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  • Semester 1Campus Attendance


20 cp from 200-level Technology units

Unit rationale, description and aim

The product design sector holds in high regard designers who can critically evaluate an existing commercial product and then creatively redesign and safely manufacture a prototype for an alternative product that addresses flaws in the original design. This unit also contributes to an accredited sequence of Technologies units that is recognised by state-based Initial Teacher Education standards authorities (NESA, VIT and QCT) and aligns with the Australian Curriculum: Design and Technologies.

In this unit students will consider the need for user-centred redesign through product design factor analysis and demonstrate the appropriate safe use of design, manufacturing and testing technologies in design environments. This unit also develops students’ knowledge of creativity and advanced theories of ‘design thinking’ theories which fosters innovation in design contexts. Metacognitive awareness in creative and critical thinking for design practices is explored through speculative thinking for design futures. Students will design and manufacture advanced prototype design products using a range of techniques and materials including CAD/CAM technologies in preparation for a professional internship. They will need to demonstrate the use of tools, equipment and techniques to a high level in the production of working solutions to design challenges.

The aim of this unit is to enable students to demonstrate design knowledge and skills in project management for advanced design and manufacturing process in their area of technologies specialisation.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Synthesise broad and deep theoretical and technical knowledge to discuss attributes of designed productsGC1, GC2, GC3, GC6, GC7, GC9, GC11
LO2Devise creative thinking strategies for iterative design contextsGC1, GC2, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO3Develop a user-centred brief for product redesign using high quality communication techniquesGC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO4Demonstrate autonomy, well-developed judgement and responsibility in the design, illustration, safely manufacture and evaluation of a prototype that has been developed using iterative design processesGC1, GC2, GC3, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11


Design thinking theories 

  • design terminology  
  • design thinking 
  • critical thinking  
  • creative thinking  
  • creative thinking strategies  
  • creativity theory  
  • futures thinking 
  • value-driven design 

Product design analysis 

  • Incremental versus radical design development 

Product design factors 

  • purpose, function and context  
  • user-centered design  
  • innovation and creativity  
  • visual, tactile and aesthetic (design principles and elements) 
  • sustainability design strategies  
  • economics – time and cost  
  • labour issues  
  • legal responsibilities  
  • intellectual property 
  • ISO standards, regulations and legislation 
  • Workplace Health and Safety  
  • materials – characteristics and properties  
  • including emerging material technologies  
  • technologies – tools, processes and manufacturing methods  
  • Including emerging manufacturing technologies 

Life cycle thinking  

  • emotional attachment  
  • carbon footprints 
  • embodied energy and water use  
  • distribution  
  • use of renewable energy  
  • use of resources  
  • cradle to grave versus cradle to cradle design methodologies 

User-centered design 

  • cultural considerations  
  • emotional and sensory appeal  
  • universal design  
  • social and physical needs  
  • fashion and trends  
  • safety 
  • accessibility 
  • comfort 
  • ergonomics 

Sustainable design strategies 

  • LCA: Life Cycle Analysis  
  • C2C: Cradle to Cradle  
  • DFD: Design for Disassembly  
  • EPR: Extended Producer Responsibility and Product Stewardship  
  • Influence of sustainability strategies on  
  • design  
  • manufacturing 
  • distribution  
  • marketing 

Innovative case studies and design contexts 

  • local and international examples 
  • including textile futures, food futures, industrial design and manufacturing futures  
  • design-driven innovation  
  • Innovative design examples  
  • materials research  
  • innovative application of materials  
  • innovative application of techniques  
  • innovative application of technologies 

Conducting Workplace Health and Safety Risk Assessments 

  • workplace  
  • product  
  • user 

Technologies Workshop Safety

  • Management practices for technology teachers including safety and risk management, budgeting, selecting, storing, maintaining and replacing materials, equipment and other resources
  • Safe Operating Procedures, Safety and Risk Management and basic workshop management practices including tool maintenance and materials preparation in a Technologies workshop environment


Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

A student-focused, problem-based learning approach is used in this unit. Students encounter concepts and principles of design and design theory through interactive lectures, concepts are discussed and broadened through analysis of specific case studies and further informed by independent research during development of design projects. In practical workshops students design, illustrate and evaluate items. Design thinking skills are introduced through a practice-oriented learning method. This method involves the parallel development of procedural and conceptual skills required for design, development, communication and documentation of designed products in technologies. Students develop advanced solutions to user-centred design problems using a design thinking methodology and a user-centred design approach. They develop conceptual knowledge in alongside procedural knowledge of communications technologies through practical design projects. Students design, manufacture, communicate about and evaluate items using principles of user-centred design. These methods enable the development of conceptual, procedural and professional knowledge and skill which allows students to practice design thinking and problem solving in design technologies contexts.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video etc.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The problem-based learning strategy employed in this unit is supported by the integration of progressive authentic assessment tasks completed at critical points in the students’ learning. Theoretical conceptual and knowledge and practical skills-based knowledge are developed in parallel so that acquisition and assimilation of knowledge develops during the completion of design practices. Initially students acquire knowledge through research based critical design analysis. Advanced design thinking theories and methodologies are introduced in the lectures and students develop advanced skills in design and communication are developed in practical workshop classes. Practical workshops provide opportunities for experimentation, testing and formative assessment which supports assimilation of knowledge. Summative assessment aims to assess students’ application of knowledge and skills (conceptual, procedural and professional) and competencies holistically using an integrated approach common in design education which focusses on the assessment of an entire design activity rather than specific elements in isolation. In this unit the method aims to assess students’ achievement of a synthesis between design theories and practices, and their ability to reflectively revise and summarise a complex iterative design process. Therefore, the main assessment method used is design projects which include two components, namely a design documentation folio and a designed and manufactured product or products. Folios document students design processes and include evidence of identifying and defining a need, project definition, research, ideation, prototyping, iteration, critical evaluation and risk assessment.

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit objectives consistent with University assessment requirements. Such procedures may include online safety modules, reports, student presentations, tutorial exercises, and practical design project with a folio. Assessment tasks will address all learning outcomes as well as relevant graduate attributes.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Hurdle Task:  

Technologies Workshop Safety Induction that requires students to demonstrate an advanced understanding of Workplace Health and Safety, appropriate Personal Protective Equipment, and Safe Operating Procedures for advanced use of hand, machine, computer aided manufacturing, basic tool maintenance and materials preparation in a Technologies Workshop environment, related OnGuard WHS online safety training and testing records and complete a Technologies Safety Training logbook which requires student to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of Safe Operating Procedures, Safety and Risk Management policies and familiarity with the associated terminology and documents by completing a set of risk assessments, writing a safe work method statement and reflecting on related .procedures in a Technologies Workshop environment that minimise risk.



Assessment Task 1

Design Analysis Task:

Requires students to demonstrate their ability to critically analyse a designed product.



Assessment Task 2

Reflective Report:

Requires students to demonstrate their ability to develop creative thinking strategies.



Assessment Task 3

Product Redesign and Folio:

Requires students to demonstrate their ability to re-design, manufacture, communicate and evaluate products.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

Darbellay, F., Moody, Z., & Lubart, T. (2017). Creativity, design thinking and interdisciplinarity. Springer Singapore.

Fry, T. (2009). Design futuring: Sustainability, ethics, and new practice. Berg.

Gruijters, K., & Hinte, E. (2016). Food design. Terra.

Peters, S. (2014). Material revolution 2: New sustainable and multi-purpose materials for design and architecture. Birkhäuser. 

Quinn, B. (2010). Textile futures: Fashion, design and technology. Berg.

Runco, M.A. (2014). Creativity: Theories and themes: research, development, and practice (2nd ed.). Academic Press.

Sweetapple, K., & Warriner, G. (2017). Food futures: Sensory explorations in food design. Promopress.

Thompson, R., & Thompson, M. (2013). Sustainable materials, processes and production. Thames & Hudson.

Verganti, R. (2016). Overcrowded: Designing meaningful products in a world awash with ideas. The MIT Press.

Zampollo, F. (2018). Food design thinking: The complete methodology. Francesca Zampollo.

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