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CSC3721 : Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ahmed Kharrufa
  • Teaching Assistant: Mr Chris Napier
  • Owning School: Computing
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To give a basic introduction to concepts of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)
To introduce students to relevant HCI theory and history
To introduce students to the principles of user-centred design
To give students an understanding of the role of human factors in systems design
To provide students with an understanding of relevant interface evaluation techniques

Outline Of Syllabus

Key concepts and issues in HCI
Theories and history of HCI
Understanding users
- Human factors
- Requirements engineering
- Principles, standards and guidelines
- Input and output technologies
- Designing interactions
Evaluation techniques for usability
Specific application areas

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture101:0010:00Lectures delivered face-to-face
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical102:0020:00Group work based practical classes
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading102:0020:00Reading of weekly research papers & web resources, engagement with short external videos
Guided Independent StudySkills practice101:0010:00Practical follow-up
Guided Independent StudyProject work1180:2039:20Coursework preparation and completion
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery40:100:40Optional drop-in sessions in support of coursework
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be used to introduce the learning material and for demonstrating the key concepts by example.

Students are expected to follow-up lectures within a few days by re-reading and annotating lecture notes to aid deep learning. Students will also be expected to follow a weekly programme of directed reading in support of the lectures and practicals.

Students are expected to spend significant time on coursework.

Students are expected to widen their knowledge beyond the content of lecture notes through wider self-directed background reading.

Practical classes will develop skills through hands-on experience of user research, prototyping, and evaluation techniques.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M30Personas, scenarios, and requirements specification for system design (Max. words 1500)
Design/Creative proj1M60Design process (25/60)(2000 words). Interactive prototype (25/60). Reflective logs on required reading (10/60).
Practical/lab report1M10Carrying out activities set in practical sessions (15 hours)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The two report-based pieces of coursework assess students' practical skills in conducting the human-centred design and human factors-based appraisals of interactive digital systems. The assessment consists of two individual reports documenting each of the main phases of a user-centred design process and a small percentage for participating in the activities carried out in the practical sessions. The first assesses students’ practical skills in creating a user persona, a usage scenario and corresponding system requirements. Before submitting the second report, students will have a peer evaluation practical session as well as receive feedback from the teaching staff to improve their initial designs. In the second coursework, students submit a design process document and an interactive prototype for their design. The report must also include a reflective log on the required readings. These two reports along with the expert and peer evaluations in the practical sessions will ensure that students have hands-on experience in a user-centred and iterative design process. This develops their prototyping and design skills, as well as skills at evaluating and critiquing an interface. The reflective log on the required reading should be done on a weekly basis thus distributing the workload throughout the module. It ensures that students critically engage with research papers and other online resources that complement the material covered in the module. The hands-on practical nature of human computer interaction practice necessitates a coursework based evaluation, rather than a written exam.

Reading Lists