Current Students

Special Topics Courses

HCDE Special Topics Courses
2019–2020 Academic Year

Autumn 2019

  • HCDE 598 A Concepts in Designing for Coordination
    • 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
    • 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.

Summer 2019

  • HCDE 598 Introduction to Virtual Reality & Parallel Perception (Design/Elective)
    • This course is an introduction to the software and hardware tools as well as the conceptual experimentation required for designing and developing virtual environments and interacting in them. While virtual reality is very immersive, it relies on the coexistence between two perceptions, one of the real world and one of the virtual world. Since no previous VR knowledge is required from students and the learning curve for VR is steep, our goal will be to create simple VR experiences to understand the space. Students will then develop simple video-prototypes for the purpose of imagining VR possibilities unrestricted by the complication of trying to develop and build as part of the design process.

HCDE Special Topics Courses
2018–2019 Academic Year

Winter 2019

  • HCDE 598 A Collaboration and Design (Elective)
    • Groups and organizations are fundamental for undertaking all sorts of difficult projects. Designing for groups and organizations merits many additional design considerations beyond those of designing for individuals. In this seminar, we will read and discuss articles about how people collaborate to get things done, with or without technology, and how people design information systems to support collaboration. The purpose of this seminar is to provide you with a greater understanding of how designing for collaboration is often both social and technical. Furthermore, this course will provide you with concepts and language for describing and talking about: social relationships and organizing, the usefulness and constraints of legacy practices and systems. This course will be taught as a seminar where we will read and discuss research papers on case studies and ethnographies. Students will be encouraged to connect the readings to their own professional experiences and to seek out industry professionals to concretize abstract concepts introduced by the research papers. 501 or 2+ years of professional experience is recommended.

  • 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.

  • HCDE 598 D Introduction to Programming (Elective)
    • In a series of simple explorations, students will become familiar with fundamental programming concepts such as data and variables, algorithmic thinking, loops and conditionals, arrays, functions and parameters, methods and modularity, and debugging techniques. These explorations will consist of weekly demos, in-class exercises, and short homework assignments. The course is designed for students with no prior background using a high-level programming language such as Java, Python, or C++.

Spring 2019

  • HCDE 598 Psychology of UX (Research)
    • 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 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 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 Video Prototyping (Elective)
    • This course explores video as a design tool. You will learn some about narrative and storytelling in the context of user-centered design. You will have the opportunity to stretch your technical abilities in the creation of visual artifacts (video, storyboard, moodboard, etc.) in service of your design vision. You will also gain a solid understanding of workflows for creating video prototypes. After taking this course, students will have the practical knowledge necessary to create a video prototype that conveys the context, problem, and intended design solution. Students will be exposed to the history of video prototypes, as well as contemporary practices, such as design fiction. The course incorporates lectures, readings, technical tutorials, and critique sessions.

  • 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 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.