Why Study Systems Engineering?
VCE Systems Engineering promotes innovative systems thinking and problem-solving skills through the Systems Engineering Process, which takes a project-management approach. It focuses on mechanical and electrotechnology engineered systems.
The study provides opportunities for students to learn about and engage with systems from a practical and purposeful perspective. Students gain knowledge and understanding about, and learn to appreciate and apply technological systems.
VCE Systems Engineering integrates aspects of designing, planning, fabricating, testing and evaluating in a project management process. It prepares students for careers in engineering, manufacturing and design through either a university or TAFE vocational study pathway, employment, apprenticeships and traineeships. The study provides a rigorous academic foundation and a practical working knowledge of design, manufacturing and evaluation techniques. These skills, and the ability to apply systems engineering processes, are growing in demand as industry projects become more complex and multidisciplinary.
The study is made up of four units:
Unit 1: Introduction to mechanical systems
Unit 2: Introduction to electrotechnology systems
Unit 3: Integrated systems engineering and energy
Unit 4: Systems control and new and emerging technologies
There are no prerequisites for entry to Units 1, 2 and 3. Students must undertake Unit 3 prior to undertaking Unit 4. Units 1 to 4 are designed to a standard equivalent to the final two years of secondary education.
Outcomes define what students will know and be able to do as a result of undertaking the study.
Outcomes include a summary statement and the key knowledge and skills that underpin them.
UNIT 1 - INTRODUCTION TO MECHANICAL SYSTEMS
In this unit, students are introduced to the Systems Engineering Process. They are introduced to the fundamental mechanical engineering principles, including recognition of mechanical subsystems and devices, their motions, the elementary applied physics, and the related mathematical calculations that can be applied to define and explain the physical characteristics of these systems.
The construction process draws heavily upon design and innovation. Students apply their knowledge to design, construct, test and evaluate operational systems. The focus of the system should be mechanical. Through research, students explore and quantify how systems use or convert the energy supplied to them.
On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe and use basic engineering concepts, principles and components, and using selected relevant aspects of the Systems Engineering Process, design and plan a mechanical or an electro-mechanical system.
On completion of this unit the student should be able to make, test and evaluate a mechanical or an electro-mechanical system using selected relevant aspects of the Systems Engineering Process.
UNIT 2 - INTRODUCTION TO ELECTROTECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS
In this unit students study fundamental electrotechnology engineering principles. Through the application of their knowledge and the Systems Engineering Process, students produce operational systems that may also include mechanical components. In addition, students conduct research and produce technical reports. While this unit contains fundamental physics and theoretical understanding of electrotechnology systems and how they work, student focus remains on the construction of electrotechnology systems. The construction process draws heavily upon design and innovation. Electrotechnology is experiencing rapid developments and changes through technological innovation.
The contemporary design and manufacture of electronic equipment involves increased levels of automation and inbuilt control through the inclusion of microcontrollers. In this unit students explore some of these new and emerging technologies. Students study fundamental electrotechnology principles including applied electrical theory, representation of electronic components and devices, elementary applied physics in electrical circuits, and mathematical calculations that can be applied to define and explain electrical characteristics of circuits.
The unit offers opportunities for students to apply their knowledge in the design, construction, testing and evaluation of an operational system. The system should be predominately electrotech based, but would generally have electro-mechanical components within the system. The constructed system should provide a tangible demonstration of some of the theoretical principles studied in this unit.
On completion of this unit the student should be able to investigate, represent, describe and use basic electrotechnology and basic control engineering concepts, principles and components, and using selected relevant aspects of the Systems Engineering Process, design and plan an electrotechnology system.
On completion of this unit the student should be able to make, test and evaluate an electrotechnology system, using selected relevant aspects of the Systems Engineering Process.
UNIT 3 - INTEGRATED SYSTEMS ENGINEERING AND ENERGY
In this unit students study the engineering principles that are used to explain the physical properties of integrated systems and how they work. Through the application of their knowledge, students design and plan an operational, mechanical-electrotechnology integrated and controlled system. They learn about the technologies used to harness energy sources to provide power for engineered systems.
Students commence work on the design, planning and construction of one substantial controlled integrated system. This project has a strong emphasis on designing, manufacturing, testing and innovation. Students manage the project throughout the Systems Engineering Process, taking into consideration the factors that will influence the design, planning, production and use of their integrated system. The systems engineering principles underpin students’ understanding of the fundamental physics and applied mathematics needed to provide a comprehensive understanding of mechanical and electrotech systems and how they function.
Students learn about sources and types of energy that enable engineered technological systems to function. Comparisons are made between the impacts of the use of renewable and non-renewable energy sources. Students learn about the technological systems developed to capture and store renewable energy and technological developments to improve the credentials of non-renewables.
On completion of this unit the student should be able to investigate, analyse and use advanced mechanical-electrotechnology integrated and control systems concepts, principles and components, and using selected relevant aspects of the Systems Engineering Process, design, plan and commence construction of an integrated and controlled system.
On completion of this unit the student should be able to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of renewable and non-renewable energy sources, and analyse and evaluate the technology used to harness, generate and store non-renewable and renewable energy.
UNIT 4 - SYSTEMS CONTROL AND NEW AND EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES
In this unit students complete the production work and test and evaluate the integrated controlled system they designed in Unit 3. Students investigate new and emerging technologies, consider reasons for their development and analyse their impacts.
Students use their investigations, design and planning to continue the fabrication of their mechanical electrotechnology integrated and controlled system using the Systems Engineering Process. They use project and risk management methods through the construction of the system and use a range of materials, tools, equipment, and components. In the final stages of the Systems Engineering Process, students test, diagnose and analyse the performance of the system. They evaluate their processes and the system.
Students expand their knowledge of new and emerging developments and innovations through their investigation and analysis of a range of engineered systems. They analyse a specific new or emerging innovation, including its impacts.
On completion of this unit the student should be able to produce, test and diagnose an advanced mechanical-electrotechnology integrated and controlled system using selected relevant aspects of the Systems Engineering Process, and manage, document and evaluate the system and processes.
On completion of this unit the student should be able to describe and evaluate a range of new or emerging technologies, and analyse the likely impacts of a selected innovation.
Demonstrated achievement of the set of outcomes specified for the unit.
Levels of achievement
UNITS 1 AND 2
Emmaus College students complete graded Assessment Tasks and Semester Examinations as part of the Assessment process for Units 1 and 2.
UNITS 3 AND 4
The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority will supervise the assessment of all students undertaking Units 3 and 4.
In Systems Engineering the student’s level of achievement will be determined by school-assessed coursework, a school-assessed task and an end-of-year examination.
Percentage contributions to the study score in Systems Engineering are as follows:
Unit 3 school-assessed coursework: 12 per cent
Unit 4 school-assessed coursework: 8 per cent
School-assessed task: 50 per cent
End-of-year examination: 30 per cent