Course Description

This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). It covers principles and techniques in the design, development, and evaluation of interactive systems, and provides students with an introduction to UX Design and User-Centered Research. Additionally, some classes will focus on emergent areas within HCI, like Human-Robot Interaction, AR/VR, and Fabrication. The course is organized as a series of lectures, presentations, a mid-term exam, and a semester-long group project on designing a new interactive system.

Instructor: Marynel Vázquez (marynel.vazquez at
Course Assistants: Weiqi (Justin) Shi (weiqi.shi at, Claire Gorman (claire.gorman at

Class Hours: Mondays & Wednesdays, 2:30pm - 3:45pm
Class Location: HLH17 115

Office Hours:
- Tuesdays, 1:00pm - 2:00pm (Justin, Graphics Lab in AKW 4th floor)
- Thursdays, 9:45am - 10:15am (Claire, Digital Humanities Lab)
- Fridays, 10:00am - 11:15am (Marynel, AKW 402)

Canvas Link:

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, students will have gained an understanding of:

  • the field of Human-Computer Interaction;
  • how to approach the design of a system, component, or process from a user-centered perspective;
  • methods to design and conduct user experiments.

The semester-long group project will provide practical design experience to students, and opportunities to practice communication and collaboration. In addition, students will be able to demonstrate their ability to work in a team and to communicate scientific content to a peer audience.


This course is meant to be taken after CPSC 201 and CPSC 223 or equivalents. Students who do not fit this profile may be allowed to enroll with the permission of the instructor.


The following topics will be covered in the course:

  • History of HCI
  • Design Thinking and User-Centered Research Methods
  • Usability Tests
  • Experimental Design and Analysis/Interpretation of Data
  • Designing for Diverse Needs
  • Emergent areas within HCI like Human-Robot Interaction

See the Schedule for more details.


The course grade will be based on:

  • Semester-Long Group Project (15% + 20% + 15% + 10%). Students will work in groups to design a computing system to support an activity or relationship within a particular context. The project will be structured as four major milestones, including assignments leading to a project proposal (15%), design exercises (20% + 15%), and communication assignments (10%).

    ★ View students’ projects here.

  • Mid-term Exam (25%).

  • Quizes (5%). There will be short quizes about assigned readings at the beginning of some classes.

  • Participation (10%). Being engaged and asking questions will be rewarded. Graduate students will have to present one or two research papers on emerging HCI areas.

  • Literature Review (10% for graduate students only). Graduate students will have to submit a small-scale (4-5 pages) literature review on a emergent HCI topic of their preference.

NOTE: The lectures, exam, and class project would be the same for undergrad and graduate students. However, graduate students will be graded over 110% and have as additional course load:

  • reading assignments of research papers (evaluated through quizzes),
  • one or two short presentations of research papers about emerging HCI areas (graded as part of the participation component of the above grading scheme), and
  • will have to write a small-scale literature review.


The main textbook for the course will be:

We will also discuss recent research papers and a few chapters of: