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Teaching HCI to Undegraduate Computing Students: the Quest for the Golden Rules
 

Teaching HCI to Undegraduate Computing Students: the Quest for the Golden Rules

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Presentation held at the HCI@Large workshop, at the CHItaly 2011 Conference, Alghero, 13 Sept 2011.

Presentation held at the HCI@Large workshop, at the CHItaly 2011 Conference, Alghero, 13 Sept 2011.
The paper can be found in the document section of slideshare

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    Teaching HCI to Undegraduate Computing Students: the Quest for the Golden Rules Teaching HCI to Undegraduate Computing Students: the Quest for the Golden Rules Presentation Transcript

    • Teaching HCI to Undergraduate Computing Students: the Quest for the Golden Rules
      • Roberto Polillo
      • DISCO – University of Milano Bicocca
      • CHItaly, Alghero, Sept 13, 2011
    • The goal
      • Discuss my experiences / opinions on teaching HCI courses
      • Based on my HCI and Web lab courses at University of Milano Bicocca (10 & 6 years respectively)
    • Which students am I talking about?
      • Undergraduate "computing" students
      • "Computing" according to ACM-IEEE curricula:
          • Computer Engineering (CE)
          • Computer Science (CS)
          • Software Engineering (SE)
          • Information Technology (IT)
          • Information Systems (IS)
      • In Italy, "classe di laurea in Informatica"
    • HCI courses
      • Well established contents and goals
      • Founding document: ACM SIGCHI Curricula for HCI, 1992
      • HCI considered a "core" knowledge area in most ACM-IEEE computing curricula (CE 2004, CS 2008, SE 2004, IT 2008, IS 2010)
      • "HCI literacy" recognized as essential for any computing professional
    • So where is the problem?
      • 1. Slow to very slow recognition of HCI relevance from the mainstream computing community  HCI courses, when offered, are often optional
      • 2. Available teaching space is very limited
      • 3. HCI as a knowledge area is very broad and interdisciplinary
      • 4. Distance from the mind-set of typical computing students
      • Most of our undergraduate computing students are
      • USABILITY ILLITERATE
      Consequences This is not acceptable in 2012
      • Slow to very slow recognition of HCI relevance from the mainstream computing community  HCI courses, when offered, are often optional
      • E.g.: In Italy, less then one third of curricula in Informatica have a mandatory HCI course
      • Source: GRIN data on 52 certified first level degrees, for 2009
    • How many CS profs would agree on this? ACM-IEEE IT Curriculum, 2008
      • 2. Available teaching space is very limited
      • 3. HCI as a knowledge area is very broad and interdisciplinary
    • Example: knowledge units of HCI knowledge area ACM-IEEE Curriculum for Computer Science, Revision 2008
      • 4. Distance from the mind-set of typical computing students
    • What we HCI teachers should do
      • Fight to have one HCI mandatory course in every computing curriculum
      • Identify th minimal learning goals of an HCI course
      • Strongly improve course effectivess within the existing time constraints ("The Quest for the Golden Rules")
    • Learning goals
      • Twofold:
        • Cultural  Understand goals, concepts and methods of HCI as a discipline
        • Practical  Being able to apply them in the design of usable systems
      • This is a MISSION IMPOSSIBLE within the stated constraints
    • Learning goals minimized
      • Twofold:
        • Cultural  Understand goals, concepts and methods of HCI as a discipline
        • Practical  Being able to apply them in the design of usable systems
      • This is a MISSION IMPOSSIBLE within the stated constraints
    • Changing teaching methods Concepts (lectures) Practice (projects) TRADITIONAL (TOP-DOWN, DEDUCTIVE) apply Problem (projects) Conceptualization (coaching) SUGGESTED (BOTTOM-UP – INDUCTIVE) discuss comment
    • What kind of project? Iterative prototyping of a simple interactive system Design Prototype User testing Simple, "real" system Zero learning-time tools Coaching and conceptualization by teacher Simple settings, real users & collegues
    • 10 Golden Rules for teaching HCI
      • Practice first, concepts follow
      • Situated design, not simulation
      • Interaction, not description
      • Mostly coaching, not teaching
      • User testing is mandatory
      • Iterate prototypes until "Wow!"
      • Make students learn design, not design tools
      • Ban any intrusive prototyping tools
      • Use the Web as a resource
      • Capitalize on student specific experience
      • Thank you!
      • [email_address]