IE 599, Human Factors Engineering II

Winter Term 2018

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; human factors in important human-machine system domains, such as healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing; and recent developments in human factors research and engineering. PREREQS: IE 545

Meeting Times and Location

Lecture: MW 1400-1550 in ROG 332

Instructor: Dr. Ken Funk

Phone: 541-737-2357
Office: Rogers 212
Office Hours:
1600 - 1700
1600 - 1700
1400 - 1500
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. explain the role and the significance of human cognition in complex, high-risk domains, like aviation, healthcare, military operations, and manufacturing;
  2. describe major elements of human cognition and give examples from these or other domains;
  3. explain human error in terms of human cognitive processes; and
  4. use Cognitive Task Analysis to identify vulnerabilities to human error, identify equipment design or training needs and requirements, or discover general human cognitive capabilities and limitations.


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 written responses to the Discussion Questions for that reading.

Discussion Questions

Answers to Discussion Questions shall be complete and clear, but they need not be in grammatically perfect prose: bulleted lists or outlines will be sufficent. A reader must be able to get the main points and see that the author thought carefully about the questions before answering them.


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.

Literature Review

Each student shall choose a topic from Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow and do a literature review of that topic, looking into at least six primary sources and preparing a summary and synthesis. The summary shall consist of an original abstract of each source; the synthesis may be in the form of a narrative, a table, a model, or another form approved by the instructor. In-class oral progress reports will be required. Details concerning this assignment will be provided in class.

Cognitive Task Analysis Project

Each student shall also do a Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) in a domain of his or her choosing that is acceptable to the instructor and apply principles from Thinking, Fast and Slow to identify vulnerabilities to human error in that domain. Deliverables will include an IDEF0 task model of the domain and its context, a concept map of the domain, and CTA using another appropriate method from Crandall et al's Working Minds. In-class oral presentations will be required. Details concerning this assignment will be provided in class.



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

Midterm Examination
points possible
Final Examination
Literature Review
Cognitive Task Analysis Project
• IDEF0 Task Model (20 points)
• Concept Map (30)
• Final CTA (50)
Discussion Question Answers
 (see below)
Instructor Evaluation, based on participation +/-20 points

Each student is required to present written answers to Discussion Questions at class time. 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%

Late Work

A penalty of the equivalent of one letter grade will be applied for each day an assignment is late.

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.

Academic Honesty

It is the expectation of the instructor that any work submitted for this course is the product of the student's own abilities and efforts with respect to that work. Students are free to discuss the Discussion Questions and projects with anyone, including other members of the class, and to consult any other honorable sources, but the answers and other work turned in must represent the student's own thoughts and be in his or her own words, except where credit is given to the original sources by proper citation. Students are also subject to OSU's CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT, especially section 4.2, which defines and prohibits specific classes of academic misconduct. Any evidence that any of these expectations have not been met will prompt an inquiry, and if the findings support the conclusion that they have not, an academic misconduct report will be filed.


Subject to change, so check this frequently.

Meeting Readings Topics, Activities, & Deliverables

Week 1: 8 - 12 January

Monday   Review of Human Factors Engineering
Course Introduction
Wednesday Kahneman Intro. & Chs. 1-4 System 1 / System 2, Attention & Effort, Flow, Associations

Week 2: 15 - 19 January

Monday   No Class - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Wednesday Crandall et al Chs. 1-3 Overview of Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA), Prep for CTA

Week 3: 22 - 26 January

Monday Kahneman Chs. 5-9 Effort, Norms, WYSIATI, Judgment, Easier Questions
Wednesday Crandall et al Ch. 4 Concept Maps

Week 4: 29 January - 2 February

Monday Kahneman Chs. 10-14 IDEF0 Task Models due
Small Numbers, Anchors, Availability,Emotion, Representativeness
Crandall et al Chs. 5-6
IDEF0 Task Model presentations
More CTA Methods

Week 5: 5 - 9 February

Monday Kahneman Chs. 15-18 Conjunctions, Causality, Regression, Intuition
Wednesday Midterm Exam  

Week 6: 12 - 16 February

Monday Kahneman Chs. 19-22 Understanding? Validity? Algorithms, Experts
Crandall et al Ch. 7
Concept Maps due, Map presentations

Week 7: 19 - 23 February

Monday Kahneman Chs. 23-26 Inside/Outside Views, Optimism, Bernoulli, Prospect Theory
Wednesday Crandall et al Ch. 8 Cognition & CTA

Week 8: 26 February - 2 March

Monday Crandall et al Ch. 8 Cognition & CTA
Wednesday Kahneman Chs. 27-30 Endowment, Losses, Four-Fold Pattern, Rare Events

Week 9: 5 - 9 March

Monday Kahneman Chs. 31-34 Risk, Regret, Reversal, Frames
Wednesday Crandall et al Chs. 10-11 CTA In Information Technology and System Development

Week 10: 12 - 16 March

Monday Kahneman Chs. 35-38 & Conclusion Two Selves, Life, Well-Being
Wednesday   Final CTAs due, CTA presentations
Summary & Review
Friday   Literature Reviews due
Take-home final examination distributed

Finals Week

20 March
  Completed take-home final examination due by 1700


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

Last update: 23 February 2018