Engineering: frameworks, analysis, production
This module builds on the concepts and techniques in Engineering: origins, methods, context (T192). It begins by focusing on invention and innovation, and the advisory or legislative frameworks used to promote good practice and ensure safety. Examples of patents, standards and an energy case study are examined, providing a basis for introducing key topics in engineering and mathematics. Next, it takes you on a tour of modern manufacturing methods, and explores how these are related to properties of materials, product design, environmental sustainability and profitability. More advanced mathematical techniques, including basic calculus, are introduced and applied in an engineering context.
What you will study
Part 1: Engineering to rule
You will explore the ideas of innovation and invention, and the advisory or legislative frameworks used to promote good practice and ensure safety. These include patents, standards, industry guidelines, and other official sources of data, information and guidance. Examples will be chosen for closer examination that introduce key engineering topics. You will study aspects of the mechanical and electrical properties of materials, the behaviour of structures under load, and basic chemistry.
Part 2: Engineering for power
In this part you’ll explore the important topic of producing energy for human use. You will learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of fossil fuels and the growing need for low carbon energy. A case study looks more closely at one alternative approach – the production of electricity from sunlight using photovoltaic panels. Fundamental topics covered include the use of chemical equations, the nature and properties of electromagnetic radiation, and the structure and properties of electronic materials.
Part 3: Manufacturing
Next, you will build on your growing understanding of the properties of materials. You will learn about key manufacturing techniques, and when and how they can be used to make products. The techniques covered include casting, forming, cutting, joining, surface engineering and additive manufacturing.
Part 4: Materials and resources
The final part will present some case studies of the use of materials and resources, putting manufacturing into a wider context of environmental and economic considerations.
Mathematics is an essential component of engineering and is included throughout the module. You will have opportunities to revise and build on the mathematics covered in Engineering: origins, methods, context (T192), by applying it to new topics in engineering. New mathematical methods in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, graphical representation, statistics and calculus will be introduced and applied.
You will be helped to develop your information literacy skills through library searches and technical reading linked to patents and standards. The Open Engineering Studio provides an online space where you can share work with other students and work together on collaborative activities. You will use a learning log to record and reflect on your progress.
Throughout the module, interactive quizzes will give you a chance to practise maths questions to prepare for the interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs). Assignment questions will be based on activities in the module material.
This module provides ideal preparation for the third of our introductory engineering modules, Engineering: mathematics, modelling, applications (T194).
You must have passed, or currently be studying, one of the following modules:
Talk to an advisor if you’re not sure you’re ready.
You’ll have access to a module website, which includes:
- a week-by-week study planner
- course-specific module materials
- audio and video content
- assessment details and submission section
- online tutorial access
- OpenEngineering studio - an online collaborative studio.
You’ll also be provided with four module books, a module handbook, module map and assessment guide.
You will need
A scientific calculator, basic drawing equipment and a device capable of producing digital images (e.g. a smartphone, digital camera or scanner).
You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Monterey or higher.
Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.
To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).
Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.
Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.
It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.