QAS515 - Human Factors in Quality Assurance

Updated 28AUG15

MS in Quality Assurance, CSU Dominquez Hills

Instructor: Jim Clauson

How to Contact me:

The standard mode of communication for this course is the postings of assignments and questions to the discussion board. Routine questions are best handled in this manner.

Outside that, you are free to contact me directly via e-mail. I monitor and respond to e-mails on a daily basis. "Back channel" communications are kept between the participant and myself except where the response is of general interest and its posting of the class discussion list will prove of value to the entire class.

Phone: +1.865.717.0250 (East Tennessee) (GMT -5)
NB: My work day is unconventional and I am seldom at this number during "normal" work hours.


Web Sites:

Course Description:

A comprehensive survey of Human Factors Engineering (HFE) applications which are of particular relevance to continuous quality improvement (CQI) activities in the workplace. A systems framework will be utilized, emphasizing feedback on interrelationships among system components, including the person doing the job. Emphasis will be placed on the analysis of and improvements in the design of work systems, processes, workplaces...

Note that the field of ergonomics is a small subset of Human Factors Engineering and you will be at a significant disadvantage if you concentrate on just this sub-set.

The relevance and intent of this course are based on the "missing link" in quality improvement activities: the interface between the individual in the system and the system itself. Traditionally, we improve the specifics of the process and we train the individual; but we often fail to analyze the entire system.

Part One of the course concentrates on human physiology and brain functions in order to better understand the systemic needs of the human body (physical, cognitive, and psychological) in the workplace.

Part Two builds on Part One and addresses a variety of specific HFE issues in the work place in specific and the human body at work, home, and leisure in general.

Learning Objectives:

At the successful completion of this course the successful participant will be able to:

Please Note:

PSA: This is considered both a tough and an unorthodox class. Be prepared for an environment that is new and, perhaps, sometimes uncomfortable. But in 13 weeks -- you will be amazed at what you have learned. And in 5 years, you will be amazed at what you still remember. Trust the process.

Required Texts:

Ergonomics - How to Design for Ease and Efficiency, Second Edition, 2001
by Kroemer, Kroemer, and Kroemer-Elbert
ISBN 0-13-752478-1

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition
American Psychological Association
978-1-4338-0561-5 (soft cover)

Research Methods: A Process of Inquiry, 8th Edition
Graziano & Raulin


The course is divided into thirteen sections or "units." Two of these are the Midterm and Final.

Course Requirements:

Successful completion of this course will require the participant to:

Attendance Requirements:

This is not a correspondence course -- but a course delivered in a virtual classroom via Blackboard. Attendance = CMC Participation. This course relies totally on Computer Mediated Communications (CMC), so participants must actively participate and contribute on a near-daily basis. This virtual environment may be new to some participants, but it is a standard communications medium in business and industry. "Lurkers" will find themselves left behind in this environment.

You are expected to check both your CSU email and the Blackboard daily -or- at MINIMUM 3 times each week.

Schedule of Examinations:

There will be a Mid-term and a proctored Final examination for this course.

The Mid-term exam occurs during the 8th week of class. I will e-mail you the mid-term and you will have 168 hours +/- to complete it. This exercise is an involved case study and requires your serious attention. It is open book, open-browser. You will post your Word & PowerPoint response to the Assignments area in Blackboard and email a zipped back-up attachment to me at jim at jclauson dot com.

The Final exam occurs during Unit 13, usually Saturday thru Tuesday of Week 13. This is an online, proctored exam and is an open-book, open-notes, closed-browser exam. You will have 3 hours to complete the exam and will need a constant-on, internet connection during this time. Full instructions and password are emailed to your proctor just before your scheduled exam. Submission of the MSQA Proctor Agreement to the MSQA office is required and it is critical that you provide the email address for your MSQA office approved proctor in a timely manner. The MSQA office will provide details via email and there will be a forum in this course.

Proctor Selection: You are singularly responsible for selection of your proctor and for the notification of the MSQA office by the stated deadline. Period. Detailed instructions will be provided later in the course.

Grading Policy:

Participants in this learning process begin with a 100% customer service level, which would equate to a high A. Like any quality relationship, the participant's customer service level may go up or down based on their specific performance against the predetermined expectations of the customer. Using this model, the instructor is the customer -- the one who is setting the primary set of expectations to be met in this quality relationship. This process is unique and I will ask you to trust the process.

Typical Grading Breakdown:

Grading Scale
Grade Performance Final Score (%)
A Excellent 93%-100%
A-   90%-92%
B+   87%-89%
B Very Good 83%-86%
B-   80%-82%
C+   77%-79%
C Satisfactory 73%-76%
C-   70%-72%

Since a grade of B or better is required for continuation in the master's program - lower grade scales are moot.

For details on grading, see the current University Regulations -or- the University Grading Policy.

This is a masters program. High standards and high expectations.

The bell curve lives. For any population or sample population, one will typically find a normal distribution. By extension, for any population weights, heights, scores, grades... will be normally distributed. Simply put... 50% will be above the mean and 50% will be below the mean. More specifically, we can apply the 68-95-99.7 Rule. Not familiar with the 68-95-99.7 Rule? Check the following YouTube video [here]

"OK... ", you are thinking, "what is Dr. Clauson trying to say here?"

For every class - there will be a mean. 50% will be above and 50% will be below. Statistically, not everyone in class will be an "A student."

Policy on Due Dates and Make-up Work:

Reality runs on a tight clock - as do most jobs. This course is no different. A due date is just that. As in business, true emergencies will be taken into consideration. Advance notice is critical, where possible.

There is a 10% per day penalty for late assignments.

Academic Integrity

The campus must maintain high standards which reflect the nature of an institution of higher learning. Students need to be aware of the academic standards that are expected throughout their college career.


Plagiarism is considered a gross violation of the University's academic and disciplinary standards.

Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities

The Disabled Students Services program is focused on making sure CSUDH students with disabilities have full access to the university's educational, cultural, social and physical facilities and programs.

Computer/Information Literacy Expectations for Students enrolled in this class

Students in this class are expected to:

  1. use the university email system (Toromail),
  2. use Blackboard,
  3. use a word processing program for writing assignments ( MS Word or Open Office),
  4. be able to access assigned websites through the Internet,
  5. use the library databases to find peer-reviewed journal literature,
  6. be able to create a Power Point presentation, and
  7. be able to paraphrase concepts without plagiarizing.

For additional information about computing on campus, including tutorials, students should go to:


Basic information and computer literacy are required in one of the computer formats (Windows, Macintosh, or GNU/Linux).

Students must have a Toromail account and be able to use Blackboard.

Students must also:

Hardware requirements:

NB: You will be at a severe disadvantage if you do not have a suitable home computer and broadband internet.

There is a [System Check] in Blackboard where you can ensure your system is compatible with Blackboard.

Minimum machine recommendations - Windows:

Minimum machine recommendations - Mac:

Software requirements:

NB: Internet Explorer is not recommended for use with Blackboard.

Jim Clauson


Last update: 28AUG15