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INFO 608 Winter '03

HCI: Human-Computer Interaction (INFO 608) Winter 2003


The Instructor

Gerry Stahl

Associate Professor at IST


Office: Rush 409

Office hours: Please make an appointment by email


Course Description

This course focuses on the design and evaluation of interactive systems from a user-centered perspective. You will learn about how people perceive, process, remember, utilize, 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 design principles and evaluation techniques in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI).

When you have completed this course, you will be able to:

bullet Describe the scope of study of HCI
bullet Recognize the importance of user-centered design and the consequences of not paying attention to it
bullet Understand basic principles of human memory, perception and learning and how these relate to graphical user interface design
bullet Describe the interaction between people, the work they do, the information systems they use, and the environments in which they work
bullet Adopt a user-oriented approach to the design of interactive computer systems
bullet Adopt a user-oriented approach to the evaluation of interactive computer systems
bullet Find and interpret the current literature in human-computer interaction


Course Textbook

There is one required textbook, and some supplementary readings that will be made available on-line. The textbook that you must purchase is:

 Preese, Rogers & Sharp (2002) "Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction." Wiley.

Note: This is a new book; do not get the 1994 book by the same authors entitled "Human-Computer Interaction" by mistake.

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.

We will be reading the text carefully from cover to cover. There is also an excellent website associated with the text. Become familiar with this site and use it along with the text book.


Reading Assignments

The main reading assignments are from the textbook and are listed below. They will be supplemented by short additional readings.






Introduction to HCI


2 & 3



4 & 5



6 & 7



8 & 9






11 & 12



13 & 14







Special topics



No exams



Approach to Learning

This section of the course will engage in collaborative learning, where you will learn by discussing course issues with your colleagues.

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 all interactions are carried out on-line in Blackboard, you will have a record of your learning.


Course Requirements

bullet Read the textbook carefully. Take notes. Think about the exercises.
bullet Discuss the textbook and other course issues in the Blackboard Discussion Board.
bullet  Collaborate actively in a project group through Blackboard. Submit designs for the weekly group projects.
bullet Search for other resources (interactive designs in commercial products, informative websites, research papers, etc.) related to the readings and share these with the rest of the class.
bullet Document your design rationale and the use of techniques from the textbook or other sources that led to your weekly designs.
bullet Do your collaboration within Blackboard, so that you and other course members can review and reflect on the design process.



The course work will involve class discussions and weekly group projects. Grading will be based half on your individual participation in the on-line class discussions and in your project group, and half in the grade of your project group for its portfolio of solutions to weekly design projects.


Participation in Project Group (individual grade)


Participation in Class Discussions (individual grade)


Group Portfolio (grade shared by group members) , as follows:




Quality of Designs


Design Rationale


Use of Techniques in Textbook


Use of Other Sources


Creativity of Portfolio Presentation

There will be no graded tests or final examinations.


Instructor's Background

 Hi. My name is Gerry. You can contact me directly by email at - but it is often better to ask questions through the Blackboard Discussion Board so that everyone in the class can see your questions and my answers.

I am especially interested in 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 design of interactive systems to support collaborative learning. We will be taking advantage of what I have learned from my research in this course.

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.

Let me know if you have any questions about my background. You can see more details and read my papers on my website.

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This page last modified on August 11, 2003