Course Description

This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). It covers principles and techniques in the design, development, and evaluation of interactive systems, and provides students with an introduction to UX Design and User-Centered Research. Additionally, some classes will focus on emergent areas within HCI, like Human-Robot Interaction, AR/VR, and Fabrication. The course is organized as a series of lectures, in-class activities, a mid-term exam, and a semester-long group projects on designing and implementing a prototype of a new interactive system.

Instructor: Marynel Vázquez (marynel.vazquez at
Course Assistants: Nathan Tsoi, Qiping Zhang, Austin Narcomey, John Kolesar, Sasha Lew, Fern Limprayoon, Joshua Bialkin, Lee Chen

Class Hours: Tuesday/Thursdays at 1pm - 2:15pm ET
Class Location: Humanities Quadrangle L02

Office Hours:
Please see this calendar for details on available office hours. Note that some regular office hours are set to take place in person in AKW while others are through zoom. Canvas has all the zoom details (including the meeting password).

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, students will have gained an understanding of:

  • the field of Human-Computer Interaction;
  • how to approach the design of a system, component, or process from a user-centered perspective;
  • methods to design and conduct user experiments; and
  • how to collaborate with others when solving new problems.

An important component of this course is a semester-long group project, which will provide practical experience to students and opportunities to practice communication and collaboration. In addition, students will be able to demonstrate their ability to work in a team and to communicate the content of their projects to a peer audience in the course.


This course requires having taken CPSC 201 and CPSC 202, or equivalents. Previous familiarity with data structures is useful for the semester-long project. Students who do not fit this profile may be allowed to enroll with the permission of the instructor.


The following topics will be covered in the course:

  • History of HCI
  • Design Thinking and User-Centered Research Methods
  • Usability Tests
  • Experimental Design and Analysis/Interpretation of Data
  • Designing for Diverse Needs
  • Emergent areas within HCI like Human-Robot Interaction

See the Schedule for more details.


The course grade will be based on:

  • Semester-Long Group Project (51%). Students will work in groups to design and implement a prototype of a computing system to support an activity or relationship within a particular context. The project will be structured as multiple separate assignments in order to measure progress continuously throughout the semester. See the project page for more details.

  • Mid-term Exam (25%). The exam will evaluate student’s knowledge of research methods covered in the first 7 weeks of the semester.

  • In-Class Activities (24%). We will evaluate participation in in-class activities throughout the semester (e.g., in regards to attendance or working on the activity). There will be at least 11 in class-activities and each activity is 3 pts each. Thus, students need to participate in at least 8 activities to get 24 pts. No matter how many activities they complete, the 8 in-class activities with the top grade will be considered for their final course grade.

  • Literature Review (10% for graduate students only). Graduate students will have to submit a small-scale (4-5 pages) literature review on a emergent HCI topic of their preference.

NOTE: The lectures, in-class activities, exam, and class project would be the same for undergrad and graduate students. However, graduate students will be graded over 110% and have as additional course load the small-scale literature review.

Policy on late days: Late submissions for in-class activities or group assignments will not be permitted without a Dean’s excuse.


The main textbook reference for the course will be:

We will also discuss recent research papers and a few chapters of:

Past Course Offerings