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MEC8028 : Human Centered Design and Engineering

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr David Golightly
  • Lecturer: Dr Roberto Palacin
  • Owning School: Engineering
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To provide a comprehensive overview of human-factors considerations that are present when undertaking engineering design projects, such as: cognitive issues, physical and mental limits, human perception, human error, reliability and user preferences.

To evaluate multiple design implications, considerations and methodologies that can be followed when designing for humans.

To present and discuss different scenarios when human-factors considerations play a crucial role for the design of systems in fields such as transport, interfaces, assistive technologies and consumer products.

To inform and provide a contemporary knowledge base on current trends and proven methods that support designing for humans in an engineering design context.

Outline Of Syllabus

* Human Factors: Cognitive and Physiological

*Anthropometry for product design

* Obtaining, Capturing, measuring and use of anthropometric data to inform design

*Design for all, accessibility and design methodologies

*Design for X methodologies and ‘Design for all’ (inclusive Design) taking into account human capabilities and limitations

*Applied Ergonomics: Industrial and consumer ergonomics / Transport ergonomics and user-base design issues

*Data gathering and project management

* Measurements and experimental design for field investigation: analytical observation, questionnaire design, focus groups planning, usability tests

Case studies and practicals

Designing and analysing interfaces: physical, digital/tactile

Measuring human response to inform design

Teaching Methods

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

Assessment Methods

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

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

Reading Lists