Skip to main content


CSC8612 : Sustainable Human-Computer Interaction

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Rachel Clarke
  • Lecturer: Professor Dave Kirk
  • Owning School: Computing
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The aims of this module are:

1.       To introduce students to the field of sustainability within Human-Computer Interaction, its key concepts, technologies and professional practices.
2.       To provide a contextual and historical understanding of sustainability in HCI and the shifts in how the field has conceptualised and studied sustainability over time.
3.       To provide students with knowledge of different HCI methods for understanding sustainability in terms of citizens, users, stakeholders, contexts and requirements
4.       To give students practical experience of basic methods for sustainability design and evaluation

Outline Of Syllabus

1.       Introduction to the field of Sustainable HCI (SHCI): human and more than human-centred design of technology
2.       Sustainability design lifecycle
3.       Sustainability evaluation techniques
4.       Contexts and challenge areas for sustainable interactive technologies
4.1       SHCI in the home and the work-place: Individual and collective behaviour change
4.2       SHCI in the wild: Experiencing, sensing, and interpreting the natural world
4.3       SHCI and health: Scaling environmental and health justice
4.4       Planetary eco-systems: Designing for climate change, net zero and action.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials121:0012:00Asynchronous online video lectures to deliver core course content (4 lectures per week for 3 weeks)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion146:0046:00Group portfolio project and personal reflection – assessment preparation and completion.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical62:0012:00Skills in developing evaluation methods and techniques (2 practicals per week for 3 weeks)
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities32:006:00Weekly synchronous discussion of reading material (1 per week for 3 weeks)
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading82:0016:00Directed research and reading preparation for classes.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery42:008:00Drop-in tutorials and feedback discussion (1 per week for 4 weeks)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

As the students will originate from a diverse range of disciplinary backgrounds, the teaching of this module is intended to combine opportunities for introductory reading and learning around the history of sustainability in the context of Computing more broadly and in more specifically in the context of human-computer interaction. Critical analysis and reflection on how approaches and concepts of human and more-than-human interaction with technology have changed over time will be key to session delivery.

Students will receive a series of video lectures on relevant topics covering the history and development of the field of SHCI. They will also be directed to read specific text book chapters and research papers prior to weekly group teaching sessions. Students will be expected to take an active role in discussing this work. Online materials will be made available to introduce practical skills for developing prototypes and evaluations using sustainability principles. Students will try out these different methods, collecting user data.

Students will be expected to write short reflective commentaries on papers they have read and discussed in class to support deep learning. They will be expected to produce notes about the practical skills they have been developing and publish this content using online blogs.

At the end of the module, students will be assessed on a final portfolio that brings this accumulated knowledge together, discussing the issues and concepts of the history of SHCI in relation to the practical skills they have been developing.

Students are expected to spend time studying independently outside of the group teaching sessions. Independent study will be focused around the students identifying further background literature in SHCI of relevance to their specific areas of interest and critical reflection on how methods of studying human behaviour and environmental data relate to technological contexts and issues of import at specific times in HCI history

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Portfolio2M100Group report on learning & application of SHCI principles (with space for individual personal reflection).
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation2MGroup presentation on emerging project work for critical class feedback
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The assessment has one formative component, and one summative component. The formative component includes giving a class presentation for group feedback on emerging considerations for the group project. The summative assessment will be a portfolio submission and includes two parts: 1) an individual reflection and summary on SHCI principles and wider relevance to contemporary computing. 2) description and findings from using these principles to either design a prototype or evaluate a prototype. This portfolio gives practical experience of industry standard reporting formats using written and visual content creation for these kinds of activities and demonstrates competence in the skills evaluated alongside transferable communication skills.

Reading Lists