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NEXUS Hosts the 63rd human factors engineering certificate course

September 13, 2022

by Britney Rivers

The Human Factors Engineering certificate course returned to Ann Arbor in July for the 63rd year. Michigan Engineering has hosted the two-week course for more than half a century. Due to the 2020 pandemic, the course was taught virtually for the past two years. The course returned to the in-person format this summer. Over 30 participants gathered in the Chrysler Building on the University of Michigan’s North Campus to learn how to improve their user interface design. The course provided in-depth knowledge through expert lectures and real-world applications.

The Instructional Team

Lead instructor Dr. Paul Green is a research professor for the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) and Industrial & Operations Engineering. He has been sharing his industry knowledge with Nexus learners for over 25 years. The participants enjoyed his lectures on driver workload, driver distraction, and navigation system design. Dr. Green conducted several human-computer simulations with the participants and encouraged them to experiment with the motor-vehicle controls and testing machines. 

The instructional team consists of 12 professionals across various industries with a wide range of expertise and research interests. Many of the instructors work at other leading institutions including Ohio State University, University of Wisconsin, Florida State, and University of Colorado. The participants were able to gain different perspectives in the fields of psychology, ergonomics, computer science, and systems and biomedical engineering. 

An Interactive Experience

The course is separated into two distinct weeks. Week 1 provides an overview of the basic human factors concepts. Participants explored human visual displays, motor behaviors, and manual controls and discussed how improving these systems in your organization can enhance the design experience for their employees and customers. Week 2 focuses on human-computer interaction (HCI) and intelligent systems design. Learners participated in hands-on computer simulations and workshops to gain a better understanding of the HCI software and how its data can be interpreted into useful information. 

Throughout the two weeks, participants were able to participate in human-computer simulations in the lab and hands-on driving simulations. Additionally, they engaged in small group discussions and workshops to practice the concepts discussed in the lectures. 

Learners also visited Mcity, the autonomous vehicle testing grounds, as well as UMTRI, and the Center of Ergonomics located on Michigan’s North Campus. Learners were able to experience the latest design and biomechanical innovations in real time.

A Diverse Group of Learners

The Human Factors Engineering course attracted a diverse group of participants from across the U.S. Attendees represented a variety of industries, including automotive, manufacturing, military, and technology. Common job titles of the participants included engineers, interface designers, team managers, and human factors specialists. Different professional backgrounds and experiences allowed for interesting class discussions. 

Networking Opportunities

On the first night of the course, the participants and instructors attended a welcome reception. This event encouraged participants to connect and network with each other. The course also included the unique opportunity to participate in a game of Whirlyball. Everyone was able to connect outside of the classroom with this fun activity.

The Human Factors Engineering short course is more than a certificate course. This two-week course offers the opportunity to learn from expert researchers, participate in interactive simulations, and network with industry professionals. Experience the benefits for yourself and join us next summer for the 64th Human Factors Engineering Certificate course. 

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