ENGEN170-19B (TGA)

Engineering and Society

15 Points

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Division of Health Engineering Computing & Science
School of Engineering


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: mary.dalbeth@waikato.ac.nz
: natalie.shaw@waikato.ac.nz

Placement Coordinator(s)


Student Representative(s)

Lab Technician(s)


: debby.dada@waikato.ac.nz

You can contact staff by:

  • Calling +64 7 838 4466 select option 1, then enter the extension.
  • Extensions starting with 4, 5, 9 or 3 can also be direct dialled:
    • For extensions starting with 4: dial +64 7 838 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 5: dial +64 7 858 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 9: dial +64 7 837 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 3: dial +64 7 2620 + the last 3 digits of the extension e.g. 3123 = +64 7 262 0123.
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Paper Description

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Introduction to the changing role of the engineer as a problem solver in modern society with particular focus on green cities, systems thinking and digital disruption linked to solving real world problems as identified in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
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Paper Structure

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The course will be taught with a combination of lectures, workshops, and tutorials.

The workshops will be a creative project based learning experience. The students will be arranged in working groups. The lectures will provide the intellectual framework to understand complex problems and successfully manage complex systems. Guest lectures will provide practical examples from private sector and communities.

The tutorials will focus on practising the critical skills to analyse interconnected problems, visualise the effects, model systems, as well as create and test solutions.

The tutorials will also reinforce the learning from the lectures and support the design challenge.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Identify, formulate, research and analyse complex problems reaching substantiated conclusions.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Design solutions for complex problems and design systems or processes that meet specified needs with appropriate consideration for public health, and safety, cultural, societal and environmental considerations
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Create, select and apply appropriate techniques, resources and modern engineering and IT tools, including modelling, to complex engineering problems, with an understanding of the limitations
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Demonstrate skills to identify the underlying root causes rather than the symptoms of a problem
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  • Explain how the modern engineer functions as a problem solver
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  • Understand and evaluate the sustainability and impact of professional engineering work in the solution of complex engineering problems in societal and environmental contexts
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  • Function effectively as an individual, and as a member or leader in diverse teams and in multi-disciplinary settings
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  • Communicate effectively on complex engineering activities with the engineering community and society at large, such as being able to turn data into insights and communicate effectively.
    Linked to the following assessments:
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There will be 3 parts to the overall assessment:

- Assignments: Workshops are mandatory and tutorials highly recommended as they both lead into the delivery of the assignments.

- Design challenge: The design challenge is a group activity, running over 6 weeks.

- Final exam

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 50:50. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 50% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 50:50 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 50% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Assignment 1: Research, data and insights
7 Aug 2019
2:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Assignment 2: Causal Loop Diagrams
14 Aug 2019
2:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Assignment 3: Design Challenge Interview
  • Hand-in: In Workshop
4. Assignment 4: Application of Digital Technologies
23 Sep 2019
2:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
5. Design Challenge
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
6. Exam
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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No required readings
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Recommended Readings

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The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (Senge 1990)

"The Art of Interconnected Thinking". Ideas and Tools for a new way of dealing with complexity' F. Vester 2002

United Nations. (n.d.). Envision2030: 17 goals to transform the world for persons with disabilities. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/envision2030.html

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Other Resources

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International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), Systems Engineering Research Centre (SERC), IEEE Cimputer Society (IEEE CS). (2018, October 16). Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge. Retrieved June 10, 2019, from https://www.sebokwiki.org/wiki/Download_SEBoK_PDF

Siemens Green cities index


Siemens Livable Cities


Video: Prof Russell Ackoff


What is a system:


Iceberg thinking pt1


Causal loop diagram


Balancing loops


Reinforcing feedback loop



Stocks and flows


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Online Support

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Most online support will be reference lists of video clips, articles and books and resources for workshops from d.school like worksheets and games
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Workshops 2 hours per week = 24 hours.

Tutorials 1 hour per week = 12 hours.

Lectures 2 hours per week = 36 hours.

Design challenge: Additional self organised learning and group work time = 30 hours.

Assignments: 4 assignments making up 18 hours.

Exam preparation: 30 hours.

Grand total of 150 hours.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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This paper sets the foundation for ENGEN 270 Engineering and Business as well as further on ENGEN342 and ENGEN570. It enables the students to see the wider context of their work. This will be preparing them in ENGEN 270 to apply this understanding to relate to industry, to see how they can add value in a private sector setting.

The paper will also help them to identify the best industrial placements that relate to their own interests and skills.

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