USQ LogoCourse specification
The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at
Please consult the web for updates that may occur during the year.

ENG4104 Engineering Problem Solving Simulations

Semester 2, 2013 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Engineering & Surveying
School or Department : Faculty of Engineering & Surveying
Version produced : 21 July 2014

Contents on this page


Examiner: Malcolm Gillies
Moderator: Alexander Kist


Pre-requisite: ENG3103 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 course is intended for Bachelor of Engineering students. It forms the capstone to the Engineering Problem Solving strand in the Bachelor of Engineering program. In this course the student will be introduced to the complexity of the real world, the interactivity that occurs between engineering systems, and a range of problem solving philosophies. Students must realize that the work of the professional engineer can rarely be confined within the boundaries of a single problem: the solution to one problem often causes or exacerbates another adjacent problem. The student must also realise that the world is rarely linear in nature, and most of the problems to be analysed show non-linear behaviour. These aspects will be explored against a background of increasing computer-programming skills. As in 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.


This course introduces the student to the treatment of real world engineering systems. Advanced numerical techniques and programming skills for the handling of non linearity and partial differential equations will be learnt. In addition, the student is required to explore the philosophical approaches to engineering problem solving and evaluate the "downstream" consequences of specific solutions to the problems.


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

  1. describe and apply a range of problem solving methodologies;
  2. develop an appropriate approach to solve an engineering problem;
  3. apply numerical techniques to analyse a system represented by ordinary and/or partial differential equation;
  4. apply numerical techniques to analyse a non-linear system;
  5. develop a computer simulation program to assist in the analysis of an engineering problem;
  6. evaluate the solutions to an engineering problem using a general-purpose numerical/simulation software package;
  7. apply highly developed team skills to the application of solutions to engineering problems.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Problem Solving Philosophies 10.00
2. Problem solving case studies in engineering, drawn from areas such as mechanics, thermodynamics, structures, geomechanics, hydraulics and mechatronics, that would involve mathematical modelling of engineering systems with non-linearity and which may require application of numerical analysis using Matlab programming 90.00

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. (

  • MATLAB V7 Academic Licence (preferably R2009A or later).

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.
  • Etter, DM 2006, Engineering problem solving with Matlab, 3rd edn, Prentice Hall.
  • Kincaid, D & Cheney, W 2001, Numerical analysis: mathematics of scientific computing, 3rd edn, Brooks/Cole Pub. Co, Pacific Grove, CA.
  • Lumsdaine, E & Lumsdaine, M 1995, Creative problem solving: thinking skills for a changing world, McGraw-Hill, New York.
  • Palm, WJ 2011, Introduction to MATLAB for engineers, 3rd edn, McGraw-Hill, New York.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 51.00
Directed Study 66.00
Online Discussion Groups 38.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 250 25 19 Aug 2013
ASSIGNMENT 2 500 50 04 Oct 2013
ASSIGNMENT 3 250 25 25 Oct 2013

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 are to participate in weekly online discussions groups.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded. No assignments will be accepted after model answers have been posted.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available 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:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:

  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 despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. 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 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail 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.

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

  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.

Other requirements

  1. Students will require access to email 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. 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.

  3. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.