edn.
Dowling, D, Carew, A, Hadgraft, R, 2013.
John Wiley and Sons Australia, Milton, Queensland.

Handbook of Communication Skills for First Year Students in the College of Engineering and Science. 10th edn.
VU, College of Arts, 2013.
Victoria University.

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