SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3H624345
Module Leader Alan Nesbitt
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Electronic Engineering
  • B (January start)
  • A (September start)
  • C (May start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Integrated Engineering Studies 1, Integrated Engineering Studies 2 (or equivalent)

Summary of Content

IES3 integrates a student's existing knowledge of engineering, from prior HE/FE studies, and knowledge gained from this and concurrent modules. The emphasis is largely on design, innovation and enterprise: focusing on the end user and business sustainability. Students cooperate with other engineering students, from their own discipline and/or from other engineering areas to develop an engineering solution to a real open-ended problem relevant to the student's programme of study. An optional international collaboration element with students studying business in the USA or another location can be introduced. The module provides a supportive environment for students to gain experience of working on product development, making them aware of the tensions within a business during product development. Teams can be formed within a specific programme or of students from different engineering streams, as deemed appropriate by the programme. Teams need to focus on the end user and provide a sustainable business model for the product. This provides engineers with an understanding of the challenges met during design innovation in a business context. Although the balance of analysis, design and implementation will depend on the specific objectives of the problem topic, the module aims to further develop: the student's understanding of the characteristics of an entrepreneurial mindset, the need for professional engineers to be aware of their impact on profitability of an organisation, the roles of the engineer within the business environment and the frameworks within which the modern engineer operates. The activities provide an opportunity for an individual to further develop and demonstrate professional and transferable skills to manage their career development and prepare for a career in engineering.


-360b7 Idea generation and evaluation: key stages of design thinking including observation, insight development and ideation, sources of information, market characterisation, sales volume prediction; financial evaluation; technical evaluation; practicality of a concept from the viewpoint of functionality, manufacturability and cost; risk evaluation, writing business cases. -360b7 Effective team-working skills: identifying own and team-mates strengths and skills; psychology of teams; team working and dynamics; team participation and negotiation skills, e.g. dealing with pressure and conflict. -360b7 Project planning and management: understanding means for determining/estimating timescales for stages and interaction of stages to allow effective use of man-hours and facilities to complete a task to deadlines, monitoring milestones, identifying & mitigating project risks, monitoring progress and taking remedial action. -360b7 Design of products and systems: design methods, standards and legislation appropriate to each programme will be contextualised for teams. -360b7 Issues relevant to commercial engineering projects: employment ethics, Intellectual Property Rights (and guarding against infringing copyright), sustainability and environmental impact, etc. -360b7 Marketing: market research and its role in decision making, with particular emphasis on its contribution to product planning and development; marketing, planning and controlling; identifying target markets; selecting an appropriate market strategy -360b7 Costing: budgeting, standard costing, planning & reporting to management; behaviour of costs & analysis for decision making; investment appraisal techniques; pay back period, present value, discounted cash flow -360b7 Analyse the environmental profile of a product during its life cycle and embed the decisions made into the marketing information for the product. -360b7 Undertake ethical audits and embed the ethical decisions made in the business plan for the product. -360b7 Reflection on the impact of the approach taken by the student on future career planning/management: identify and critique employability skills through effective self-assessment; reflect on attributes which have impacted on the team-work and consider these at a level suited to graduate careers or application for post-graduate study; reflect on their skills and confidence and consider their impact on CVs, applications, etc.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:1. Develop, synthesise and monitor a project plan for a team to carry out the development of a practical and realistic product to meet business needs, making use of relevant design and development technologies.2. Select and use relevant technical, professional and entrepreneurial skills, techniques and practices throughout the life cycle of a marketable product concept and business plan development.3. Demonstrate information gathering and enquiry skills appropriate to the programme level.4. Demonstrate ability to produce an innovative, complete and commercially viable solution to a design challenge that is ethically and sustainably sound.5. Demonstrate ability to evaluate and report upon the environmental impact of the produced product solution through its life cycle.6. Demonstrate an understanding of, and appropriate competence in, the roles and transferable skills required in a project's development.7. Demonstrate business awareness through understanding broad trends in a product marketplace and the attributes and performance that customers require. 8. Demonstrate ability to report upon the project in a written and oral form.9. Demonstrate ability to reflect upon their own strengths and weaknesses and those of fellow team members, and to identify methods to improve their performance in future projects.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The emphasis of this module is design innovation with a focus on the end user requirements and a profitable, sustainable business model. The balance of market analysis, product design and manufacturing and costing will depend on the specific product being developed and the market it is to be aimed at, however, the task is intended to help further develop the student's insight into the engineering profession within the business environment, the roles of the engineer and the technical and commercial frameworks within which the modern engineer operates. It will involve the integration and use of the knowledge and skills developed in previous years and throughout the student's current level of study to produce a costed feasibility study for taking a product to market to address an appropriate business need. The course material and overall guidance on approaching the project will be introduced through lectures and staff mentor meetings to present a consistent and logical progression of issues and concepts, e.g. project management, design, innovation thinking tools and techniques, ethics and sustainability. The project will encourage students to develop their own solutions to a real world problem based on their own background interests and searches for developing trends in the commercial market. The concept development will draw on ideas from different contexts and discipline areas, appropriate to the student's programme, and allow students to develop strategic business focussed products. As an example, video-conference or Skype sessions between engineering and business undergraduates would make students aware of the challenge of working across international time-zones and across cultural differences. Project supervision and monitoring sessions with each individual project group provide opportunity for the explanation and elaboration of the lecture and seminar material and overall project guidance and support. Success in the project will allow students to demonstrate their business awareness to an organisation. The student will normally undertake this project module as part of a group of 3 or 4 students but a maximum of 6 would be permitted in the event of multiple programmes agreeing to combine their project work, or in order to ensure international cooperation. Students will be responsible for negotiating the formation of their own teams: there will be guidance on the team formation to ensure that a good mix of skills is available within the team. If students are unable to arrange a suitable group then staff will intervene. The team will specify, plan and execute the project to meet the module guidelines and defined deliverables. Teams are expected to develop their own code of conduct for team members to follow, to ensure that team interaction - both local and international - takes place in a professional manner. Students are expected to demonstrate significant autonomy in planning, selection of product and (within set guidelines) demonstrating the viability of their concept. Students are required to demonstrate that they can work in a self-motivated way within collectively defined schedules and, through this module, develop confidence in their ability to work with others on analysing and creatively solving problems. Students are expected to document working practices they have followed in support of evidencing the team's professionalism. Case studies, site visits and guest lectures from industry based sources will be utilised to bring the real-world perspective to the students. Much of the student's independent learning is expected to be spent in team based situations developing elements of the problem solution via collaborative learning. Self-directed learning resources, available from GCU Learn, have been designed to be completed pre and post attendance at formal teaching and learning sessions and, in combination with directed learning opportunities, provide students with a comprehensive framework for information sharing and to support their progress through the module. Lectures and mentor meetings will draw upon learning resources developed by established organisations and initiatives to encourage and embed innovation and enterprise in the engineering curriculum. For example, Cisco Entrepreneur Institute (CEI) programme which embraces business strategy and planning, technology innovation and exploitation, relationship and change management, marketing, and new venture creation. Examples of external participation include Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE) who promote and support enterprise and entrepreneurship in Scotland's Universities. SIE facilitate interactive workshops where students are presented with challenges and guide them through the process of identifying opportunities for action, experience the way an entrepreneur thinks, decides and acts when faced with a real life challenge. On-line resources will be used to reinforce and contextualize the materials presented in lectures and workshops. These will be available to part-time students or off-site collaborative universities to enable commonality of experience across the module. Students are provided with feedback via a variety of mechanisms, including during the meeting with their group mentor/supervisor. Feedback on coursework is provided within 3 working weeks of submission.

Indicative Reading

Timmons J (1994), New Venture Creation: Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century, Irwin, USA Cisco Entrepreneur Institute learning resources <> Kanrami A, Azimi M (2010), New Methods in Product Design (Engineering and Management Innovation), CRC Press Vinck D (2009), Everyday Engineering: and Ethnography of Design and Innovation, The MIT Press Brown T (2009), Change by Design: How Design Thinking Creates New Alternatives for Business and Society, Harper Collins Inc. Verganti R (2009), Design-Driven Innovation: Changing the Rules of Competition by Radically Innovating, Harvard Business School West M (2004) Effective Teamworking, BPS Blackwell Fleddermann C (2008) Engineering Ethics, Prentice Hall

Transferrable Skills

Specialist knowledge and application. Critical thinking and problem solving. Critical analysis. Communication skills, written, oral and listening. Numeracy. Effective Information retrieval and research skills. Computer literacy. Self confidence, self discipline & self reliance (independent working). Awareness of strengths and weaknesses. Creativity, innovation & independent thinking. Knowledge of international affairs. Appreciating and desiring the need for continuing professional development. Reliability, integrity, honesty and ethical awareness. Entrepreneurial, independence and risk-taking. Ability to prioritise tasks and time management (organising and planning work). Interpersonal skills, team working and leadership. Presentation skills. Commercial awareness

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (PT) 144.00
Lectures (FT) 12.00
Practicals (FT) 36.00
Independent Learning (FT) 132.00
Lectures (PT) 12.00
Assessment (FT) 20.00
Practicals (PT) 24.00
Assessment (PT) 20.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
CW1 Course Work 01 n/a 100.00 40% Portfolio to include: evidence of communication skills and a personal reflective review.