Broadening students' perspectives through multidisciplinary courses

Faculty of Engineering
Engineering Design and Teaching Innovation
Undergraduate studies
A smiling student holding a laptop
Along with the new multidisciplinary design program, new courses are now available to all engineering and computer science students. These courses will allow students to study topics at the intersection of technology and other fields, such as art, business, humanities, or public policy.

In a competitive job market, a typical course sequence may not be enough to help you stand out. More and more, employers are looking for well-rounded individuals that are both knowledgeable in their field and possess the necessary skills to make a seamless transition into the workforce.

It’s with this industry need in mind that the School of Engineering Design and Teaching Innovation has created many new courses (course code: SED) that are grouped into themes. These course groupings include impact of engineering on society, digital and data fluency, multidisciplinary design as well as professional development and communications. The idea is to look at engineering and technology through a multidisciplinary lens and, at the same time, acquire skills in design, ethics, sustainability, teamwork, and critical thinking that will benefit you beyond your university journey.

These new courses will premiere during the 2023-2024 academic year and are open to all interested uOttawa students. They are also a mandatory part of the curriculum of the bachelor of multidisciplinary design – experiential learning, launching that same year.

Here is a look at the new engineering courses:

SED 1111 – Personal development and communications skills
Personal development of the student with the goal of making them successful during their undergraduate degree. Establishing goals, understanding strengths and weaknesses, stress management, developing resilience, time management and communication skills. Introduction to problem solving with a focus on problem identification and research skills development.

SED 1112 – Teamwork and communication skills
Developing the person within a team. Interpersonal skills, metacognition, reflection, and how to get a job. Equity, diversity and inclusion and their impact on teamwork. Verbal and written communication skills. Use of digital tools to facilitate communication tasks. Time and resource estimations. Critical thinking skills with a focus on ideating and decision making.

SED 1113 — Introduction to engineering and its impact on society 
Answers to the question: What is engineering? Ethical implications, as well as social and environmental impacts, of technology. Introduction to civil, mechanical, chemical, electrical, computer, and software engineering, as well as many of their subdisciplines. Investigation of the role each engineering discipline plays in society and the way that they interact with each other and others. Grand challenges currently faced by society. The role engineers will play in resolving these challenges.

SED 1114 — Introduction to sustainability
Introduction to the basic concepts and tools that engineering, science, business and the humanities bring to sustainability considerations. Students will engage in “hands-on” challenges to develop the multidisciplinary awareness and collaboration skills needed to approach social and environmental issues that are now essential in most modern technology jobs.

SED 1115 — Embedded programming and scripting
Programming on a Raspberry Pi embedded processor. Development of scripts for practical real-world automation, monitoring and control tasks in Python. Creation and testing of a simple project. Intended for students who want to achieve basic digital fluency in creating programs for physical types of applications, rather than to become expert programmers.

SED 1116 — Data visualization and analytics
Data visualization using open source big data repositories. Extracting, transforming, and visualizing data through dashboarding. Use of Microsoft Excel, PowerBI or similar tools. Introduction to open source software like KNIME or Tableau.

SED 2113 — Leadership and communication
Developing the person as a technical leader. Developing team and engineering community leadership. Project and risk management skills. Exploration of leadership roles, including management and technical leadership, as well as a leader's ethical responsibility on a team and their personal impact on society (triple bottom line). Study of how leaders can improve team performance through equity, diversity and inclusion and how to influence teams towards a greater good. Verbal and written technical communication.

SED 2115 — Web and Mobile Applications
Application programming with emphasis on deployment in the cloud and understanding of existing programs and libraries. Programming environments, databases and research and use of open-source code libraries to define, create and test the front-end and back-end of a simple website, along with an accompanying mobile application. In software development teams, students will also identify, specify and implement a simple project of their own.

SED 2116 — Ethics and Technology
Ethics in engineering and technology. Enables students to develop their sensibility, analysis, creativity, judgement, and decision-making skills in a moral context

Course enrolment support is available for all uOttawa students.