Course Overview

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to forms of contribution in several major areas of research in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). It is based in a combination of readings and discussion, a small statistics lab, and a self-defined project. The course readings will require preparing reports on a combination of historic framing papers and more recent contributions. This will help students examine what the HCI community considers a research contribution across a variety of problems, thus preparing students to understand and make meaningful research contributions in these and other areas of HCI.

This course is explicitly not focused on the design methods commonly used in HCI practice. We do not assume a strong background in HCI (i.e., there is no undergraduate HCI prerequisite), but students seeking an introduction to effective design or the design process will be better served by CSE 440.

The course project will require hands-on experience with HCI, while remaining open to different possibilities. You might choose to design and implement a new piece of HCI technology, or you might choose to design and execute an appropriately compelling study with HCI research implications.

We will emphasize learning through discussion and feedback in all aspects of the course.

Learning Objectives

  • Be able to differentiate forms of contribution in HCI research.
  • Be able to describe prior fundamental results that now frame areas of HCI research.
  • Be able to articulate new contributions in such areas of HCI research.
  • Be able to apply and evaluate relevance of common HCI research methods.
  • Be able to contribute advice and perspective across multiple HCI research projects.

Course Staff

James Fogarty

Photo of James Fogarty.

Lisa Elkin

Photo of Lisa Elkin.

Course Coordination

  • Contact

    Email all instructors at cse510-staff [at]

  • Class Time & Location

    Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10:00-11:20.

    CSE2 Room G04

    Class may be conducted via Zoom when indicated in the Calendar, and we may support participation via Zoom as an accommodation (e.g., due to illness). If so, we will use meeting information provided by email and in Canvas.

  • Office Hours

    By appointment.

  • Canvas

    Course information and material will primarily be provided on this website.

    Canvas will be used when appropriate for limiting access to course information and materials.


Course assignments consist of:

  • Readings, Reading Reports, and In-Class Discussion

    This is typically two readings per class, with additional details of reading assignments on the course calendar.

  • Project

    A major component of the course, the group project is defined in terms of a proposal, a pair of self-defined milestones, and a final report.

  • Statistics Lab

    Intended to help gain basic familiarity with analyzing experiments using mixed-model analyses of variance.

  • Exam

    Applying your understanding of course material to connect concepts across course readings.


Much of the grading in this course is necessarily subjective. We will attempt to communicate expectations and feedback throughout the course, but it is your responsibility to communicate with us if you would like additional guidance in this regard.

The overall course grade will be computed as follows:

  • 20%: Reading Reports and In-Class Small Group Discussion

    Reading reports will be graded 0 to 2 points as described in Reading Reports. Based on the In-Class Discussion Format, an additional .5 points will be associated with each small group discussion and its resulting question to the presenter and the class.

  • 45%: Project

    • 5%: Proposal Preparation and Document
    • 5%: Milestone 1 Report and Presentation
    • 5%: Milestone 2 Report and Presentation
    • 30%: Final Report

    Project proposal and milestone grading will emphasize progress and preparation to engage with direction and feedback. Strong grades will result from honest presentation of project status and useful scaffolding of a conversation that can support the project (e.g., realistic and concrete proposals, clear discussion of advice that a project currently needs). Proposals or milestones that are less than candid and thoughtful (e.g., vague, incomplete, oversold) all fail to take full advantage of an opportunity for feedback.

    Final project report grading will then emphasize overall project execution and appropriate presentation of project activities (e.g., clarity of activities, methods, and contributions).

  • 10%: Statistics Lab, as described in Statistics Lab.

  • 15%: Exam, as described in Exam.

  • 10%: Participation

    A participation grade corresponds to course goals for students to actively develop skills in discussing research activities and contributions (e.g., when discussing existing research, when discussing ongoing research). Participation will therefore include presence and participation in in-class discussions, participation in asynchronous and in-class project discussions, and other course activities. A goal of this offering is to make such participation components more explicit and transparent.

    If you will be unable to participate in a course activity, please email course staff beforehand.

Wellness and Safety

Our goal is for this course to provide an opportunity for learning without undermining wellness or safety.

Consistent with university guidance and policies, this is an in-person course. Class may be conducted via Zoom when indicated in the Calendar (e.g., due to emerging UW policies, due to a need or request from a guest presenter).

This course heavily emphasizes discussion and participation. In-person attendance is generally expected and is part of participation grading, but there may be reasons you cannot or should not attend in-person (e.g., COVID symptoms, COVID exposure). In these circumstances, contact the course staff for permission to attend remotely. Prior to class, we will accept email indicating that a student cannot attend for reasons of wellness or safety. We will work to ensure this does not negatively impact students (e.g., in their participation grade). If you are unsure whether you should attend, please reach out and know that we will do our best to be accommodating. Our goal is to encourage and support you in decisions that preserve safety.

We will aim to record course sessions (e.g., unless a guest indicates they do not want to be recorded). Recorded sessions will be made available for asynchronous review within Canvas. However, we expect recordings will be of relatively poor quality and they are obviously an incomplete proxy for a discussion-focused course. Nevertheless, recording may sometimes be the best available option relative to our wellness and safety goals.

We also welcome any additional feedback in how we can best structure this course while ensuring this goal.

Accommodations and Additional University Policies

Additional university policies apply (e.g., regarding Academic Integrity, Conduct, Disability Resources, Face Coverings, Religious Accommodations):

Please do not hesitate to contact the course staff regarding these or any other accommodations.


This course website lives on GitHub: