CMSC434-0201: Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction-Spring 2018 vibha

CMSC434-0201: Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction-Spring 2018 vibha

CMSC 434: Introduction to Human Computer Interaction

Spring 2018, Section 0201

Instructor Vibha Sazawal, PhD
Time Tuesday/Thursday, 12:30 - 1:45 PM
Location CSIC 3117
Book Cyberpsychology, 2nd edition, by Kent Norman. Don't use the first edition. It's too old.
Prereqs Willingness to read and write a lot. Proficiency in English.
Office Hours Tuesday 3-4 PM, Wednesday 2-3 PM, AVW 4401

Snehesh Shreshta, snehesh at umd. Office hours: Tuesday 5-7 PM. AVW 4101.


The objective of this course is to explore how humans and computational systems interact.

In the past, the interface between humans and computers was primarily a screen, with possibly additional options for input (keyboard, stylus, mouse, etc). Given these tools, we try to design optimal user experiences (UX), in which people can accomplish their goals using software and hardware products over a period of time.

In the future, the interface between person and computational system will be much broader. Even the line demarcating humans from computational systems itself will blur. Software engineers love to build things, but what exactly are we building and why?

Technology changes extremely rapidly. The details of creating user experiences are subject to fads and trends like other personal accessories. Buttons have rounded edges one day, rectangular edges the next, the appearance of depth the third day, are totally flat on the fourth day, and disappear altogether on the fifth day -- come on, everyone knows you just swipe!

Are there underlying principles that stand the test of time? We will find out.


1. There is a homework assignment every week. The homework assignment will be posted to ELMS on Thursday and is due the following Wednesday.

2. The homework assignment is completed in pairs, but you should submit your assignment individually via ELMS. Your partner will be assigned to you.

3. The lowest two homework scores will be dropped.

4. Late homework is not accepted without documentation of an excused absence.

5. Essay questions will be graded according to this rubric. Citations need to be in this format.

6. To request a regrade of your homework, please submit a request in writing. It will be evaluated at the end of the semester. When an assignment is regraded, its score may go up, stay the same, or go down.

In-class Activities

1. Please bring a notebook and a writing utensil to class. I recommend that you take notes by hand during class. Typing your notes is not as effective. The process of taking notes by hand requires you to digest the material and identify important concepts (which you then write down). It is this cognitive processing step that is so useful -- even if you never review your actual notes again!

2. We will write things in class, draw design sketches, and more. Sometimes you will have to submit in-class work for grading. If you submit documentation for an excused absence, you will not be penalized for missing in-class work.

3. Do not use your devices for non-class work during lecture. It actually ruins the experience for your peers, who paid good money to be here.


The grading breakdown is:

65% Homeworks

15% In-class activities and Peer Reviews

20% Final Exam (open notes). May 17th, 2018, 1:30-3:30 PM.

Final grades are in letter format with +/-. There is no curve; it is possible for everyone to get A's. In practice, the cumulative grades posted in ELMS are often slightly different than what I have in my official gradebook, due to dropped homeworks, adjustments for absences, etc. If you have questions about how you are doing in this course, please contact the instructor.

Course Policies

UMD's undergraduate course policies are specified in detail here. You should read this carefully, especially the portions about how to document an excused absence. 


Course Summary:

Date Details