Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit lies at the start of the pathway to becoming an engineer. Engineers conceive ways to rearrange objects, materials and systems to achieve beneficial outcomes. There are many personal and professional skills and knowledge which need to be gained in order to make use of the technical knowledge that students acquire in other units, and to apply these to real projects. In the unit, students study a real project in one of three geopolitical contexts. They learn how the context influences the objectives, the process and the outcomes; to work in small engineering teams with distributed expertise—no one person knows enough to reach the objective so members of the team have to rely on working together; and to develop social interaction and other communication skills forming the foundations of professional practice.

6 points
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) demonstrate improved communication skills including accurate, active listening (note taking, acquiring language and terminology of the speaker), seeing (sketching, visual representation), reading and comprehension skills, oral and written presentation skills, the ability to clearly and concisely communicate the results of a project, and learn how to learn and teach others; (2) demonstrate improved teamwork skills including the development of a cooperative relationship with peers and experts in order to obtain information and assistance when needed, to become aware of distributed expertise/coordination, to develop the ability to work well in multidisciplinary and multicultural teams and understand the role as team leader and player, and to manage effectively with dysfunctional teams and resolve conflicts; (3) demonstrate improved project management skills including the ability to plan projects efficiently and effectively, as well as time management; (4) demonstrate improved enquiry skills including the ability to critique the historical function of engineering and its role in society, to appreciate and critique common ways of thinking, researching and practicing engineering as well as common modes of discourse; (5) demonstrate improved literacy skills including the ability to source, critique, assess reliability of, and potential bias of, information from a variety of sources and properly reference these; (6) demonstrate enhanced creative thinking and appreciate the barriers to creative thought; (7) demonstrate an improved ability to critique, analyse the risk and synthesise data related to environmental, legal, ethical, health and safety impacts of engineering; (8) demonstrate sensitivity and inclusivity towards cultural and gender diversity especially in relation to Indigenous knowledge, values and culture; (9) demonstrate a deeper understanding of sustainability including the ability to apply that understanding throughout a project life cycle; (10) demonstrate a deeper understanding of the environmental, social and economic context in which engineering is practised; (11) recognise and diagnose some of the common failure modes of tools, components, structures and materials; (12) describe the difference between ill-structured and well-structured engineering problems and demonstrate the ability to frame an ill-structured design problem in terms of functions, objectives and constraints; (13) identify critical design parameters and understand their use in guiding design decisions; and (14) utilise a systematic method for qualitatively evaluating a range of alternative design candidate solutions.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) participation and reflection; (2) project (including peer assessment); and (3) individual report. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Rita Armstrong
Unit rules
ENSC1001 Global Challenges in Engineering
Contact hours
lectures: 1 hour (first week only)
information sessions: 2 hours per week
workshops: 2 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.