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SAFE20017 - Human Factors in Complex Systems

General Information

Unit Synopsis

This advanced level unit introduces you to the practices and principles of Human Factors and examines the ways that humans function in complex socio-technical environments and organisational safety systems. This unit discusses the core principles of physical, cognitive, organisational and environmental ergonomics and provides the foundational knowledge required for the discipline of Human Factors. You will learn and apply knowledge in the area of anthropometric variation of the human body to end-user design enhancements as well as discussing concepts of job design in relation to psychological considerations including mental workloads, fatigue management, teamwork and job-fit concepts.


Level Postgraduate
Unit Level 8
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band 2
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites There are no pre-requisites for the unit.

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Class Timetable View Unit Timetable
Residential School No Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 2 - 2019

Term 2 - 2019 Profile

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Postgraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Group Discussion 20%
2. Written Assessment 40%
3. Written Assessment 40%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%).

Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

Term 2 - 2018 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 4.4 (on a 5 point Likert scale), based on a 60% response rate.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Source: Student Feedback
Students were critical of the large amount of reading in this unit and would like the content to be reduced by having more information delivered via the Zoom lecture format with readings being recommended rather than mandatory.
The teaching team to consider reviewing the amount of reading provided to students and try to deliver some key content via the Zoom style lecture. It is recognised however that students undertake extensive foundational readings in the first few weeks of the course and are then required to do less reading as the unit progresses into specific areas. This allows more time for assessment work as it arises later in the unit. Students are advised of this flow in the delivery of content but generally sometimes sense that there is too much reading.
Action Taken
The reading material was reviewed however it was kept the same for the 2018 offering.
Source: Student Feedback
Students liked the Zoom style lectures to add further content and knowledge building across the weeks.
The teaching team continue to support student learning with a weekly Zoom lecture and catch up session for students.
Action Taken
A weekly Zoom lecture and catch up continued to be provided to students and was well attended.
Source: Have Your Say feedback.
Students felt the Zoom lectures with time for questions was really beneficial and supported their learning.
Keep the weekly Zoom lectures to support student engagement and learning.
Action Taken
Source: Have Your Say Feedback.
Some students advised they struggled with a large amount of reading in the early weeks of term.
Consideration to be given to providing the foundational material provided in the early weeks of term in another way other than pure readings. This material could be covered in a Zoom lecture to reduce the amount of reading.
Action Taken
Unit learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an advanced level knowledge of Human Factors principles and practices across the domains of physical, cognitive, environmental and organisational ergonomics in complex systems
  2. Apply knowledge of Human Factors to analyse the appropriateness of fit between end user design in relation to equipment and tasks
  3. Evaluate the contribution of cognitive ergonomics in the assessment of equipment design and the introduction of new technology in complex systems
  4. Discuss how the concepts of organisational job design relate to psychological considerations including mental workloads, fatigue management, team work and job-fit concepts in systems theory and its relationship to safety
  5. Critique contemporary theories of human performance in complex systems.

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1 - Group Discussion
2 - Written Assessment
3 - Written Assessment
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Advanced Level
Professional Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1 - Knowledge
2 - Communication
3 - Cognitive, technical and creative skills
4 - Research
5 - Self-management
6 - Ethical and Professional Responsibility
7 - Leadership
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Advanced Level
Professional Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 - Group Discussion
2 - Written Assessment
3 - Written Assessment