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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Mark R Zachry
HCDE 501
Seattle Campus

Theoretical Foundations of Human Centered Design and Engineering

Examination of the theories that inform work in human centered design and engineering, focusing particularly on communication and interaction design theories. Topics include the complexities of communication as it is configured in different theoretical frameworks, the implications of these different configurations, and why these differences matter to people engaged in professional practice or research. Prerequisite: admission to an engineering master's program or permission of instructor. Offered: A.

Class description

This course will introduce you to major theoretical perspectives from our field. By reading and writing about this material, you will have an opportunity to explore the complexities of interaction, communication, and technology as they are considered in influential theoretical frameworks. This exploration will include how interaction has been differently defined and why these differences matter to people who study and produce work.

Student learning goals

Define and map differences among some of the major theories that are currently most influential within the community of scholars in our field.

Explain and illustrate the implications of some of these theories on our perceptions of what texts, interfaces, and other designed artifacts are and how they function in human activity, organizations, and society at large: for example, to transfer information, construct reality, regulate conduct, and create identity.

Explain and illustrate the implications of some of these theories for people conducting research.

Explain and illustrate the implications of some of these theories for professionals.

General method of instruction

Lecture, class discussions, individual papers, group project(s)

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

The assignments for this class are: short paper, term paper, presentation(s), group web project

All assignments will be graded using the standard UW grading scale.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Mark R Zachry
Date: 05/09/2012