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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Informatics : Informatics

Postgraduate Course: The Human Factor: Working with Users (INFR11141)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Informatics CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis is an introduction to the fields of Human Factors and User Experience with an emphasis on developing practical skills that are grounded in a strong knowledge of theory.
Course description "If the user can't use it, then it doesn't work at all." (Susan Dray) When technical systems that have been crafted in years of painstaking work fail in practice, more often than not this is due to a lack of fit between the complex system, the people who interact with it, and the contexts in which it is used. In the best case, failure is just annoying, in the worst case, it costs lives.
In this course, we will look at the art and craft of building technical systems that people can actually use successfully. To this end, we will draw on relevant findings from anthropology; behavioural, cognitive and social psychology; human-computer interaction; and sociology. The course will be taught using a flipped classroom - before class, you will work through materials; in class, we will work on activities designed to review the material and deepen your learning.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 20, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Summative Assessment Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 56 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment Information«br /»
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40% online assessments, which may include multiple choice quizzes drawn from a bank of questions validated in previous iterations of the course, comments on readings, or a very brief case study.«br /»
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60% Usability Report Essay (2000 words)«br /»
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Assessment Weightings:«br /»
Coursework: 100%«br /»
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Time spend on assignments:«br /»
18 hours on essay, 12 hours on online assessments.
Feedback Formative feedback will be provided during class discussions, through peer assessment, or through appropriate online tasks via TopHat (if the class size requires it).
Summative feedback on assessments will be provided in line with current Informatics guidelines.
Feedback from students will be sought at every lecture - the first part of each lecture consists of activities and further explanations based on student feedback on difficult or tricky concepts.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. understand how relevant aspects of context affect the interaction between people and technical systems, with a particular emphasis on anthropometric, behavioural, cognitive, and social factors (ABCS)
  2. assess the usability of a technological artefact, including both hardware and software, given a particular context of use
  3. integrate user experience and human factors into the process of designing or improving a technological artefact
  4. ensure that systems are resilient and learn from user errors
Reading List
Ritter, Frank E.; Baxter, Gordon D; Churchill, Elizabeth F. (2014): Foundations for Designing User Centred Systems. Springer (main textbook)
Tullis, Tom; Albert, Bill (2013): Measuring the User Experience. 2nd edition. Morgan Kaufman.
Cooper, Alan; Reimann, Robert; Cronin, David; Noessel Christopher (2014): About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design 4th edition, Wiley
Preece / Sharp / Rogers: Interaction Design. 4th Edition. Wiley.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills * A critical understanding of the principal theories, concepts and principles relating to Human Factors and User Experience, with some background specialist theories
* Apply knowledge, skills and understanding in using a few skills, techniques, practices and/or materials that are specialised, advanced and/or at the forefront of a subject/discipline/sector; in executing a small defined project of research, development or investigation and in identifying and implementing relevant outcomes.
* Develop original and creative responses to problems and issues.
* Critically review, consolidate and extend knowledge, skills, practices and thinking in a subject/discipline/sector.
* Deal with complex issues and make informed judgements in situations in the absence of complete or consistent data/information.
* Use a wide range of routine skills and a range of advanced and specialised skills as appropriate to a subject/discipline/sector, for example:
* Communicate, using appropriate methods, to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge/expertise.
* Communicate with peers, more senior colleagues and specialists.
* Exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in professional and equivalent activities.
* Take responsibility for own work and/or signi cant responsibility for the work of others.
Keywordshuman factors; ergonomics; cognitive science; human-computer interaction; design informatics
Course organiserDr Maria Wolters
Tel: (0131 6)50 2732
Course secretaryMs Katey Lee
Tel: (0131 6)50 2701
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