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ENG1003 Problem Solving in Engineering and the Built Environment

Semester 1, 2020 On-campus Toowoomba
Short Description: Problem Solving in Eng&BltEnv
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 039999 - EnginTech not classified
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Hannah Seligmann

Other requisites

Students who have completed ENG1004, ENG1101 or ENG2102 cannot enrol in ENG1003


Problem solving skills are essential to practicing engineers, construction managers and spatial scientists. This course enables students to acquire and practice the basic problem solving skills necessary for their chosen program of study. The skills developed through the successful completion of this course can then be applied to problems encountered in subsequent courses and throughout their career.


This course provides students with a foundation for solving problems in Engineering, Construction Management and Spatial Science. The course emphasises the development of critical thinking skills, information literacy, communications, time and resource management, and teamwork. In this course, students are introduced to the problem solving process and to a number of problem solving strategies and approaches.


On completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Discuss the nature of engineering, construction management and spatial science problems and characterised them on the basis of their complexity, time constraints, open-endedness, the quality of their definition and their acceptable solution space;
  2. Demonstrate information literacy skills;
  3. Use a computer spreadsheet for analysing, summarising and graphical representation of both numerical and categorical data;
  4. Produce and interpret graphical representations such as flow-charts, engineering schematics and flow diagrams;
  5. Explain the roles of brain-storming, conceptual design, proof-of-concept, problem dissection, analogy, reverse engineering, physical modelling, trial and error, physical modelling and project management within the problem solving cycle;
  6. Explain the basic personal skills needed to work effectively within a problem solving team and produce problem solving reports in a professional manner with appropriate referencing


Description Weighting(%)
1. Characteristics and types of engineering, construction management and spatial science problems 5.00
2. Elementary Statistics 35.00
3. Acquisition of information and knowledge for Problem Solving 10.00
4. Approaches to Problem Solving and the Problem Solving Cycle 15.00
5. Managing time and Resources 5.00
6. Team dynamics and Conflict Resolution 10.00
7. Project documentation and reporting 20.00

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. (

Dowling, D. Carew, A & Hadgraft, R 2016, Engineering your future, an Australasian guide, 3rd edn, John Wiley & Sons, Milton, QLD.

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.
Berk, KN & Carey, PM 2010, Data analysis with Microsoft® Excel, 3rd edn, Brooks/Cole, Boston MA.
Eide, AR, Jenison, RD, Mashaw, LH & Northup, LL 2002, Introduction to engineering design and problem solving, 2nd edn, McGraw Hill, Boston, MA.
Gottfried, BS 2007, Spreadsheet tools for engineers using Excel, 3rd edn, McGraw Hill, Dubuque, IA.
Messler, W R 2012, Engineering Problem-Solving 101: Time-Tested and Timeless Techniques, McGraw Hill, New York.
Smith, KA & Imbrie, PK 2013, Teamwork and project management, 4th edn, McGraw Hill, Boston.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 80.00
Lectures 26.00
Private Study 36.00
Tutorials 13.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Objectives Assessed Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 - QUIZ 100 10 30 Mar 2020 3
ASSIGNMENT 2 300 30 27 Apr 2020 2,3,4,5,6
ASSIGNMENT 3 300 30 22 May 2020 2,3,4,5,6
Online Exam 300 30 End S1 1,3,5 (see note 1)

  1. This will be an open examination. Students will be provided further instruction regarding the exam by their course examiner via StudyDesk. The examination date will be available via UConnect when the official examination timetable has been released.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures and tutorials) scheduled for them, and 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.

  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 for that item. To be eligible for a supplementary assessment a student must submit all assessment items, therefore it is highly recommended that all students submit and participate in all assessments. Refer to Statement 4 below for the requirements to receive a passing grade in this course.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2020 are: To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

    Requirements after S1 2020:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course (i.e. the Primary Hurdle), and have satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), i.e. the end of semester examination by achieving at least 40% of the combined marks available for Parts A and B of that assessment item.

    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items and has passed the Primary Hurdle but failed to satisfy the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), or has satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised) but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.

    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4.2).

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

  6. Examination information:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2020 are: An Open Examination is one in which candidates may have access to any printed or written material and a calculator during the examination.

    Requirements after S1 2020:
    RESTRICTED: Candidates are allowed access only to specific materials during a Restricted Examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the restricted examination for this course are:
    • Writing materials (non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination);
    • Scientific or graphics calculator(s) which cannot communicate with any other devices (students must indicate on their examination paper the make and model of any calculator(s) they use during the examination).
    • One A4 sheet of paper, written or typed on one or both sides with any material the student wishes to include (students are required to submit this sheet of paper with the examination paper, but it will not contribute to marks for the course).
    • Students whose first language is not English, may take an appropriate unmarked non-electronic translation dictionary (but not technical dictionary) into the examination. Dictionaries with any handwritten notes will not be permitted. Translation dictionaries will be subject to perusal and may be removed from the candidate's possession until appropriate disciplinary action is completed if found to contain material that could give the candidate an unfair advantage.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2020 are: The details regarding deferred/supplementary examinations will be communicated at a later date.

    Requirements after S1 2020:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  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. Students must familiarise themselves with the USQ Assessment Procedures (

  2. The time specified in Student Workloads allocated to tutorials/workshops should be dedicated to interaction/communication with other team members.

  3. Referencing in Assignments must comply with the Harvard (AGPS) referencing system. This system should be used by students to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (APGS) style to be used is defined by the USQ library’s referencing guide. These policies can be found at

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:
• conforms to the USQ Policy on Evaluation of Teaching, Courses and Programs to ensure ongoing monitoring and systematic improvement.
• forms part of the Bachelor of Engineering Science, and the Associate Degree in Engineering and is benchmarked against the internal 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.;
(iv) professional accreditation standards of Engineers Australia, Surveyors Board of Queensland and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors

Other requirements

  1. Computer, e-mail and Internet access:
    Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at

  2. Students will require reliable and regular access to email and Internet for communication, (desirable) video conferencing, and for access to UConnect for this course. Incarcerated students need to enquire with the course examiners regarding facilities to study this course.

  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 this 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 the same grades as those students who do possess them.

Date printed 19 June 2020