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Engineering: professions, practice and skills 1

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In this key introductory module you’ll take the first steps in planning your personal development to achieve career goals such as professional engineering status. As part of the skills development, you’ll take part in remote practical engineering activities, using a home experiment pack. This replaces a one-week residential school that we’ve cancelled for 2022 due to the uncertainty associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. You’ll work in a small online team, under the guidance of experienced tutors, exploring real-world engineering phenomena and solving problems. You’ll also gain practical skills in taking measurements, analysing data, seeking and evaluating information, modelling, and making presentations. The professional practice of engineers including ethics and safety will be explored using an engineering topic.

What you will study

In this module you’ll have the opportunity to develop the skills to support you in attaining your chosen qualification in engineering. It is a compulsory module of the OU Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Q65) and Master of Engineering (M04). It is not available for standalone study.

By focusing on a real-life engineering sector you will explore the professional practice of engineers including their ethics and approaches to safety.

For the practical engineering activities, you’ll work in a small online team, under the guidance of experienced tutors exploring real-world engineering phenomena and solving problems. You’ll also gain practical skills in taking measurements, analysing data, seeking and evaluating information, modelling, and making presentations.

If you are considering progressing to Engineering: professions, practice and skills 2 (T276), normally you should have completed this OU level 1 module.

You will learn

On successful completion of the module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of a topic in engineering by consideration of the underlying principles, concepts and motivations
  • by use of appropriate technical vocabulary, outline the acquired knowledge in the broader context of engineering practice
  • interpret instructions accurately in order to collect and evaluate, from an engineering standpoint, scientific information from published sources and from your own investigations
  • manage your learning and professional development by analysing your own approach to learning, assessing your current abilities in certain key skills areas and the factors that are likely to help or hinder your own further learning and development, and drawing up and maintaining a development plan linked to a strategy for achieving your goals
  • present the procedures and outcomes of your guided investigations in the form of structured reports of investigative work and critical analyses of arguments taken from published sources and/or team working
  • use examples from your own experience, previous study and practical work to outline the role and responsibilities of a professional engineer in respect of legal and other statutory frameworks, particularly in the area of health, safety and risk, and ethical issues affecting engineering practice.

Professional recognition

We design our engineering degrees to meet the accreditation requirements of professional engineering institutions. Both our undergraduate and postgraduate degrees have been accorded the highest levels of recognition in the last two accreditation cycles, and we are now seeking re-accreditation for our current suite of degrees.  

Entry requirements

This module is not available for standalone study. You must first register for either the Bachelor of Engineering (Q65) or the Master of Engineering (M04).

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

What's included

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
  • a home experiment pack.

You’ll also be provided with a home experiment pack, a copy of the Practical Engineering Handbook and activity notes.

Computing requirements

You’ll need a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of 64-bit Windows 10 (note that Windows 7 is no longer supported) and broadband internet access. Any macOS is unsuitable with this module.

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.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your module studies, you’ll get help and support from your assigned module tutor. They’ll help you by:

  • Marking your assignments (TMAs) and providing detailed feedback for you to improve.
  • Guiding you to additional learning resources.
  • Providing individual guidance, whether that’s for general study skills or specific module content.
  • Facilitating online discussions between your fellow students, in the dedicated module and tutor group forums.

Module tutors also run online tutorials throughout the module. Where possible, recordings of online tutorials will be made available to students. While these tutorials won’t be compulsory for you to complete the module, you’re strongly encouraged to take part.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) and end-of-module assessment (EMA).

Residential school

A residential school would normally take place at a university in the UK, but in response to the uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve cancelled this for 2022. Instead, you’ll conduct your practical learning remotely, using a home experiment pack. You can carry out all tasks on a desk or table.

You’ll explore real-world engineering phenomena and solve engineering problems. You’ll also gain invaluable practical skills: measuring; data analysis; research and information evaluation; modelling; presenting; designing; and decision making. Working in a small online team, you’ll develop these skills through enjoyable, online interactive learning activities. You’ll define your learning needs and plan ways of meeting them with the support of experienced tutors.

If you have any concerns about the practical engineering aspects of this module, contact your Student Support Team to discuss your options.

To pass the module, you must take part satisfactorily in the practical engineering activities.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying T176 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

Future availability

Engineering: professions, practice and skills 1 (T176) starts once a year – in February.

This page describes the module that will start in February 2022.

It will run until at least February 2023 – before which, we’ll review its future. Following a review, we’ll decide to either offer it beyond February 2023 or replace it.

Course work includes:

2 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
1 Interactive computer-marked assignment (iCMA)
End-of-module assessment
Embedded residential school