Fall 2002: Course Description for

Human Factors Engineering  (SYST 470‑01)



Instructor: Dr. Leonard Adelman

            Office: S&T II, Room #325; Phone # 993‑1624; e‑mail: ladelman@gmu.edu

            Office Hours: Thursdays, 3:30 ‑ 4:15 (or by appointment)



Bailey, R.W. Human Performance Engineering (3rd Ed.). Englewood Cliffs,NJ: Prentice-

   Hall, 1996.


Andriole, S.J., & Adelman, L. Cognitive Systems Engineering for User-Computer

   Interface Design, Prototyping, and Evaluation. Hillsdale, NJ: LEA, 1995.


Prerequisite: SYST 301 and STAT 344.


The purpose of this course is to help students design better systems by taking into account the “human” component of the system. Our goal is improved system usability by taking a “user-centered” design orientation. The course focuses on human performance characteristics and limitations.  It includes such topics as perception, cognition, memory, and decision making.  It also includes system design issues for addressing these characteristics and limitations, methodologies for designing the human/computer interface, and tests for improving it during system development.


There is a mid‑term exam, a final exam, and a student project. I use the full grading scale, including pluses and minuses. Each of the two exams is worth 30% of your grade; the student project is worth 20%. The exams will be based on questions that I handout in class. The questions will cover material presented in the texts and class. The exams are closed-book and closed-notes. I will tell you which questions have the highest probability of being on the exams during the review period. I will not review written answers to questions prior to the exams. So, please use the review period to make sure you know the answers to questions that might be on the exams.  Laptops can not be used to take the exams.  


Since I will use a seminar format, class participation is critical to its successful implementation. Therefore, I will grade class participation after each class session. Please notify me if you are not able to attend class. You are permitted to miss 2 classes, with notification. After that, you will receive a “F” for a missed class session. I expect everyone to attend Mr. Killam’s presentation on November 14th. Class participation is worth 20% of your grade.


The purpose of the student project is to give students an opportunity to apply what they have learned in class to a real world problem. Feel free to use material from work and/or other classes. Just make sure that I can clearly see how you are effectively applying what you have learned in this class to your selected problem. The result of the project will be a 20-minute presentation (with viewgraphs) on the last two days of class. Students who present on November 21 will receive 3 additional points. So, a high-A paper could be worth 23 instead of 20 points.

SYLLABUS: Human Factors Engineering (SYST 470‑01, Fall 2002)


Week 1 (8/29)      Introduction (Bailey, Chap 1)


Week 2 (9/5)        Human Limits & Differences (Bailey, Part 2 Intro & Chaps. 2 & 3)


Week 3 (9/12)      Cognitive Processes & Memory (Bailey, Chaps. 4 & 5)


Week 4 (9/19)      Motivation & Interface Design (Bailey, Chap. 6, Part 3 Intro, & Chap. 7)         


Week 5 (9/26)      Usability Testing & Analysis (Bailey, Chaps. 8 & 9) & Review for Mid-Term


Week 6 (10/3)      Mid‑Term Exam


Week 7 (10/10)    Review mid-term exam and Input & Output Devices (Bailey, Chap. 10)


Week 8 (10/17)    Task Analysis (Bailey, Chap. 11) & CSE (A&A, Chaps. 1 & 6)


Week 9 (10/24)    Cognitive Bases of Design: Inference  (A&A, Chap. 2, pp. 10-48)


Week 10 (10/31)  Cognitive Bases of Design: Decision Making (A&A, Chap. 2, pp. 48-79)


Week 11(11/7)     Case Studies (A&A, Chaps. 7 & 8)


Week 12 (11/14)   Bill Killam’s Presentation: HCI Design Guidelines


Week 13 (11/21)   Student Presentations


Week 14 (11/28)   Thanksgiving – No Class


Week 15 (12/5)     Student Presentations & Review for Final Exam


Week 16 (12/12)   Final Exam (only on material after the mid‑term)