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TECH504 Electromechanical Technologies

Unit rationale, description and aim

All students benefit from being able to solve problems through systems, design, and computational thinking and being able to safely design, use, and evaluate the engineering 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 skills and knowledge in design technologies.

In this unit students will develop subject content knowledge and skills in engineering, electronics, electromechanical technologies, control systems, programming, design, and manufacture and how these can be applied in various contexts. These key engineering aspects will be studied in past, present, and emerging contexts, and the role of modern engineering on global sustainability, society, ethics, and the environment will be evaluated through review of examples and case-studies. Modern societal and environmental challenges such as those relating to artificial intelligence and alternative energy and their relationship with preferred futures will be contextualised. Practical engineering skills will be developed through the design and manufacture of electronically controlled products using a range of techniques and industrial materials including CAD/ CAM technologies. The combination of technical knowledge and practical skills developed will lead to research-informed teaching practice.

The aim of this unit is for students to apply their knowledge and skills in engineering technologies, electronics, control systems, and programming to the design, manufacture, programming and testing of mechatronic engineering technologies.

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.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1    Systematically define the principles and processes of engineering, electronics, and control theory, and how these align with careers in these industries (GA5, GA6, GA8; APST 2.1).

LO2    Interpret and illustrate electromechanical systems through acquisition and application of advanced engineering skills to provide solutions to complex problems, communicating these ideas through technical drawings and reports for a variety of audiences (GA5, GA8, GA10; APST 2.1).

LO3    Design, manufacture, and manage projects independently to apply technical and creative skills using electromechanical principles, processes, and instruments with a range of materials, tools, and equipment competently and safely, including robotics, control technology, and CAD/ CAM technologies (GA4, GA5, GA10; APST 2.1, 4.4).

LO4    Critically analyse and evaluate electromechanical systems and engineering projects, also reflecting on the role of modern engineering on global sustainability, society, ethics, and the environment and how modern technologies such as AI and alternative energy are contested within the scope of preferred futures (GA1, GA2, GA3; APST 2.1, 4.4).

LO5    Communicate advanced engineering knowledge and technical skills through high-level planning and design of a learning program within Design and Technologies which applies the principles and processes of engineering and electronics, and is guided by relevant Australian teaching standards and professional engagement (GA3, GA5, GA8; APST 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.6, 4.4).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


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:

Engineering Analysis

  • Inspection and measurement tools and methods
  • Analysing and graphing data with spreadsheets
  • Interpreting data and deriving meaning

Engineering Materials

  • Material properties and definitions
  • Material selection and considerations

Control System Design

  • Open-loop vs closed-loop control
  • Typical controllers, e.g. bang-bang, PID, etc.
  • Controller selection and design

Advanced Microcontroller Use and Programming

  • Implementation of low-level control, e.g. bang-bang, PID, etc.
  • Digital communication, e.g. serial, I2C, etc.
  • Data acquisition and logging
  • Sensors and actuators

Engineering Design with Robotics Focus

  • Following the engineering method of design to arrive at optimal design solutions to a provided robotics challenge/ problem
  • Producing engineering drawings and conveying ideas
  • Using CAD/ CAM software for design and manufacture
  • CNC manufacture (subtractive and additive), e.g. CNC or manual routers, laser cutting, 3D printing
  • ePortfolio development

Applications and Implications of Modern Technologies

  • Past, present, and emerging information and communications technologies
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Virtual and augmented reality (AR and VR)
  • Emerging applications in industry and society and implications

Energy Production

  • Fundamentals of energy production, conversion, and storage
  • Conventional energy production and modern alternatives
  • Preferred futures for power systems and alternative energy

Engineering in the Modern World

  • Present and emerging engineering careers
  • Project management
  • Global sustainability
  • Preferred futures for engineering: societal, ethical, and environmental considerations

Engineering Learning Management

  • Putting theory into practice
  • Learning through authentic practical experience
  • Safety and risk management
  • Material and resource budgeting, selection, and storage

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

A student-focussed, project-based learning approach is utilised in this unit. Students encounter concepts and principles of engineering technologies and electromechanical systems 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, manufacture and evaluate electronic, mechanical and mechatronic engineering systems components. Issues in mechatronic engineering systems design and manufacture are introduced through a practice-oriented learning method. This method involves the parallel development of procedural and conceptual skills required for design, development and documentation of engineering technologies, mechatronic and electromechanical systems. Students develop solutions to mechatronic and electromechanical system design problems using a design thinking methodology and a user-centred design approach. They develop conceptual knowledge in electronics and programming alongside procedural knowledge of engineering systems and manufacturing technologies through practical design projects. Students design, manufacture, communicate and evaluate items against principles of engineering technologies including mechatronic and electromechanical system 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 engineering technologies, mechatronic and electromechanical technologies design contexts and to develop effective teaching strategies to develop knowledge, skills, problem-solving, and critical and creative thinking 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, discussion, video, independent research, design project management, lab reports, workshop logs, report writing, design projects, including design folios etc.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The project-based learning strategy employed in this unit is supported by the integration of progressive authentic assessment methods embedded at critical points of the students’ learning. Theoretical conceptual knowledge and practical skills-based knowledge are developed simultaneously in that acquisition and assimilation develops during application in design practices.

In this unit, the method aims to assess students’ achievement of a synthesis between design theory, practice, and application of engineering principles in engineering design and how that relates to society, ethics, and the environment. Therefore, a key assessment method used is project-based learning through major design projects set to accomplish a specific set of objectives, with this assessment including multiple components, namely a design documentation E-portfolio and a designed and manufactured product(s). ePortfolios document students’ design processes and include evidence of project definition, research, ideation, prototyping, iteration, critical evaluation, and risk assessment.

The summative program planning 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. 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 research reports, a design project with an E-portfolio, and learning-program design. 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 OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1 – Research Assignment

Research to explore theoretical concepts, involving critical application of engineering knowledge and judgements based on relevant theory to one or multiple case studies.


LO1, LO2

GA5, GA6, GA8, GA10

Assessment Task 2 – Robotics Design Project

An engineering design project for a robotic system to solve a complex challenge, documented via engineering drawings and an ePortfolio.


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

Assessment Task 3 – Planning an Engineering Unit of Work

High-level design of a teaching program developed with colleagues and based on an analysis of a Stage 5 Engineering curriculum and the research and project-based learning of the previous two assessment tasks.

This serves to draw on peer reflection and professional collaboration to improve learning and teaching 


LO1, LO5

GA3, GA5, GA6, GA8

Representative texts and references

Bishop, R.H. (2007). Mechatronic systems, sensors and actuators (2nd ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Demirel, Y. (2016). Energy: Production, conversion, storage, conservation and coupling (2nd ed.). Germany: Springer International Publishing.

De Silvia, C.W. (2015). Sensors and Actuators: Engineering System Instrumentation (2nd ed.). Abingdon-on-Thames: Taylor & Francis.

Jones, D.R.H., & Ashby, M.F. (2018). Engineering materials 1: An introduction to properties, applications and design (5th ed.). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Müller, V. (2016). Fundamental issues of artificial intelligence. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Murphy, C., Gardoni, P., Bashir, H., Harris Jr., C.E., & Masad, E. (2015). Engineering ethics for a globalized world. New York, NY: Springer.

Parisi, D. (2014). Future robots: Towards a robotic science of human beings. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Timings, R.L. (2002). Engineering Fundamentals. United Kingdom: Newnes.

Schellnhuber, H. J., Molina, M., Stern, N., Huber, V., & Kadner, S. (2010). Global Sustainability: A Nobel Cause. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Williams, P., & Barlex, D. (2020) Pedagogy for technology education in secondary schools: Research informed perspectives for classroom teachers. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature.

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