2017 Ergonomics

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Industrial Engineering and Economics
Itoh Kenji  Aoki Hirotaka  Gu Xiuzhu 
Class Format
Lecture / Exercise /Experiment     
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Course description and aims

This course focuses on a discipline called ergonomics, especially on a human cognitive aspects-related topics such as perception, mental processes and cognition. This course provides knowledge and basic skills about approaches to/methods of designing human-machine interfaces. Contents covered in this course are divided into four categories: (1) Introduction to ergonomics, (2) human mechanisms, (3) purposes of applications of ergonomics, and (4) applications of ergonomics.
Students will gain knowledge and skills about some of methodologies and typical thinking processes in ergonomics for design of human interfaces.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
1. Explain the human characteristics related to work design, roughly.
2. Explain the typical methods/thinking processes used in ergonomics.


Man-machine systems, anthropometry, long term memory, short term memory, cognition, workload, fatigue, human error, usability

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

At the beginning of each class, knowledge and basic skills related to the topics are taught. Towards the end of class, students are given experimental tasks/exercise problems related to the lecture given that day. Attendance is taken in every class. This course is held over two academic quarters. The class meets once a week.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Guidance, introduction to ergonomics Understand the overall image of ergonomics.
Class 2 Methologies of ergonomics (Problem solving, methodologies of ergonomics, data collection) Eye tracking experiment Explain the methodologies used in ergonomics.
Class 3 Human musculoskeletal system and motion Anthropometry exercise Explain human musculoskeletal system, roughly.
Class 4 Human sensory system and perception Visual system experiment Explain human sensory system and perception, roughly.
Class 5 Human information processing and cognition Hick-Hyman's law exercise Explain human information processing and cognition, roughly.
Class 6 Memory and knowledge representation Short term memory experiment Explain memory and knowledge representation.
Class 7 Workload and fatigue Flight simulator experiment Explain the concept of workload and fatigue and their evaluation methods.
Class 8 Safety 1 (Human error) Incident analysis exercise Explain the definition of human error and its relation to accidents.
Class 9 Safety 2 (Risk management and HRA) THERP exercise Explain the concept of risk management and procedures of HRA.
Class 10 Man-machine interface Interface evaluation experiment Explain the concept of man-machine interface.
Class 11 Usability 1 (Definition and measurement) Usability goal setting exercise Explain usability and relating concepts.
Class 12 Usability 2 (Usability design, prototyping) Rapid prototyping exercise Explain how usability design is carried out, roughly.
Class 13 Usability 3 (Usability heuristics) Usability heuristics exercise Explain the benefits of tecuhiques used in sability design.
Class 14 Usability 4(Usability test) Usability test exercise Explain the procedures of usability test.
Class 15 occasional date occasional date


None required.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Itoh, Kenji. Ergonomics in highly advanced and matured society (Kou-do Seijuku Shakai no Ningen-Kougaku), Tokyo: Nikka-Giren, (Japanese)
Instruction manuals and course materials are provided during class.

Assessment criteria and methods

Students' knowledge of topics in the lecture, and their ability to apply them to exercise/experiment will be assessed. Short quiz 40%, reports 60%.
Full attendance and completion of all experiments are compulsory.

Related courses

  • IEE.C202 : Industrial Engineering
  • IEE.C302 : Quality Management

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

No prerequisites are necessary, but enrollment in the related courses is desirable.

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