Introduction to the Course
In this course you will learn the basics of human-computer interaction
(HCI). The course is "project-based", not lecture-based; this means that the
various ideas and skills that you have to learn are presented by taking you
through a set of exercises and tasks, rather than by having them presented
on a blackboard and OHP. At the end of the course you will have had
"hands-on" experience of HCI, and be able to design and implement better
interactive systems from a practical as well as a theoretical viewpoint.
Much of the work requires you to
work cooperatively with each other, sometimes in pairs, sometimes in
groups of many more. Group work is a common activity in the outside
world and experiencing it here is in itself a useful undertaking. There are
many things that go towards successful groupwork, and they are not all
presented below. However, some of these ideas may be new to you and
they are worth pursuing to make your group more coherent, harmonious
Working in Groups
Much of what you need to learn
you will encounter as you work through the exercises. There are two
important points to note.
- The first is that this course requires you to use your intelligence, to think
things through carefully, to be creative, artistic, logical, thoughtful and
precise. You cannot get away with hoping to come along, be told what to
do, make a few notes and then go away. It requires effort and
commitment on your behalf before you will achieve any benefit from the
- The second point is that often there will be concepts you do not fully
understand or that we hardly touch upon. As with most other lecture
courses, there is work to be done outside of the lectures, and this course is
no different. You should expect to go away and look up things in books
and journals, to read about new concepts and skills, and to work on your
own initiative. Many references to specific things will be made, either
explicitly or implicitly, but the more that you read, the better.
In particular, you are expected to work your way through the relevant sections of "Human-Computer Interaction" by Dix, Finlay, Abowd and Beale (Prentice-Hall, 1993).