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: TBD

Class Hours: Tuesday/Thursdays at 1pm - 2:15pm ET
Class Location: Davies Auditorium, Becton Ctr

Office Hours:
Mondays 4pm-5pm - Qiping (Zoom, see Canvas for the link)
Tuesdays 3pm-4pm - Bhavya (Dunham 401)
Wednesdays 2:30pm - 3:30pm - Zhongjie (Zoom, see Canvas for the link)
Thursdays 4pm-5pm - Sydney (AKW 409)
Fridays 11:30am - 12:30pm - Ulas (AKW 509)

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