Oregon State University
School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering

IE 546, Human-Machine Systems Engineering

Spring Term 2012

Description | Learning Outcomes | Instructor | Readings | Class Meetings | HMSE Project Exams | GradingAcademic Honesty | Schedule | Resources | HFES

IE 546 is a graduate-level course presenting a human-centered systems approach to engineering more effective and safer systems. The course is organized around guided team projects of substantial significance and complexity.

OSU Catalog Description

Development of safe, high performance human-machine systems. System/function/task analysis, function allocation, design, mockups and rapid prototyping, human factors test and evaluation. PREREQ: IE 545 (recommended).

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, students should be able to

  1. clearly describe the human-machine systems engineering process;
  2. develop and manage requirements for a human-machine system, based upon a Statement of Need, analyses, and human factors principles and guidelines;
  3. analyze the system, processes, and tasks to understand the system and write formal requirements;
  4. design processes, workstations, human-machine interfaces, and procedures to meet requirements;
  5. implement models, mockups, or prototypes according to design specifications; and
  6. evaluate models, mockups, or prototypes with respect to the requirements and general human factors considerations.


Dr. Ken Funk
E-mail: funkk@engr.orst.edu
Phone: 541-737-2357
Office: 212 Rogers Hall
Office Hours: MW 0930 - 1050

(or whenever the door is open, or by appointment)


Chapanis, A. (1996). Human Factors In Systems Engineering. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Other readings, as assigned.  See Schedule.

Class Meetings

Most Monday class meetings will be discussions of the readings assigned for those days, sometimes supplemented by lecture by the instructor.  In preparation for each discussion, each student shall read the assignment and prepare brief written responses to the Study Questions for that reading.  One copy shall be submitted to the instructor at the beginning of class and one copy should be kept for reference during the discussion.

Human-Machine Systems Engineering Project

Students will work in teams to develop and evaluate human-machine systems chosen by the instructor. Assignments for each project phase will be given in class and each team shall prepare progress reports according to the course schedule.

Each progress report shall consist of a one-to-two page cover memo and copies of the work products completed in the period just ending. Lead authorship of the memos shall rotate among team members, with each team member serving as lead author at least once. Each memo shall include the following information.

  • Header: To, From (lead author first), Subject, Date.
  • Purpose of the memo.
  • Objectives for the project.
  • Progress on the project, since the last progress report.
  • Problems encountered.
  • Objectives and plans for the next work period, including how to address the problems.

In addition to the written progress report submitted to the instructor in class on the day specified in the schedule, each team shall give a brief oral progress report to the class on that day.  Some of the oral progress reports will be formal, including a slide presentation and some of the oral reports may be informal (no slides required).  A few meaningful handouts may be used to clarify the oral reports.  If handout material is provided to the instructor by 3:00 PM of the day before the presentation, the instructor will make copies for the class.  Otherwise, sufficient copies should be brought by the presenters.

At the end of the term, each team shall prepare a final report containing the following.

  • A project summary, containing
    • background information, including a summary statement of need;
    • descriptions of the modeling, analysis, requirements development, design, and evaluation processes; and
    • a description of the final mockup/prototype, detailing how it meets the need.
  • Final versions of all work products, including
    • Operational Concept Statement,
    • IDEF0 model,
    • FMEA or Task Analysis,
    • requirements (verified),
    • mockup/prototype images (e.g., drawings, photos, screenshots)
    • test plan for evaluating the design.

Additional information on the final report will be provided later in the term. Also, each team shall give an oral presentation at the end of the term summarizing the content of the final report.

Additional assignments related to the projects may be made by the instructor, such as literature reviews or technology assessments. Results from these shall be incorporated into appropriate progress reports.


Examinations will cover readings and discussions. The midterm examination will be over all of them covered from the beginning of the term through the preceding class meeting. The exam will be closed book, but one 8.5" x 11" sheet of notes (both sides) may be used. The final examination will cover material from the class after the midterm examination through the end of the term. The exam will be closed book, but one 8.5" x 11" sheet of notes (both sides) may be used.


Midterm Examination
points possible
Final Examination
HMSE Project
7 Progress Reports @ 20

Final Oral Presentation

Final Written Report 40

Study Question Answers

 (see below)
Peer Evaluation


Oral and written progress reports and the final report will be graded on content criteria, including

  • completeness – the extent to which the report meets all of the requirements assigned;
  • technical accuracy – the extent to which the work uses appropriate methods correctly; and
  • timeliness – the extent to which the report was delivered on time.

Written reports will be graded on content criteria and writing criteria, including

  • factual accuracy – the extent to which the text is factually correct;
  • logic – the extent to which conclusions drawn in the text follow logically from the premises;
  • organization – the extent to which the text follows a rational, understandable order;
  • clarity – the extent to which the writing makes the content understandable to a reader;
  • style – the use of person, voice, and other elements of writing style appropriate to a technical audience;
  • wording – the choice of correct and appropriate words;
  • sentence structure – syntactically correct and readable sentence construction;
  • grammar – the extent to which the writing conforms with accepted rules of English grammar;
  • spelling – the extent to which words are spelled correctly;
  • punctuation – the use of correct punctuation;
  • 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; and
  • length – whether the length of the document is within the limits set by the instructor.

The grading scale for exams, project deliverables, and totalcourse points is as follows:

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

Each student is required to submit Study Question answers for each reading.  If a student is missing more than one set, that student's final grade will be lowered one-third letter grade (i.e., one +/- step) for each missing set in excess of one.

Each student is required to submit a Peer Evaluation of his/her team members.  Failure to do so will result in a final grade deduction of one-third letter grad.  Uneven distribution of contribution revealed in Peer Evaluations within a team may result in adjustments to project and/or final grades to account for inequities.

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.

Academic Honesty

Academic dishonesty is prohibited, it is considered a violation of the OSU Student Conduct Regulations, and any instances of it will be dealt with accordingly. It includes cheating - the intentional use of unauthorized materials, information, or study aids; fabrication - falsification or invention of any information; assisting - helping another commit an act of academic dishonesty; and plagiarism - intentionally or knowingly representing the words or ideas of another person as one's own. Any questions regarding academic dishonesty should be referred to the instructor or to OSU's Student Conduct and Community Standards office.

Schedule (subject to change)

Work Due
Week 1

Tue 3 Apr
Text Chapter 1, C-Section Facilitator
Introductions, Human-Machine Systems Engineering, Project Options

Wed 4 Apr

Project Preferences (by e-mail)
Thu 5 Apr
Chapter 2
Systems and Systems Engineering
Study Questions
Study Question Answers
Fri 6 Apr
time TBD
BAT 045
IDEF0 (Wikip)
Good Reqts
IDEF0 Modeling and Requirements Engineering Review (optional)

Week 2

Tue 10 Apr
Chapter 3 Standards, Codes, Specifications, and Other Work Products
Study Questions
Study Question Answers
Thu 12 Apr

Progress Reports Progress Report 1: Background Literature, Operational Concept Statement
Week 3

Tue 17 Apr
Chapter 4

Human Factors Methods
Study Questions

Study Question Answers
Thu 19 Apr

Progress Reports Progress Report 2: IDEF0 Model V1, Requirements V1
Week 4

Tue 24 Apr
Task Analysis article (handout) Task Analysis
Study Questions

Study Question Answers
Thu 26 Apr

Progress Reports
Progress Report 3: IDEF0 Model V2, Supplemental Analysis, Requirements V2
Week 5

Tue 1 May
Chapter 5 Human Physical Characteristics
Study Questions

Study Question Answers
Thu 3 May

Midterm Examination

Week 6

Tue 8 May
Chapter 6 Human Mental Characteristic
Study Questions

Study Question Answers
Thu 10 May

Progress Reports Progress Report 4: Design V1
Week 7

Tue 15 May
Chapter 7 Personnel Selection and Training
Study Questions
Study Question Answers
Thu 17 May

Progress Reports Progress Report 5: Design V2
Week 8

Tue 22 May
Chapter 8 System Requirements
Study Questions
Study Question Answers
Thu 24 May

Progress Reports Oral Progress Report 6: Design V3
Week 9

Tue 29 May
See Study Questions Human Factors Test and Evaluation
Study Questions
Study Question Answers
(submit as team)
Thu 31 May


Week 10

Tue 5 Jun
See Study Questions Procedure Design
Study Questions

Thu 7 Jun
Chapter 9
Final Report Presentations
Summary and Review
Final Report, Final Mockup/Prototype
Finals Week

Wed 13 Jun

Final exam at 1200


Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Membership

Students who are interested in human factors engineering and research as a possible career are encouraged to join the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society as student affiliates. The annual student fee of $35 is a bargain. The instructor is a member and would be happy to endorse student applications.

Description | Learning Outcomes | Instructor | Readings | Class Meetings | HMSE Project Exams | GradingAcademic Honesty | Schedule | Resources | HFES

Revised 29 May 2012