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ENG3103 Engineering Problem Solving Computations

Semester 2, 2011 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Engineering & Surveying
School or Department : Faculty of Engineering & Surveying
Version produced : 8 March 2013

Contents on this page


Examiner: Andrew Wandel
Moderator: Hong Zhou


Pre-requisite: (ENG2102 and MAT1502) or Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: GCEN or GDET or METC or MEPR or GCNS or GDNS or MENS

Other requisites

Recommended prior or concurrent study: MAT2500


This is the third in a sequence of four courses that use a 'problem based learning approach' to extend the student's knowledge of the complex world of engineering. In this course the student will build on the problem solving skills developed in earlier courses whilst acquiring, mastering and assimilating new knowledge and techniques into their chosen field of study. Of particular importance to the engineer is the ability to develop an appropriate model to describe the behaviour of an engineering system, and then to analyse that behaviour and apply engineering judgement in the interpretation of the results of that model. Often this model will be of a mathematical nature and the engineer requires the ability to solve such numerical problems. The student will be required to develop skills in programming using a scripting language. The student will undertake a range of numerical computation exercises using a scripting language. As in the previous courses of this strand, the student is to develop skills in problem solving within an engineering context. A number of real world problems and case studies provide the basis for meeting this objective.


The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course. On completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. apply well developed team skills to the application of solutions to engineering problems;
  2. develop an appropriate mathematical model of an engineering problem;
  3. develop a logical and well structured computer program;
  4. discuss and use the concepts of debugging a computer program;
  5. use a range of numerical computing techniques to develop an appropriate model from available data;
  6. demonstrate a knowledge of and make appropriate use of a range of methods in the design and analysis of engineering experiments;
  7. analyse the behaviour of an engineering system using a general purpose numerical software package.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Engineering problem solving methodologies and mathematical modelling 20.00
2. Problem solving case studies in engineering, drawn from areas such as mechanics, thermodynamics, structures, geomechanics, hydraulics and electromagnetics, that involve solving equations by iteration; solving sets of linear algebraic equations; regression and interpolation; and numerical calculus and differential equations. MATLAB will be the main tool employed in the solution of the case studies and emphasis will be given to problems that enhance the programming skills of students and that require the application of array and matrix operations; files, functions and data structures; and plotting. 80.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Palm, WJ 2011, Introduction to Matlab for Engineers, 3rd edn, McGraw-Hill, New York.
  • MATLAB V7 + Simulink, Student Version.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Austin, M & Chancogne, D 1999, Introduction to engineering programming: in C, Matlab and Java, Wiley, New York.
  • Chapman, SJ 2004, Matlab programming for engineers, 3rd edn, Thomson, Australia.
  • James, G et al 2007, Modern engineering mathematics, 4th edn, Pearson Education Ltd, Malaysia.
  • Kiusalaas, J 2010, Numerical methods in engineering with MATLAB, 2nd edn, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
    (eBook available.)
  • Kreyzig, E 2006, Advanced engineering mathematics, 9th edn, Wiley, Hoboken, NJ.
  • Yang, W-Y, Cao, W & Chong, T-S 2005, Applied numerical methods using MATLAB, J. Wiley, NJ.
    (eBook available.)
  • Books with “Programming” in the title focus on the MATLAB language and environment, while books with “Numerical Methods” in the title tend to have cursory introductions to the MATLAB language and environment.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Directed Study 48.00
Examinations 2.00
Online Discussion Groups 39.00
Project Work 66.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 50 5 05 Aug 2011
ASSIGNMENT 2 50 5 26 Aug 2011
ASSIGNMENT 3 200 20 09 Sep 2011
ASSIGNMENT 4 50 5 30 Sep 2011
ASSIGNMENT 5 300 30 21 Oct 2011
2 HOUR OPEN EXAMINATION 350 35 End S2 (see note 1)

  1. Student Administration will advise students of the dates of their examinations during the semester.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. Students must participate in their assigned group activities through their USQ electronic discussion group for the course on at least a weekly basis.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To complete each of the assessment items satisfactorily, students must obtain at least 50% of the marks available (or at least a grade of C-) for each assessment item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without extenuating circumstances then a penalty of 5% of the assigned mark may apply for each working day late up to a maximum of ten working days at which time a mark of zero can be recorded for that assignment.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade in a course a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks (or grades) obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    In an Open Examination, candidates may have access to any material during the examination except the following: electronic communication devices, bulky materials, devices requiring mains power and material likely to disturb other students.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the examination period at the end of the semester of the next offering of this course.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be produced within five days if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University's Assignment Extension Policy (Regulation 5.6.1), the examiner of a course may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. The usual method of assessment submission for the Faculty is by written, typed or printed paper-based media (i) submitted to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mailed to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  5. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  6. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.59pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.

Evaluation and benchmarking

In meeting the University's aims to establish quality learning and teaching for all programs, this course monitors and ensures quality assurance and improvements in at least two ways. This course: 1. Conforms to the USQ Policy on Evaluation of Teaching, Courses and Programs to ensure ongoing monitoring and systematic improvement. 2. Forms part of the Bachelor of Engineering and/or Bachelor of Engineering Technology program and is benchmarked against the: - USQ accreditation/reaccreditation processes which include (i) stringent standards in the independent accreditation of its academic programs, (ii) close integration between business and academic planning, and (iii) regular and rigorous review; and - professional accreditation standards of Engineers Australia.

Other requirements

  1. Students will require access to e-mail and internet access to UConnect for this course.

  2. This course employs a team based approach to learning in which students are expected to participate in small groups towards the solution of a number of engineering problems. To be awarded a passing grade in this course students must complete at least 80% of the practical and other activities in the course. External students are expected to participate in their assigned groups activities through the USQ electronic discussion group for the course on a weekly basis. Contributions to this group will be monitored.