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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jonathan T Morgan
HCDE 419
Seattle Campus

Concepts in Human-Computer Interaction

Studies the social, cognitive, behavioral, and contextual aspects of information systems and informational dimensions of the human-computer interface, and other user-centered design concepts. Surveys research literature of human information behavior, as well as ethical standards. Prerequisite: HCDE 310. Offered: W.

Class description

HCDE 419 is a project-based introduction to Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) that includes an introduction to HCI principles and theories. The course will teach how to understand and apply HCI theories in real-life user research and design contexts. Students will take part in a quarter-long interdisciplinary team project focused on the process of designing (or re-designing) a software feature or platform. The course focuses on questions of process in design, particularly 1) deciding what to design, 2) justifying particular design decisions and 3) iterating on a design idea based on feedback and reflection

The focus of the course projects is to develop conceptual designs based on a user-centered design process that involves user research, scenario-building, low-fi prototyping and the presentation of a clear and detailed design rationale.

Students will receive grounding in the following topics: • HCI Theories of Online Collaboration, Computer-mediated communication and computer-supported cooperative work • Using Qualitative Research Methods • Building task-oriented user scenarios • Articulating Design tradeoffs and an overall design Rationale

Student learning goals

Develop an appreciation for concepts of Human-Computer Interaction

Develop skills in use and application of HCI research and design methods

Improve individual and collaborative skills in justifying design decisions through research, theory and iterative design and evaluation methods

Improve individual and collaborative skills in design problem solving

Improve public presentation skills

Improve skills in constructive, critical peer review

General method of instruction

The theme for the class is building technologies to support online collaboration. Projects will focus on the design of web-based technologies for helping people collaboratively create and curate information and artifacts, complete collaborative tasks and support group and individual decision-making.

These tools and tasks grouped under the header of online collaboration can include (but are not limited to!) • collaborative writing tools like Google Docs and wikis • crowdsourcing and ‘clickwork’ platforms that allow many people to complete massive projects through aggregated micro-tasks • tools that aggregate and organize information into ‘folksonomies’ such as Delicious and PinBoard • peer-support and Q&A sites like Quora or Stack Overflow • Project management tools like Basecamp and Google Groups (or even Catalyst workspaces) • Tools that allow for better decision-making and deliberation through mechanisms such as threaded discussion, data visualization and voting like UserVoice, PopVox and Ushahadi

In some cases, social networking tools like Facebook may be considered appropriate for projects, but only if the features your team wants to design or re-design are directly related to collaboration, rather than just general communication, connection, hanging out etc. For instance, Facebook Answers, Facebook Groups, or a website that use data from Facebook’s API to help people find or collaborate with others online could be appropriate. However, a feature which created a better interface for sharing and rating funny cat videos on Facebook would not.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Design in the real world nearly always takes place with teams of people with diverse backgrounds working together toward a common goal. Developing group work skills, cooperation, and teamwork is an essential skill for students to learn who want to work in this space. Thus, a large component of this course will be to work as a team on a set topic. Design teams will be designated by the instructor during the second week of class to ensure diversity and fairness.

The group project will consist of a number of different components, the full descriptions of which will be posted on the course website. Each component must be conducted and submitted as a group. Specific Components and Due Dates will be posted on the time schedule on the Couse Website. The course will have multiple group deliverables throughout the quarter: up to 1 per week. Assignment sheets for each group deliverable will be handed out in class and posted to the course website no less than 1 week before the assignment due date.

Work in this course will be graded to criteria. In other words, you won't be graded on a curve. Each deliverable is designed to test your achievement against one or more of the learning objectives. Different assignments emphasize different learning objectives. Four-hundred (400) points have been assigned to the course and each component of the course has been assigned a percent of the overall grade. So, for example, participation is worth 10% of the final grade (40 points) and the group project is with 50% of the final grade (200 points). The following scale is used to map points to numerical grades from 4.0 to 0.7: http://www.onlinelearning.washington.edu/ol/handbook/grades.asp

Grade Distribution • Class Participation 10% • Online Discussion Board Posts (Reading Reflections and Design Feedback) 30% • Final Role Reflection 10% • Group Design Project Assignments 50%


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 Jonathan T Morgan
Date: 01/07/2012