The purpose of this course is to examine the relationship between people and various aspects of the world around them, including the equipment they use, the environments in which they function, and the tasks they perform. What is known about human perceptual, cognitive, and physical abilities (and limitations) will be applied to the analysis of tasks, and the design of places, machines, computer displays, and procedures that best suit the humans involved.
Some example questions we might discuss include:
The class objectives are:
Meeting Time: MWF 2-3pm
Meeting Place: Architecture 123 (or Psych/Coon 250, depending on class size)
Dr. Bruce N. Walker
There is one required text book for the class: An Intro to Human Factors Engineering (1st Edition), by Wickens, Gordon, & Liu, 1998.
The text (1st Edition) is available at the GT Book Store. See also: amazon.com (1st edition) and other places for both new and old editions.
Note: You may also use the newer second edition of this text, which just came out in late 2003: Introduction to Human Factors
Engineering (2nd Edition) by Christopher D. Wickens, John Lee, Yili
D. Liu, Sallie Gordon-Becker, 2003. See amazon.com (2nd edition) and other places for the new edition of this book.
Where there are major discrepancies, they will be pointed out in class.
In addition there will be additional reading assigned during the semester.
Further to the text and the additional reading assignments, other recommended (but optional) reading includes:
Your final grade is made up of several components, including projects, exams, and in-class small group projects. The weighting of these components is described below.
There will be two midterm exams, each worth 50 points, and a final exam worth 100 points, for a total of 200 points on the exams. The exams will be multiple-choice, and will focus on the material since the previous exam. However, some questions may also be from material covered by prior exams; the final may cover material from the entire course. The dates of the midterm exams can be seen on the course schedule. The date of the final will be set by the university.
You will participate in a group project and presentation. The topic for the project will be randomly assigned early in the semester. The project will be worth 100 points. Download and refer to the Group Project Handout. You can also use the Class SWIKI pages for discussions, project ideas, and to form groups (direct link http://pbl.cc.gatech.edu/walker/2).
There will be five in-class small group projects, intended to reinforce or provide hands-on experience in the topic being covered. The dates of these will be assigned at random, during the semester. They will count for a total of 50 points (10 points each).
While there is no explicit attendance policy (and no points specifically assigned for attendance or class participation), you are expected to come to every class, and be prepared -- that is, having read and having made an attempt to understand the material. You should be ready to discuss the material covered in the lectures and reading. Much of the material in this course is subjective. Feel free to describe your views. In return, you can expect me to provide an interesting, informative class session. Please note that you may be tested on material that is only discussed in class, and not in the reading assignments. Further, there will be small group activities (mentioned above) which will happen on several days throughout the semester. Your grade on those group activities will, of course, require you to be there.
Below is presented the weight of the different
course components toward your final grade.
|Midterm Exams (2 @ 50 pts)||100|
|Major Group Project||100|
|In-Class Projects (5 @ 10 pts)||50|
Students are expected to do their own work at all times
(unless explicitly indicated) and to follow the university's codes of
academic conduct and honor code. Cases of suspected unauthorized
collaboration or cheating will be immediately forwarded to the Dean of
Student Affairs, and will be pursued to resolution. This is an
unpleasant process for all involved, so please do not put yourself in
Students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner--this entails showing up for classes and exams at the appointed time.
There will be no make-ups for any of the exams or in-class projects. Late group projects will not be accepted. If some form of prior committment prevents a student from taking an exam at the given time, PRIOR arrangements (including documentation where appropriate) should be made with the instructor.
Extra work, after the semester, is not allowed to "bring up" a grade. A student's grade shall be earned from their performance solely on the semester's work.
Grading is determined by a semester-long accumulation of points, weighed in percentage as stated for each component as summarized below.
Extra Credit: You can earn up to 10 points by doing out-of-class extra-credit activities. There are two ways to earn extra credit. The first is to participate in psychology experiments. Each hour of experimental credit is worth one point of extra credit. in order to participate in experiments you must first log in to the web using the following URL:
and obtain a password. once you have a password, log in to that same site and set up a user profile. It is important to set up a profile so that your extra credit points can be allocated to your psychology courses. You can then sign up for experiments.
Email reminders should be sent to you by the experimetrix system; however it is your responsibility to show up on time and participate conscientiously. This means being prepared physically and mentally to participate--do not plan to be in a study after pulling an all-nighter. You are also expected to be a helpful participant, and not do anything that will jeopardize the study. Remember, this may be "just" extra credit for you, but it is important data for the researchers (often students like yourself)! Failure to show up for a scheduled experiment session will result in you losing one class point for each no-show hour. If you know in advance that you need to reschedule, contact the experimenter listed in the experiment overview on Experimetrix.
The second way to earn extra credit is to read and write-up up to 10 two-page reports on research that has been published and is relevant to the material in the course. Articles must come from scientific journals dated 2000 to present. information pertaining to abnormal/child development/clinical psuchology will not be covered in this class, and are not acceptable for extra credit reports. Articles from the popular press are not acceptable, though they may provide ideas for research reading.
If you choose to review an article you must use the attached format (.DOC template), it must be typewritten/laser-printed, and it must be handed in on paper (i.e., no emailed papers).
Any combination of experiments and articles is acceptable, but you cannot receive more than 10 points of extra credit. Remember, it is possible to lose points by failing to show up and participate in good faith at an experiment.
Periodically I may choose to provide additional in-class extra credit. This credit is not included in the 10-point maximum.
Respect and Consideration: Please, above all, be respectful and considerate of others in the class. It should go without saying, but this includes showing up on time for classes, team meetings, exams, etc. Please turn your cell phone, pager, PDA, or any other alarms and ringers off while you are in class. If you disturb the class (including incoming phone calls), you may be asked to leave.