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TECH501 Design in Timber 1

Unit rationale, description and aim

All students benefit from being able to solve problems through design thinking and being able to safely design and use the material and product manufacturing 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 enable students to acquire conceptual, procedural and professional knowledge in product design.

This unit develops students' knowledge of the ways in which past, current and emerging technologies influence, and have influenced, principles and processes of product design and production. Through examples and case-studies, students will explore design and manufacturing techniques suitable for timber, metal and plastics including CAD/CAM technologies and will develop designed products.

The aim of this unit is for students to explore how a range of materials can be appropriately applied in designed products and then use this experience in their 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.

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

LO1 - Acquire a broad, integrated knowledge and understanding of past, current and emerging industrial technologies. Describe how these principles and processes influence product design (GA8; APST 2.1)

LO2 - Select and use a range of materials, tools and equipment competently and safely in the design and manufacture of timber, metal and plastic products. Create and maintain a safe learning environment housing a range of materials, tools and equipment in the design and manufacture of products (GA4, GA5, GA9, GA10; APST 2.1, 4.4)

LO3 - Articulate and transmit design ideas through a variety of methods and technologies to be able to present design outcomes for others based on curriculum. Interpret and apply principles of design using diagrammatic, graphic and text-based conventions (GA4, GA5, GA9, GA10; APST 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.6, 4.4)

LO4 - Apply initiative and judgment in exploration in, planning of, problem solving and decision making in your work. Evaluate designs against the essential principles and elements of good design in terms of appropriate material use, functionality, aesthetics and addressing user/s needs (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8; APST 2.1, 4.4)

Graduate attributes

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

GA7 - Work both autonomously and collaboratively

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

GA9 - Demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media

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:

Design Issues

  • Elements of design
  • Principles of design
  • Aspects of design
  • Communication techniques – information and communication technologies
  • Selection criteria for using various materials
  • Knowledge and understanding of project management
  • Literacy –planning and documenting, calculating material
  • Numeracy – calculation skills
  • Introduction to sustainability issues in a range of materials

Manufacturing techniques

  • Materials – properties, treatments, refining, sections and shapes – fasteners
  • Processes
  • Tools and Machinery – cutting, machining, forming, joining and finishing
  • Computer aided manufacturing (subtractive and additive processes)

Workplace Health and Safety

  • Workplace health and safety legislation
  • Review risk management processes (including risk assessment)
  • Safe operating procedures
  • Safety tests – in the classroom

Implementing design solutions

  • Selection of materials and processes – considering characteristics, properties, functionality and the needs of the user/s
  • Life cycle thinking and sustainable design strategies
  • Iterative design development
  • Effective integration of design and manufacture
  • Selecting production methods and manufacturing resources
  • Quality attributes
  • Product review and evaluation

Graphic and design communication techniques for Industrial Design

  • ePortfolio
  • Communication
  • AS1100 drawing standards

Technologies Workshop Safety

  • Safe Operating Procedures for Timber workshop hand tools, equipment and machines used for manufacturing timber products
  • Safe Operating Procedures for Metal workshop hand tools, equipment and machines used for manufacturing metal products
  • 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 manufacturing technologies in Timber and Metal.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

A student-focused, problem-based learning approach is used in this unit. Students encounter concepts and principles of industrial 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, manufacture and evaluate materials and designed items. Design thinking skills in materials 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 material products in technologies. Students develop solutions to product design problems using a design thinking methodology and a user-centred design approach. They develop conceptual knowledge in materials including timber, metal and plastic alongside procedural knowledge of materials and manufacturing technologies through practical design projects. Students design, manufacture, communicate and evaluate items using principles of product design 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.

The unit is hosted on a Learning Management System (LMS) site with resources and online links, announcements, and a discussion board to post questions and reflections that promote connection between content and educational experiences.

Mode of delivery: This unit may be offered in different modes to cater to the learning needs and preferences of a range of participants.

On Campus

Most learning activities or classes are delivered at a scheduled time, on campus, to enable in-person interactions. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.


Learning activities are delivered through a planned mix of online and in-person classes, which may include full-day sessions and/or placements, to enable interaction. Activities that require attendance will appear in a student’s timetable.

Online unscheduled

Learning activities are accessible anytime, anywhere. These units are normally delivered fully online and will not appear in a student’s timetable. 

Online scheduled

All learning activities are held online, at scheduled times, and will require some attendance to enable online interaction. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.

ACU Online 

In ACU Online mode, this unit is delivered asynchronously, fully online using an active, guided learning approach. Students are encouraged to contribute to asynchronous weekly discussions. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning. 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 of knowledge. Initially students acquire knowledge of product design by undertaking research and developing a report on key concepts introduced in the lecture and they develop skills in design and manufacture through practical workshop access. Safe work practices are introduced in workshops and assessed through a hurdle task. Practical workshop access provides opportunities for formative assessment which supports assimilation of knowledge. Summative assessment aims to assess students’ application of knowledge and skills (conceptual, procedural and professional) 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 in product design and manufacture. Therefore, the main assessment method used is design projects which include two components, a design documentation folio and a designed and manufactured product or products. Folios document students design processes and include evidence of identifying user needs, project definition, research, ideation, prototyping, iteration, critical evaluation and risk assessment. 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 online safety modules, reports, tutorial exercises 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 OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Hurdle Task:

a. OnGuard WHS online safety training and testing modules (or equivalent) Requires student to demonstrate knowledge of safe operating procedures in design and technologies workshop environments

b. Technology Workspace Supervision Agreement Requires student to arrange for access to and supervision in a school-based design and technologies workshop (or equivalent) with an appropriately qualified mentor and approval from the head teacher in design and technologies and their principal. 



GA5, GA10

Assessment Task 1

Mixed material Design project

Analyse the secondary Stage 6 Technologies curriculum. 

Use this analysis to develop a design, and manufacture using a minimum of two materials and two processes supported by a portfolio.

For example, design a mechanical cam toy that is animated through movement.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 2

Design Project

Analyse the secondary Stage 6 Technologies curriculum. To develop, design and produce a project using a minimum of two materials.

Use this analysis to demonstrate, principles of design, project management and material.

For example, design a moveable trolley with storage made from timber and steel.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA10

Assessment Task 3

Design Portfolio

Drawing on the documentation of task 1 develop a highly detailed portfolio that records the realisation of task 2.

Use this portfolio to demonstrate, aspects of design, literacy, numeracy, materials, processes and techniques.


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Ashby, M., & Johnson, K. (2014). Materials and design: The art and science of material selection in product design (3rd ed.). Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Black, J., Kohser, R. & DeGarmo, E. (2011). DeGarmo's materials and processes in manufacturing. (11th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Cuffaro, D., & Zaksenberg, I. (2013). Industrial design reference + specification book: Everything industrial designers need to know every day. Beverly, MA: Rockport Publishers.

Fiell, C., & Fiell, P. (2011). Industrial design A-Z. Cologne, Germany: Taschen Books.

Lefteri, C. (2019). Making it: Manufacturing techniques for product design (3rd ed.). London, UK: Laurence King Publishing.

Rodgers, P., & Milton, A. (2015). Product design. London: Laurence King Pub.

Thompson, R. (2007). Manufacturing processes for design professionals. London: Thames & Hudson.

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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