Seminar in Advanced Usability: Creativity Support Tools
Fall 2002
Department of Computer Science
University of Maryland, College Park
Professor Ben Shneiderman
Class meets
Mon & Wed, 11:00am-12:15pm, EGR 3140

Course Description


CMSC 434 or equivalent, or permission of instructor. Programming skill is expected with tools such as Java and Visual Basic. Experience in conducting usability studies is expected.

Graduate Credits

Students may sign up for MS comprehensive exam in PL/SE, based on two exams. This course may be used as a PhD or MS course in PL/SE. Students who have already taken CMSC 838 may sign up, but may NOT count this course towards Phd or MS qualifying exam.


This course is for graduate students interested in research methods and issues in human-computer interaction. We will focus on the role of theory (descriptive, explanatory, predictive, prescriptive, and generative) and empirical research methods (ethnographic observation, usability testing, and controlled experimentation).

Major Topic

This course will focus on the design, implementation, use and efficacy of creativity support tools: visual outliners, search software, brainstorming (idea prompting), idea processing, questioning, story development, composition, simulation, consultation, dissemination.


Students will read papers, review software tools, discuss research methods, and learn advanced interface design concepts as they relate to creativity support tools. Students will build a web site on theory and research methods in HCI: They will develop and carry out their own empirical research project in teams of 2-4 students. The projects will be posted on the web as in previous years:


Potential resources

Class Resources


Resource Index

Idea Processors, Thesauri, Brainstorming

Making Maps

Theories, books, software, webtools


General HCI Links

Class discussions links

Page maintained by amir khella.