Syllabus for HCC1, Fall 2016

Readings are subject to change. Please always check the online reading schedule.

Instructor: Mark Guzdial
Office: TSRB 329
Office Hours: Thursday at 2:30–3:30 pm in my office, or find me after class, or email for an appointment.
Location: College of Computing Building Room 53
Time: Tuesday and Thursday, 9:35–11 am. EXCEPT for Aug 23
Schedule: Class and reading schedule

Learning Objectives

This class provides an introduction to the field of Human-Centered Computing. It is designed for incoming, first semester HCC PhD students.

This class introduces students to theoretical readings that inform the School of Interactive Computing’s approaches to Human-Centered Computing. The class is recommended for students with a theoretical bent. Master’s students considering a PhD in the future may enjoy this class. If you are an interdisciplinary student mainly seeking a general introduction to how computing systems for humans are designed, then the class you are looking for is most likely CS 6750, Human-Computer Interaction.

Topics covered include an introduction to a wide range of theories, and their application to the design of interactive computing systems, including:

Where ever possible, we try to pair a theoretical reading with an application of that theory to human-centered computing. The applications papers are not necessarily foundational to the field, but are good examples of the use of theories and illustrate theory’s relevance.

This class tries to cover as much as possible of the HCC Core qualifier exam reading list for PhD students in Human-Centered Computing. The rest of the list is covered in HCC 3. A copy of the list is here: HCC Core Reading List with changes here

Required Texts

We are going to be reading from all these books, but you don’t necessarily have to buy all of them. For some of these, we’re only going to read a chapter or two, and there are electronic versions “floating around” or I’ve made available via T-Square. Check with your peers first.

Books I recommend buying

Books I recommend borrowing/finding e-copies

Assignments and Grading

Assignments will be graded out of 100 and according to the criteria listed for each assignment that could include quality of writing, completeness, insight into technical issues, insight into social issues, etc.

Please hand all assignments in as PDF on T-Square, unless explicitly instructed otherwise.

Late Policy
Assignments are due at the start of class on the day they are due. Over the course of the term, you have three “late days” where work may be late with no explanation needed. Once you have used up your late days, late assignments will be penalized at a rate of 5 pts (e.g., 10 points from A to B) per day. Assignments more than one week late will not be accepted.

Reading reflections may not be late.

Class Participation

Research is a discursive practice. We write, we ask questions, we discuss. You cannot learn all that you will need to learn without engaging with others. Graduate School is the perfect place to work on this skill. Graduate School is an apprenticeship for what will come afterwards. Take advantage of the fact that you are learning with others in this safe space. Practice speaking in class. Come to class with questions. You think you are the only one with that question, unlikely.

Class attendance is required. This is a small class, so please email the instructor in advance if you can’t attend for some reason. Legitimate reasons for missing class include illness (please keep your germs to yourself–we’ll give you good notes–we promise!), a job interview, or attending a conference. Excuses that will not be accepted include for example picking someone up at the airport, having something due in another class, or having furniture delivered.

Course Reflections

Due: Start of class, the day the reading is assigned. You owe one reading reflection each week, Weeks 2–14.
Format: 12 pt font, double spaced
Length: Approx. 1–2 pages

Pick an assigned course reading and write a one to two page ‘reflection’ on that reading. What was interesting about it? Is it relevant for your work in some way? You may write about one reading, or compare and contrast more than one.

While it’s OK to say some critical things about the paper, keep in mind that you can rip everything to shreds. The best paper has flaws. It’s a better use of your time to focus on what is good about a paper than what is wrong with it.

Each reflection will be graded out of 100. You can earn up to 30% of your entire grade via reading reflections. Reading reflections will be associated with the readings in Weeks 3–13. Reflections are due at the start of class on the day the reading is assigned, and will not be accepted late.

“Elevator Pitch”

Due: see class schedule
Format: 12 pt font, double spaced
Length: < 3 pages
Grading criteria:
- Completeness
- Writing
- Insight into methods
- Insight into key questions

Write an “elevator pitch” proposal for a research project you would like to do. As succinctly as possible, describe the research questions and methods you will use. Why is this work interesting?

Be prepared to explain in class why this is interesting in one to two minutes.

Research Proposal

Due: see class schedule
Format: 12 pt font, double spaced
Length: 10–12 pages
Grading criteria:

Write a proposal for a research project. Begin by stating the research question(s) and why they are important. Next, review the literature in this area. Next, describe the methods you will employ. Finally, describe risks of the project. What is hard about this work? What difficulties might you anticipate, and how will you address them?

This should be related to your ‘elevator pitch’ idea.

Other Important Issues

Use of Laptops in Class
Some people like to use laptops in class to take notes. I personally prefer to take notes on paper, because I find if my laptop is open I end up getting too distracted. Please think carefully about whether using a laptop in class is the right choice for you. Whatever you decide, please do not do anything that distracts your fellow students. In particular, please do not play video games during class.

Honor Code
This class abides by the Georgia Tech Honor Code. All assigned work is expected to be individual, except where explicitly written otherwise. You are encouraged to discuss the assignments with your classmates; however, what you hand in should be your own work.

Course Evaluation
Course evaluations are an important part of how we improve the educational experience at Georgia Tech. We take your feedback very seriously, and use it to improve classes for future years. In a small class like this one, the Dean expects 100% participation on the course evaluation. If you take this class, you agree to complete your course evaluation at the end of the term. Thanks in advance–your input is really helpful!

If you need help dealing with larger issues than this class:

If you are struggling to manage with your life at Georgia Tech, there are resources that you can draw upon. The Georgia Tech Counseling Center is staffed by psychologists and mental health counselors. They offer brief, confidential counseling and crisis intervention services to students, and after-hours on-call counselors to speak and consult with students in crisis. They also offer a series of workshops for managing stress.

The Stamps Health Services offers psychiatrist services to students and spouses. Call 404–894–2585 or visit the second floor of Student Health Services.

The Office of the Dean of Students welcomes referrals if you are concerned about a colleague.

Assignments and ideas on this syllabus build on those from everyone who has taught it before, especially Beki Grinter, Amy Bruckman, Eric Gilbert, and Colin Potts.