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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Sharon L. Oviatt
LING 575
Seattle Campus

Topics in Computational Linguistics

In-depth study of a particular area of computational linguistics, with hands-on experience. Prerequisite: LING 570 and 571, or permission of instructor. Offered: WSp.

Class description

Course Description: This is a project-oriented studio course, which includes responsive lecturing (i.e., inspired by project ideas), guest lectures, group discussion and analysis, and hands-on group project creation. Computational Linguistics students in this seminar will join multidisciplinary project teams in the design studio of the Division of Design’s ART484 class – Projects in Interaction Design, where Microsoft Research is providing a forum around the theme “Learning and Education” to showcase exceptional design process and ideas. Students will design novel concepts for interfaces related to learning and education, from which a selected project will be featured for presentation at the 2008 Microsoft Faculty Summit on July 27-29, 2008 in Redmond, Washington. Microsoft’s Design Expo creates an international forum for encouraging “out of the box” thinking, and for exploring students' visions for the future of educational technologies. In this course, Computational Linguistics students will be distributed across small student teams of 3-4, and will work together synergistically with their multidisciplinary group (e.g., education, computer science, design, technical communications) to design their novel project concept─ with the focus of their contribution being to critically assess and develop their group’s interface concept from the viewpoint of language and communication features. For each project, students will research their design problem, define a scenario, ideate multiple design solutions, select one idea to prototype, and study the impact on real users. On the topic of “Learning and Education,” design groups might work on novel interfaces that stimulate student curiosity and creativity, rethink requirements and possibilities for educational systems and tools, envision new interfaces to instruct remotely-located student groups or indigenous cultures without a written language, or generate new concepts for educational interfaces that could eliminate the achievement gap between student groups. Students will be challenged to think about learning and education in different cultures and language groups during this Year of Languages, as well as learners with different abilities and learning styles. All projects will be designed for the needs of a particular user group in a specific situation, culture, or language community (e.g., mobile learners collecting field data, indigenous students in remote regions, English as second language or bilingual students, illiterate or learning disabled students, etc.)

Student learning goals

learning to design & assess a computer interface in a hands-on manner during group project work

learning to participate in productive teamwork with a multidisciplinary team

learning about language-oriented interfaces, including the related literature

learning to critique and iterate user interfaces

learning to compose and present a major team project to professional interface designers and corporate experts

General method of instruction

responsive lecturing (i.e., inspired by project ideas), guest lectures, group discussion and analysis, and hands-on group project creation

Recommended preparation

no pre-requisites; professor permission required

some basic background in linguistics, computation, and human interfaces would be helpful but is not essential

Class assignments and grading

Course Evaluation: (1) Quality of team project (50%; see criteria below); (2) Participation in design process & discussion in class (40%), (2) Quiz on required readings (10%). Course grades will be based on the process and quality of your group-work during all design phases, including in-class participation in discussion and constructive critiques.

Course Evaluation: (1) Quality of team project (50%; see criteria below); (2) Participation in design process & discussion in class (40%), (2) Quiz on required readings (10%). Course grades will be based on the process and quality of your group-work during all design phases, including in-class participation in discussion and constructive critiques.


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 Sharon L. Oviatt
Date: 03/28/2008