Current Students

Special Topics Courses

2020–2021 Academic Year​

Autumn 2020

  • HCDE 598: Designing Trustworthy Information Systems: Addressing the Challenges of Online Mis- and Disinformation
    • In this course, we will work to understand and address the challenges of misinformation, disinformation, and strategic manipulation in online environments. First, we will work to develop a deep understanding of the problem space. We will read and discuss existing research (both historical and contemporary) on how and why misinformation and disinformation spread. We will develop a vocabulary to talk about these related, but distinct phenomena. Next, applying HCDE principles, we will identify and explore different design directions for addressing these challenges. Our objectives are both to understand the challenges and to develop potential solutions that address them from different perspectives (e.g. as an educator or a social media platform designer). Students will gain important contextual knowledge and hands-on design experience that they can take into future professional domains (from education to policy to technology), where they can contribute to building more trustworthy information systems.

2019–2020 Academic Year

Summer 2020

  • HCDE 598: Design for Virtual Reality
    • As our need for digital mediums steadily increases during the COVID era, platforms like virtual reality become a potential avenue for not just gaming, but social interactions, intervention, and even collaborative work. But how do we ensure quality design in virtual reality? In this course you will study the UX of VR and practice design skills specifically to designing for virtual reality. You will hear from expert digital designers in the field about their tips and tricks to the trade. You will explore various platforms for prototyping in VR as well as gain brief exposure to developing for Unity and Unreal Engine.
  • HCDE 598: Psych of UX (Research) (Full Term)
    • At the heart of user experience (UX) is a complex interaction of human factors, sensation, perception, communication, emotion, cognition, memory, social factors, personality, neurophysiology, and other psychological principles.  In this course, we will explore how some of the fundamental tenants of modern psychology underpin how we design, interact with, evaluate, buy from, and work with, technology. This course will discuss how historical and modern HCI design has been ultimately motivated by the human psyche, it will give examples of how psychological principles are employed in products and experiences and should provide thought-points for future design, with the consideration of the humans that will ultimately be using the product(s). This seminar-style class will have an equal mix of lecture, discussion, and application, with a focus on identifying core themes of human psychology that inform modern HCI development.
  • HCDE 598: Design for Internet of Things (Engineering) (A-Term Only)
    • This class will cover topics in prototyping and engineering interactive, human-centered applications for the internet-connected ecosystem colloquially called the Internet of Things. Students will test and build systems using micro controllers, sensors, wireless communications, and software APIs. Projects incorporate investigation of these emerging technologies and their social and cultural impact. The class is a hands-on experience in a project based, studio environment. No pre-requisites: HCDE 539 recommended but not required. This course is offered in the A-Term and will meet two evenings per week over four weeks.

Spring 2020

  • HCDE 598 Digital Fabrication (Engineering) 
    • Computer Numerical Control (CNC) of machine tools has enabled highly precise fabrication and given rise to processes such as 3D printing and laser cutting. Computer Aided Design (CAD) software allows for precise design specifications, which can be processed for machining using Computer Aided Machining (CAM) software. In this project-based class, we will learn a variety of CAD/CAM software workflows and digital fabrication processes, including a variety of 3D printing techniques, 2D/3D scanning, laser cutting, precision sewing, CNC milling, molding/casting, and post-processing/finishing. No pre-requisites. 
  • HCDE 598 Accessibility and Inclusive Design (Design)
    • ​This course is an introduction to designing, prototyping, and evaluating inclusive user interfaces that meet the needs of a diverse range users—such as older adults, users with visual, cognitive or motor impairments, and users who are deaf or hard of hearing. Building on basic concepts in human-centered design, students will learn about design exclusion and barriers to use, and methods by which these can be overcome. Topics will cover current technologies and practical considerations (e.g., web accessibility requirements), as well as research developments and design of the next generation of accessible technologies. Students will interact with the material through readings, discussion, and individual and group assignments.
  • HCDE 598 Voice IxD (Design)
    • This course will introduce you to voice user interface (VUI) design as a human-centered design discipline.  Through readings, discussion, and in-class exercises, as well as the analysis and evaluation of a speech interface of your choice, you will get a feel for what voice interaction design is, its limits, and the tradeoffs it entails when designing such a system.  You will begin to learn how to research and design a simple user interaction with a system via a VUI and have an idea how to iterate on it, then test, evaluate and tune one.
  • HCDE 598 Mixed Methods Design/UX in the Wild (Research)
    • Gathering data in the wild is essential when we want to explore the human experience of the adoption, implementation, acceptance, or impact of technologies. In this course you will be exposed to a diverse range of creative methods to capture both qualitative and quantitative data while maintaining the contextual validity of the natural environment. As a project-based course, students will design, implement, analyze and report real-world findings.

Winter 2020

  • HCDE 598 B Portfolio (Elective)
    • Prepares graduate students for professional practice through a survey of the past, present and future marketplace and strategizing personal work narratives and artifacts into alignment with individual career goals. Covers industry analysis, personal interest inventory, networking, job searches, recruiting and the stages of interviewing, as well as the development of elevator pitches, resumes, cover letters, and online portfolios.

Autumn 2019

  • HCDE 598 A Concepts in Designing for Coordination (Elective)
    • Have you ever had to coordinate what you were doing with another person? Have you ever had to integrate your tasks with several other people? Have you ever had to design for other people who had to integrate tasks or activities? If so then you have been designing for coordination. You’re doing it anyway so you might as well do it mindfully! This seminar will be useful for anyone who wants a deeper, conceptual understanding of how coordination works. Case studies and the theories derived from them can provide insights and pointers to action and potential pitfalls. We will focus on reading and discussing case studies of people coordinating to design including designing for coordination. Case studies will include, but not be limited to, the design of software-based systems and tools. We will have active, frequent discussions and will learn how to see and talk about coordination as a design space in its own right. Students will be asked to follow chains of thought before or after key research articles by looking at papers that cite and/or are cited by others. In a few classes, we will engage in illustrative activities. Students will be encouraged to leverage their personal or professional experiences to help engage with the material in additional ways.
  • HCDE 598 B Consutrcting Design Narratives (Design/Elective)
    • In this course, we look at a variety of techniques that can be utilized to create speculative and discursive designs. With the main focus being not to design the future, but rather to understand how something will affect the people using it (or those who don’t). In this studio you will design speculative or discursive objects and/or experiences, in addition to this, you will create a narrative world for your designs to live in. You can use video, exhibition, photographs, webpages, or any medium to tell this story. The goal with these designs and narratives is not to solve a problem, but to facilitate thought, discussion, and dialog surrounding a topic. The quarter will culminate with an exhibition of your work demonstrating how your collection of objects effectively communicates the world that you created.