ENGR201 (2020) - Engineering in Context


This course addresses the research, analysis, critical and creative thinking skills embodied in written and oral communication which professional engineers are expected to display in the workplace. While addressing these aspects, the course at the same time develops the personal and interpersonal skills required to work effectively as part of a team in an engineering context.

Course learning objectives

Students who pass this course should be able to:

  1. Conduct research using a library and academic databases
  2. Understand the nature and purpose of written documents required in advanced study of engineering and the professional workplace: literature review and case study or technical report.
  3. Understand the principles of oral presentation
  4. Collaborate effectively on team tasks
  5. Develop and demonstrate an understanding of the ethical and social responsibilities of being a professional engineer

Withdrawal from Course

Withdrawal dates and process:


Teaching Format

This course will be offered in-person and online.  For students in Wellington, the course will be in-person. It will also be possible to take the course entirely online for those who are not in Wellington and for those with permission from the course coordinator. All the components provided in-person will also made available online.
During the trimester there will be one weekly lecture and a weekly workshop (two-hour workshop), which builds on the information provided in the lecture through follow-up activities and discussions. To achieve the learning made available in the workshop, you cannot afford to miss the lecture. The lecture will be recorded for those that cannot attend in-person. The workshops are in-person (there will be one online workshop) prepare you to undertake two major written assignments and a short oral presentation. Small weekly writing tasks will also be set over weeks 2-5 of the course, each of which will contribute marks to your overall assessment if it is completed. This is not extra work: these small staged tasks all contribute to your production of the larger assignments.  Please sign up for your workshop using MyAllocator when it is available. You need to attend the workshop at the same time each week: you may not move between workshops without permission (the same is true for the online version). Note: There are no workshops in the first week of the trimester.

Student feedback

Student feedback on University courses may be found at: http://www.cad.vuw.ac.nz/feedback/feedback_display.php

Dates (trimester, teaching & break dates)

  • Teaching: 13 July 2020 - 18 October 2020
  • Break: 17 August 2020 - 30 August 2020
  • Exam period: 19 October 2020 - 25 October 2020

Class Times and Room Numbers

13 July 2020 - 16 August 2020

  • Monday 13:10 - 14:00 – LT101, Maclaurin, Kelburn
31 August 2020 - 18 October 2020

  • Monday 13:10 - 14:00 – LT101, Maclaurin, Kelburn

Other Classes

The course consists of one weekly lecture and a weekly workshop These workshops will start in Week 2 of the trimester and there are 5 alternative times to choose from (one will be online for those students not in Wellington or with permission from the course coordinator). Please sign up for your workshop using MyAllocator when it becomes available. You need to attend the workshop at the same time each week: you may not move between workshops without permission. We are planning one workshop offered online for those students not in Wellington.


There are no required texts for this offering.

Mandatory Course Requirements

In addition to achieving an overall pass mark of at least 50%, students must:

  • Attend at least nine of the eleven workshops, including the eleventh workshop in week 12 (oral presentation).

If you believe that exceptional circumstances may prevent you from meeting the mandatory course requirements, contact the Course Coordinator for advice as soon as possible.


Assessment ItemDue Date or Test DateCLO(s)Percentage
Literature ReviewTBCCLO: 1,2,430%
Short Writing Tasks in lectures and workshops weeks 2-5CLO: 1,2,416%
Case StudyTBCCLO: 1,2,434%
Oral Assessment in WorkshopsWeek 12CLO: 1,2,3,4,520%


All work is due on the due date and extensions will only be given in exceptional circumstances, and if agreed before the due date. If an extension is required apply in writing (email) to one of the course lecturers. Individual extensions will only be granted in exceptional personal circumstances, and should be negotiated with the course coordinator before the deadline whenever possible. Documentation (eg, medical
certificate) may be required. Marks for late work without an agreed extension will be deducted at a rate of 10% of the full mark for each working day late. Work will not be marked if more than one week late. Any work that is late (after the due date) should not be put in the drop boxes but should be directly handed to one of the course lecturers.


Extensions will only be given in exceptional circumstances. Please communicate these circumstances before the due date.
After the due date, please discuss your situation with the course coordinator.

Submission & Return

Assignments and reports to be submitted using the ECS online submission system, accessible through the course web pages. Marks and comments will be returned through the ECS marking system, also available through the course web pages.

Group Work

Assignment 4 oral presentation will also include team work.


In order to maintain satisfactory progress in ENGR 201, you should plan to spend an average of 10 hours per week on this paper. A plausible and approximate breakdown for these hours will be:

  • Lecture and workshop – 3 hours
  • Weekly short task – 1 hour
  • Assignments (research, reading, writing) – 6 hours

Teaching Plan

Week 1

LectureIntroduction to Course (ECS & LALS)

No Workshop in the first week

Week 2

LectureLiterature review: Audience role and purpose (LALS)

Week 3

LectureSearching a database for sources Library Sources (LALS)

Week 4

LectureEngineering Language (LALS)

Week 5

LectureTextual Cohesion (LALS)

Week 6

LectureEngineering Case study (ECS)

Week 7

LectureSoftware Case Study (ECS)

Week 8

LectureHardware Case Study (ECS)

Week 9

LectureEthics – Going to Mars: Should we? (ECS)

Week 10

LectureEthics – Engineering & social issues in the colony (ECS)

Week 11

LectureLogical Fallacies in Debating(ECS)

Week 12

LectureDebate Assessment (ECS)

Oral Assessment on Workshop skills

Communication of Additional Information

The main means of communication outside of lectures will be the ENGR 201 web area at https://ecs.victoria.ac.nz/Courses/ENGR201_2020T2. There you will find, among other additional information, the lecture schedule and assignment handouts.

Offering CRN: 29036

Points: 15
Prerequisites: ENGR 101, 110 and 45 further points from Part 1 of the BE(Hons) schedule
Duration: 13 July 2020 - 25 October 2020
Starts: Trimester 2
Campus: Kelburn