CMSC 434 - Sections 0101/0201
Fall 2023
Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction


Instructor: Evan Golub (egolub@glue.umd.edu)

Office Hours: Generally by Golub online in Slack, but also by appointment if/as needed in IRB1210 (message me in Slack or e-mail me to arrange).
I am happy to make such appointments, but in general I tend to be able to handle most via my Slack DM channel as well as the public channels, which I check for pending questions on a regular basis.

Teams are generally expected to be internally supporting each other on the team project coding elements, so general coding office hours are not held for this course.

ELMS class space: umd.instructure.com/courses/1350075

Please note that lecture is not recordedi and all exams are in-person.

Draft Status Until First Day Of Class

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
The following is the default grading plan. If changes are needed due to the circumstances of the semester they will be well-announced and designed as best as possible to not "hurt" anyone's grade as compared to this posted plan.
Team Project: 46%
Projects will be done in groups of 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 be worth more, for example. Phases will have peer assessment that can impact individual student grades.

The anticipated phase and sub-phase due dates can be seen in the high-level overview of this semester-long team project.
Exams: 42%
There will be four exams (three during the semester and one during the final exam slot). The three semester exams will be in class at class time on the dates listed below, and the fourth exam will be held during the course common-final date once it is scheduled.

The planned semester exam dates are October 3rd, October 31st, November 30th as well as the one held during the course common-final date (currently listed as Wednesday, December 13th at 6:30pm).

You will potentially be asked to stay in the classroom for each exam until the class period ends.

At the end of the semester, based on how many points worth of questions we've had, I'll scale things to an "out of 100%" score for the 42% of your grade connected to exams. So, as an example, if in the end there were 45+35+50+70 = 200 points worth of questions, the "out of 100%" would be calculated by dividing your total by 200. Note that not all exams will have the same number of points.

The general type for most questions will be "mini-essay" type of responses, but short-answer or multiple-choice are also possible. Examples will be posted in the context of course topics during the semester. If there are any regrade requests due to a feeling that a correct answer was marked off, such requests need to be made to the instructor via e-mail within a few days of the results being posted.

Regrading request policy will be discussed in class, but please note that any requests will need to be in writing via e-mail.
Class activity participation, pre-class ELMS discussions/polls/quizzes, etc.: 12%
Various things will contribute to this portion of the grade. Examples include active class participation (specifically in the various exercises and activities done during class times), and any ELMS pre-class activities with submissions, discussions or polls that we might have.

Each ELMS submission item's assignment will clearly state its due date.
Letter grades are expected to follow the standard 90/80/70/60 cutoffs, with only the edges of each range reserved for potential +/- scoring.

• There will be some required readings posted to ELMS.
• All course "slides" (slides + slide comments) are considered required readings.

Overview of Anticipated Topics (not in strict order of coverage)
• What is Human-Computer Interaction and how does "UI" differ from "UX"?
• What are some key elements of, and reasons for, Inclusive Design?
• 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
The exams, and the project phases are considered "major grading events" by University definitions and policy. Please realize that you are going to be given an extended period of time in which to work on a given project phase or homework, and all submissions will be done online.

The nominal university policy is one self-documented excuse for minor grading events.

With things continuing to not be quite back to normal, I approach this with a slightly more generous policy with an assumption of the assignments listed above.

  • You can self-excuse for up to two participation or pre-class ELMS activities for various issues and for logistic reasons I simply do this uniformly at the end with no self-reporting needed.
  • Each team can self-excuse a single one-day late submission of a team project phase to cover a variety of scenarios. Given the length of each phase, I don't expect many teams will really need this but wanted to have this in place just in case. Teams are expected to plan ahead, be working throughout the timespan of a phase, and balance work between each other. If needed, the team would contact me in their team Slack channel. Please note that, for example, a member being sick the day a team submission is due will not lead to a team extension.
  • If a long-term medical issue impacts a team member, you must notify me as soon as you are medically able to, not waiting until after you are able to return to working on things. Official documentation will be needed, and we will discuss how team elements will be handled.
  • Exams are covered by university rules on what constitutes an excused absence and the documentation for missing a major grading event such as an exam. For an excused absence, no make-up will be given. Instead, your overall exam scoring will be adjusted to reflect the one missed exam. Note that not every exam will have the same number of points and I will have a formula to handle this correctly in the end. For this one, you'll need to do all of the following (a) contact me either prior to the exam or right after, (b) use the grades.cs.umd.edu illness reporting function to report your illness (c) follow-up by submitting dated and detailed medical documentation to me via e-mail within a week of the exam and in accordance with University policy on medical documentation.

    Please remember that providing false information to University officials is prohibited under Part 9(i) of the Code of Student Conduct (V-1.00(B) University of Maryland Code of Student Conduct) and may result in disciplinary action.

    If slight alterations need to be made for logistical reasons behind the scenes, they will be made in a way that they are at least as "forgiving" as the above rules state.

    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, etc. 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 and a student may not look at another student's exam, try to contact others, or refer to any notes, during the exam period, and may not give assistance to others during their exam period.

    The use of so-called AI tools such as, but not limited to, ones that can generate images or text or code utilizing things such as, but not limited to, a large-scale language model or model built from a text or code or graphical library, is not allowed in this course. Examples include ChatGPT and GitHub Copilot. Not only are there legal and ethical issues surrounding those, but also their use would interfere with certain learning outcomes. You may utilize and customize generic example code snippets, such as those on tutorial sites like W3Schools, but you must include a link to the source in your code's documentation.

    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.

    Masking Guidelines
    These things are always in flux. As of now masks are listed as optional in the classroom, but I would like to ask everyone to seriously consider wearing a mask in class. If you are not wearing a mask, I will ask you to keep a certain distance away from me if you come up to ask something, but I will of course still take the question.

    Religious or University Absences
    It is your responsibility to inform the instructor in writing and within the first two weeks of the semester of any intended absences for religious observances any time during the semester that could cause you to miss class or a deadline. 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.

    Department-Wide Note
    If you have any class concerns, feel free to contact the instructor. If an issue arises with the instructor, report it using the form available at www.cs.umd.edu/classconcern.

    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 www.CourseExp.umd.edu/ to complete their evaluations.

    This syllabus is subject to updates by the instructor as/if required to address things such as possible changes to public health status. Any update will be well announced.

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