CS 6540 — Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction, Fall 2019

Mondays and Wednesdays, 3-4:20PM, WEB L120

Instructor: Prof. Tamara Denning, tdenning@cs.utah.edu
Office Hours: Tuesdays 1-2PM in MEB 3446 (or by appointment)

TA: Eric Lang, u1210630@utah.edu

Navigation Links: Schedule | Overview | Grading | Paper Writeups | How to Access Papers | Policies


Schedule is subject to change.

Date Required Reading (before lecture) Reading Turnin Lecture Notes
8/19 N/A N/A
8/21 N/A
  • Discussion of meta readings
  • Discussion of paper reading
8/26 writeup on Saha et al
  • Discussion of meta readings
  • Discussion of paper reading
8/28 non-standard writeup (Design reflection) Guest Lecture: Prof. James Agutter (slides)
9/4 N/A
  • Do at least one think-aloud by next class
9/9 writeup on Wobbrock and Kientz
  • Discussion of 9/4 meta readings
  • Discussion of paper reading
  • Q&A/discussion on in-progress think-alouds
9/11 writeup on Greenberg and Buxton
9/16 N/A
9/18 non-standard writeup (post research interests)
  • update research interests (if necessary)
9/23 N/A
9/25 writeup on Wu et al
  • Groups formed by 9/28. Add to spreadsheet here
9/30 writeup on Peck et al
  • Discussion of paper reading
  • Discussion of groups' preliminary research topics
  • The non-standard writeup details requirements for individually looking up some papers
non-standard writeup (individual preliminary lit review steps)
  • In-class working meetings for groups to start coordinating their literature search/reviews
  • Fall Break 10/6 - 10/13
10/14 N/A N/A
10/16 writeup on Kogan et al Guest Lecture: Prof. Marina Kogan
10/21 N/A N/A
10/23 writeup on Votipka et al
  • Come prepared with interview question drafts next time (see announcement)
10/28 N/A N/A
  • Discussions/feedback between project groups on research questions + interview question/topic drafts
  • Keri Smith. How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum (on Canvas). 2008. pp 2-77
non-standard writeup (observe and comment on an object)
  • Open-ended participant response dataset (see writeup description)
non-standard writeup (coding exercise)
11/6 writeup on Hata et al
  • Discussion of paper reading
11/11 writeup on Nacke et al Guest Lecture: Prof. Rogelio E. Cardona-Rivera (slides)
11/13 N/A
  • Discuss guest lecture
  • Discuss meta reading
11/18 writeup on Hara et al
11/20 non-standard writeup (questionnaire drafts)
11/25 N/A
11/27 N/A N/A No class - Happy Thanksgiving!
12/2 N/A N/A
12/4 N/A N/A Final group project poster presentations


This course provides an introduction to Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) / Human-Centered Computing (HCC) research. The course is primarily based on a combination of:

In general we will be seeking to gain an increased understanding of HCI research contributions, methods, and focus areas. The purpose of this course is to provide a combination of practical and theoretical knowledge.

While many of the methods we will be working with in the course are applicable to both industry and academic research (e.g., think alouds, heuristic evaluation, interviews), the focus and framing of this course is on academic research. This course is not about teaching a concrete set of steps that you can follow without thinking to give you a perfect user interface every time. Instead, this course is about a hands-on introduction to how to go about finding answers that may come up in user interface design or HCI research.


The grading breakdown in this course is as follows:

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 guidance in this regard.

Attendance: We will take attendance each class (for part of the participation credit). You have 2 freebies - that is, you can miss lecture twice without it having any effect on your grade.

Late Policy: Participation assignments (including reading writeups) will not be accepted late. Other assignments, unless noted otherwise, receive 10% off for every day they are late.

Incomplete: University Policy states that an Incomplete grade may only be given when there has been a circumstance “beyond the student’s control,” (e.g., a death in the family, a serious accident, or a serious illness) and the student has completed 80% of the course requirements.

Final Exam: There is no final exam.

Paper Writeups

These analyses are expected to be 200-350 words (2-4 paragraphs) depending on the length and complexity of the readings. This is only a guideline; it is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition.

Your analysis should not be a summary of the reading. Instead, you should focus on the following four points, with a section header for each point:

  1. Briefly summarize the main contribution(s) of the paper. (1-3 sentences per contribution)
  2. List the evaluation method(s) that were used (if any) and why you think they were or were not appropriate. (2-4 sentences per evaluation method)
  3. What would you like to discuss about the paper? Why? This could either be something you don't quite understand and have questions about or it could simply be something you found interesting about the paper.
  4. List one thing that the paper did well and one thing that could improve the paper.

The analyses are due no later than 12:00pm on the date on which a reading is due. You will turn in your discussion in PDF format using Canvas.

How to Access Papers

Some papers are free to access, while others are behind paywalls. The university has a paid subscription to most of the libraries where those papers can be found. There are several ways to access those papers:


Communication: We will assume that you regularly monitor your campus email and Canvas.

Other Policies: You can find to School of Computing policies here and the College of Engineering policies here.

Safety: The University of Utah values the safety of all campus community members. To report suspicious activity or to request a courtesy escort, call campus police at 801-585-COPS (801-585-2677). You will receive important emergency alerts and safety messages regarding campus safety via text message. For more information regarding safety and to view available training resources, including helpful videos, visit safeu.utah.edu.

Accommodations: We are committed to the opportunity for success and equal access. Please let us know as soon as possible if you need any academic accommodations.

Inclusivity: It is our intent that students from all diverse backgrounds and perspectives be well-served by this course, that students' learning needs be addressed both in and out of class, and that the diversity that the students bring to this class be viewed as a resource, strength and benefit. It is our intent to present materials and activities that are respectful of diversity: gender identity, sexuality, disability, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, nationality, religion, and culture. We also expect students to treat others in the class, including the teaching staff, with the same level of respect. Your suggestions on how we can make the course more inclusive and welcoming are encouraged and appreciated. You can give us feedback in person during office hours, or through our anonymous form. We take incidents of discrimination, bias, and harassment seriously. We will file reports with the Office for Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Title IX (OEO) about such incidents. If you are unsure what differentiates free speech and professional behavior from discrimination, bias, and harassment we are happy to have an open, judgement-free, and confidential conversation with you, or refer you to the OEO.