IE 545, Human Factors Engineering

Fall Term 2017

Course Information

OSU Catalog Description

Analysis and design of systems considering human characteristics, capabilities and limitations. Analysis and design of displays, controls, tools, and workstations. Human performance analysis. Human factors research methods. 4 credits (three hours of lecture, two hours of lab per week).

Meeting Times and Location

Lecture: TR 1000-1120 in BAT 144   Lab: F 0800-0950 in ROG 332

Instructor: Dr. Ken Funk

Phone: 541-737-2357
Office: Rogers 212
Office Hours: TR 1300-1430,
or when the door is open,
or by appointment

Required Text

Wickens, C.D., J.D. Lee, Y. Liu, and S.E. Gordon Becker (2004). An Introduction to Human Factors in Engineering, 2nd edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Describe in writing the meaning and importance of human factors engineering, without reference materials.
  2. Describe in writing and/or by illustrations human sensory, cognitive, and physical capabilities and limitations relevant to the design of human-machine systems, with reference materials.
  3. Correctly apply human-machine system design principles to develop written and graphical design specifications, with reference materials.
  4. Select and correctly use appropriate human-machine system analysis and design tools, with reference materials.
  5. Recognize and make effective recommendations in written and/or graphical form to correct human factors deficiencies in existing human-machine systems, with reference materials.
  6. Describe in writing and/or by illustrations the human-machine systems engineering process, with reference materials.
  7. Correctly apply the human-machine systems engineering process by developing analysis documents and design specifications for a simple human-machine system, with reference materials.
  8. Design, conduct, and document a human factors experiment or other human factors study.


Readings, Lectures, and Laboratories

Readings, as assigned in the course Schedule, should be completed before class. In most class meetings, time will be devoted to discussion and students should be prepared to ask and answer questions about the assigned materials. Laboratory sessions will generally focus on the HFE Project, described below. Class meetings, both lectures and labs, will start on time and students are expected to be in their seats and ready when class begins. Laptops, tablets, etc. may be used in class for course purposes only. Phones must be off or in vibrate-only mode. No calls may be made or received in the classroom during class.

Midterm Examination

The midterm examination will cover all assigned readings, lectures, labs and class discussions up to the time of the exam. It will be a closed-book, closed-notes exam, with the exception that one sheet of notes (8.5" x 11", both sides) may be used as a memory aid.

Human Factors Engineering (HFE) Project

Students will work in small teams assigned by the instructor to perform analyses, design, prototype, and evaluate a user interface, tool, workstation, or other human-machine system. At the beginning of the term, each team will submit a Statement of Need for a proposed project, to be approved by the instructor.

Progress Reports

Stages in the human-machine systems engineering process will be covered in the labs and students will apply that information to the work on their projects. Each team will submit regular progress reports during the term and a final report at the end of the term (see Schedule). Each progress report will consist of a one-page memo describing

with work products attached as appendices.

User Panel

Each team will recruit a User Panel of at least three persons representative of the target user population. The Panel will advise the team on background and need information, requirements development, and design, they will participate in the trade study (see below) and evaluation, and the team should generally consult the Panel early and often throughout the project.

Trade Study

As part of the project, the team must perform a trade study, a small pseudo-experiment to compare two or more design options (either design elements or complete designs) to decide which to use in the final design. The trade study must involve at least five participants (User Panel members and others representative of the target user population) and collect and analyze speed, accuracy, and user satisfaction data to make that determination.

Final Report

Each team will submit a final report, by the time specified in the schedule, consisting of the following sections, with work products either incorporated into the text or attached as appendices.

  1. Executive Summary of the report (not more than one page)
  2. Background and Statement of Need
  3. Objectives of the project
  4. Task Analysis (IDEF0 task model) -- Summarize the task analysis and modeling process, include the model, and describe it, highlighting subprocesses where there are special challenges or that led you to important requirements.
  5. Detailed Task Analysis -- Summarize the detailed task analysis process and major findings.
  6. Final Requirements -- Include comments on how the design meets them.
  7. Trade Study - Describe objectives, alternative designs or design elements that were compared, trade study procedure, and findings.
  8. Design Specifications -- Include in the report drawings, design descriptions, and descriptions of how the user interacts with the system. If the prototype is small, it should be handed in with the report.
  9. Mockup/Prototype -- Include images and descriptions of the mockup/prototype.
  10. Evaluation -- Describe the evaluation process and findings.
  11. Conclusions and Recommendations -- Discuss how well your design satsified the objectives and met the requirements.  Offer recommendations for design improvements.
  12. Appendices (as necessary)

HFE Project Grading

HFE project progress and final reports will be graded on technical content as well as clarity and conciseness, organization, spelling, grammar, and other writing criteria.  Work products will be graded on completeness and technical accuracy of each component. Graded work products from the progress reports will be revised by the team and incorporated into the final report.

Final Examination

The final examination will cover all assigned readings, lectures, and discussions after the midterm and prior to the final exam (i.e., it will not be comprehensive). It will be a closed-book, closed-notes exam, with the exception that one sheet of notes (8.5" x 11", both sides) may be used as a memory aid.


Grading Criteria

Examination questions will be graded on appropriate technical criteria. Project final report grading will be based on completeness, technical accuracy and other criteria, including the following:

  1. factual accuracy;
  2. logic, including validity of assumptions and the extent to which conclusions logically follow;
  3. organization of paragraphs and the clear and orderly flow of the text;
  4. clarity of expression;
  5. style appropriate to a technical audience;
  6. structure, including proper sentence construction and readability;
  7. wording, the appropriate selection of words;
  8. grammar, conformance to accepted rules of English grammar;
  9. spelling accuracy;
  10. punctuation, conformance to accepted rules of English punctuation; and
  11. formatting, the extent to which document formatting (headings and subheadings, text font, face, indentation, bullets and numbering, page breaks, etc.) are used to enhance readability, organization, and clarity.


Grading will be based on points earned for course work as defined in the following table.

Midterm Examination
Final Examination
6 HFE Project Progress Reports @ 10 points
HFE Project Final Written Report
Final Oral Presentation
Instructor Evaluation

Grading Scale

Points will be assigned to student work according to the above and each student's final course grade will be based on the percentage of maximum possible points earned, according to the following table.

93% - 100%
90% - 92%
87% - 89%
83% - 86%
80% - 82%
77% - 79%
73% - 76%
70% - 72%
67% - 69%
63% - 66%
60% - 62%
0% - 59%

Peer Evaluation

It is expected that the members of each project team will share the workload equally. To encourage and assess that, two peer evaluations will be conducted, one at the middle of the term and one at the end, in which each member of every project team will confidentially evaluate all the members of the team, including her-/himself, on their contribution to the project, rating each with a percentage out of 100% (totalling to 100%) as an estimate of that member's relative contribution to the total project. The instructors will consider these ratings in the assignment of final grades.

Questions about Grading

Any questions or concerns about the grading of specific work must be brought to the attention of the Instructor within one week of when the graded work is returned.

Disabilities Information

Accommodations for students with disabilities are determined and approved by Disability Access Services (DAS). If you, as a student, believe you are eligible for accommodations but have not obtained approval please contact DAS immediately at 541-737-4098 or at DAS notifies students and faculty members of approved academic accommodations and coordinates implementation of those accommodations. While not required, students and faculty members are encouraged to discuss details of the implementation of individual accommodations. [Updated 28 April 2016.]

Academic Integrity

It is the expectation of the instructor that any work submitted for this course is a fair and accurate representation of the student's abilities and efforts, or in the case of team work, those of the team. Evidence to the contrary will prompt investigation and any dishonest acts will be dealt with accordingly.

The following is adapted from the OSU Student Conduct Regulations website. For further information, please refer to

Academic or Scholarly Dishonesty is defined as an act of deception in which a Student seeks to claim credit for the work or effort of another person, or uses unauthorized materials or fabricated information in any academic work or research, either through the Student's own efforts or the efforts of another. It includes:

  • CHEATING - use or attempted use of unauthorized materials, information or study aids, or an act of deceit by which a Student attempts to misrepresent mastery of academic effort or information. This includes but is not limited to unauthorized copying or collaboration on a test or assignment, using prohibited materials and texts, any misuse of an electronic device, or using any deceptive means to gain academic credit.
  • FABRICATION - falsification or invention of any information including but not limited to falsifying research, inventing or exaggerating data, or listing incorrect or fictitious references.
  • ASSISTING - helping another commit an act of academic dishonesty. This includes but is not limited to paying or bribing someone to acquire a test or assignment, changing someone's grades or academic records, taking a test/doing an assignment for someone else by any means, including misuse of an electronic device. It is a violation of Oregon state law to create and offer to sell part or all of an educational assignment to another person.
  • TAMPERING - altering or interfering with evaluation instruments or documents.
  • PLAGIARISM - representing the words or ideas of another person or presenting someone else's words, ideas, artistry or data as one's own, or using one's own previously submitted work. Plagiarism includes but is not limited to copying another person's work (including unpublished material) without appropriate referencing, presenting someone else's opinions and theories as one's own, or working jointly on a project and then submitting it as one's own.

Any acts of academic dishonesty in this course will be handled initially by the School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering. Any such matters not quickly resolved will also be referred to the Student Conduct Coordinator for action under Oregon Revised Statute 351.070.


Subject to change, so check this page frequently.

Week 0
Meeting Reading Topic Deliverables Due
21 Sep
Chap. 1
Introduction to Human Factors Engineering, Course Overview, HFE Project Requirements
Friday Lab
22 Sep
Chap. 3 The Human-Machine Systems Engineering Process  
Week 1
Meeting Reading Topic Deliverables Due
26 Sep
Chap. 4 Vision  
28 Sep
Chap. 5 Auditory, Tactile, and Vestibular Senses "Progress" Report 1:
- (no memo required)
- Statement of Need
Friday Lab
29 Sep
IDEF0-1, IDEF0-2
Writing Requirements,
Introduction to Task Analysis Using IDEF0
Week 2
Meeting Reading Topic Deliverables Due
3 Oct
Chap. 6
(pp. 120-143)

5 Oct
Chap. 6
(pp. 143-156)
Friday Lab
6 Oct

IDEF0 Task Analysis (continued)
Using AI0WIN
(Meet in the ROG 336 computer lab.)
Progress Report 2:
- Memo
- Initial IDEF0 Task Model
- Preliminary Requirements
- User Panel membership
Week 3
Meeting Reading Topic Deliverables Due

10 Oct

Chap. 7
Decision Making

12 Oct

Decision Making

Friday Lab
13 Oct
Chap. 3:
pp. 38-50
Detailed Task Analysis
Progress Report 3:
- Memo
- Final IDEF0 Task Model
- Revised Requirements
Week 4
Meeting Reading Topic Deliverables Due
17 Oct
Chap. 8
(pp. 184-207)

19 Oct
Chap. 8
(pp. 207-217)
No class
Friday Lab
20 Oct
  Human Factors Design Progress Report 4:
- Memo
- Detailed Task Analysis
- Final Requirements
Week 5
Meeting Reading Topic Deliverables Due
24 Oct
Chap. 9
(pp. 218-231)

26 Oct
Chap. 9
(pp. 231-242)

Friday Lab
27 Oct
  Midterm Examination
Week 6
Meeting Reading Topic Deliverables Due
31 Oct
Chap. 10
Mid-term Peer Evaluations
2 Nov
Chap. 15
(pp. 383-406)
Human-Computer Interaction

Friday Lab
3 Nov
Chap. 2
Human Factors Research,
Design Trade Studies
Progress Report 5:
- Memo
- Final Requirements
- Preliminary Design for   Preliminary Design Review
Week 7
Meeting Reading Topic Deliverables Due
7 Nov
  User Experience (UX) at AutoDesk
Will Secor, guest speaker

9 Nov
Chap. 15
(pp. 406-417)
10 Usability Heuristics
Human-Computer Interaction,
Models, Mockups, and Prototypes

Friday Lab
10 Nov

No class: Veterans Day  
Week 8
Meeting Reading Topic Deliverables Due
14 Nov
Chap. 10 Workstation Design
16 Nov

FAA Standards, Subparts D and F,

Workstation Design,
Human Factors Standards

Friday Lab
17 Nov
  Human Factors Testing and Evaluation Progress Report 6:
- Memo
- Final Requirements
- Final Design for Critical
  Design Review
Week 9
Meeting Reading Topic Deliverables Due
21 Nov
Chap. 11 Biomechanics, Ergonomics 
23 Nov
  No class: Thanksgiving Holiday  
Friday Lab
24 Nov

No class: Thanksgiving Holiday
Week 10
Meeting Reading Topic/Activity Deliverables Due
28 Nov
Chap. 13
Stress and Workload  
30 Nov
Chap. 14 Safety and Human Error
Friday Lab
1 Dec

HFE Project Final Oral Presentations

Finals Week
Day   Activity Deliverables Due
5 Dec
  Final examination 1400-1550 in room BAT 144  
6 Dec
    HFE Project Final Reports
Final Peer Evaluations
(due by noon)


This section provides links to course resources, as they become available.

Last update: 16 November 2017