Engineering Systems Design


August 2019



Module Details. 3

Contact Details. 3

Module Synopsis. 4

Marketing Module Synopsis. 4

Outline Syllabus. 4

Module Learning Outcomes. 4

Welcome. 5

Email communications. 5

Problems/queries. 6

Why do you need the Engineering Systems Design Module?. 6

Engineering Systems Design Syllabus. 6

Learning and Teaching: Strategy and Methods. 7

How will you be assessed?. 10

Submission of assessed work [Turnitin] 10

Presentation of work. 12

What do you need to do next?. 13

Transferable Skills. 13

Principles of Responsible Management Education. 14

Feedback Strategy. 15

Dishonesty and Plagiarism.. 15

Plagiarism.. 15

Learning Resources. 16

Reading. 16

Subject librarian. 17

Style. 17

Referencing. 17

Some Common Problems. 18

Recommended Reading. 19

Definitions. 20

Appendix 1: Assessment Brief and Timeline. 21

Timeline for completion of activities and assessment. 24

Appendix 2 Assignment Grid. 26

Appendix 3 Assignment Cover Sheet 28

Appendix 4: Guidance on Academic Writing and Reflective Writing. 29

Appendix 5 Advice and Support Services. 31

Appendix 6: Harvard Referencing System Summary Sheet 32

Appendix 7: CMI Diploma in Management and Leadership Level 5. 33

Module Synopsis

This module introduces students to system design concepts and tools, and challenges students to think critically about their potential and actual application in Engineering.
Students will be introduced in the engineering of systems design from an operations perspective, which will focus on two functions in particular: (a) directing operations and (b) designing operations.
Students will learn the principles behind a number of systematic and systemic design approaches. These principles will be discovered, explored and applied typically through a series of paradoxes and metaphors, such as: the ‘Tragedy of the Commons’, the ‘Impossibility Theorem’ and ‘Sustainable Social/Economic/Ecological Systems

Marketing Module Synopsis

This module introduces students to system design concepts and tools, and challenges students to think critically about their potential and actual application in Engineering. Students are introduced to the engineering of systems design from an operations perspective, which will focus on two functions, directing operations and designing operations. 

Outline Syllabus

Areas to explore by students will typically include:
a. Systematic approaches for: (a) directing operations and (b) designing operations
b. System approaches for: (a) achieving coordinated actions (e.g. impossibility theorem), (b) avoid abuses inside the system (e.g. tragedy of the commons) and (c) fostering collaboration (e.g. sustainable systems)

Module Learning Outcomes

To pass the module, students are required to meet and reach the following validated Learning Outcomes:

LO1  Critical Knowledge and appreciation of the fundamental principles of a number of Systems Design Approaches

LO2   Awareness and critique of current use of Systems Design in Engineering Contexts

LO3 Practical skill in applying knowledge of Systems Design to an Engineering context

LO4 Consider the role of systems design in managing and promoting innovation


Welcome to the Engineering Systems Design Module, part of your Work Based Distance Learning (WBDL) Honours Degree programme.  This module offers you the opportunity to develop the knowledge and academic skills related to core subjects in your Honours degree programme.

Please ensure you read all this Module Handbook very thoroughly, from the front page to the back page, to ensure you are clear what is required of you.  Step by step, clear guidance is provided to help you complete this module (see section “What do you need to do next?”). We strongly recommend that you follow this guidance to give you the best possible chance of success with the Engineering Systems Design module.


To be helpful to you, when you search for something during your studies, we recommend that you might use MS Word’s Home/Find tool to locate key words in this Handbook.


This Module Handbook should be read in conjunction with the resources on Blackboard which aim to provide you with accurate information and details about the module’s:


  • background
  • topics covered
  • timescale and organisation
  • assessment process.


More general guidance is provided about the University’s available resources and approach and you should refer to your other documents advised to you at Induction and Enrolment.


Email communications


We suggest you check your University emails on a regular basis for important information. You may find it useful to re-direct your University email to go directly to your personal account. However, please note that you still need to access your University email account regularly to delete all received/sent emails and empty the ‘Deleted’ box, otherwise your email account will become full and you will not be able to receive any emails.


You will need your University email address and password to access Blackboard and the Portal. The University Regulations are contained on the Portal.







If you have questions or are unsure about anything to do with this module, do not hesitate to email your allocated Module Tutor.


Why do you need the Engineering Systems Design Module?


The design (and understanding) of Engineering Systems is a core activity in many professional contexts. This module introduces students to system design concepts and tools, and challenges students to think critically about their potential and actual application in Engineering.

Students will be introduced to systems design from an operations perspective, which will focus on two functions in particular: (a) directing operations and (b) designing operations. Students will learn the principles behind a number of systematic and systemic design approaches.


Engineering Systems Design Syllabus


Within this module areas to explore by students will typically include:

  1. Systematic approaches for: (a) directing operations and (b) designing operations


  1. System Design approaches for: (a) achieving coordinated actions, (b) avoiding abuses inside the system, and (c) fostering collaboration


In order to do this students will explore within this module the following questions:


  • What are Engineering Systems? What constitutes ‘a system’? Is it a useful concept?
  • What systems are encountered by students in an Engineering context? To what extent are these systems ‘designed’ and what are the purposes of these systems?
  • What is involved in the design and control process when developing Management Systems?
  • What are some of the unintended side-effects of creating Management Systems?
  • How could the design of Management Systems in Engineering be improved?


Learning and Teaching: Strategy and Methods

The main approach to learning within this module is to develop independent learning by utilising a range of appropriate resources. Students are encouraged to carefully and realistically plan their time allocated for this module, allowing a minimum of 150 hours to complete the module’s schedule.

Students will be taught in an online cohort group. The main approach to learning on the module is to further develop independent learning by guidance to appropriate resources, however the student will experience a range of learning strategies during the module, which should include: • Planned cohort seminar sessions at key points in the module schedule to facilitate collaborative learning between students. • Planned cohort delivery of a series of recorded or live lectures. • Guided reading and research via a range of suggested reading materials and resources. • Independent study through learning materials, both paper based, electronic and on-line. • Email contact with the allocated Tutor for individual guidance and support and where appropriate personal meetings, telephone or other media enabled communication such as Skype or FaceTime. • University IT systems via the on-line virtual learning environment, Blackboard and electronic library. • Individual completion of the assessment task. The Blackboard VLE site will contain all module materials, which will consist of a managed learning programme, divided up into a series of parts reflecting the outline syllabus. These will also include hotlinks to key internal and external sources of content. Each element will be broken into manageable sections with clear directions for reading and questions designed to encourage reflection and critical thought. The Tutor and student relationship will be supported through a number of mechanisms including Collaborate (or other such media enabled group sessions) and email correspondence.


A range of activities and resources are provided on Blackboard, and students must complete the Self-directed Learning work [Weeks 1 to 6] and On-line workshops [Weeks 7 and 8] in which they submit and upload the Assessment to Turnitin (Table 1).

The module will be presented in a ‘discovery mode’, characterised as ‘Problem-based learning’ where students collaboratively solve problems and reflect on their experiences. A range of learning experiences are offered during the module, which may typically include:

  • A module tutor for individual guidance and support. Where appropriate, there will be on-line or formal on-line classes (which may include workshops/lectures/seminars), personal meetings, telephone or other media-enabled communication such as Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Skype and FaceTime. The Module Discussion Board is part of the infrastructure (Figure 1) giving easy access to the important features.


Figure 1: Module infrastructure for easy access to important features.

  • Independent study through learning materials: electronic and on-line, perhaps paper-based.
  • Opportunities for collaborative learning with peers, either facilitated through online media and/or face to face interactions (action learning sets, workshops, seminars, etc.). Face-to-Face group sessions might be available for students to attend at regular periods throughout the academic year. In the first week, students should introduce themselves to their Module Tutor’s group as early as possible to develop new working relationships. There will also be access to a ‘Thread’ for the entire cohort on the module.

Please note that students should view and observe the University of Lincoln’s Respect Charter which is in operation as part of current policy to serve all students and employees:

  • Guided reading and research via a range of suggested reading materials and resources, including use of the Library’s search engine for journals.
  • Formative assessment of draft work by the Module tutor.

Directed reading will accompany a series of activities designed to encourage reflection and critical thought, as well as appropriate skills to progressively enhance academic research. Students will be encouraged to expand their reading and source wider, further reading by using the University of Lincoln electronic library to access published papers, e-books, textbooks and online resources.

Blackboard contains all your module materials, offering a structured learning programme, divided up into a series of sections per week reflecting the outline syllabus, including links to key internal and external resources. Each element is broken into manageable sections with clear directions for reading and questions designed to encourage reflection and critical thought.

The Module Tutor and student relationship is supported through a number of mechanisms which may include Collaborate (a Skype-type conversation, but also permitting visual display of files), telephone conversations and email correspondence. Students may contribute to collaborative Wikis, Blogs and Discussion Boards, offering a key role in the development of the module’s themes and content.

How will you be assessed?


This module is assessed by a final report as part of a Portfolio of work.  See Appendix 1 for the assignment briefs and timelines.  All word counts permit a suitable 10% margin. The Assessment Grid (Appendix 2) offers you guidance on the grading of work by the module criteria across classes of a UK Honours degree (1st class, 2.1, 2.2, 3rd and Fail).

NOTE: All elements of the assessment must be your own, original work. This means you should not work closely with others and should not use any work you have previously prepared for any other purpose (including previous assignments).

submission of assessed work [Turnitin]

The Turnitin Tab is where students will submit assessments via Turnitin to their Module Tutor. The assessment must be uploaded by the student.  Once the assessment is uploaded, it cannot be retracted. Please take care, students have previously uploaded the wrong version of the assessment!

So, please ensure you upload the correct version of your assessment. If your work is not uploaded by the specified date and time, note that a late penalty will be incurred of 10 percentage points per day (or part thereof), as noted in the University’s current undergraduate Assessment Regulations (pdf):

“5.2.8 Late submissions, whether measured against an original or formally extended deadline, shall be penalised. The penalty shall consist of a reduction in the mark of 10 percentage points for each whole or partial working day late.”

Note that if you are ill or have genuine Extenuating Circumstances, you may wish to apply for an extension – the form is available on Blackboard.

Students requesting an extension to a deadline must:

  • include evidence of the situation such as a Doctor’s certificate (not a self-certified certificate), or a letter from their Line Manager confirming workload/unexpected commitments etc.;
  • ensure that the grounds for the request cover the immediate run-up to the submission date and include the submission date;
  • allow 3-5 working days from submission to approval;
  • understand that requesting an extension does not mean it will be granted. The extension is only valid when approved by the Module Tutor, agreed by the Programme Leader, and confirmed by the WBDL Admin team.
  • Students should keep a copy of the signed document as evidence that an extension has been granted.
  • One extension application only per module can be completed.


Grounds for extension to a deadline are:

  • illness (which must be covered by a Doctor’s certificate)
  • extenuating circumstances (e.g. unexpected work commitments, bereavement, deployment etc.).

Please always check the current University Undergraduate Regulations at:


  • Time management is not an acceptable reason for an extension, neither are the holidays of either the student or their Module Tutor. Students must plan and carefully manage their time around such events.
  • Extensions cannot be granted retrospectively after a deadline.
  • If an extension is not granted and/or you realise that you are not eligible, you could consider interrupting your studies so that you can work on your assessment. In this period of interruption, you will have no access to any University resources, including your Module Tutor

Presentation of work

All work must be presented professionally and in accordance with the following format:

Font:               Arial

Font size:       11

Margins:         Fully justified (as in this Module Handbook – left and right margins are blocked)

Line spacing: 1½ line spacing.

Leave a clear line space in-between paragraphs (and headings where used)

Title page:      Use the Assessment Guidance Template provided (Appendix 3): complete the Title Page and ensure it forms the first page of your assessed work.

Word count:  Main Essay: 3,000 words (±10%), excluding diagrams, reference list, bibliography and appendices.  Please state the word count on the assignment cover sheet.

Note that for all assessments (unless explicitly advised), the word count starts with the first word of the Introduction and finishes with the last word of the Conclusion. Any appendices should be of a manageable size (and should be referenced in text) – please note they may not be read in detail so do not keep important information only in them.

All elements involved in the preparation of assessments, be they written or visual must be the original work of the student.  Note that it is a serious academic offence for someone else to be involved in writing part or the whole of your assessment, be it on a paid or unpaid basis, so please do not consider taking this approach and ensure you are familiar with the University of Lincoln Regulations relating to the originality of academic work.

What do you need to do next?

Whilst WBDL students are expected to be independent learners, we recognise all students are likely to have a different approach to their studies.  However, the following procedure outlines how students may approach this module for the best possible chance of success (Read this in conjunction with the Time Line below):

  • Explore Blackboard to become familiar with the resources available. Review all items listed under My Sites to help you to understand how Blackboard can support you.
  • Review the information on the side bar for useful contact information. Note that some pages on this site have resources you will need to access and use. Make a note of where they can be found for when you need them.
  • On the side bar [left side of the screen], you will see Resources. Clicking on Reading List takes you directly to the Library resources for this module. Remember that as an undergraduate student, you are responsible for engaging in academic research and reading around subjects to underpin your assessments, so try accessing some of the on-line resources you will need to inform your work.
  • Explore the various on-line resources to help familiarise you with the learning process.
  • It is very important to start your independent reading and study.
  • You are now ready to take part in the Week one, which will be made available to you via Blackboard on the side bar [Left side of the screen]
  • In later weeks there are several activities to complete and opportunities to discuss work with others. Please ensure that you complete all planned activities and pre-reading before the sessions in which they will be discussed(!
  • Further material will build on the Bb site as the course progresses. Keep checking it and explore the resources provided as fully as possible.

Transferable Skills

The module enhances your employability by developing the following transferable Work Ready skills:



Learning and Adaptability


Perseverance and Initiative

Commercial Awareness

Researching and Analysing

Problem Solving

Principles of Responsible Management Education

The Lincoln International Business School is committed to the Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) to develop future leaders that are socially responsible who will create sustainable environmental and economic value.

This module contributes to the PRME agenda by LIBS has been a member of PRME since 2010.  PRME is the largest voluntary engagement platform for academic institutions to transform their teaching, research, and thought leadership in support of universal values of sustainability, responsibility, and ethics.

PRME is framed around 6 principles which place sustainable development at the core of responsible management education and is based on the premise that graduates with sustainability skills are in high demand.

In relation to this agenda, this module intends to help:

  1. Develop the capabilities of students to be future generators of sustainable value for business and society (Purpose)
  2. Incorporate the values of global social responsibility (i.e. UN Global Compact) (Values)
  3. Enable effective learning experiences for responsible leadership (Method)
  4. Advance understanding about the role, dynamics and impact of organisations in the creation of sustainable social, environmental and economic value (Research)
  5. Extend knowledge of challenges business managers face in meeting social and environmental responsibilities (Partnership)
  6. Engage with stakeholders on critical issues related to global social responsibility and sustainability (Dialogue)

As such you are asked to keep in mind throughout your study the social, environmental and economic value of the activities and resources your organisation produces; the sustainability of its operations and the Social Responsibilities organisations (and leaders/managers within these organisations) share.

Feedback Strategy

Receiving formative feedback during your learning is essential to ensure you are prepared for your final assessments. To support your learning throughout the module the following formative feedback strategies are used:

  • Feedback on draft work via email
  • One-to-one meetings with tutors via Skype/FaceTime/Collaborate VLE room
  • Telephone conversations

Dishonesty and Plagiarism

The University Regulations define plagiarism as ‘the passing off of another person’s thoughts, ideas, writings or images as one’s own. Examples of plagiarism include the unacknowledged use of another person’s material whether in original or summary form. Plagiarism also includes the copying of another student’s work.

Plagiarism is a serious offence and is treated by the University as a form of dishonest means in assessment. Students are directed to the University Regulations for details of the procedures and penalties involved. Plagiarism is, however, easily avoided by the full and correct use of referencing.

When available, always check your ‘similarity’ rating index on Turnitin submissions to ensure you percentage rating is in the ‘green’. Please note however, that such a rating is indicative only and tutors will consider other evidence in assessing the academic integrity of your work.  Where there are doubts about your work you may be called in for an interview

Plagiarism can be avoided by referencing correctly. All WBDL students should follow the referencing format outlined in the University of Lincoln (2013) Harvard Referencing Handbook verbatim


If you are found to have plagiarised, your work may be awarded a mark of zero.

 earning Resources


The key text(s) and other recommended reading for this module are contained within the reading list on Blackboard.  Additionally, you are also expected to read independently for this module from appropriate peer reviewed books and journals. Different modules will require different study skills from students.  A series of learning resources are available to support students and are available at the following links, note this is a complete list and some elements may not fit your degree programme and some you may consider following completion of your degree to potentially go onto the next academic level.

L4.1 Academic Etiquette

L4.1a Academic Etiquette for International Students

L4.2 Time Management

L4.3 Goals and Action Planning

L4.4 Using Feedback

L4.5 Academic Writing 1: Genres

L4.6 Academic Writing 2: Style

L4.7 Active Listening

L4.8 Critical Analysis 1

L4.9 Developing a Line of Argument

L4.10 Group Work

L4.11 Paraphrasing and Summarising Sources

L4.12 Presentations 1: The Slides

L4.13 Presentations 2: Delivery

L4.14 Reading strategies

L4.15  Revision and Memory Techniques

L4.16  Academic Writing 3: Hedging

L4.17  Critical Analysis 2

L4.18  Critical Reflection

L4.19  Cross-cultural Communication

L4.20 Exam Strategies

L4.21 Research and Dissertations

L4.22 Introduction to Postgraduate Study Skills

L4.23 Postgraduate Study Skills: Being Critical at Master’s Level

L4.24 Postgraduate Study Skills: Managing the Dissertation Process

L4.25 Postgraduate Study Skills: Academic Writing and the Research Process

L4.26 Postgraduate Study Skills: In-depth Critical Literature Review

L4.27 Postgraduate Study Skills: Reading Critically

L4.28 English Language Skills: Sentence Structure

L4.29 Harvard Referencing

The University Library distributes its resource online. Follow this link to directly access the opening webpage:


You are expected to write in a concise, informative, lively but formal, style.  Jargon, slang, and other informal styles should be avoided (Appendix 4), as well as the use of stereotypes and generalisations. You should be analytical rather than descriptive in your approach and communicate clear, coherent arguments in a narrative style.


Referencing identifies the source of ideas, texts, tables, and diagrams etc. That have been drawn from authors other than you. It enables the reader to follow up on sources that may interest them and also protects you from allegations of plagiarism.

  • You are required to use the Harvard referencing system
  • Follow the University of Lincoln Harvard referencing handbook which is located on blackboard or from the library
  • Give a list of all references referred to in the text in alphabetical order of author at the end of the dissertation
  • Follow this with a bibliography. This should include all references plus details of sources consulted but not referred to directly in the text.

Some Common Problems

Check the following points which might help you to avoid some commonly recurring problems.

Lacks critical analysis … One of the most common criticisms of students’ work is that the work lacks critical and analytical thought.  In your approach, always question ‘why’ rather than ‘what’.

Too descriptive … Descriptive dissertations do not usually attract good grades.  Students using their own experiences often produce descriptive dissertations.  Your findings must be critically interpreted and examined and should include academic underpinning.

Some introductions are also overly descriptive and lengthy.  Include only information which is relevant

Not making good use of information … Students often put a lot of effort into researching the topic they have chosen, but then struggle to put the information to good use.  Make sure the information you collect is usable.  This means identifying what you wish to collect and determining what you are going to do with it before you start collecting.

Lacks Structure … Frequently the work ends up as a number of discrete essays, with either a very fine link, or no link whatsoever.  This is inevitably due to a lack of structure and/or focus.  The importance of a draft structure cannot be stressed enough, otherwise you have little or no control over the final structure.

Makes generalisations … Avoid making sweeping statements which cannot be substantiated. Avoid such circumstances by underpinning with academic support.

Ignores limitations … If you have encountered limitations of any sort, do not ignore them; acknowledge them.

Costing: Lacks costing analysis or does not factor in what proposals or recommendations may cost an organisation to implement.

Losing work … Save your work on a regular basis (e.g. every 30 minutes) to a memory stick, the cloud or another appropriate medium.

Sustaining motivation … This can be difficult and there is no easy answer.  Keeping the printed work in a binder may help your motivation, as you can see the individual sections and chapters developing into the final piece of work.

Plagiarism … This is a serious offence.  Plagiarism is detectable and rigorous checks are made.  If proven, a fail grade may be awarded, which has serious implications for your Degree.  Avoid this by attributing all ideas where necessary and cite all material used.

If you need extra help during the module, if any issues arise which cannot be resolved directly with your tutor you may wish to contact the module coordinator, or should you need additional advice and support you may find Appendix 5 useful.Recommended Reading

Consult the Reading List on Blackboard.


Accurate: Consistently correct
Appropriate:  Suitable for the context
Analytical:      Logical reasoning
Assignment Objectives:  Identification of the issues or problems the assignment seeks to explore in a particular context
Clarity/clearly:  Coherent and intelligible
Context:  The defined situation and circumstances the literature/theory will be applied to   throughout the assignment
Coherently:    Logical and consistent
Imaginatively:  The student has formed new ideas and/or concepts
Industry Terminology: Specific industry terminology for the defined context
New concepts for practice:  Application of literature/theory to the context of the assignment to inform recommendations
Reasonable:  As much as is appropriate
Succinctly:  Briefly and clearly expressed, close attention to word count

Appendix 1: Assessment Brief and Timeline 

Main Assignment Brief

Module tutors:                      As nominated

Assignment:                          Engineering Systems Design Portfolio

Submission deadline:          see BlackBoard

Word limit:                             3,000 words (±10%), excluding diagrams, footnotes, appendices, references.  Please state the word count on the assignment cover sheet.


Following the module’s lectures/seminars, online learning activities and your additional, independent study on the subject, you should be familiar with various practices and theory in relation to systems design. You will also have your own professional experience to draw upon to help you construct a comprehensive critique of this complex discipline.

The learning outcomes for this module will be assessed through the production of a portfolio which will be a combination this report, and its appendices generated as you progress through the module and try out the ideas in the context of your workplace. Appendices might include rich pictures and CATWOE analyses.

You are encouraged to think about the potential and actual application of the concepts you are learning about in this module to the engineering contexts you are familiar with.  In particular you are encouraged to think of how they might be serving the different functions of (a) directing and controlling operations, and (b) designing new or improved operations.

You may also consider how systems designs may help (or hinder) the co-ordination of actions, collaboration, innovation and sustainability.

Assignment Task (Main Report):

With these points in mind you are asked to review a system within your own workplace and to either:


  1. Describe and critique the design of an existing system and make proposals aimed at improving it


  1. Develop and justify a plan to implement a chosen design model in your workplace

This review will take the form of a Portfolio.  This should include a report with selected appendices as required.  These appendices should be carefully selected to enhance your discussion, give examples of wider activities undertaken and to illustrate the points you are making in the main text.  Appendices should be referred to clearly in the main text and should be of a reasonable scale.  Whilst all appendices will be looked at, large appendices will not be read in detail and essential material should be contained within the main texts

Consider projects in which you have personally been involved or any projects of your choice on which you are able to obtain enough information/data. These projects must have some Engineering Management context – which could vary from very general managerial systems (in an Engineering context) to managing more technical engineering aspects of the work. There must however always be some element of managing people involved in the system selected for review (i.e. they should not be solely technical systems).

Your portfolio should enable you to show awareness of the current use of Systems Design in Engineering Contexts.  It should also provide scope for you to demonstrate your growing knowledge of different approaches and principles and to be able to critique their use (or otherwise) in your workplace.  You should also demonstrate your own practical skills in applying this knowledge – This can be demonstrated for example through the use/trialling of different approaches in the appendices. Remember you can use a range of approaches to present your ideas in your portfolio including photographs, diagrams and drawings.

Your standpoint should be to produce a balanced and well-written analysis, with suitable references to the relevant, contemporary literature as well as referring to personal experiences, observations and insights where appropriate.

Learning Outcomes:

You are reminded that this portfolio assignment needs to demonstrate that you have achieved the specific learning outcomes linked to this module.  As such, you need to take case to demonstrate through your work the following aspects:

LO1: Critical knowledge and appreciation of the fundamental principles of a number of Systems Design Approaches


LO2: Awareness and critique of the current use of Systems Design in Engineering Contexts

LO3: Practical skill in applying knowledge of Systems Design in an Engineering contex

LO4: Consider the role of systems design in managing and promoting innovation

Format of Your Submission:

You should follow a clear report format and all referencing must adhere to the University of Lincoln referencing system. Text should be 11-point font-size in Arial font, with 1.5 line spacing. Care should be taken in all aspects of the presentation of the portfolio. All figures and tables should be consecutively numbered, and captions provided. Do not forget to indicate clearly how many words you have used in your submission. You are required to submit an electronic copy of your Portfolio (as a single document) on BlackBoard via Turnitin®.

Important Regulations:

Please make every effort to submit work by the due date indicated above. Assignments received after the deadline (without an approved extension) will be subject to a penalty in line with university policy.

Students should apply for an extension before the submission date if this is required for a legitimate reason (such as illness). Students are advised however not to anticipate they will be granted extensions for standard work pressures, holidays, etc. as this is not usually the case.

Please ensure that you have retained a back-up electronic copy of the assignment submitted and keep BlackBoard submission receipts.

Importantly, please ensure that you clearly understand the notion of plagiarism and academic offences and conform to all the University of Lincoln’s regulations in relation to the submission of written assignments.

When you submit an individual assessment under your name you are stating that this is your own original work. If a submission is found to be similar to someone else’s work, your work may be referred to the Academic Offences committee for further scrutiny. Remember that all contributions of others must be clearly identified in the text. You should also always take reasonable care that your assignment is not, accidentally or deliberately, obtained by other students.

Marking Criteria:

Your portfolio should be underpinned by appropriate and substantial academic reading and reflection, which must be evidenced in the assignment. The portfolio should be properly presented and referenced, acknowledging all sources used and employing the University of Lincoln Referencing System.

Along with the usual criteria (such as the document’s structure, appropriate use of sub-headings, logical and smooth flow of argument, language style and the correct use of grammar and punctuation), other more in-depth general performance indicators will be employed (see table overleaf).

Timeline for completion of activities and assessment

  Online Lecture Activities Reading / Viewing Comments
Week 1


Introduction to Engineering Systems Design


What is a System?


What is Systems Design?

1.1 Systems in your workplace

(drawing an Education System)


1.2 Design Exercise: ‘Making Toast’

OU (Open Learn) Definitions of Systems


Various views of Systems Engineering and Systems Design


Ted Talk – using visualisation methods in design


Introduction to module site and processes


Review of course schedule

Week 2 Engineering Systems

-Technical (hard systems)

-Managerial (soft systems)


Characteristics of a system





2.1 Exploring a system in your workplace


2.2 Systems Design approaches used in your workplace


2.3 Critiquing approaches

Examples of Management Systems for Quality (recording and improvement)



Tools for System Design I:


Examples of Cognitive mapping, Rich Pictures, Process Maps and other visualisations (models)


Popular Systems Design tools in Engineering


Exercises in weeks 1, 2 and 3 are intended to help identify potential systems-in-focus for the assignment and build a portfolio of examples from the workplace.
Week 3


Directing or Designing Operations


-observing systems

-managing systems

-refining systems

-redesigning systems


Robustness versus ‘cost’


Considering Health and Safety Systems in your Workplace


3.2 Extending systems – Making Practical suggestions for your workplace

Examples of Management Systems for Health and Safety (recording and improvement)



Tools for System Design II:


Introduction to basic concepts in systems modelling (hard and soft systems)


Ensuring inclusion of Health and Safety which was a concern for our Industrial reviewer for this course.


Assignment Briefing

Week 4 Stakeholder Analysis

-analysing requirements

-gathering evidence

Complex and ‘Wicked’ Problems versus tame ones


4.1 Stakeholder Expectations in your workplace


4.2 Managing and promoting Innovation

Tools for System Design III:


Stakeholder analysis


Managing conflicting ideas


Week 5


Paradoxes in Practice. Managing complexity and unintended side-effects of system designs


‘The Map is not the territory’ (or some reasons why ‘good ideas’ don’t always work)


5.1 Identifying unintended consequences in recent / previous design decisions in your workplace (positive or negative)


Lessons for designing robust solutions

The challenges of designing for the average and achieving co-ordinated actions


The Tragedy of the Commons


Feedback loops (vicious and virtuous circles)


Sustainable Systems


Exploring key notions and systemic approaches through selected articles
Week 6 Conclusions for Systems Design in Engineering Management 6.1 Lessons learnt for your workplace


6.2  Review of Learning Outcomes and student feedback


Links with future modules Assignment Review (static notes)
Week 7


Assessment 7.1 Online sessions Q and A session Assignment Review (online)
Week 8 Assessment 8.1 Online session


8.2 Assessment Hand-in

One-to-one as required Assignment support (online)



Appendix 2 Assignment Grid

CRITERION 1st 90% – 100% 1st 80-89% 1st:  70% – 79% 2:1:  60% – 69% 2:2:  50% – 59% 3rd:  40% – 49% FAIL: 34% – 39% Fail 20-34% Fail 0 -19%
Presentation and style
Presentation of assignment Polished and professionally presented, of publishable quality. Work has been submitted within prescribed parameters to an exception standard and, where appropriate creative Polished and professionally presented, of publishable quality. Work has been submitted within prescribed parameters to a very high standard Polished and professionally presented Portfolio.

All work within Portfolio submitted within prescribed parameters.

Attention to detail in clear evidence throughout the Portfolio

Carefully and logically organised Portfolio.

All work within Portfolio submitted within prescribed parameters.

Demonstrates clear attention to detail.

Portfolio shows organisation and coherence.

Work within Portfolio submitted within prescribed parameters.

Evidence of attention to detail.

Some attempt to organise Portfolio in a logical manner.

Some elements missing or incomplete.

Little attention to detail.

Portfolio deviates slightly from the required parameters.

Disorganised/incoherent Portfolio.

Many elements missing or incomplete.


Little or no attention to detail.

Portfolio deviates significantly from the required parameters

Portfolio is not presented in a manner which allows it to be identified as such.


Clarity of expression

(inc. accuracy, spelling,

grammar, punctuation, terminology)

Fluent writing style appropriate to document. Grammar and spelling flawless. Uses appropriate academic and industry specific terminology. Fluent writing style appropriate to document. Grammar and spelling accurate. Uses appropriate academic and industry specific terminology. Appropriate, fluent writing style throughout.

Grammar and spelling accurate.

Uses appropriate academic terminology throughout Portfolio.

Language fluent.

Grammar and spelling accurate.

Uses appropriate academic terminology throughout Portfolio.

Language mainly fluent.

Grammar and spelling mainly accurate.

Uses appropriate academic terminology throughout Portfolio.

Meaning apparent, but language not always fluent.

Grammatical and/or spelling errors. Uses some appropriate academic terminology throughout Portfolio.

Meaning unclear and/or frequent grammatical and/or spelling errors.

Misuses/uses unsuitable academic terminology throughout Portfolio.

Major problems with structure/ accuracy in expression. Negligible use of structure/ accuracy in expression.
Referencing Comprehensive, flawless, and in Harvard style.


Referencing consistently accurate throughout Portfolio Referencing consistently accurate throughout Portfolio. Referencing generally accurate throughout Portfolio, though minor errors and/or inconsistencies in evidence. Referencing inconsistent throughout Portfolio. Some attempt at referencing throughout Portfolio. Referencing absent/incorrect/

unsystematic throughout Portfolio.

Inadequate/ inappropriate use of/ reference to resources Negligible use of/ reference to resources

addressing assignment objectives

(e.g. introduction/discussion and reflections on activities, essay question, context)

Aims and objectives clear and arguments follow through. Exceptionally strong links throughout the portfolio.  Overwhelming evidence of self-direction/ insight. Assignment objectives are strong and convincing. Strong and convincing evidence of self-direction and insight Assignment objectives are appropriate and succinctly defined.

Objectives addressed comprehensively and imaginatively.

Portfolio takes account of complex contexts.

Assignment objectives are appropriate, clearly defined and addressed coherently.

Many attempts to demonstrate imagination.

Portfolio takes account of context.


Outlines objectives within assignment.

Broad objectives proposed and addressed coherently.

Some attempts to demonstrate imagination.

Portfolio recognises generalised context.

Has provided generalised objectives and focused

the assignment on the topic areas.

Portfolio acknowledges context, but not really taken into account.

Assignment objectives confused

Portfolio does not recognise context as relevant.

No information on assignment objectives provided.

Portfolio does not recognise context as relevant.

No information on assignment objectives provided.

Portfolio does not recognise context as relevant.

Content and range Vast knowledge base that supports systematic and critical understanding at or informed by the forefront of the defined aspects of the discipline. Overwhelming and innovation exploration that exceeds the brief Vast knowledge base that supports systematic and critical understanding. Strong and convincing exploration which exceeds the brief. Comprehensive/detailed knowledge of all topics within Portfolio.

Justifies own ideas based on a wide range of academic sources.

Boundaries of the subject and relationships with other disciplines and frameworks are explored.

Reasonable knowledge of most topics within Portfolio.

Justifies own ideas based on a reasonable range of sources.

Some boundaries are explored.

Portfolio gives a factual and/or conceptual knowledge base.

Clear evidence of readings relevant to the subject.

An awareness of subject boundaries.

Portfolio shows evidence of limited knowledge of topics.

Literature is presented uncritically.

Limited awareness of subject boundaries.

Limited knowledge base; limited understanding of the discipline and well-established concepts principles Inadequate/ inappropriate knowledge base; lack of understanding of the discipline and well-established concepts principles


Negligible knowledge base; negligible understanding of the discipline and well established concepts principles


Critical reasoning Vast creative and sustained reasoning which supports conclusions and recommendations while evidencing an appreciation of uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge. Strong and convincing use of academic/ intellectual skills and practical/ professional skills  Which logically flow to the recommendations and/or conclusions Critically reviews evidence supporting conclusions/recommendations including reliability, validity and significance of academic research.

Investigates contradictory information and identifies reasons for contradictions.

Identifies a range of evidence and evaluates reliability, relevance and significance of academic research. Identifies a limited range of evidence of academic research.

Some attempts to evaluate reliability, relevance and significance.

Limited and only partially accurate evaluation of evidence of academic research.

Occasional attempts to evaluate reliability, relevance and significance.

Little or no academic research.

Fails to evaluate or acknowledge reliability, relevance and significance of evidence and/or evaluations are totally invalid.

Very weak academic/ intellectual skills. Wholly imitative and descriptive Very weak practical/ professional skills. Negligible use of academic/ intellectual skills. Imitative and descriptive.
Conclusions Arguments,

ideas and, where appropriate, solutions

are presented coherently and fully

underpinned by relevant contemporary and seminal research and



ideas and, where appropriate, solutions

are presented coherently and fully

underpinned by thorough research and


Analytical and clear conclusions well-grounded in academic theory and literature, showing development of new concepts for practice. Conclusions demonstrated in a summary of arguments based in academic theory/literature showing development of new concepts for practice. Evidence of findings and conclusions grounded in academic theory/literature.

Some development of new concepts for practice.

Limited evidence of findings and conclusions supported by academic theory/literature.

Limited development of new concepts for practice.

Unsubstantiated/invalid conclusions based on anecdote and generalisation only. Very weak conclusions which do not match with portfolio content Conclusions difficult to distinguish
Reflective Practice
Reflective Practice Portfolio evidences exceptional work, self-development and understanding is evidenced in a clear and effective manner Portfolio demonstrates outstanding work, knowledge of self and evidence of personal development evidenced in a clear and effective manner Portfolio demonstrates clear evidence of reflection and critical analysis of activities and demonstration of learning. Portfolio demonstrates reflection and critical analysis of activities.

Demonstrates learning.

Portfolio demonstrates some reflection and critical analysis of activities.

Some learning demonstrated.

Portfolio offers description of activities rather than reflection.

Some attempt to demonstrate learning.

Portfolio demonstrates no reflection or is based on anecdote.

Little or no learning demonstrated.

Inadequate ability to direct own learning No ability to direct own learning


Appendix 3 Assignment Cover Sheet

(The first page of your submitted Assessment must be the Title Page [as follows] Please delete this text prior to submission including the Appendix element).


Student Name:


Student ID:




Module Tutor:


Date of Submission:


Word Count:


Please insert your name below to verify the following statement:


By formally submitting this work, I confirm that I have read the University of Lincoln’s regulations, that I understand them, and that the work I have submitted is my own original work.





(Insert your full name above to confirm agreement with the statement above)


1              Do you have a disability/medical condition?    

YES                 NO

(please delete as applicable and if YES, please answer question 2 below)


2              Are you in receipt of a Learning Support Plan?              

YES                 NO


Appendix 4: Guidance on Academic Writing and Reflective Writing

Students need to:

  • Be familiar with the Blackboard VLE site, all Engineering Systems Management resources and the Engineering Systems Management Handbook
  • Understand the Leaning Objectives and follow the correct format and word count of the Engineering Systems Management Portfolio.

Academic writing style:

  • The Engineering Systems Management portfolio should generally be written objectively in 3rd person narrative and should focus on addressing the title and Learning Objectives
  • However use of the 1st person narrative is appropriate for section 4 (the personal reflection on lessons learnt) or where you are referring to your own reflections or experiences elsewhere. (Section headings should be used to make clear distinctions between the two types of narrative – i.e. please do not mix them in the same paragraphs)
  • Work must be informed by academic research – as a guide, aim for one in-text citation per 100 words
  • Academic research must be contextualised: the research needs analysis/consideration/comment on implications for the workplace or area under investigation
  • The language used in academic work must be appropriate and ‘cautious’, avoiding generalisations/unsupported assertions or statements of ‘fact’
  • A focused/concise style of writing addressing the assessment title/answering the question should be adopted throughout
  • In-text citations must be correctly presented, in line with the UoL Harvard Referencing Handbook and Summary Sheet (Appendix 6)
  • Double quotation marks “…” should be used for direct quotes (not single quotes ‘…’)
  • The Reference List should include only sources used in the work and must be correctly presented in line with the UoL Harvard Referencing Handbook
  • ‘Readability’ with correct use of appropriate punctuation is important – reading work out loud can help identify where work needs careful editing for clarity
  • Attention to detail is very important: time and effort should be invested editing the work (to enhance it) and then proofreading it (to detect/correct all errors, check grammar/punctuation and general readability). Do this several times and always after a break, so the work is seen more objectively. Work must also be spellchecked.

Students should avoid …

  • Using ‘the author’/‘the writer’/‘one’, 2nd person (you/your/we/our/us etc.), informal vocabulary/in-house terminology and abbreviations
  • Do not use dictionary definitions as quotes
  • Asking rhetorical questions
  • Excessive use of diagrams in the main text; however, do consider placing them in the appendices.
  • Relating quote after quote – aim to contextualise the information; for example, what might the outcome(s)/implication(s) be?
  • Using direct quotes – although acceptable for things like academic definitions (from academic books, not dictionary entries), students should use their own words to paraphrase and demonstrate understanding of the academic research
  • Writing over-long/difficult to digest sentences; also avoid one-sentence and overly long paragraphs
  • Basing work solely on personal experiences/observations/opinions – use academic books/journals and the findings to inform the work

Tutor Feedback:

  • Students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to submit drafts, but note that it is the student’s responsibility to edit, proofread and spellcheck both formative and summative work prior to submission
  • Tutor feedback aims to help the student improve the work and engage in personal development by enhancing their academic writing style
  • Tutor feedback should not be interpreted as criticism of the student or the student’s work
  • When formative (draft) work is returned, students should review the work and take feedback on board: the feedback comments should be implemented and then learning demonstrated as the work progresses
  • When the summative (final) assessment is available, students should review all tutor feedback and then carefully read through the submission sheet, taking on board the feedback comments made within this sheet offers a valuable learning opportunity that can enhance the student’s approach to further modules or further Higher Educational qualifications

Appendix 6: Harvard Referencing System Summary Sheet

Please read in conjunction with the University of Lincoln Harvard Referencing Handbook, pages 1-7

Remember the handbook has full guidelines on how to reference a range of other information sources. 

References within academic work (see pages 2-3 and 7 of the Harvard Referencing Handbook)

  • Assessed work must be informed with appropriate academic research. Whether taken from books, the Internet, journals or any other source, all sources must be referenced.
  • For direct quotes, use double quotation marks “…” and give (author’s surname, year and page number). Use direct quotations sparingly e.g. academic definitions.

Example of a direct quote:

(see above)le Reing generally to a model/concept:

for information on how to present JournalsSaunders et al. (2016, 8) suggest “many managers and academics perceive the gap between research undertaken by academics and the practice of management as a problem”.

  • Aim to paraphrase to demonstrate understanding of the information, rather than rely on direct quotations: to do this, use your own words and then give (author’s surname, year and page number).

Example of in-text citation when paraphrasing:

Some perceive the difference between the theory and the practice of management as being problematic (Saunders et al., 2016, 8).

  • If referring generally to a model/concept, give (author surname, year).

Example of referring generally to a model/concept:

When considering Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1943), it might be worth the manager

  • When the surname forms a part of the sentence it should not be within the brackets.
  • See pages 35-41 of the Harvard Referencing Handbook for information on how to present in-text citations taken from Journals.

Secondary Referencing (see page 7 of the Harvard Referencing Handbook)

  • Avoid secondary referencing – always access/use the original source where possible.
  • If this is not possible, the original author and year of publication should be cited, followed by ‘cited in’ and then author surname, year of publication and page number of the text.

Example of secondary referencing in a direct quote:

Transfield and Starkey (1998, cited in Saunders et al., 2016, 6) assert “research should complete a virtuous circle of theory and practice”.

Using Multiple Sources

  • It is good practice to use multiple sources to develop points within your assessment.
  • Multiple sources can only be used to develop in-text citations.
  • Listing multiple sources indicates that you have accessed/read each one: if you have taken all sources from, say, an article, then it should be presented as a secondary source (see above).
  • List the names in brackets in alphabetical order, separated by a semi-colon.

Example of using multiple sources:

Management research must be practically relevant as well as both theoretically and methodologically rigorous (Hodgkinson et al., 2001; Saunders et al., 2016; Wensley, 2011).

The Reference List (see pages 3-6 of the Harvard Referencing Handbook)

  • The Reference List must be presented alphabetically by author’s surname at the end of the document, before appendices and before the Bibliography (if included).
  • The Reference List gives the precise source of all references included in the work: only sources cited in the main body should appear in the Reference List; background reading should go in a Bibliography (see page 6 of the Harvard Referencing Handbook).
  • Insert a clear line space between each item to separate entries.
  • Give the author’s surname and initial, year of publication, title of the text (in italics for a book), edition (if not first edition), place of publication and name of publisher.

Example of a Reference List:

Hodgkinson, G.P., Herriot, P. and Anderson, N. (2001) Re-aligning the stakeholders in management research: lessons from industrial, work and organizational psychology. British Journal of Management, 12(Special Issue) 41-48.

Moon, J.A. (2006) A handbook of reflective and experiential learning: theory and practice. London: Routledge.

Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2016) Research Methods for Business Students, 7th edition. London: Pearsons

Appendix 7: CMI Diploma in Management and Leadership Level 5

For CMI accreditation, you need to be aware of the learning outcomes below.  As you are undertaking a course that is accredited to the CMI Level 5 Diploma in Management and Leadership, you are encouraged to use Management Direct within your self-directed reading

This Module links to CMI module 5001V2, within the assessment you are expected to achieve the following Learning Outcomes:

  1. Be able to assess and plan for personal professional development
  2. Be able to plan the resources required for personal professional development
  3. Be able to implement and evaluate the personal development plan.