CMSC 434 - Section 0201 - Fall 2018
Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction

Instructor: Evan Golub (
Office Hours: Posted weekly on website.
Class website:

Student Goals: Many!
For example:
• understand what is meant by "good design" and the complexities of users and their tasks
• know guidelines and models as well as how they can be applied to interface design
• know and have applied a variety of methods for involving the user in the design process
• have experienced building applications through various methods and systems
• know and have applied methods to evaluate interface effectiveness and quality
• have sufficient background to apply your training in future classes and industry

Assessment and Grading
Team Project: 40%
Projects will be done in groups of 3 or 4 students and have multiple graded phases and sub-phases. As each phase is assigned, its value towards the whole will be published as well. Phase 2 will be a serious implementation phase, and worth more, for example. Phases will have peer assessment that will impact individual student grades.
Exams: 40%
There will be a midterm in class on Wednesday, October 10th in class and a final exam on Saturday, December 15th at 1:30pm. Each will be 20% of the semester grade. The final might have some material that was covered earlier in the semester.
Homework, class participation, polls/quizzes: 20%
Various things will contribute to this portion of the grade. Examples include homework assignments, active participation in class, specifically in the various exercises and activities done during class time, the Hall of Fame presentations (details to be given in class), ELMS polls and quizzes. You should anticipate that there will be around four homework assignments which will account for roughly half of these points.

• There will be some required readings posted to ELMS, and all course slides are considered required readings.
• There might be some optional readings from the 6th edition of "Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction" by Shneiderman/Plaisant/ for students who prefer to have a textbook resource.

Overview of Anticipated Topics (not in strict order of coverage)
• What is Human-Computer Interaction?
• How do Psychology and Psychopathology impact design?
• How do Task Centered Design and User Centered design differ and why are both important?
• How do we perform Evaluation and Qualitative Studies on interfaces and systems?
• What are some key elements of Design Psychology?
• What are some key tools when Designing Visual Interfaces (Grids, Standards, Style Guides, etc)?
• What are the different Representations that can be used for data?
• What design issues are different on the web or mobile than the desktop/laptop?
• How do we perform Heuristic Evaluations?
• How can we make good Time Predictions for task completion?
• How do we communicate a product's goals to it's intended audience?

Late Policy
Late submission of a homework assignment, or a request for a make-up ELMS poll/quiz, is subject to the rules for medical excuse notification and documentation. As such, one self-signed excuse may be submitted at the time of the deadline using the illness report option on the server. Project phase deadlines, presentations, and exams count as Major Scheduled Grading Events and cannot be self-documented. Since you are given an extended period of time in which to work on a given phase, the medical excuse will need to cover an extended period of time as well. A prompt letter from your physician with his/her phone number and the specific dates for which you were incapacitated will be required at a minimum. Even with a valid excuse, you will still be expected to complete either similar or different work to earn the associated points.

Academic Honesty
The bulk of the team project phases are group assignments, and each member of the group is expected to accurately represent their contribution. The peer reviews and role discussions are individual elements and must be written by the individual students. Any attempts to circumvent deadlines or rules will be considered incidents of academic dishonesty. Homework assignments, polls, and quizzes are individual activities. Students may not discuss these with anyone other than the instructor or teaching assistants unless otherwise specified within the homework description. In cases where a homework assignment involves interviewing potential users, details will be given in class as to how these users may be selected, and what can and can not be discussed with these users. Exams are individual, closed book, closed note, closed technology works and a student may not look at another student's exam, or refer to any notes (unless exceptions are stated in advance), during the exam period. Any student violating any of these or general University academic honesty rules will be reported to the Office of Student Conduct for review and potentially a hearing. After a report is submitted by an instructor, the case is evaluated by the office and previous cases have resulted in penalties such as an XF grade in the course (the default penalty), dismissal from the university, or even degree revocation.

Religious or University Absences
It is your responsibility to inform the instructor within the first two weeks of the semester of any intended absences for religious observances any time during the semester that might cause you to miss an exam or assignment due date. The same is true for any official University functions in which you are required to participate.

Disability Accommodations
Any student eligible for and requesting reasonable academic accommodations due to a disability is requested to provide, to the instructor in office hours, a letter of accommodation from the Office of Accessibility and Disability Services (ADS) within the first two weeks of the semester.

University-Wide Items
University-wide course policy information of course applies as well. There will also be course evaluations for student feedback that I and the department and the faculty in general take seriously. Towards the end of the semester, students can visit to complete their evaluations.

This syllabus is subject to minor updates. Any update will be well announced and discussed.

Web Accessibility

Team Project 
Class Slack Team 
Homework Assignments 
Course Slides 
ELMS Readings