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Unit rationale, description and aim

All students benefit from being able to solve problems through design thinking and being able to design and use the communication technologies that shape our world. To align their work to the Australian Curriculum: Design and Technologies, and to function as secondary teaching professionals in the Technologies discipline, students must undertake a sequence of technologies units to acquire conceptual, procedural and professional levels of discipline-specific content, knowledge and skills in the principles of design communication technologies including the use of graphic and computer-aided drawing.

This unit introduces students to the design environment in technologies and provides an opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and understanding which will support their ongoing learning in the technologies sequence. This knowledge and these skills will be applied to their own designs. Students will learn to identify, select and evaluate and apply design principles. User-centred design principles as a means for developing ethical solutions to various human needs are emphasised.

The aim of this unit is for students to develop understanding of AS1100 and explore a range of graphic and computer-aided drawing and design techniques for the communication of design ideas to support iterative design development processes to their own designs and teaching practice.

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
LO1Define and describe principles of design and product design factors (APST 2.1.)GC1
LO2Interpret and illustrate principles of design communication through graphic and computer aided drawing and design conventions (APST 2.1)GC1, GC2, GC9
LO3Develop a solution for a user-centred design problem (APST 2.1)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC11
LO4Apply discernment in the selection and organisation of content and delivery of learning and teaching programs (APST 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.6, 4.4)GC1, GC2, GC9, GC11
LO5Critically evaluate designed products and iterative design processes (APST 2.1)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC7


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

2.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts, substance and structure of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area.

2.2 Organise content into an effective learning and teaching sequence.

2.3 Use curriculum, assessment and reporting knowledge to design learning sequences and lesson plans.

2.6 Implement teaching strategies for using ICT to expand curriculum learning opportunities for students.

4.4 Describe strategies that support students’ well-being and safety working within school and/or system, curriculum and legislative requirements.


Topics will include:

Introduction to graphical communication techniques and conventions

  • AS1100 drawing standards
  • Freehand drawing and rendering
  • Orthogonal and pictorial projections
  • Four types of drawings – Assembly, Sub assembly Detailed and Detailed sub assembly
  • Design and management of graphical solutions in 2D and 3D
  • Select and maintain drawing equipment
  • Ordered approaches to work practices

Product Design and product design factors

  • Purpose, function and context
  • User-centred design
  • 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

Design process and design methods

  • Project analysis
  • Design briefs
  • Appropriateness of design solutions
  • Criteria for evaluation
  • ePortfolio

Design theory and practice

  • Divergence, transformation, convergence
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Design research methodologies
  • Design methods for the generation of a solution (concept sketching, model making, detail resolution)
  • Double diamond method

Technologies Workshop Safety

  • Safe Operating Procedures for a range of model making hand tools, equipment and machinery
  • Introduction to management practices for technology teachers including safety and risk management, budgeting, selecting, storing, maintaining and replacing materials, equipment and other resources related to product design technologies

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 understanding of them broadened through analysis of specific case studies and further informed by independent research during development of design projects. In tutorials students design, illustrate and evaluate items. Design thinking skills are developed 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 solutions to user-centred design problems using a design thinking methodology and a user-centred design approach. They develop conceptual knowledge alongside procedural knowledge of communications technologies by completing design projects. Students draw on principles of user-centred design to design, communicate about and evaluate items. The method enables the development of conceptual, procedural and professional knowledge and skill which allows students to develop effective teaching strategies to develop knowledge, skills, problem-solving, and critical and creative thinking  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, discussion, video, independent research, design project management, lab reports, workshop logs, report writing, design projects, including design folios etc.

ACU Online

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of knowledge essential to the discipline. Students are provided with choice and variety in how they learn. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning in situations similar to their future professions. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding, application and engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

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 of the students’ learning. Theoretical conceptual knowledge and practical, skills-based knowledge are developed simultaneously in that acquisition and assimilation of knowledge develops during application in design practice. Initially students acquire knowledge through drawing and design communication tasks. Design principles and key concepts are introduced in the lecture and develop students’ skills in design and communication through tutorial classes. Tutorials provide opportunities for formative assessment which supports assimilation of knowledge of knowledge. Summative assessment aims to assess students’ application of knowledge, 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 theory and practice, and their ability to communicate using a range of modes of communication. Therefore, the main assessment method used is design projects which include design documentation folio and drawings of a designed product. Folios document students design processes and include evidence of project definition, research, ideation, CAD prototyping, iteration and evaluation. Building upon the earlier assessments undertaken by students, to provide them with applicable teaching strategies upon completion of this unit, acquired technical skills are combined with pedagogical practice. This allows students to effectively establish sound teaching practices through mirroring their role in this unit with that of their future students, while also researching and analysing Australian teaching standards for Design and Technology and STEM.

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit objectives consistent with University assessment requirements. Such procedures may include tutorial exercises, quizzes and practical design projects with folios. 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

Assessment Task 1

Graphical communication:

Requires students to demonstrate their ability to communicate using appropriate graphic design drawing conventions. 


LO1, LO2

Assessment Task 2

Plan a unit of work in Instrument Drawing

Requires students to demonstrate principles of design communication, , for example by planning a unit of work for Stage 4 Technology (Graphics Focus) over a nominated period.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Assessment Task 3

Computer Aided Design CAD

Requires students to design and critically evaluate a designed product. For example, using the unit of work from Task 2 you are to generate and justify detailed CAD models and a range of drawings to AS1100. 


LO1, LO3, LO4, LO5

Representative texts and references

Ambrose, G., & Harris, P. (2015). Design thinking for visual communication (2nd ed.). London, UK; New York, NY: Fairchild Books, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

Bertoline, G.R. (2009). Technical graphics communications. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Boundy, A.W., & Boundy, A.W. (2012). Engineering drawing (8th ed.). North Ryde, NSW: McGraw-Hill Australia.

Bryden, D. (2014). CAD and rapid prototyping for product design. London, England: Laurence King Publishing.

Faulkner, A., & Chavez, C. (2019). Adobe Photoshop CC: Classroom in a book. San Jose, CA: Adobe Systems Incorporated.

Goetsch, D.L., & Rickman, R.L. (2016). Technical drawing and engineering communication. Boston MA: Cengage Learning.

Madsen, D. (2017). Engineering drawing & design (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Mital, A. (2014). Product development: A structured approach to consumer product development, design, and manufacture (2nd ed.). Amsterdam; Boston: Elsevier.

Osakue, E.E. (2018). Fundamentals of technical graphics: Volume I. New York, NY: Momentum Press.

Parsons, T. (2009). Thinking, objects: Contemporary approaches to product design. Lausanne, Switzerland: AVA Academia.

Williams P.J. (2020) An Introduction to Effective Pedagogies of Design and Technology Education. In: Williams P., & Barlex D. (Eds) Pedagogy for technology education in secondary schools: Contemporary issues in technology education. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

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