Module Catalogue 2023/24

MEC8028 : Human Centered Design and Engineering

MEC8028 : Human Centered Design and Engineering

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr David Golightly
  • Lecturer: Professor Roberto Palacin
  • Owning School: Engineering
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



* To provide a comprehensive overview of the rationale, benefits and principles of human factors.
* To cover the major themes of human factors including physical factors, cognitive factors and organisational
* To present multiple design implications, considerations and methodologies that can be followed when designing
for a wide variety of people and applications.
* To present and discuss different scenarios where human factors considerations play a crucial role such as in
system safety, in human-automation cooperation and in delivering high levels of performance and system
resilience in domains such as transport, manufacturing and healthcare.
* To inform and provide a contemporary knowledge base on current trends and proven methods that support
designing for humans in any engineering design context.

Outline Of Syllabus

* Human factors: origins, rationale and benefits
* Systems perspectives on human performance
* Physical, cognitive and organisational aspects of human factors
* Human-computer interaction relevant to engineering and engineered systems
* Design for all, accessibility and EDI
* Obtaining, Capturing, measuring and use of anthropometric data to inform design
* Cognitive methodology for workload, situation awareness and human-computer interaction / User Experience
* Human-automation integration, for machine intelligence and for robotics
* Human role in safety, including human perspectives on accidents and incidents
* Complex work systems - describing complexity for human integration into engineered systems
* Applied Ergonomics: Industrial and consumer ergonomics / Transport ergonomics and user-base design issues
* Data gathering and project management

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of this Module students will be able to:
* Include the “user/operator/customer” as the fundamental starting point for the design of devices and systems
by coupling the product’s features to user needs, abilities and limitations
* Critically identify and evaluate the main implications of cognitive, mental, physical and environmental
factors and constraints when designing for humans
* To apply a user-centred design process and identify and effectively deploy the most suitable techniques when
designing for: reliability, usability, safety, user satisfaction to best meet the initial product/system

Intended Skill Outcomes

By the end of this Module students will be able to:
* Describe the reasons for taking a human factors / user-centered approach
* Determine and demonstrate how physical, mental, cognitive and behavioural limits can be incorporated as design
• Understand key issues for human factors such as automation, system safety and complexity
• To identify potential sources of risks and reliability issues and generate alternatives that mitigate these by
applying relevant strategies
• To incorporate human systems thinking into case study analysis and development projects
• To be able to identify and apply appropriate methods relevant implement human factors within a project

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00CANVAS based timed assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture61:006:002-weekly lectures
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials16:006:00Independent working time from topic briefing to practical submission
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical43:0012:00Weekly PiP Labs: 1)UCD, Displays design, 2)Anthropometry 1+2, 3)Transport ergonomics
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities49:0036:00Off-line Canvas reading materials and non sync exercises
Guided Independent StudySkills practice34:0012:00Necessary for the weekly task submissions
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities25:0010:00Canvas reading lists for project support
Guided Independent StudyProject work49:0036:00Project self -study hours available via CANVAS activities
Guided Independent StudyProject work312:0036:00Independent study hours expected for project work
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:001 weekly drop-in surgery
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study202:0040:00Revision of Lecture material, practical self-study and additional reading for Exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00Module briefing
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are intended to promote an appreciation of the various implications of ‘designing for humans’ and developing set of skills that can be applied to topical issues and case studies in design and ergonomics.

Group-projects, where students identify the most critical knowledge and information relevant to a pre-assigned case and apply it to develop specific solutions within the engineering design and ergonomics space.

Practicals, where students are given specific contents to review ‘online’ which are then solved and reinforced in a group-based session with a member of staff acting as facilitator.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination1202A50Exam covering all elements of the syllabus
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M50A portfolio of practical submissions
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Digital Examination2MCanvas quiz on Human Factors fundamentals. End of Week 26 (Module Week 1)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

*The examination is used to assess knowledge, independent learning and understanding of material and the ability to integrate this material, to communicate it clearly, and to demonstrate critical thinking in relation to a short case example in engineering, design or operations.

*The Group-based practical Lab report allows for discussion of options and group justification of the selected case studies, methodologies and results. The assessment will involve producing one singe Team report following a template discussed in class.
The team will use a peer-evaluation system to distribute the final marks according to their performance.

For the purposes of professional body accreditation, in order to obtain a passing mark overall for this module (50%) at the first attempt the minimum acceptable mark for each of the assessment items specified below shall be 35%, with the maximum possible module overall mark where this is not the case being restricted to 40%: (1) 50% Exam (2) 50% Assignments (Combined)


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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