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Course module: 201600158
Systems in Context
Course info
Course module201600158
Credits (ECTS)10
Course typeModule
Language of instructionEnglish
Contact G.M. Bonnema
PreviousNext 5
dr. A.A. Albert de la Bruheze
Contactperson for the course G.M. Bonnema
Lecturer G.M. Bonnema
Lecturer W. Eggink
dr. J.M. Jauregui Becker
Academic year2016
Starting block
Application procedureYou apply via OSIRIS Student
Registration using OSIRISYes
Learning goals
Design and Meaning

Philosopy and Technology
After passing the course, the student can:      
  1. Analyses and evaluate a technology (product/service) by using philosophical and sociological concepts and frameworks.
  2. Present arguments to support her/his analysis and evaluation of the technology (product/service)
  3. Demonstrate detailed knowlegde on at least one of philosophical or sociological frameworks.
  4. Explain traditional and contemporary accounts in Philosophy and Sociology of Technology.
  5. Write an academic paper.
Design of Mechatronics and Systems
After passing the course, the student can:      
  1. design (part of) a mechatronic system
  2. get and maintain the big picture in a multidisciplinary development project
  3. use systems engineering methods and tools in a multidisciplinary development project
  4. tackle a mechatronic design problem in a structured manner
  5. integrate knowledge from previous modules
  6. communicate with mechatronic specialists
  7. frame and evaluate a vision on application of systems engineering
Products become more complex by increased demands and by continuous technological developments. This poses a challenge as in-depth information is needed for well-founded engineering decisions in many diverse fields of engineering. Coherence in the product has to be ensured as well. In the part on design and meaning, students will get acquainted with several theories and frameworks that connect design and meaning. The students will iteratively develop means to analyze, appropriate and generate designs following the provided frameworks. The students will deliver a final annotated portfolio that presents the design rationale visually and an individual reflection on their own role as designer.
In this module, students work in relatively large teams on a realistic and complex design problem. There is a close relation between the project, systems engineering and mechatronic design. The parts Design and Meaning, and REST have a somewhat looser connection with the project. The REST part will prepare the students for their reflection report, which is part of module 12.

Design and Meaning

Philosopy and Technology
The course will introduce the students to traditional and contemporary accounts in Philosophy of Technology and Science and Technology Studies (STS). The students will learn how to analysis and evaluate products and services by applying insights from Value Sensitive Design, Mediation Theory and other approaches.  In this learning process they will also reflect critically on design practices as processes of (socio-technical) knowledge production. In order to deepen the understanding of the theoretical insights, we will discuss the implications of these insights for the practice of design.

Design of Mechatronics and Systems
Products become more complex. On the one hand because of increased demands on the product, on the other hand because the possibilities are ever increasing. Designing such products get more difficult, in particular in balancing the complexity of the parts versus the overall system performance and cost. In this project we recreate a realistic development situation for such complex systems. The project, and the two contained classes Systems Engineering and Mechatronic Design form a tightly coupled unit. Knowledge and competences learned in Systems Engineering and Mechatronic Design will have to be applied in the project.

Systems Engineering is an approach to design that aims at developing and realizing successful systems efficiently. The class provides an introduction to the discipline. Three foundations will be treated: the SE process, the SE tools and systems thinking.

Mechatronic Design looks at high tech systems that are developed in an integrated manner. Mechanics, Electronics and Software work closely together. The class will provide a theoretical basis and treat concrete cases.

The project provides ample opportunity to apply the knowledge and competences on a realistic design problem. Dealing with complexity, unclear requirements and modern technology are central.
Assumed previous knowledge
Philosophy and technology:
Part "Human-Product Relations" of Module 5
Part "Sustainability and the Politics of Design" of Module 6
Required materials
Design of Mechatronics and Systems: Bonnema, G. Maarten and Veenvliet, Karel Th. and Broenink, Jan F. (2016) Systems design and engineering : facilitating multidisciplinary development projects. CRC Press, London, UK. ISBN 9781498751261
Design of Mechatronics and Systems: Reader "Mechatronic Design" by G.M. Bonnema and J. Jauregui Becker
Course material
Design of Mechatronics and Systems: Lecture slides
Philosophy and Technology: Papers/chapters (available on Blackboard)
Recommended materials
Voor Systems Engineering: De publicaties op en met name:
Course material
Design and Meaning: Benjamin S. Blanchard en Wolter J. Fabrycky, "Systems Engineering and Analysis". Mark W. Maier en Eberhardt Rechtin, "The Art of Systems Architecting".
Instructional modes



Design and Meaning

Philosophy and Sociology of Technology

Written exam with MC questions, paper

Design of Mechatronics and Systems

test, assignments, project

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