CS 2300: Human-Computer Interaction Seminar

Spring 2018

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 other topics in CSCI 1300 (User Interfaces) relevant. Enthusiastic students who have not taken CSCI 1300 should have independently gained HCI experience or be a graduate student studying a related topic.

The prerequisite for this course is CSCI 1300: User Interfaces and User Experience. The course will be capped at 15 students. The Collaboration Policy should be read and signed in class on January 30.

Course Staff

Instructor: Jeff Huang, 407 CIT, jeff at cs dot brown dot edu
Teaching Assistant: Nediyana Daskalova, 409 CIT, nediyana at cs dot brown dot edu

Meeting Times

1:00pm-2:20pm Tuesdays and Thursdays in 477 CIT. Office hours by appointment with the instructor or TA.


We will read a few excerpts 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. The remaining readings will be papers linked from the website.

Time Allocation

Total time spent in and out of class for this course is estimated at 180 hours. Over the 15 weeks of this course, students will spend 2 and a half hours in class each week (or 37.5 hours total). Although specific out-of-class time investments may vary for individual students, a reasonable estimate to support this course's learning outcomes is 145 total out-of class hours, or on average, about 10 hours weekly over a 15-week term. Out-of-class preparation will regularly include about 1-2 hours per class of reading and writing the comments addressing the reading (about 70 hours total). In addition to this ongoing preparation time, students are expected to allocate about 70 hours over the course of the term to writing the three assignments and final group paper.

Academic Support

Brown University is committed to full inclusion of all students. Please inform me early in the term if you have a disability or other conditions that might require accommodations or modification of any of these course procedures. You may speak with me after class or during office hours. For more information, please contact Student and Employee Accessibility Services at 401-863-9588 or SEAS@brown.edu. Students in need of short-term academic advice or support can contact the Dean of the College office.


(C)rowdsourcing Try different crowdsourcing models for collecting data and validating a university faculty dataset.

(S)ocial Analysis Analyze how social relationships affect the messages sent and received.

(A)ugmented Reality Interaction Study through participatory design how users can comfortably manipulate virtual objects.

(F)itts' Law Study Perform a variant of the classic Fitts' Law experiment to study the relationship between looking and pointing.

(G)roup Paper Work in a small group to extend one of the assignments into a research paper draft.


Grading is done solely by the instructor.


Day Topic Reading Due Assignment
Jan 25 What is HCI? Grudin - 3 faces of human-computer interaction
Hudson - Concepts, Values, and Methods (Page 69-72 from WOK)
Jan 30 Crowdsourcing *Bernstein - Soylent: a word processor with a crowd inside (C) out
Feb 1 Crowdsourcing Egelman - Crowdsourcing in HCI Research (WOK)
(skim the chapter, but read the Case Studies)
Feb 6 Crowdsourcing Marcus - How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Crowd (C) check
Feb 8 Ethics Brown - Five Provocations for Ethical HCI Research
Feb 13 Behavior Dumais - Understanding User Behavior (WOK)
(skim the chapter, but read "Using Log Data Responsibly")
Feb 15 Social Gilbert - Predicting Tie Strength With Social Media
Feb 20 (university holiday)
Feb 22 discuss (C) (C) due, (S) out
Feb 27 Social Wang - Modeling Self-Disclosure in Social Networking Sites
Mar 1 Experiments Losh - Reliability, Validity, Causality, And Experiments
Norvig - Warning Signs in Experimental Design and Interpretation
(S) check
Mar 6 Experiments Gergle - Experimental Research in HCI (WOK)
Discussions from online (read in order) [1] [2] [3] [4]
Mar 8 Experiments *Dell - "Yours is Better!" Participant Response Bias in HCI
"Old reviewer guidelines"
Mar 13 Design *Wobbrock - User-Defined Gestures for Surface Computing (skim)
Hilliges - HoloDesk: Direct 3D Interactions with a Situated See-Through Display (skim)
Mar 15 discuss (S) (S) due, (A) out
Mar 20 Design Zimmerman - Research Through Design in HCI (WOK, first 3 pages)
Zimmerman - Research Through Design as a Method for Interaction Design Research in HCI
Mar 22 Design *Kane - Usable Gestures for Blind People (skim, no annotations)
Buchenau - Experience Prototyping
(A) check
Mar 27 (spring break)
Mar 29 (spring break)
Apr 3 Design Tohidi - Getting the Right Design and the Design Right: Testing Many Is Better Than One
Odom - Slow Interaction Design
Apr 5 Interaction Rosenbaum - Human Motor Control Excerpt (pages 222-240)
Apr 10 discuss (A) (A) due, (F) out
Apr 12 Interaction MacKenzie - Fitts' law as a research and design tool in human-computer interaction
Soukoreff - Towards a standard for pointing device evaluation (skim, no annotations)
Apr 17 Interaction *Huang - User See, User Point: Gaze and Cursor Alignment in Web Search (F) check
Apr 19 Systems Olsen - Evaluating User Interface Systems Research
Landay - I give up on CHI/UIST
Apr 24 Systems *Dixon - Prefab
Apr 26 (no class - CHI)
May 1 discuss (F) (F) due, (G) out: paper template
Enter paper preferences here
May 3 HCI Writing Kostakos - The Big Hole in HCI Research
Heilmeier - The Heilmeier Catechism
May 8 discuss (G) (G) check
May 10 (no class - finals)
May 15 (no class - finals)
May 17 (no class - finals) (G) due

* We will look at the corresponding reviews in class to see what reviewers had to say about the paper.