HDCC 208N
Section 0101
Research Methods and Practices for Computing and Interaction
Instructor: Evan Golub egolubUMD@gmail.com

General Logistics
The website at www.cs.umd.edu/~egolub/HDCC208N will be be used to post readings, assignments, etc. Any official course announcements will be posted there. You may receive an e-mail informing you of emergency announcements, but you are responsible for checking the main class site regularly.

The class meets: Tue/Thu 2-3:15pm.

The course prerequisite is HDCC106.


Course Description
When preparing to undertake a computing and/or interaction-based research (or other) project, there are a variety of issues to explore. This course will introduce some fundamental techniques and approaches to developing and undertaking such a project, utilizing a variety of in-class activities and out-of-class assignments to better understand them. The goal of these activities and assignments is to provide practical, realistic, and hopefully interesting scenarios to which the course material can be applied, and thus reinforced via exploration.

As a significant part of this course, we will undertake two authentic group projects, where we will design and implement new techniques for prototyping both 360° experiences and voice-interaction experiences. Members of the team will undertake a literature review, document their process as they are designing and testing their ideas, and work as a group to write a report or article about their findings on prototyping each type of experience.

There are a variety of low-fidelity prototyping techniques that can be used to rapidly explore ideas as well as involve a wide range of potential users in the design process (participatory design). As "virtual" 360° experiences (try to) move to being a more everyday thing, we should have ways to prototype these using similar inclusive design approaches, but existing techniques might need to be altered or new techniques created to do so. Similarly, prototyping voice-based interactions as those that interfaces such as Alexa and Siri present should also be supported, and might require current approaches to be rethought or supplemented. We will explore both through activities in class and assignments outside of class this semester.

The course topics and assignments will also help guide each student through the initial stages of applying these same skills to designing a capstone project of their own design. Each student will apply what they learn in this class to a topic within their own area of interest through the capstone proposal process. This includes a literature review, a need-for-research statement, the identification of a "stakeholder" who would care about your work, and a target timeline for your work (concluding in April/May of 2017). Students in the class will also help each other expand and explore their capstone ideas as part of the in-class activities. Before Thanksgiving Weekend, each student will have a full capstone proposal developed, and by the end of the semester might have even started the initial stages of their project.

The course will introduce terminology, concepts, techniques, and ethical guides related to research in general, as well as projects involving human participants in any way. We will also some explore specific techniques that can be applied to research in Human-Computer Interaction such as cooperative inquiry and user testing. Of course, you'll be expected to not only remember the information as facts, but understand the concepts. To facilitate this, there will be in-class activities and out-of-class assignments that provide a context in which to apply them.

One of the things that we will discuss and experience in class is that when doing original computing and interaction design research, you don't tend to plan every last detail out and then undertake the entire plan at once. Instead, you will tend to find yourself iterating through three phases (analyze the problem, create a solution, evaluate its use) as you advance in your work. As you do this, you have the opportunity to make adjustments and corrections. While you will need to analyze the problem you are trying to solve or goal you are working to achieve as a whole, plan out and create your solution, and evaluate whether it has succeeded, we will explore how this can be (and typically is) done incrementally and iteratively over the lifespan of a project, and how each phase can change slightly (or not) as your project continues.

One way to think of your Sophomore DCC experience, starting with this course, is via the following windmill; the semester will start building from the bottom of the base and by the end you'll be in the iterative cycle of the three "sails" where you will continue to develop your project in the Spring semester.


Course Topics Include (not in strict order)
- The scientific method approach to research
- Research ethics in general as well as as applied to human-subjects projects
- Methods and techniques used for data collection and analysis
- Developing a research question and project proposal
- The variety of work that can be undertaken for a DCC capstone
- The history of topics and issues in Human-Computer Interaction research
- Different ways to report the results of a project
- Cooperative inquiry techniques
- Questions of generalizability and longevity of results
- Controlled studies


Some Student Learning Outcomes
Students completing this course will:
- obtain an understanding of different approaches to research
- experience designing a project roadmap and undertaking the building of a user-informed prototype
- gain a perspective of how Human-Computer Interaction research has grown and evolved as the technology as well as the users and their tasks have changed
- be able to discuss ethical issues related to research
- have the background, vocabulary, and experience to express to others some of the challenges faced by researchers
- have the skills needed to undertake an individual or small-team project and report their results
- be able to propose and undertake an independent project


Major Course Deliverables
Individual and Team Assignments: To further explore the course topics, there will be homework/project assignments of varying length and depth. Some of these will be individual assignments while some will be done in small teams. Different teams might be assembled for different assignments. With team assignments, while different students might undertake different responsibilities, all team members are expected to contribute to the whole.

Capstone Pre-Proposal, Proposal, and Stakeholder Identification: You will be working on your capstone proposal during the semester and there will be several in-class and at-home activities related to this process. While your capstone may or may not focus on the types of projects specifically addressed by class assignments and topics, it is highly encouraged that you take the course material and exercises into account when designing your project proposal. The pre-proposal will be due around the time of the midterm. The full proposal will be due mid-November. You are also expected to identify and talk with a potential stakeholder for your project. More details regarding how to submit your proposal and report on your project progress will be provided later in the semester.

Individual Journal: As you read things for the course, you will need to make additions to the journal in the form of a brief summary of each as well as your thoughts on the way it relates either to course topics or to your capstone process. I would also like you to make special note of anything that surprised you as you are reading things or working on things. The journal will take the form of a Google Doc which you will share with me via egolubUMD@gmail.com and which will be reviewed regularly. The document name should include your name and HDCC208N, such as Journal-HDCC208N-MyName.


Grading Distribution
• Active engagement and class participation: 15%
• Individual and team assignments: 35%
• Midterm and Final Exam: 20%
• Individual journal: 5%
• Attend two DCC workshops related to capstone: 5%
• Capstone pre-proposal, proposal, ancillaries: 20%


Anticipated Order of Topics
• Overview and Project Examples
• History of Human-Computer Interaction
• Research Fundamentals
• Introduction to Human-Centered Design
• Needs Assessment and Design Ideation
• Research-based Foundations of Human-Centered Design
• Low-Fidelity Prototyping
• Medium-Fidelity Prototyping
• Respecting Participants
• Human-Subjects Research: Psychology Effects
• Human-Subjects Research: Ethics and the IRB
• Writing a Research Proposal
• Qualitative Research Techniques and Applications
• Research to Industry: Heuristic Evaluation
• Designing Controlled Studies


Anticipated Key Dates
• Low-Fi Project 1 Due: October 12th
• Low-Fi Project 1 Presentation and Discussion of future: October 17th
• Midterm Exam: October 19th
• Low-Fi Project 2 Due and Future Discussion: November 16th
• Third Project Due: December 7th
• Final Exam: Saturday, December 16th from 10:30am-12:30pm


Attendance and Absences
Students are expected to attend classes regularly. Consistent attendance offers students the most effective opportunity to gain command of course concepts and materials. Events that justify an excused absence include: religious observances; mandatory military obligation; illness of the student or illness of an immediate family member; participation in university activities at the request of university authorities; and compelling circumstances beyond the student's control (e.g., death in the family, required court appearance). Absences stemming from work duties other than military obligation (e.g., unexpected changes in shift assignments) and traffic/transit problems do not typically qualify for excused absence.

Students claiming an excused absence must notify the course instructor in a timely manner and provide appropriate documentation. The notification should be provided either prior to the absence or as soon afterwards as possible. In the case of religious observances, athletic events, and planned absences known at the beginning of the semester, the student must inform the instructor during the schedule adjustment period. All other absences must be reported as soon as is practical. The student must provide appropriate documentation of the absence. The documentation must be provided in writing to the instructor via e-mail. The full university attendance/absence policy can be found here: http://www.ugst.umd.edu/courserelatedpolicies.html

Computing Policy
DCC is a program that actively utilizes emerging technologies to explore new methods of learning and scholarship. We welcome and encourage the use of laptops, tablets, and similar electronic devices in class for note-taking or class-related research. However, all phones must be turned off or set to vibrate prior to entering the classroom. Students who consult non-course related content on electronic devices during class (such as checking e-mail, texting, or shopping) may be asked to leave.

Academic Integrity
The University of Maryland, College Park has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council. This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all undergraduate and graduate students. As a student you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course. It is very important for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism. The University of Maryland Honor Pledge reads: I pledge on my honor that I have not given or received any unauthorized assistance on this assignment/examination. Unless you are specifically advised to the contrary, the Pledge statement should be handwritten and signed on the front cover of all papers, projects, or other academic assignments submitted for evaluation in this course. Cheating includes: reusing portions of coursework for credit, allowing others to prepare work, and utilizing external aids including commercial term paper and Internet companies. If you have a question regarding any of the above or the code in general, consult immediately with the instructor. For more information on the Code of Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, please visit: http://www.studenthonorcouncil.umd.edu/whatis.html

Plagiarism and Citations
The definition of plagiarism is broader than commonly assumed. Plagiarism includes: direct quotation, paraphrasing, summarization, and fabrication of materials. If you use any source in your work without correctly citing the work, this constitutes plagiarism. All quotations taken from other authors, including paraphrasing and all sources from the Internet (including Wikipedia, blogs, and forums) and other digital media, must be indicated by quotation marks and properly referenced. When referencing a blog or blog comment, cite at least the author's name and enough information for a reader to find the work on their own (e.g. a hyperlink if available.) If you are ever uncertain about your need to cite something or how to do so, please contact the instructor before turning in your work.

Note on Academic Honesty and Plagiarism
Any source that you draw ideas and quotes from must be cited accurately. If you use any source in your work without correctly citing the work, this constitutes plagiarism. Any intentional plagiarism will result in a failing grade for the assignment and may result in a failing grade for the course. If it is determined that an act of academic dishonesty has occurred, a grade of XF is considered the normal sanction for undergraduate students. The grade of XF is noted on the academic transcript as failure due to academic dishonesty. Lesser or more severe sanctions may be imposed when there are circumstances to warrant such consideration. Suspension or expulsion from the University may be imposed even for a first offense. Allegations of academic dishonesty will be reported directly to the Student Honor Council: http://www.shc.umd.edu

Types of Plagiarism

  1. Buying papers, borrowing papers, or recycling former papers unrevised and claiming these types of papers as your own for your assignment in this course.
  2. Cutting and pasting parts of a webpage or borrowing passages from a book for your paper without properly citing these parts and claiming the material as your own for the expressed intent of cheating.
  3. Using another's creative work such as photos, data visualizations or artwork without proper credit or alteration.

Religious Observance
Absence will not be penalized, however, it is the student's responsibility to inform the instructor by email of any religious observances that will conflict with your attendance, assignment deadlines, or final exam. The student should provide emailed notification to the professor by the end of the second week of the term; the notification must identify the religious holiday(s) and the date(s). If this notification is not given to the instructor by this date, all missed assignments, quizzes, and exams are subject to grade penalties.

Learning Assistance Service
If you are experiencing difficulties in keeping up with the academic demands of this course, contact the Learning Assistance Service, 2202 Shoemaker Building, 301-314-7693. Their educational counselors can help with time management, reading, math learning skills, note-taking and exam preparation skills. All their services are free to UMD students (www.counseling.umd.edu/LAS)

Students with Disabilities
The University of Maryland is committed to providing appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities. Students with a documented disability should inform the instructors within the add-drop period if academic accommodations are needed. To obtain an Accommodation Letter prepared by Disability Support Service (DSS), a division of the University Counseling Center, please call 301-314-7682, e-mail dissup@umd.edu, or visit the Shoemaker Building for more information.


University Policies There are general course related policies at the University with which you might want to become familiar


Copyright Notice
Class lectures and other materials are copyrighted and they may not be reproduced for anything other than personal use without written permission from the instructor.

Syllabus Subject to Change
This syllabus is subject to change at any time according to the professor's discretion. Any changes will be announced.