CS 2300: Human-Computer Interaction Seminar

Spring 2015

This seminar covers methods for conducting research in human-computer interaction (HCI). These topics will be pursued through independent reading, assignments, and class discussion. The seminar comprises three assignments that not just apply HCI research methods but push the envelope of what has been done before. The assignments are designed to be meaningful and have the potential to be widely visible or to be published, and each student will participate in writing a group paper for one of the assignments. We will have readings that teach HCI research methods and provide examples of valuable contributions, sometimes reading reviews of those papers as they were evaluated for publication.

The goal of this course is to provide students with the background necessary to perform research in HCI and the skills required to conduct human-centric research. Students who take this course should have a particular interest in HCI research, or wish to learn fundamental skills that will help them with a user interface design or usability evaluation career. Programming experience is highly desirable but not absolutely necessary (students who do not program may have to be especially creative for some assignments). There will be little or no content in this course about interface design, but students will find topics in CSCI 1300 (User Interfaces) relevant. Enthusiastic students who have not taken CSCI 1300 should have independently done some HCI or related work before. The class will meet in room 506 CIT, from 1:00pm-1:50pm MWF.

The course will be capped at 15-20 students; apply on this page for a registration code.


Jeff Huang, 407 CIT, jeff at cs dot brown dot edu

Teaching Assistant

Alexandra Papoutsaki, 409 CIT, alexpap at cs dot brown dot edu


Crowdsourcing assignment Try different crowdsourcing models for collecting data and validating a university faculty dataset.

Personal Informatics experiment Run an experiment on yourself to see the effects of behavior change by tracking your own data.

Fitts' Law study Perform a variant of the classic Fitts' Law experiment on targets with unique shapes.


Reading comments will be 2-4 sentences (see Canvas instructions for detail) and should be entered in Canvas by 11:55pm the night before the Deadine Due date (no comments required for the Jan 23 reading; the first reading comment is due Jan 25 11:55pm). For each reading comment, you will receive a half point for satisfactory comments, and one point for exceptionally thoughtful reading comments, up to a maximum of 15 points.


We will read a few chapters from Ways of Knowing in HCI (WOK) by Olson and Kellogg that you can find online and can read freely if you are on the Brown network (or accessing through VPN). It's recommended that you download a copy while you're on the Brown network so you can read it offline at your leisure.

Collaboration Policy

Please sign and return the Collaboration Policy by February 20th.


Day Topic Reading Due Assignment
Jan 21 Overview
Jan 23 Introduction Grudin - 3 faces of human-computer interaction
Hudson - Concepts, Values, and Methods (Page 69-73 from WOK)
Jan 26 Crowdsourcing Egelman - Crowdsourcing in HCI Research (WOK) Crowdsourcing assignment out
Jan 28 Crowdsourcing *Bernstein - Soylent: a word processor with a crowd inside
Jan 30 Crowdsourcing Marcus - How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Crowd
Feb 2 Crowdsourcing Crowdsourcing Models (Lecture/Discussion)
Feb 4 Assignment midpoint Crowdsourcing assignment mid
Feb 6 Experimental Methods Gergle - Experimental Research in HCI (WOK)
Feb 9 University closed
Feb 11 Experimental Methods Losh - Reliability, Validity, Causality, And Experiments
Feb 13 Experimental Methods Norvig - Warning Signs in Experimental Design and Interpretation
Feb 18 Experimental Methods *Dell - "Yours is Better!" Participant Response Bias in HCI
Feb 20 Assignment review Crowdsourcing assignment due
Feb 23 Behavioral Analysis Analytics for Interaction Data (Lecture/Discussion) Personal informatics experiment out
Feb 25 Behavioral Analysis Bentley - Health Mashups
Feb 27 Behavioral Analysis Dumais - Understanding User Behavior (WOK)
Mar 2 Behavioral Analysis Discussions from online (read in order) [1] [2] [3] [4]
Mar 4 Behavioral Analysis Hacking smartphone apps (Lecture/Discussion)
Mar 6 Assignment midpoint Personal informatics experiment mid
Mar 9 Design Research Tohidi - Getting the Right Design and the Design Right: Testing Many Is Better Than One
Mar 11 Design Research *Kane - Usable Gestures for Blind People
Mar 13 Design Research Design Research (Lecture/Discussion)
Mar 16 Design Research Zimmerman - Research Through Design in HCI (WOK, first 3 pages)
Zimmerman - Research Through Design as a Method for Interaction Design Research in HCI
Mar 18 Fitts' Law MacKenzie - Fitts' law as a research and design tool in human-computer interaction
Mar 20 Fitts' Law Soukoreff - Towards a standard for pointing device evaluation
Mar 30 Assignment review Personal informatics experiment due
Apr 1 Fitts' Law Grossman - Modeling Pointing at Targets of Arbitrary Shapes Fitts' Law study out
Apr 3 Eye Tracking *Huang - User See, User Point: Gaze and Cursor Alignment in Web Search
Apr 6 Systems Landay - A Guide to Systems & Applications Research
I give up on CHI/UIST
Apr 8 Assignment midpoint Fitts' Law study mid
Apr 10 Sean Munson visit
Apr 13 Systems *Dixon - Prefab
Apr 15 Systems Olsen - Evaluating User Interface Systems Research
Apr 17 Assignment review Fitts' Law study due
Apr 20 Group paper Organize into paper groups and plan
Apr 27 TA Check-in Meeting to discuss progress of group paper
May 6 Assignment Review (2pm) Informal presentation and discussion of group paper results Group paper due

* We will look at the corresponding reviews in class to see what reviewers liked about them.