Course plan: MM-HTO5081
Human - Technology - Organization

Course summary

The Human-technology-organisation course is about the analysis, design and understanding of modern work in complex socio-technical systems. Because of the complexity of modern work life we must know something of how humans, technical systems and organisations interact and cooperate to achieve safe, efficient and healthy production.

The research field is also called Human factors or Cognitive System Engineering. The course will allow students to gain insights into how complex socio-technical systems work and fail.

The course will focus on areas of work such as navigation and operations in maritime environments (ship•s bridges, machine rooms and demanding maritime operations), control room environments (such as nuclear electricity plants) or other safety critical work situations (railway operation) and safety management systems.


  • Students will be introduced to models of risk, safety perspectives, key models of human performance, mental workload, situation awareness and teamwork.

  • The six lectures will be given on the following themes.

  • Introduction to Human Factors and Cognitive Systems Engineering

  • Situation Awareness and Human error

  • Training and Assessment

  • Teamwork and Crew resource management

  • Risk: risk evaluation - risk analysis - risk management

  • Outroduction from Human Factors:

  • Becoming a human factors professional by taking the operators perspect

Required prerequisite knowledge

The course does not require any specific previous knowledge apart from the general requirements of the master program.

However, previous experience with university courses or practical experience with Human Factors or Work Psychology would be an advantage to the student.


  • MM-HTO5080(v1): 7.5 Studiepoeng

Learning outcome

After completion of this course the student shall be able to:

  • describe and analyse key concepts such as mental workload, situation awareness, human error, risk management, and teamwork.
  • analyze and communicate the key theories of Human-Technology-Organization Systems (HTO-Systems).
  • analyse and intervene in HTO-Systems through key theories and methods
  • compare different perspectives on modern work life.

The subject will enable the students to achieve the following learning outcome:


The student will have advanced knowledge of:

  • the major overarching challenges in sociotechnical systems.
  • how humans are able (or not able) to control and supervise technical systems.
  • how humans and technology cooperate to attain system goals.
  • the goal-driven nature of work.
  • differences between routine and abnormal work situations.


The student will be able to:

  • analyze and conceptualize how sociotechnical systems cooperate in order to maintain safe, efficient and healthy production.
  • understand and intervene in the complexity of modern work life in order to improve the work situations to a more safe, efficient, and healthy production.


The student will gain the competence of:

  • understanding and evaluate modern work life using modern scientific methods and theories.
  • describe these methods and theories for the non-academic audiences
  • can apply the knowledge presented during lectures and in curriculum to write academic papers following the APA-standard.

Learning activities

The course will consist of a total of 36 hours of work, divided into:

  • Participation in 12 hours of lectures (6 lectures each of ca. 2 hours)

  • Four presentations of group work. The themes the groups must present will given by the lecturer at the end of each lecture. The presentations should have a maximum duration of 20 minutes (allow for five minutes for questions and answers)

The student must be present at the following:

  • a minimum of 4 out of 6 lectures

  • a minimum of 3 presentations

The students will be given individual and group-based supervision on academic writing, how to find suitable reference material, structuring of academic texts, the use of academic references, Human Factors theories and other aspects necessary to produce adequate academic texts.

Participation/Compulsory works

Participation in supervision is compulsory. Failure to participate in presentations of group work will lead to a loss of right to take the exam in the Human-technology-organisation course the same semester.


The students  write an academic paper between 15 and 30 pages (front page and reference list not included) on a problem formulation decided by the course coordinator.


The students must make an oral presentation of their paper at the last lecture day. The presentation should be about 30 minutes long. 

The academic paper will be evaluated and graded at the end of the semester. 

Assessment grading

The presentation and the paper will be graded A to F. E is the lowest passing grade. F is failed.

The presentation counts for 20% of the final grade.

The academic paper counts for 80% of the final grade. 

Examination support material

Use of all types of material is allowed during all assessments. Please note that plagiarism or other intellectual fraud will automatically lead to the grade F and with other possible punitive measures being used against the student.

Common instances of plagiarism or intellectual fraud is:

  • Quoting written sources without referring to these sources

  • Slight change of other peoples text to show it off as your own

  • Translating and quoting texts without referring to the source of the text

Course evaluation

The subject should be regularly evaluated to ensure that a high quality is obtained. The students are expected to actively participate in the evaluations, questioners, meetings oa. with the aim of increasing the educational quality of the subject. Evaluations will be performed in accordance with USN quality systems.

Literature (reading list)

Mandatory literature






Wickens, C.D., et al.

An Introduction to Human Factors Engineering, 2nd ed.




Grech, M., Horberry, T & Koester, T.

Human Factors in the Maritime Domain

CRC Press



Mandatory articles

Rasmussen, J. (1990). Human error and the problem of causality in the analysis of accidents. . Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society in London, 327, 449-462.

Rasmussen, J. (1997). Risk management in adynamic society: A modelling problem. Safety Science, 27(2-3), 183-213.

Endsley, M. R. (1995). Toward a Theory of Situation Awareness in Dynamic Systems. Human Factors, 37(1), 32-64.

Wickens, C. D. (2008). Multiple Resources and Mental Workload. Human Factors, 50, 449-455.

Additional reading







Situation Awareness

Mica R. Endsley and Debra G. Jones

Designing for Situation Awareness

CRC Press



Human Error

Sidney Dekker

The Field Guide to Understanding Human Error




Human Error

James Reason

Human Error

Cambrige University Press



Crew Resource Management & Teanwork

Kanki, B., Helmreich, R., & Anca, J. (Eds.)

Crew Resource Management




Efficiency-Thoroughness Tradeoff

Erik Hollnagel

The ETTO principle: The Efficiency-Thoroughness Tradeoff




For Mental Workload please refer to Wickens et al., `Introduction to Human Factors• and Wickens (2008) in the mandatory reading list.

Risk Management

James Reason

Managing the risks of organisational accidents




Risk evaluation and risk analysis

Terje Aven

Risk Analysis: Assessing uncertainties beyond expected values and probabilities




Approved course plan

Approved by Anne Kari Botnmark, Head of the Departement, 08.02.2016.

Part of study

Subject info:

  • SubjectCode: MM-HTO5081
  • Credits: 7.5
  • Subjectplan applies to: Class of 2016 Autumn
  • Duration: 1
  • Language: EN
  • Evaluation type: Academic paper
  • Responsible insitute: Department of Maritime Technology, Management and Innovation
  • Responsible lecturer: Salman Nazir