IE 599, Human Factors Engineering II

Winter Term 2017

Course Information

OSU Catalog Description


Advanced topics in human factors engineering, including: advanced human-machine systems engineering; human cognition and its impacts on the operation of complex, high-risk systems; cognitive task analysis; mental models; human factors requirements, human error and human error frameworks; human factors in important human-machine system domains, such as health care, transportation, and manufacturing; human factors of automation; recent developments in human factors research and engineering. PREREQS: IE 545

Meeting Times and Location

Lecture: MW 1400-1550 in BAT 250

Instructor: Dr. Ken Funk

Phone: 541-737-2357
Office: Rogers 212
Office Hours: MWF 1600-1700,
or when the door is open,
or by appointment

Required Texts

  1. Kahneman, Daniel (2011). Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  2. Crandall, B., Klein, G., & Hoffman, R.R. (2006). Working Minds: A Practitioner's Guide to Cognitive Task Analysis. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course students should be able, without reference to resources, to:

  1. describe how human factors engineering applies in specific domains, such as transportation, healthcare, and manufacturing.
  2. explain the role and the significance of human cognition in the operation of complex, high-risk systems;
  3. use Cognitive Task Analysis in the Human-Machine Systems Engineering process or in human factors research;
  4. explain human error in terms of contributing factors, mechanisms, classification, and remediations; and
  5. explain in detail some advanced topic in human factors engineering, such as mental models, or skill-/rule-/knowledge-based processing.


Class Meetings

Class meetings will generally consist of discussion of the readings assigned for those days. In preparation for each discussion, each student shall read the assignment and prepare brief written responses to the Discussion Questions for that reading (Thinking, Fast and Slow or Working Minds). 


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 final examination will be comprehensive, but will focus on the material from the class after the midterm examination through the end of the term. Both exams will be closed book, closed notes, but a memory aid consisting of one 8½" x 11" sheet of paper (both sides) may be used for each exam.

Adverse Event Analysis Project

Each student will review a significant adverse event (accident or other mishap resulting in serious injury, death, or major property damage) which can be attributed in large part to human error and apply the concepts learned in this course to help explain it and to make recommendations to reduce the likelihood of such events in the future. Brief oral summaries and progress reports will be given to the class occasionally during the term and complete fIndings will be presented in a final written report.

Cognitive Task Analysis Project

Each student will also do a Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) in a domain of his or her choosing that is acceptable to the instructor and apply the results to write preliminary requirements for a system to improve human performance in that domain. Brief oral summaries and progress reports will be given to the class occasionally during the term and complete fIndings will be presented in a final written report.


Grading Criteria

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


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

Midterm Examination
points possible
Final Examination
Adverse Event Analysis Project
Cognitive Task Analysis Project 100  
Discussion Question Answers
 (see below)
Instructor Evaluation, based on participation +/-20 points

Each student is required to present written answers to Discussion Questions for most class meetings. If a student misses more than two sets, that student's final grade will be lowered one-third letter grade (i.e., one +/- step) for each missing set in excess of two.

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%

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 Honesty

In this course, you will naturally be held to high standards of academic honesty, and any dishonest acts will be dealt with firmly. The following is adapted from the OSU Student Conduct and Community Standards webpage.

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 1: 9 - 13 January

Meeting Reading Topic
Monday   No class due to OSU weather closure.
Wednesday   Review of Human Factors Engineering
Course Introduction

Week 2: 16 - 20 January

Meeting Reading Topic
Monday   No Class - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Wednesday Kahneman Intro. & Ch. 1
Crandall et al Chs. 1-2
System 1 / System 2
Overview of Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA)

Week 3: 23 - 27 January

Meeting Reading Topic
Monday Kahneman App. A
Crandall et al Ch. 3
Judgment Under Uncertainty
CTA Preparation & Framing
Wednesday Kahneman Chs. 2-5 Mental Effort, Laziness, Association, Ease

Week 4: 30 January - 3 February

Meeting Reading Topic
Monday Kahneman Chs. 6-7
Crandall et al Ch. 4
Norms, Surprises, Jumping To Conclusions
Concept Maps
Wednesday Kahneman Chs. 8-11 Shotgunning, Hard > Easy, Small Numbers, Anchoring

Week 5: 6 - 10 February

Meeting Reading Topic
Monday Kahneman Ch. 12
Crandall et al Ch. 5-6
Incident-Based CTA & Experiment-Like Tasks
Wednesday Midterm Exam  

Week 6: 13 - 17 February

Meeting Reading Topic
Monday (none) Adverse Event Analysis Project Oral Progress Reports
Wednesday (none) Cognitive Task Analysis Project Oral Progress Reports

Week 7: 20 - 24 February

Meeting Reading Topic
Monday Crandall et al Ch. 7 (Review of Concept Maps,) CTA Analysis & Representation
Wednesday Kahneman Chs. 13-17 Availability & Emotion, Representativeness, Plausibility, Statistics, Regression To the Mean

Week 8: 27 February - 3 March

Meeting Reading Topic
Monday Kahneman Chs. 18-19
Crandall et al Ch. 10-11
Tamed Intuition, Understanding?
CTA In Information Technology & System Development
Wednesday Kahneman Chs. 20-22 Validity? Intuition vs Algoritm, Expert Intuition

Week 9: 6 - 10 March

Meeting Reading Topic
Monday Kahneman Ch. 23-26 Inside/Outside, Optimism, Utility & Change, Prospect Theory
Wednesday Kahneman Chs. 27-30 Endowments & Losses, Negativity, Patterns, Rarity,

Week 10: 13 - 17 March

Meeting Reading Topic/Activity
Monday Kahneman Chs. 35-38
(Chs. 31-34 optional)
Experience, Stories, Well-Being, Life, and Everything
Wednesday Kahneman Conclusion Summary
Friday   Final Reports due
Take-home final examination distributed

Finals Week: 20 - 24 March

Day   Activity
Wednesday   Completed take-home final examination due at 1200


This section provides links to course resources, which will be published as they become available.

Last update: 8 March 2017