|Meeting Times: 9:00 - 12:00 AM, variable||Text: Human Factors in Simple|
|Meeting Place: Science Hall 114||and Complex Systems|
|Instructor: John H. Krantz, Ph.D.||by Robert W. Proctor and Trisha van Zandt|
|Office: Science Hall 112||Other readings on reserve in Library|
Three-Mile Island! Many people do not know where this place is but they know very well what happened there - the largest nuclear accident in U.S. history. Something went wrong. Nearly very wrong. Why? Obviously some mechanical system failed, but the failure that occurred had been anticipated by the engineers that built the nuclear power plant and should not have been much of a concern. Sophisticated pieces of equipment are designed with the expectation that some time some part of the system will fail. The reason Three-Mile Island became serious was that the information the operators had about the failure was poor and they responded inappropriately. The United States was within about 2 minutes of a disaster of the scale of Chernobyl and yet it was completely unnecessary. Had the computer control room been adequately designed, taking into account human abilities and limitations, the disaster at Three-Mile Island would not even have rated a front page note in the local paper of the area. In this disaster we have one of the defining examples of the need for and importance of human factors.
A good, yet simple, definition of human factors is the design of equipment that people use intentionally taking into account how people operate. Since human beings have characteristic ways of perceiving, thinking, and feeling which cannot be easily modified, it makes sense to change machines to fit us rather than the other way around. Human factors is the scientific/engineering field that collects the relevant data for understanding how humans interact with machines, and uses that information towards the design and implementation of human-machine systems.
The objectives of this course are two-fold: 1) to introduce the field of human factors and the fundamental concepts of the discipline, 2) to introduce the way in which human factors specialists think. To best accomplish these objectives the course is broken down into three sections. The first section of the class will provide the basics of human perceptual, cognitive, and motor abilities relevant to human factors. The second portion of the course will consist the class forming a design teach to design some project that we will pick together as a class. The third and final portion of the course will be more individual. Each student will look at an existing system on campus and will develop recommendations based on human factors principles to increase the usefulness of that system. For this year the existing system is the Hanover College Catalog.
Reading Assignments and Course Schedule:
|Apr 29 M||Introduction to Human Factors||Ch. 1|
|30 T||Reliability and Error (Human and Machine)||Ch. 3\Kantowitz Ch. 12|
|May 1 W||Human Hearing/Signal Detection
|81-83; 96-103; 122-127; 152-157; 66-70|
|2 R||Human Visual Capabilities http://psych.hanover.edu/Krantz/receptive/||83-96; 108-122; 132-152; 161-178|
|3 F||Human Motor Capabilities||Ch. 13, 14, 15|
|6 M||Human Information Processing I||Ch. 4, 9|
|7 T||Human Information Processing II||Ch. 10, 11|
|8 W||Displays and Controls||Ch. 8,16,17|
|9 R||Test I/Task Analysis and Workspace Design||Ch. 17/Sanders Ch. 14, 15|
|10 F||Analyze and Design Project - TBD||meetings TBD|
|16 R||Design Report Due/Begin Review of Catalog|
|17 F||" Individual meetings with me. TBD|
|23 R||Class Presentations to Dean Jakoubek and Greg Wright on Design.|
|24 F||Final Document Due and Review General Recommendations.|
The class is broken down into three
sections each of which will have separate sets of assignments.
The first section of the class will consist primarily of lecture/discussion
on the background information of Human Factors. This section
will conclude with an examination. The examination will be worth
100 points and will be for a mixed format. The types of items
will be multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, short answer, problems
and essays, etc.
The second section of the course will be:
A Design Project:
Of the many tasks that human factors
psychologists undertake is the assisting in the design of new
technology or spaces. In this class we will break up the class
and design a new item. I have not decided what that item will
be so I will give you, the class, a chance to decide what that
item will be. To assist you in this task, below is a list of
what has been done in past years and some other possible projects.
Ideas from past years:
Now, do not feel limited by this
list. If you have other suggestions please get them to me as
soon as possible. We will make a decision as to the project by
the end of the first week. This timing is necessary so that I
can get additional resources if necessary and set up the specifics
of the project.
In general, for any of the projects
that we might do, the class will become a design team. While
we are all working on the same basic project, the class will divide
into sub-units. Each sub-unit will develop a plan for their part
of the project and present it to the class where the other sub-units
will have a responsibility for critiquing the proposed portion
of the project in light of how the proposals fit in with the rest
of the project. For example, if we are working on a car dash,
one group will design the displays, e.g., the speedometer. Well,
the design and placement of the displays will impact on the controls,
e.g., the steering wheel. It is the job of the controls group
to make sure that the design of the displays do not seriously
hamper a good design of the controls. After all of the groups
have presented. Each member of each group will write a final
design document to hand in on their section of the design. The
document will give the overall goals of the design and tell how
their section meets the design goals.
And the third section of the course will be:
Hanover College Catalog Recommendations:
Another important task of the human
factors psychologist is to evaluate an existing technology or
space for improvements. Such a task will comprise the third and
final section of the course. In particular, at the request of
Dean Jakoubek and with my full support, we will examine the college
catalog and help the college improve the design an layout of the
catalog so that it can be made as useful as possible. It is actually
too big of a project for the class to do all of the catalog, so
we will pick sections to do.
The sections of the catalog up for review (in order we will do. How many we do depends on the size of the class)
To perform such a task will require understanding what the purpose of the catalog is. Thus, you will need to interview Dean Jakoubek and Greg Wright, out of publications. Dean Jakoubek has set aside 10 - 12 a.m. on Friday, May 17 for you to interview her. You will need to set up the specifics of how you as a class will conduct this interview. You will also need to talk to someone in admissions as they use this document in admissions and you will need to interview faculty and students who are the main users of this document. Then you will need to coordinate your work together as the recommendations of one section obviously depend upon the recommendations of other sections. We will meet individually and in small groups as necessary to assist in this work. Also, you will make a presentation on your section of the work to Dean Jakoubek and Greg Wright for their input and comments on your proposals. Then you will revise or defend you recommendations and write a final report to be submitted. I will need two copies as I will send one copy on to the administration for their use in redesigning the catalog.
The exam, each presentation and each
paper will be worth 100 points each. As can be seen, active class
participation is vital to the success of this course. Therefore,
participation will be worth 100 points, or nearly 2 letter grades.
Grades will be assigned on a 10% scale.