Class Web Page
This website will be be used to post readings, assignments, etc.
Any official course announcements will be posted here.
You may receive an e-mail informing you of emergency announcements,
but you are responsible for checking the main class site regularly.
Meeting Times: Tue/Thu 2:00pm-3:15 in PLS 1172.
When designing, whether software or hardware, whether the goals are
increased productivity, entertainment, education, art, or others it
is crucial to consider the "users" of your creation and the experiences
they will have.
It is important to be familiar with existing technologies as well
as ideas from the past which can inform your design.
It is also important to consider ethical issues associated with the
technology you plan to build.
As you are building a system you will want to assess its usability
at several stages, from early paper prototypes through medium-fidelity
prototypes through the creation of the final release.
The field of Human-Computer Interaction draws in researchers from
many disciplines. Here at Maryland, our HCI Lab has had faculty
and students from departments including Computer Science, Psychology,
the iSchool, Journalism, Sociology, Business, and English.
Individual project teams tend to have similar combinations of
disciplines represented. These teams typically bring a wide range
of background knowledge to their teams and work with "end users" who
come from diverse populations such as medical doctors, children,
older adults, and others.
How do these teams proceed when designing new technologies for and with
the people for whom the technologies are being built? If your core
group is more science and engineering focused, how do you bring diverse
viewpoints into a team's work? Once you have a bold new idea or prototype
or research result, how do you share it with your local community as well
as broader ones?
This course will explore and answer questions such as these!
For certain parts of this course there will be an implementation
component. However, it is important to note that programming or
building isn't meant to be the "new thing" here. Much of the focus
will on the things that should be done when designing what you want
to program or build. The group project will working prototypes as
one of their outcomes, but you will find that much of the design
work and brainstorming will happen using "paper prototyping" via
art supplies and graphical tools such as Photoshop and PowerPoint
and that much time will be spent thining about and working with
Unlike many traditional courses where there is a single set of learning
outcomes expected for all students who enroll, you will find that while
there are some uniform goals this course also sets different goals for
you based on your background. For example, students with non-technical
backgrounds may gain new insight into technology, students with technical
backgrounds may gain new insight into the power of diversity in technology
projects, and students with diverse backgrounds will learn how to shape them.
Example Course Topics
Defining the field of Human-Computer Interaction and exploring how it
grew to include such diverse fields
HCI -vs- User Interface Software and Technology
Exploring the history and current issues in HCI through
classic/historic readings and TED (or TED-like) talks
Psychology of Everyday Things
Ethical considerations such as avoiding Shneiderman's
Evaluating and critiquing (not criticizing) the work of others
Creating and giving short presentations about technology
Team building across disciplines
Overview of rapid prototyping tools (software and hardware)
Finding the strengths in both qualitative and quantitative evaluation
(social science versus natural science approaches)
The future direction of HCI and UIST in a more technologically diverse
Some Student Learning Outcomes
Students completing this course will:
obtain an understanding of how the areas of psychology and
psychopathology and ethics connect to the design of hardware
gain a perspective of how the field of Human-Computer Interaction
has grown and evolved as the technology as well as the users and
their tasks have changed, and be able to discuss issues that have
remained constant for decades as well as new issues designers face today.
have the background, vocabulary, and experience to express to others
the importance of elements of HCI such as task-centered and
have the skills needed while watching presentations to identify new
ideas, form opinions about them, summarize, and critique them and
to share such through written and verbals presentations
both have experiences in taking an idea and bringing it to the level
of a low-fidelity prototype, as well as using the appropriate assessment
techniques and technologies to evaluate the design of both prototype
and production software.
Major Course Deliverables
As you read the assigned papers and articles, you will need to
add a brief summary of each and your thoughts on the way it
relates to course topics to your journal.
The journal will take the form of a Google Doc which you will
share with me and which will be reviewed regularly.
Semester Project: There will be a team project where you
will start by exploring real design challenges posted online and
provided in class, consider which interest you, form teams to
then develop the challenge into ideas for a new piece of software,
and work through the process of user and task analysis, low-fidelity
design, testing of that design, and likely building a medium-fidelity
prototype and document describing your full implementation concept.
Class Presentations and Reports: There will be several
in-class presentations and written reports. These will be a mixture
of group and individual presentation/reports.
Individual Work: There will be individual homework assignments
to explore specific topics that are covered as well as reflection essays
based on their readings/viewings and a DCC activity related to the capstone
projects of the sophomore class.. There will also be a written midterm
and final exam.
There will be readings (academic, newspaper, and magazine articles,
book excerpts) posted on the class ELMS site during the semester and
TED (or TED-like talks) that will be assigned to watch before class
These will come from disciplines such as
"Psychology of Everyday Things" by Donald Norman
"Leonardo's Laptop" and "Designing the User Interface" by Ben Shneiderman
"The Rise of Human-Computer Cooperation" by Shyam Sankar.
Class Participation: 15%
Readings Journal: 5%
Homework Assignments: 15%
"TED" Presentation: 5%
Technology ethics project: 5%
Semester team project and written reports: 20%
Midterm and Final Exam: 30%
Attend one DCC Design Camp and one DCC workshop/talk/film: 5%
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.
Students who fail to write and sign the Pledge may be asked to confer with
If you have a registered disability and wish to discuss accommodations,
please email the instructor by the end of the second week of class.
Disabilities can be registered through
Disability Support Services (4-7682 or 5-7683 TTY/TDD).
It is the student's responsibility to inform the instructor by e-mail of
any religious observances that will conflict with your attendance, assignment
deadlines, or final exam. The student should provide this notification to
the instructor 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, any missed assignments,
activities, and/or exams are subject to grade penalties.