HCI: Human-Computer Interaction (INFO 608) Spring 2003
This course focuses on the design and evaluation of interactive systems from a user-centered perspective. You will explore and learn about how people and groups of people perceive, use, share and communicate about information in work and non-work situations, and you will learn how interaction technologies can take these human issues into account. You will become familiar with basic design principles and evaluation techniques in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI).
When you have completed this course, you should be able to:
The goal of the course this quarter is to produce a set of research portfolios on interaction design for a particular problem:
With the growth of the Internet and digital libraries, a wealth of resources for scholarly research is now readily available. The problem has become one of determining which resources are the most important. Figuring out what are the most important resources for a given specialization can be a daunting task for individuals, particularly for newcomers to the field. It would be helpful to have small groups of people collaboratively find and evaluate available resources and then publish annotated bibliographies that could guide others. However, current search engines do not support collaborative small groups to do this and they do not make available past findings of others. How can we design interactive systems to provide such support?
We will approach this real-world problem systematically using HCI methods of task analysis, system design and user-centered evaluation. During the quarter, each group will develop a web-based portfolio presenting their solution to this problem.
This course will engage in collaborative learning. You will learn by applying HCI methods in projects conducted by small groups.
There will be weekly activities for hands-on engagement with the topics of interaction design. Once you form into small project groups, you will have projects to try out the ideas you are studying by sharing, discussing and negotiating your creative ideas with the other members of your group. Your group will decide on a presentation of the idea or design you come up with to share with the rest of the class. By the end of the course, your group will have a portfolio of small design projects, including documentation of the ideas, sources and interactions that went into your design process.
You will learn by reading, reflecting, applying, explaining, sharing, critiquing. Because interactions are carried out on-line and results are displayed on the Web, you will have a record of your learning.
The course content is presented by the textbook. There will be no lectures on HCI topics. You are expected to read the book carefully, take notes and be critical. There will be a threaded discussion area to raise questions, make comments and discuss the reading with other students and the instructor.
There is one required textbook, and some supplementary readings that will be made available on-line. You will be reading the textbook carefully from cover to cover. The textbook that you must purchase is:
This is an excellent, up-to-date and thorough book. It is very carefully designed to give you a systematic introduction to the broad field of interaction design, which has replaced the more traditional narrow definition of HCI as user-interface design.
The main reading assignments are from the textbook and are listed below. They will be supplemented by short additional readings. There will be weekly project assignments. All projects are due online by midnight Tuesday night.
The course work will involve class discussions and weekly group or individual projects. Grading will be based half on your individual participation in the class and in your group, and half in the grade of your project group for its portfolio of solutions to group projects.
A special web space has been set up for this course:
This includes personal, group and course spaces. You will set up your personal web space for use in preparing materials for the course. You will work with your group to develop a group portfolio during the quarter.
To set up your personal web space, go to and login. You may want to set up a directory on your local harddisk to mirror what goes in the web space – or you can use a tool like FrontPage or DreamWeaver. Create a subdirectory and name it with your first name – all lower case and no spaces. Then create your homepage as a file named index.html and save it in this new subdirectory. You can use Word to design your homepage, including formatting, diagrams and digital pictures. If you use Word, do a SaveAsWeb. This will save your page as an HTML page for the Web. Be sure that any pictures and linked files are included in your subdirectory. Then publish your homepage, etc. to your Web Space. To do this you can open your browser to the ftp address above and drag your new subdirectory and its files into the ftp site. Then close your browser and re-open it with the http address above, followed by your first name to see if it looks like you intended.
All work and communication in this course should be considered public:
Hi. My name is Gerry (pronounced like “Jerry”).
For urgent or personal questions, you can contact me directly by email at Gerry.Stahl@drexel.edu . However, it is often better to ask questions about the textbook, weekly assignments or other aspects of the course through the class discussion board so that everyone in the class can see and respond to your questions and my answers.
My professional research area is the field of CSCL (Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning). I think that collaborative learning is an exciting and especially effective way to learn. I believe that there is great potential to design good computer support for it. I have been experimenting with a number of CSCL prototypes and have written many papers on the theory, design and evaluation of interactive systems to support collaborative learning. We will be taking advantage of what I have learned from my research in this course. You will be collaborating in this research and will learn from doing so.
My background is in computer science and philosophy. Last year I worked at a large research organization in Germany; before that I was a Research Professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The last international CSCL conference was at Boulder and I was the Program Chair for it; the next one is in Norway right after this quarter and I am in charge of the workshops there.
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This page last modified on August 11, 2003