Elizabeth Sanocki's Research Group Archive

The following research group descriptions are archived because they are no longer offered, the faculty member is on sabbatical, or the group is taking a break. Please contact the faculty member or an advisor to learn more about these groups.

The psychology of user experience (UX)

Winter 2019

Directed by Daniella Kim, supported by Liz Sanocki

2 credits, open to graduate students only

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). In this seminar-style course, there will be an equal mix of lecture, discussion, and application, with a focus on identifying core themes of human psychology that inform modern HCI development.

Deliverables: Each week we will engage in a discussion about the topic of interest. Some topics will span two-weeks. We will deep dive in to the literature, “popular psychology” effects, and empirical research.  Students will be asked to complete a short deliverable each week a new topic is introduced. This deliverable will ask to identify a product (existing or otherwise) that was designed or intended to be designed or embodies (or does not embody) the psychological topic of the week. At the end of the quarter, a thoughtful reflection on the topics covered, integrating weekly deliverables and special topics will help round out the learning goals.


High School Computer Science Education Research

Winter 2016

With a recognition of the importance of STEM education in high schools, there is a push nationally to teach computer programming in high schools. However, the high school teachers tasked with teaching computer science (CS) don’t have the tools they need to teach it effectively. Many are math or science teachers who don’t have strong backgrounds in computer programming. 

The UW CSE department has begun to repurpose some of its existing educational software to assist teachers.To do this effectively, UW CSE needs to better understand (a) what high school teachers need and how those needs can be addressed by software tools, (b) how they are using tools that currently exist.

In this research group, we will apply ethnographic research techniques to understand the needs and goals of high school computer science teachers. Then we will analyze the data and brainstorm solutions to recommend how best to meet those needs. We will assess the gap between the tools that exist today and what would be needed to provide maximum benefit for HS CS teachers. 

By the end of the quarter, the goal for the DRG will be to create a presentation outlining teacher needs and pain points and identifying opportunities to impact CS education in high schools.