CSE 510 - Advanced Topics in Human-Computer Interaction

Time and Location:

Spring 2012

Tuesday and Thursday, 10:30 to 11:50

MGH 238

Course Description:

Provides an introduction to several major areas of HCI research. This course is a combination of readings, small labs at the beginning of the term, and a term project.

The reading component of this course will require preparing reports on a combination of historical and recent papers. This will help you examine what the HCI community considers a meaningful contribution across a variety of problems, thus preparing you to make contributions in these and other areas of HCI.

This course is explicitly not focused on the methods used in HCI practice. The initial labs will introduce paper prototyping and evaluation, but the focus of this course is on research. The course does not assume a strong background in HCI (i.e., there is no prerequisite).

The project component of this course will require hands-on experience with HCI research. You can choose to design and implement a new piece of HCI technology or to design and execute an appropriately compelling study with HCI research implications.


There are several research papers to be read for each day of class. This course will be based on those readings, several small labs, and a term project.

Class discussions should be informal and enjoyable. Everybody should feel comfortable commenting and offering their insight. The participation component of grading in this course will be based on active participation in discussion throughout the course.

Grading will roughly correspond to 50% project, 25% reading reports, 15% labs, and 10% class participation.

Reading Reports:

You are expected to have read and thought carefully about each reading. To help you out, we require participation in a reading report forum.

Unless otherwise noted, you must post 300 to 500 words related to the readings for each day of class, in the appropriate part of this forum:


You can start a new discussion, participate in an existing discussion, or do a bit of both. You can discuss all of the assigned readings, or focus on a portion of the reading that you found most interesting. You can put all of your 300 to 500 words in one post, or spread them out across several. The important part is that we can see an intellectual effort in your forum participation, not just simple summaries of papers.

Your participation in each day's forum discussion will be graded on a scale from 0 to 3.

0:If you do not participate.
1:If your participation seems weak and does not convince us you read, understood, and thought about the readings.
2:If your participation shows that you clearly read and understood the papers and had something interesting to say. This will be the most common grade.
3:Reserved for especially insightful participation.

In discussing readings, it is generally easy to find something to criticize in any piece of research. But focusing exclusively on the potential flaws of research is generally not productive. You will generally find it more intellectually worthwhile to focus on what aspects of a piece of work are particularly well done, what new ideas are prompted by a piece of work, or what you might have done differently if you conducted the research. This will also lead to much more valuable discussions.

Potential topics for discussion are:

Participation will only "count" if posted by 3:00 AM before each class meeting. This ensures that the day's discussion coordinator has ample time to review discussion the next morning. Feel free to continue a discussion thread after this time (and even after class). But know that you need to post before then in order to get discussion credit.


There will be several short labs at the beginning of the term. The first will focus on designing and prototyping an interface, the second will focus on simple regression analyses.

Term Projects:

Term projects will be a major focus of this course. You will form groups, submit a proposal, present at the mid-term, present at the end of the quarter, and submit a final report.

Projects can be studies or implementations. Brainstorm amongst yourselves, talk with other people, or otherwise come up with a great idea for a project. I intend to be highly available to meet and discuss potential projects.


We will use this Catalyst system for most submissions:


Anonymous Feedback:

I encourage you to feel comfortable discussing any aspects of this class with both myself and the TA. I am also happy to provide a mechanism for anonymous feedback: