Note: This unit version is currently being edited and is subject to change!

MECH2401: Human-Centred Engineering Design (2020 - Semester 2)

Download UoS Outline

Unit: MECH2401: Human-Centred Engineering Design (6 CP)
Mode: Normal-Day
On Offer: Yes
Level: Intermediate
Faculty/School: School of Aerospace, Mechanical & Mechatronic Engineering
Unit Coordinator/s: Dr Fiford, Rod
Session options: Semester 2
Versions for this Unit:
Site(s) for this Unit:
Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Pre-Requisites: None.
Brief Handbook Description: MECH2401 aims to integrate various less technical aspects of engineering design, with a focus on designing for humans.

Elements of human factors/ergonomics, industrial design, creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, team project work, marketing and product development form the basis for the unit of study.

The unit is predominantly delivered in a studio learning environment, revolving around a major team project based on the creative design of products for human use.

Group based problem solving and a project based studio learning environment form the core basis for student learning.
Assumed Knowledge: MECH1560 AND MECH1400.
Lecturer/s: Dr Fiford, Rod
Timetable: MECH2401 Timetable
Time Commitment:
# Activity Name Hours per Week Sessions per Week Weeks per Semester
1 Lecture 1.00 1 13
2 E-Learning 1.00 1 13
3 Tutorial 1.00 1 12
4 Studio 2.00 1 12
5 Independent Study 4.00 1 13
T&L Activities: Lecture: Lecture theatre based session.

E-Learning: Short videos (10-15minutes) and pre-reading required.

Tutorial: 1hr/week - students working per-dominantly in groups on small/short design exercises to help them learn relevant skills, techniques and knowledge.

Studio: 2hr/week - students working in small groups on major design project, large flat teaching space environment.

Independent/group study: Students to spend at least 3hrs/week in their own time.

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. Ability to work effectively with other students in a small team.
2. Ability to interact professionally with industry practitioners, tutors and class mates.
3. Ability to plan and manage projects.
4. Ability to work with fellow students as part of a small team.
5. Ability to communicate engineered design solutions to problems both orally and in written form.
6. Ability to communicate within project teams.
7. Ability to perform research to analyse existing products, market demands/expectations, engineering standards and product viability.
8. Ability to apply engineering knowledge and techniques to create technically feasible solutions to problems.
9. Ability to apply engineering knowledge and techniques to create products suitable for use by humans.
10. Ability to apply creative thought processes to generate ideas, solve problems and develop products.
11. Ability to apply basic analytical engineering processes to help develop design solutions.
12. Ability to apply principles of ergonomics and industrial design to create products for human use.
Assessment Methods:
# Name Group Weight Due Week Outcomes
1 Existing design research and analysis report * No 20.00 Week 5 7, 10,
2 Ergonomics Assignment * No 10.00 Week 9 8, 9, 11, 12,
3 Major design project preliminary report * Yes 20.00 Week 9 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,
4 Major design project final report * Yes 20.00 Week 13 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12,
5 Major design product `pitch` * Yes 10.00 Week 13 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12,
6 Quiz * No 20.00 Week 12 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12,
Assessment Description: * Indicates an assessment task which must be repeated if a student misses it due to special consideration

1. Technical report describing and analysing the design of an existing product, identifying flaws/issues and proposing potential solutions to these flaws/issues.

2. Technical analytical report assessing the students` understanding of ergonomic principles and human factor considerations in design.

3. Technical report presenting the team`s progress, planning processes and background research/design of their proposed design problem solution.

4. Technical report presenting the team`s final design solution and describing the processes and decision that led to the formulation of the final design solution.

5. Group video & oral marketing presentation `pitch` where team presents their proposed solution to entire class and teaching staff.

6. In class short written quiz to assess students` understanding of course material.


1. There may be statistically defensible moderation when combining the marks from each component to ensure consistency of marking between markers, and alignment of final grades with unit outcomes.

2. Late penalties are generally 5% (of the maximum attainable mark per day) and are indicated on each assessment task handout.

3. Text based similarity detecting software (Turnitin) will be used for all text-based written assignments, assignments must be submitted in format readable by Turnitin with text in text format, not as images.

4. Sparkplus will be used to gather peer feedback for group activities and group members mark weightings may be modified based on sparkplus ratings and feedback.
Assessment Feedback: Feedback will aim to be generated and returned within 10 working days of the task due date.
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.
Prescribed Text/s: Note: Students are expected to have a personal copy of all books listed.
  • TBC
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.
Online Course Content: Via E-Learning

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

Week Description
Week 1 Introduction to unit of study
Creativity in design
Week 2 Product design specifications
Conceptual design
User requirements and expectations
Week 3 Critical thinking, analysis and decision making
Design evaluation
Detailed design
Introduction to major project
Week 4 Ergonomics and human factors
Week 5 Ergonomics and human factors
Assessment Due: Existing design research and analysis report *
Week 6 Ergonomics and human factors
Week 7 Designing with intent
Empathy with users
Week 8 Industrial design and design methodologies
Testing & prototyping
Week 9 Stakeholder expectations
Design marketing
Assessment Due: Ergonomics Assignment *
Assessment Due: Major design project preliminary report *
Week 10 Design communication
Product delivery
Week 11 The concept of 'total design'
Week 12 Course summary/revision
Assessment Due: Quiz *
Week 13 Group product presentations
Assessment Due: Major design project final report *
Assessment Due: Major design product 'pitch' *

Course Relations

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

Course Year(s) Offered
Mechanical Mid-Year 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2016
Mechanical 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2016
Mechanical / Commerce 2018, 2019, 2020
Mechanical / Science 2018, 2019, 2020
Mechanical/Science(Health) 2018, 2019, 2020
Mechanical / Law 2018, 2019, 2020

Course Goals

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

Attribute Practiced Assessed
(7) Project and Team Skills (Level 3) No 0%
(8) Professional Effectiveness and Ethical Conduct (Level 2) No 0%
(6) Communication and Inquiry/ Research (Level 3) No 0%
(4) Design (Level 3) No 0%
(3) Problem Solving and Inventiveness (Level 3) No 0%
(2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 2) 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.