Syllabus: CSE 4663 / 6663 Human-Computer Interaction

Dr. J. Edward Swan II <>
Fall 2006
Course Time and Location
Mon and Wed, 3:30 pm–4:45 pm, 100 Butler Hall
Office Hours and Location
Mon and Wed, 4:45 pm–6:00 pm, 100 Butler Hall
Course Prerequisites
CSE 3813 (Introduction to Formal Languages and Automata) for CSE majors with a grade of C or better, consent of instructor for non-majors.  Note: this is an out-of-date requirement which I will seek to have changed this year; this course will have nothing to do with formal languages or automata.
Catalog Description
Three hours lecture. Conceptual models formed by users, aspects of computer systems which affect users, interface design and evaluation, and examples and critiques of specific interfaces.
Longer Description
Survey of human-computer interaction concepts, theory, and practice.  Basic components of human-computer interaction. Interdisciplinary underpinnings.  Informed and critical evaluation of computer-based technology.  User-oriented perspective, rather than system-oriented, with two thrusts: human (cognitive, social) and technological (input/output, interactions styles, devices).  Design guidelines, evaluation methods, participatory design, communication between users and system developers.
Required Text
Mary Beth Rosson and John Carroll, Usability Engineering: Scenario-Based Development of Human-Computer Interaction, 1st edition (Oct. 15, 2001), Morgan Kaufman, ISBN 1558607129.

Grading Scale

90% – 100% A
80% – 89% B
70% – 79% C
60% – 69% D
0% – 59% F

Graded Activities

Group HCI Design Project: 55%
Midterm Exam: 15%
Final Exam: 15%
Activities, Quizzes, Homework: 15%

Group HCI Design Project: The largest component of your grade will be based on a semester-long group HCI design project.  Further details are given below.

Mid-term Exam: There will be one in-class test near the middle of the semester. The test will consist of short answer and essay questions.

Final Exam: The final exam will have the same format as the mid-term, and will be non-cumulative, covering only material from the second half of the semester.

Activities, Quizzes, Homework: There will be approximately 10 in-class activities throughout the semester. Activities will have either a written component for students to prepare individually in advance, a quiz to test students’ preparation for the activity, or a group assignment to be done in class.  Homework assignments are due by class time on the due date; homework will not be accepted after the beginning of class.

Group HCI Design Project

You will be assigned to a group of 3--5 students early in the semester.  Your group will design a human-computer interface utilizing the scenario-based design methodology discussed in our book.  The group HCI design project grade is broken down like this:

Phase 1: 10%
Phase 2: 10%
Phase 3: 10%
Phase 4: 10%
Phase 5: 10%
Group Presentation: 5%

The project will be divided into five phases, and each group will also make a group presentation to the class.

Project Deadlines: Project reports for each phase are due by email by the time specified in the phase specification.  Project reports up to 24 hours late will have 10% deducted.  After 24 hours, late project reports will not be accepted.

Project Grading and Group Work: Each member of a project group will receive the same grade for each phase of the project. Group work can be difficult at times, but it can also be very rewarding and provide good experience for work in real-world software development teams.  Each group member is expected to contribute equally, and groups are expected to work out minor problems among themselves.  In extreme cases, the instructor will mediate group problems, but groups must agree to abide by the instructor's decision in such cases.

Attendance and Group Work: In cases of in-class group activities, only group members who are present will receive a grade for the activity.  Absent group members will receive a zero for the activity.

The WebCT Message Boards and Email

In this class, the WebCT message boards are the main communication interface between the instructor, the grader, and your fellow students. Do not send email to the instructor with questions about assignments; post these to the discussion boards instead. Often, other students may be able to answer your question before the instructor.  My goal is for the course to build upon a collaborative environment.

Since there may be frequent list activity, check the boards at least once a day. Students are responsible for knowing any material posted by the instructor.

The boards are a forum for discussion related to this class. Therefore, do not post rude or irrelevant messages. In addition, while general approaches can be discussed, exact or partial solutions (including code detailed snippets) are not allowed.  Everyone is to do their own work.

Academic Honesty

Students are expected to maintain the standards of academic honesty that are described in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering's Academic Honesty Policy.  All work on homework assignments and exams is to be your own.  Projects are to be completed by the members of the project group. Project reports should provide full citations for any sources (including articles, books, websites, etc.). Plagiarism is strictly prohibited.  Suspected violations will be taken seriously and will be handled according the Academic Honesty Policy.  Please ask the instructor if you have any questions related to the honor code.

Missed Exams

Occasionally students miss examinations. Sometimes the student knows about these absences in advance, and sometimes they happen unexpectedly.  If you know in advance that you will be absent and you wish to have the absence considered excused, then you must meet with me before the date of the exam, and I will let you know whether or not the absence will be excused.  If your excused absence will occur during an exam, then I will make arrangements for you to take the exam early.

If you miss an exam unexpectedly and wish to have the absence considered excused, then you must meet with the me at the earliest opportunity possible after the absence, and provide documentation to support your claim that the absence should be considered excused. If the absence is excused, then I will substitute the average number of points of your other exams for the missed exam.

For unexcused absences from examinations you will unfortunately receive a score of zero points.

Additional Policies

Attendance and Audits: Attendance is required in this class.  Although attendance will not affect your grade, I will take roll, and I will list absences on midterm and final grade reports. Students who miss class are still responsible for the material covered and for any assignments distributed.  Students who are auditing the course must attend at least 75% of the class meetings in order to receive a passing grade.

Personal Electronic Devices: Students must respect their fellow students and not disrupt class. Therefore, cell phones, pagers, other such alarms, or personal conversations which disturb the lecture are not allowed.  Students with personal laptops may bring them to class; however, laptops are not required for this course.

Grade of Incomplete (I): Incomplete grades will only be given in extreme circumstances, such as illness, death in a student's immediate family, or similar circumstances beyond a student's control.

No Food or Drinks in Class: It is the CSE department's policy that you can't eat or dink in Butler 100.

Drop / Add Policy: This class follows Mississippi State University's Official Drop/Add Policy:

Add/drop without penalty: A student has through the fifth class day into the semester to add a course and through the tenth class day to drop a course without being assessed a fee or academic penalty.

Drop after the tenth class day through the 30th class day into the semester: A student who elects to drop a course during this period must receive the approval of his/her advisor, will be assigned a W on his/her academic record, and be assessed a fee. The advisor who permits the drop will specify its effective date.

Drop after the 30th class day into the semester: A student cannot drop courses after this period except in documented cases of serious illness, extreme hardship, or failure of the instructor to provide significant assessment of his/her performance. A request to drop a course during this period must be approved by the student's advisor and academic dean. The dean who permits the drop will specify its effective date. A student receiving permission to drop will receive a W on his/her academic record and be assessed a fee.

Faculty are expected to provide a student with significant evidence or assessment of his/her class performance within the first six weeks.

Based on course website designs by Doug Bowman, Mary Beth Rosson, and John M. Carroll, Virginia Tech
Last modified: March 24, 2007