Fall 2006: Course Description for Human Computer Interaction (SYST 469‑01)


Instructor: Bill Killam, MA CHFP

            Office: Off Campus; Phone # 703-729-0998; e‑mail: bkillam@user-centereddesign.com

            Office Hours: By Appointment



Preece, Rogers, & Sharp, Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction, Wiley 2002.


Prerequisite: IT/STAT 250, IT 108


The purpose of this course is to help students understand the principles of human-computer interaction and the techniques in optimizing that interaction.  .  Our goal is improved system interaction by understanding the limits and capabilities of human that affect their ability to interact with computers and computer-based systems.  It covers the basic principles of human-computer interaction including information processing, cognitive models, and ergonomics.  We will discuss design models for ensuring the effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction of systems.  We will also discuss tests for assessing the human-computer interface as part of research and during system development.


There is a mid‑term exam, a final exam, and a student project. I use the full grading scale, including pluses and minuses. Each of the two exams is worth 35% of your grade; the student project is worth 30%. The exams will be based on questions based on each lecture which we will outline after each class. The questions will cover material presented in the texts and class. I expect students to read the material for each week’s class before the class so that they can answer questions about it. The exams are closed-book and closed-notes. There will be a review session prior to each test.  Please use the review period to make sure you know the answers to questions that might be on the exams.  Laptops can not be used to take the exams.


The purpose of the student project is to give students an opportunity to apply what they have learned in class to a real world problem. Student will select from either a design project or a design evaluation project.  Feel free to use material from work and/or other classes. Just make sure that I can clearly see how you are effectively applying what you have learned in this class to your selected problem. The result of the project will be a 15-minute presentation (with viewgraphs) on the last two days of class.



Week 1 (8/30)      Introduction (Preece, Chaps. 1 & 5)


Week 2 (9/6)       Understanding Users I (Preece, Chapter 2)


Week 3 (9/13)     Understanding Users II


Week 4 (9/20)      Setting Your Design Goals (Preece, Chap. 7)


Week 5 (9/27)      Design Methods (Preece, Chaps. 6 & 9)

     and Review for Midterm Exam


Week 6 (10/4)      Midterm Exam


Week 7 (10/11)    Review Midterm and Task Analysis and Use Models I


Week 8 (10/18)    Task Analysis and Use Models II


Week 9 (10/25)    From Conceptual Design to Operational Prototype (Preece, Chap. 8)


Week 10 (11/1)    HCI Evaluation Methods (Preece, Chap. 10)


Week 11 (11/8)    Design Analysis and Testing I (Preece, Chaps. 11 & 12)


Week 12 (11/15)   Design Analysis and Testing II (Preece, Chaps. 13 & 14)


Week 13 (11/22)   No Class – Thanksgiving Day Recess


Week 14 (11/29)   Student Presentations


Week 15 (12/6)     Student Presentations & Review for Final Exam


Week 16 (12/13)   Final Exam (only on material after the midterm exam)