ENGR401 (2021) - Professional Practice


This course will prepare student's expectations for many of the events and situations they are likely to meet in the professional working world. This includes: codes of conduct, as determined by professional bodies and company practices; ethical behaviour, as found in the workplace and dictated by company practices; critical thinking and people issues, as relevant in the workplace and in company practice.

Course learning objectives

Students who pass this course should be able to:

  1. Communicate at a professional level orally and in writing, to a varied range of audiences.
  2. Assess the social, cultural, legal, health & safety, environmental and sustainability implications of their engineering work, and identify and justify specific actions to address issues.
  3. Understand the need and role of ethics and professional standards in business and industry from the personal level to the corporate level, and be able to identify and justify ethical courses of action.
  4. Understand the benefits, risks, theory and processes of innovation in practice, and be able apply this knowledge to their work.
  5. Function effectively in a team during workshop exercises.

Course content

Note, in 2021, it will be possible to take this course remotely, and distance-based versions of the workshops, and all other material, will be available. However, this option will only be available for students with a good justification (for example, enrolling from overseas), and students who can be in Wellington must participate in the face-to-face workshops to engage in the critical dialog and discussion in the workshops.
Students taking this course remotely must have access to a computer with camera and microphone and a reliable high speed internet connection that will support real-time video plus audio connections and screen sharing.  Students must be able to use Zoom; other communication applications may also be used. A mobile phone connection only is not considered sufficient.   The computer must be adequate to support the programming required by the course: almost any modern windows, macintosh, or unix laptop or desktop computer will be sufficient, but an Android or IOS tablet will not.
If the assessment of the course includes tests, the tests will generally be run in-person on the Kelburn campus. There will be a remote option for students who cannot attend in-person and who have a strong justification (for example, being enrolled from overseas). The remote test option may use the ProctorU system for online supervision of the tests. ProctorU requires installation of monitoring software on your computer which also uses your camera and microphone, and monitors your test-taking in real-time. Students who will need to use the remote test option must contact the course coordinator in the first two weeks to get permission and make arrangements.

Withdrawal from Course

Withdrawal dates and process:


James Quilty (Coordinator)

Dr Craig Watterson

Prof Neil Dodgson

Teaching Format

This course will be offered in-person and online.  For students in Wellington, there will be a combination of in-person components and web/internet based resources. It will also be possible to take the course entirely online for those who cannot attend on campus, with all the components provided in-person also made available online.
During the trimester there will generally be two workshop-style lectures per week, with an occasional third workshop.

Student feedback

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

Dates (trimester, teaching & break dates)

  • Teaching: 22 February 2021 - 28 May 2021
  • Break: 05 April 2021 - 18 April 2021
  • Study period: 31 May 2021 - 03 June 2021
  • Exam period: 04 June 2021 - 19 June 2021

Class Times and Room Numbers

22 February 2021 - 04 April 2021

  • Monday 09:00 - 09:50 – 205, Te Toki a Rata, Kelburn
  • Thursday 09:00 - 09:50 – 205, Te Toki a Rata, Kelburn
19 April 2021 - 30 May 2021

  • Monday 09:00 - 09:50 – 205, Te Toki a Rata, Kelburn
  • Thursday 09:00 - 09:50 – 205, Te Toki a Rata, Kelburn


There are no required texts for this offering.

Mandatory Course Requirements

There are no mandatory course requirements for this course.

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.


This course will be assessed through assignments and oral presentations.

Assessment ItemDue Date or Test DateCLO(s)Percentage
Assignment 118-04-2021CLO: 1,2,3,440%
Assignment 209-05-2021CLO: 1,2,3,425%
Assignment 313-06-2021CLO: 1,2,3,425%
Individual oral presentation, in-class17-05-2021 or 20-05-2021 or 24-05-2021 or 27-05-2021CLO: 1,2,3,410%


Late submissions will be subject to a penalty of 10% per day for 4 days. No work will be accepted after this unless previously arranged with the Course Coordinator.


Individual extensions will only be granted in exceptional personal circumstances, and requests should be made to the Course Coordinator before the assessment deadline whenever possible. Documentation (e.g. a medical certificate) may be required.

Submission & Return

Assignments 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.


The total workload for ENGR 401 is 150 hours. In order to maintain satisfactory progress in ENGR 401 you should plan to spend an average of 10 hours per week on this course. A plausible and approximate breakdown for these hours would be:

  • Workshop-style Lectures: 2-3 hours.
  • Readings: 2-3 hours.
  • Assignments: 4-5 hours.

Teaching Plan

See: https://ecs.wgtn.ac.nz/Courses/ENGR401_2021T1/LectureSchedule

Communication of Additional Information

The main means of communication outside of lectures will be the ENGR 401 web area at https://ecs.wgtn.ac.nz/Courses/ENGR401_2021T1/. There you will find, among other additional information, the lecture schedule and assignment handouts.

Offering CRN: 18690

Points: 15
Prerequisites: 75 300-level pts from the BE(Hons) schedule including ENGR 301, 302
Duration: 22 February 2021 - 20 June 2021
Starts: Trimester 1
Campus: Kelburn