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ENGG1813: Engineering Critical Thinking (2019 - Semester 2)

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Unit: ENGG1813: Engineering Critical Thinking (6 CP)
Mode: Normal-Day
On Offer: Yes
Level: Junior
Faculty/School: Civil Engineering
Unit Coordinator/s: Dr Cafe, Peter
Session options: Semester 2
Versions for this Unit:
Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Pre-Requisites: None.
Brief Handbook Description: This unit concentrates on the rigors of communication in an engineering context including technical writing,

teamwork, formal presentations and critical analysis. It is a precursor to ENGG1803 Professional Engineering 1

for students with a non-English speaking background in degrees that have a free elective available to students,

and takes the place of one free elective.

Students who enrol in this unit in 1st year will defer ENGG1803 Professional Engineering to 2nd year.


The Unit concerns critical thinking and Intensive English language (in an engineering context) aimed at building

skills and confidence in students so that they better engage in the educational process at Sydney University by:

- Enhancing student ability to meet the challenges of study in Engineering in the Australian university context.

- Intensive focus on the language of Engineering in English.

- Developing cross-cultural awareness with a focus on consolidating the essential facets and practices in the

tradition of science and research-based skills of sound reasoning.

- Increasing critical thinking capacity and preparing students for engaged enquiry in an Engineering context.
Assumed Knowledge: None.
Additional Notes: Students wanting to enrol in this unit must contact Dr Peter Cafe ([email protected]) for an initial appraisal of critical thinking and communication skills prior to approval.
Department Permission Department permission is required for enrollment in this session.
Lecturer/s: Dr Cafe, Peter
Tutor/s: Primary Lecturer and tutor: Dr Michael Paton [email protected]


WORKSHOP LECTURER Ms Georgiana Toma [email protected]
Timetable: ENGG1813 Timetable
Time Commitment:
# Activity Name Hours per Week Sessions per Week Weeks per Semester
1 Lecture 1.00 1 13
2 Workgroup 2.00 1 13
3 Pronunciation Studio 4.00 1 3
4 Independent Study 4.00
5 Tutorial 1.00 1 13
T&L Activities: There will be a variety of learning activities depending on the types of skills being developed. Most will occur in small group workshops.

Lectures will provide facts and figures, present examples, provide motivation and cover basic scaffolding requirements for all components of the unit.

Workshop program: Works in with the lecture program to deliver to smaller groups the details necessary to build on the scaffold of the lecture program.

Tutorials The tutorials will focus on grammar and vocabulary (with a focus on engineering vocabulary) and pronunciation covered throughout the course. They will also be used for individual feedback.

Pronunciation studio: Students will be assessed on their pronunciation skills and be required to attend pronunciation studio as necessary.

Independent Study: Students will need to engage in a significant amount of independent study to absorb the material and develop the necessary skills

Learning outcomes are the key abilities and knowledge that will be assessed in this unit. They are listed according to the course goal supported by each. See Assessment Tab for details how each outcome is assessed.

Unassigned Outcomes
1. General descriptive reporting. With basic understanding of format and audience requirements. Able to present common engineering/IT concepts & issues in written, spoken and graphic forms, using standard professional communication tools and formats, both computer and paper-based.
2. Basic information seeking. Can answer well-defined questions using standard knowledge resources. Able to formulate library queries, locate sources, evaluate reliability, and extract and synthesise relevant content.
Assessment Methods:
# Name Group Weight Due Week Outcomes
1 Task 1 – Group project Yes 20.00 Week 6 1, 2,
2 Task 2 – Report Writing No 20.00 Week 9 1, 2,
3 Task 3 – Individual presentation No 20.00 Multiple Weeks 1, 2,
4 Task 4 – Learning journal No 20.00 Week 13 1, 2,
5 Task 5 - Examination No 20.00 Week 13 1, 2,
Assessment Description: Task 1. Group project:

A group abstract writing project on a workplace simulation concerning the sustainable engineering of the Murray-Darling River system focussing on the language and skills required for successful group work communication in the university context

Scenario: You, the students, are engineers working for a fictitious engineering company, Southern Cross Asia. The company is planning to apply for government funding to develop/conserve the Murray-Darling Basin sustainably.

Task: In groups of three, explore the Murray-darling problem in detail, identify the aspects of the problem and prioritise them in the order in which they should be tackled. Write a report abstract outlining your group’s conclusions and list of priorities. (500 words approx.)

Task 2. Report writing task:

A formal report based on an aspect of the sustainable engineering of the Murray-Darling River system employing the generic model utilised in undergraduate Engineering academic writing (800 words approx).

Task: Each student as an employee of Southern Cross Asia individually selects one of the aspects of the problems with engineer the Murray-Darling System as identified in the group Task. He/she conducts further research on it (minimum of two valid sources; cannot be the same sources as other students in class), and writes a report exploring the aspect in detail and making a case that this aspect should be prioritised over all the others. The target audience of their report is the management board of their engineering company.

Task 3. Individual presentation

Task: The students will be presenting the findings of their report to the management board and to their colleagues. Their presentation needs to be succinct and persuasive. The presentation will be 10 min (6-7 min presentation + 3-4 min questions).

Task 4. Learning journal

Task: Each student is expected to make a weekly journal entry of approximately one page. In this, the students are asked to reflect on their learning in class and its impact on other units of study and their world outside of university. The effects these external factors have on learning in class should also be considered. Students are encouraged to identify their own values, attitudes and beliefs underlying their reactions to various learning situations and to reflect on how such values, beliefs and attitudes might affect their studies. Thus, the journal should not be a mere summary of the information garnered from the classes. If there is evidence that a complete journal is written only in the last week of semester, it will receive a failing mark.

Task 5. Examination

Task: The students write a report on the future of the Murray-Darling basin. Their target audience will be government officials. Their aim is to present a comprehensive view of the problem and the best suggested course of action in their view. (aprox. 1,000 words)
Grade Type Description
Standards Based Assessment Final grades in this unit are awarded at levels of HD for High Distinction, DI (previously D) for Distinction, CR for Credit, PS (previously P) for Pass and FA (previously F) for Fail as defined by University of Sydney Assessment Policy. Details of the Assessment Policy are available on the Policies website at . Standards for grades in individual assessment tasks and the summative method for obtaining a final mark in the unit will be set out in a marking guide supplied by the unit coordinator.
Recommended Reference/s: Note: References are provided for guidance purposes only. Students are advised to consult these books in the university library. Purchase is not required.

Note that the "Weeks" referred to in this Schedule are those of the official university semester calendar

Week Description
Week 1 Lecture: Introduction to the Course
Other: • Discussion - Deconstruction of lecture

• Reflective writing skills

• Speaking in academic contexts

Fine-grained language analysis
Week 2 Lecture: Origin & Meaning of Critical Thinking
Other: • Discussion - Deconstruction of lecture

• Academic Honesty (Referencing, Writer’s voice, Paraphrasing)
Week 3 Lecture: Why English and Critical Thinking are Important to Engineering
Other: • Discussion - Deconstruction of lecture

• Research Skills (Locating sources, Relevant data bases, Selecting relevant sources, Evaluating & judging the credibility of sources)
Week 4 Lecture: Group Work and Developing Critical Thinking Skills
Other: • Discussion - Deconstruction of lecture

• Group Work Strategies (Defining task & process-orientated activities, , Potential sources of conflict, Conflict-handling techniques, Negotiation skills)

• Set up Group Work Task
Week 5 Lecture: Critical Thinking (Basic Logic) – Assertions
Other: • Discussion - Deconstruction of lecture

• Abstract writing (Genre deconstruction)

• Group Work Task (Guided working time)
Week 6 Lecture: Critical Thinking (Basic Logic) – Fallacies
Other: • Discussion - Deconstruction of lecture

• Abstract Writing (Group Project)

• Formative peer feedback on report
Assessment Due: Task 1 – Group project
Week 7 Lecture: Report writing for Engineering
Other: • Discussion - Deconstruction of lecture

• Engineering Report (Genre deconstruction)
Week 8 Lecture: Seminar Presentation Skills

Other: • Discussion - Deconstruction of lecture

• Report – academic style (Writer’s voice)

• Individual Report Planning
Week 9 Lecture: Cross-Cultural Communication and Critical Thinking

Other: • Cross-cultural Communication (application of theory to practice)

• Presentation skills practice
Assessment Due: Task 2 – Report Writing
Week 10 Lecture: Project Management

Guest Lecturer
Individual presentations
Week 11 Lecture: Leadership

Guest Lecturer
Individual presentations
Week 12 Lecture: Exam Preparation

Michael Paton
Individual presentations
Week 13 EXAM
Assessment Due: Task 4 – Learning journal
Assessment Due: Task 5 - Examination

Course Relations

The following is a list of courses which have added this Unit to their structure.

Course Year(s) Offered
Flexible First Year 2016, 2017, 2018
Flexible First Year / Arts 2016, 2017, 2018
Flexible First Year / Commerce 2016, 2017, 2018
Flexible First Year / Science 2016, 2017, 2018
Flexible First Year / Law 2016, 2017, 2018
Flexible First Year / Science (Medical Science Stream) 2018

Course Goals

This unit contributes to the achievement of the following course goals:

Attribute Practiced Assessed
(6) Communication and Inquiry/ Research (Level 1) No 0%

These goals are selected from Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 which defines overall goals for courses where this unit is primarily offered. See Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 for details of the attributes and levels to be developed in the course as a whole. Percentage figures alongside each course goal provide a rough indication of their relative weighting in assessment for this unit. Note that not all goals are necessarily part of assessment. Some may be more about practice activity. See Learning outcomes for details of what is assessed in relation to each goal and Assessment for details of how the outcome is assessed. See Attributes for details of practice provided for each goal.