The course is taught through modules on Moodle and uses virtual discussion groups and tutorials, self directed study, self managed learning groups tasks and coursework.
Moodle is a virtual learning environment - an online electronic course management system that supports and extends communication between students and staff. It is accessed through the University website.
There are six modules in the course, two of which are research based. Each module has a value of 30 credits and represents 300 hours of study, including formal teaching, independent study, and the preparation of assessments.
The modules are:
Ergonomics Applications in the Workplace
This module is specially designed to be undertaken by employees in any organisation who can apply ergonomics in their work. It has been produced to define the background to the subject and also enough operational detail to allow candidates to apply the knowledge gained at their work, whether during the module or subsequently in real situations. The distance learning format means that most of the material and specified reading can be undertaken by the student in their own time, but with defined (if limited) access to and support from the university staff.
The module topics include: introduction to ergonomics; the body at work; anthropometry; simple biomechanics; workplace design; work seating; work related upper limb disorders; manual handling; display screen equipment; effects of environmental factors; influence of work organisation.
The syllabus covers survey design, interviewing and questionnaire design; experimental design; selection & recruitment of participants; ethical issues; participatory ergonomics; task and function analysis; observational methods; design decision groups; qualitative methods; computer simulation & modelling; psychophysics and ergonomics project management. Statistical techniques covered include ANOVA; non-parametric tests; parametric tests; multiple regression; multidimensional scaling; paired comparison; verbal protocol analysis; descriptive statistics; ranking & rating scales; factor analysis; power analysis and reliability analysis. Students are also introduced to methods within the professional practice of ergonomics including problem identification, cost benefit analysis and developing and assessing safety management systems.
Human Factors in Interactive Systems
This module covers the following topics: introduction to HCI; computers in education; user interface design guidelines; evaluation of interactive systems; use needs methods and models; human factors of geographical information systems; human factors of visualisation technologies; joint cognitive systems; computers and collaboration; HCI case studies; human information processing including perception and cognition; memory and attention; mental models; human workload; situation awareness; automation; designs for the WWW & accessibility; human error; displays and controls; decision making and decision support; situated cognition; product design and development.
Ergonomics in Work Organisations
The topics covered by the module include: the work people do, worker-centred ergonomics, work as a sociotechnical system, physical environment (visual, auditory, thermal and vibration), psychosocial environment (motivation, stress and shiftwork pattern), job design and local control, selection and training, performance and appraisal, participatory ergonomics, team work, effects on performance and health, health and safety requirements and legislation, epidemiology, causes of accidents, reactive and proactive approaches to prevention, measuring and evaluating human reliability, management of change, management of risks in manual materials handling, management of risks of work-related upper limb disorders. Throughout the module these topics are considered in a number of case studies, including work conducted at Nottingham and published case examples.
Human Factors in Context
This module covers the following topics: Responding to an Invitation to Tender; codes of practice within organisations; ethical issues; legislation, standards and competencies when applying ergonomics; presentation skills; practical ergonomics tasks within organisations.
Practical Ergonomics Investigation (by distance learning)
A practical ergonomics investigation is undertaken towards the end of the course.This is intended to integrate knowledge, methodology and practical skills.
Many students take the opportunity to conduct their project in an area related to their place of work, although this is not a specific requirement.
Previous projects have included:
- Measurement of mental workload in transport systems
- Qualitative evaluation of activity in chronic pain sufferers after orthopaedic trauma
- Cultural dimensions in design of Health and Fitness Smartphone Apps
- Development of a VR game for Mental Arithmetic Training
- A participatory approach to infection prevention and control in a neonatal intensive care unit
- Evaluation of an online patient monitoring system
- Effectiveness of participatory ergonomics program in health organisations
- Psychosocial factors affecting radiology trainees
- An investigation into the usability of a cycling computer under riding conditions
- Shiftworkers’ experiences of their work environment and workplace support
- Assessing team performance
Students should have access to a context in which to undertake the practical study. The aims of the individual project are broadly to enhance understanding in an area of relevance to the course, and to develop skills applicable in a wide range of circumstances.
The student is expected to develop skills in research, investigation, planning, scheduling, evaluation and written communication. The project may be undertaken on any topic which is relevant to ergonomics and human factors that is agreed by the Course Director. Collaboration with business, industry, and other outside bodies is actively encouraged.
This module is designed to be undertaken by employees in any organisation who can apply ergonomics in their work. The candidates will apply the material and ideas from previous ergonomics studies to a real ergonomics investigation of value to their organisation.
Each module is offered over a 26-week span, normally once a year, with module start times in September and March.
Usually you will study two modules in one 12 month period. The average student will therefore gain their MSc qualification in three years. In special circumstances it may be possible to study either one module at a given time or two modules concurrently.
UK students will need to attend the University during your first year of study for one exam. Overseas students can make arrangements to take the exam in their home country.
The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.