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8.1 Making usable products

This section reveals that many modern products need to usable by our minds as much as our bodies. Products need to be understandable, and present information and feedback in meaningful ways.

A lot of ergonomics research is aimed at establishing guidelines, standards or rules that can be applied by designers in a variety of situations. Where this applies to the physical use of products, much of it is based on standard body measurements. These body measurements are known as anthropomet
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4 Who are the users?

This section reveals that ‘users’ can include a wide variety of people – not just the final purchasers or consumers of a product. The section also makes the case for strong user representation in the design process.

Of course, it is not only me who uses the various products in my home; other people use them as well, both members of the family and visitors. Sometimes the range of users of a product, and their different needs, can be diverse. And in addition to the obvious or intend
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5.7.1 Mixed oxidant gases system

This is a relatively new system of disinfection. It involves electrolysis of high-purity NaCl brine to produce a mixture of chlorine dioxide, ozone and hypochlorite. This mixture is separated within the electrochemical cell by a membrane, or by exploiting density difference, and is then metered into the water requiring disinfection. The mixed oxidant gases are generated on demand and this is a great safety advantage, compared with having storage tanks of chlorine on site. The source for the d
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3.5.3 Protozoa

Protozoa are microscopic single cell animals. They utilise solid substances and bacteria as a food source. They can only function aerobically, and in a stream which contains little organic degradable matter they can become a predominant microbial type. They play an important part in sewage treatment where they remove free-swimming bacteria and help to produce a clear effluent.

In an aquatic environment, there are three main types of protozoa:

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3.5.2 Bacteria

Bacteria are organisms of special significance to the study of clean and polluted waters because they break down organic matter. While most of them are not harmful to humans, some bacteria (e.g. Clostridium) are pathogenic. Most bacteria are retained on a filter of pore size 0.45 μm and all bacteria are trapped on a filter of 0.22 μm. They are important in sewage treatment, and in solid waste disposal. They are extremely abundant in almost all parts of the aquatic en
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3.5.1 Algae

Algae are photosynthetic organisms that are generally aquatic; they are primary producers. Many freshwater algae are of microscopic size, but when amassed can be seen as a green, brown or blue-green scum. Blue-green algae are capable of producing toxins and these have caused the death of wild animals, farm livestock and domestic pets which have consumed the contaminated water. The toxins can produce a painful rash on human skin. The extract below shows what happened off the west coast
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3.5 Biological characteristics of natural waters

In addition to the easily visible plants and animals which live in or on a river, there are many small and often microscopic species which play a vital role in maintaining the health of a river. Their relevance to water quality is discussed further in the sections that follow.


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3.3 The experiential model of learning

The main proponent of this approach to learning, David Kolb, put forward a theory which he intended to be sufficiently general to account for all forms of learning (Kolb, 1984). He argued that there are four distinctive kinds of knowledge and that each is associated with a distinctive kind of learning. The four kinds of learning are:

  • concrete experiencing

  • reflective observation

  • abstract analysis

  • activ
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2.2.3 Doing

Finally, learning how to act or perform in particular ways is essential for the development of all kinds of intellectual and physical skills. For example, we need to be able to learn how to create a variety of kinds of written communication, or how to present complex information in a clear diagram, or to decide how a team will structure its work, and so on. No amount of explanation of how to compose a clear technical report, for example, would provide convincing proof that we could actually p
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2.2.1 Memorising

We sometimes have to remember words, names, symbols and other signs, simply because there is a convention that they will stand for some accepted meaning. This is the kind of learning we use, for example, when we memorise road signs, or the conversion of metric to imperial measures, or lists of words in a foreign language. However, very little of what you study in this unit will require this kind of rote learning. You may need it if you try to remember certain definitions, for example. You wil
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1.4 Defining reflection

Reflection is both an academic concept and also a word in common use, combining ideas of thinking, musing, pondering and so on. This everyday meaning is a good basis from which to start: reflection is very much to do with thinking. However, one of the most important things about reflection is that it enables us to think about our own thinking – about what it is that we know or have experienced. Such reflection might be summed up in the phrase, ‘the mind's conversation with itself’.

<
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1.3 Reflection and course study

Many of the units on the OpenLearn website include self-assessment questions and activities designed to require you to stop and think, sometimes to take action. This is also true of many Open University courses because Open University course teams typically want students to question what they read and to try out ideas for themselves. Every time you pause to do your own thinking in this way, you are reflecting on what you have learnt.

This unit includes several activities that are specif
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1.2 Learning beyond course study

Learning how to learn has become an important goal in higher education. There is a national context in which an emphasis on ability to learn has come to prominence. It is now widely asserted that an ability to learn is as important an outcome of university study as knowledge of a discipline. This is a view put forward strongly by employers, for example, who have an interest in the employability of graduates and the skills they bring into the work place. It is a view which has been reiterated
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3.4.4 Stress concentration at joint

Although it is known that a round hole in a flat sample will theoretically produce a stress concentration of about 3, the issue was decided experimentally. A tensile test at 25 °C was undertaken on an intact eye-bar-pin assembly from the bridge, being some 8 m long and from a lower part of the chain. It yielded at about 7 MN, and fractured in the shank at a stress of about 770 MPa. The yield stress in the shank was about 520 MPa, and the failed eye bar showed ductile behaviour with a reducti
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1.3 Environmental factors

I indicated earlier that many failures occur after a product has been in service for some time: such as the wear of a car tyre, or corrosion of the car body itself. It is also possible for components to fail because of a combination of a manufacturing defect with the applied loading or with the environmental conditions during use. Author(s): The Open University

References

Burroway, Janet (2003) Writing Fiction: a guide to narrative craft, 6th edition, Harlow: Longman.
Byatt, A.S. (2001) The Biographer's Tale, London: Vintage.
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1.1 Creating characters

Activity 1

Click on 'View document' below to read the first few paragraphs from Novakovich's chapter on ‘Character’.

8.4 Hinduism in eastern India: religion in Calcutta

The Hinduism of Bengal, as in other regions of India with their own languages and distinctive historical traditions, has absorbed and retained many local elements which make it peculiarly the Hinduism of Bengal. The city of Calcutta has exerted its own considerable influence upon the surrounding region. Calcutta, the capital of West Bengal, was founded in 1690 originally as a British trading post on the Hugli, a stretch of the Ganges (or Ganga), a river sacred to Hindus (see Author(s): The Open University

1.1 The Holocaust: a unique event?

World War I has a claim to being called the first industrialised war in the sense that, for the first time, the full power of industrial technology was deployed in concentrated ways on the battlefields. During the Second World War, what might be termed industrialised mass killing was employed for the first time – not on the battlefields but in specially designated areas behind the battle fronts. The perpetrators were directed by educated men, little different socially from the bureaucrats i
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Acknowledgements

This unit was written by Dr Sue Asbee

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce m
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