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    Human Factors in Computing Systems

    JMU Times

    Studying in Germany at the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg

    Great potential

    Minority Report: in this film Tom Cruise plays a policeman in the year 2054. He conducts his investigations on a kind of screen on which packages of data and photos are pulled on to the display, enlarged and removed again at a breathtaking pace with only a slight flick of the hand which does not even touch the monitor. The film was made in 2002 – i-phones und i-pads did not even exist then. “But meanwhile the futuristic technology from the film is about to become reality,” says Christian Treffs.

    Man and machine are merging

    Hands on computers keyboards and keypads and telephones could soon be a thing of the past. “The point at which man meets machine is becoming more and more blurred, the machine is becoming secondary” Christian says. How can he be so sure? Because he is taking the subject Human Factors in Computing Systems and already has a fair insight into the developments in this field.

    Whether it is a computer, satellite navigation system or mobile phone: how should these gadgets be configurated so that they remain user-friendly? This is one of the subjects covered by Human Factors in Computing Systems. The students acquire knowledge in the fields of computer science, psychology and medicine. And in particular information about the human factors, in other words the factors which enable them to understand and improve the interaction between people and technology.

    Putting people first

    ”The human being is very definitely at the centre of our course of studies, not the systems or the logarithms.” Kristof Korwisi, explains why he chose to take this course. Naturally, it involves a certain amount of Computer Science. Software Engineering is part of the syllabus, as are Psychology and Physiology – after all, the student has to learn how the human being and his senses work.

    “We have some classes which are exclusively for this course, such as Ergonomics and Introduction to Human Factors in Computing Systems.” Lara Luttmer appreciates this and says it is one of the reasons why she came from Hamburg to study at the University of Würzburg. She has not regretted it. “The course is well-structured and our course counsellor is extremely committed on our behalf.”

    Career-oriented

    The subject Human Factors in Computing Systems has great potential career-wise. All three students agree on this. And they are not the only ones. Christian Treffs has done a placement at Continental in Regensburg in the Navigation & Maps Department. “When I told them what course I was taking, their reaction was very enthusiastic: ‘That definitely sounds like a qualification we can use here’.”

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