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CSC3723 : Ubiquitous Computing

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


Provides a theoretical and practical understanding of advanced topics in ubiquitous computing. This module extends the basic notion of human-computer interaction and considers the principles, technologies, design and evaluation of computing when it is embedded into the everyday environment. The module will aim to provide students with an historical account of ubiquitous computing and the concepts and technologies that have driven development in this area, such as natural interaction, location-awareness and context-awareness. In addition, students will develop practical skills and experiences in building interactions with a number of cutting-edge ubicomp technologies and techniques, including interactive surfaces, tangibles and wearables.

Outline Of Syllabus

- A history and ubiquitous computing
- Systems, interfaces and technologies for ubiquitous computing (including: wearable, tangible and embedded, interactive surfaces and tabletops, natural user interfaces)
- Context aware interaction
- Location in ubiquitous computing
- Privacy in ubiquitous computing
- Ethics of ubiquitous computing

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:0010:00Development of project build
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion101:0010:00Completion of online quizzes.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion32:207:00Production of video tutorials
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading102:0020:00Reading of weekly research papers & web resources, engagement with short video pod-casted lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical92:0018:00Practicals offering hands-on experience with cutting edge ubiquitous computing technologies.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching102:0020:00Small group learning sessions, including mini-lectures, SOLE sessions, debates, games
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity101:3015:00Online discussions between students relating to “big questions” & reading (Reflective log 1)
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This course will use blended learning to offer a complementary mix of directed learning around topics of interest alongside students’ own independent learning based on resources provided within the course and beyond. Practical classes will offer student hands-on experience interacting with, and prototyping a range of ubiquitous computing technologies. To support students learning in relation to the philosophy and conceptual areas of ubiquitous computing small group teaching will be configured through games, debates and other active learning activities in scheduled weekly seminars. Students will be expected to prepare to take part in these face-to-face activities through actively participating in online elements of the course, which will include watching video-based short lectures on key topics, critically reading selected materials (both from formal publications, and selected web-based resources), and participating in online forums where “big questions” relating to the material are discussed. Students are expected to spend a significant amount of time each week preparing for face-to-face teaching, as well as reflecting on learning over the course of the semester.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M40Blog post related to a new ubicomp concept or technology. (1000 words max.)
Portfolio1M30Three video tutorials describing practical work undertaken – max length 3 min each. (7 hours max.)
Prob solv exercises1M1010 online multiple choice quizzes which relate to online content - one per week (5 hours max.)
Reflective log1M10Participation with weekly online discussions forums (15 hours max.)
Prof skill assessmnt1M10Quality participation in face-to-face learning activities (debates, games, SOLEs) - (10 hours max.)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

This course aims to encourage students to develop a conceptual and practical understanding of ubiquitous computing technologies and apply these understandings to the design and develop of a ubiquitous computing interaction using off-the-shelf prototype technologies. The hands-on and applied nature of much of the learning necessitates a coursework-based approach to evaluating students’ learning (this hands-on approach is reflected in chosen teaching methods, with contact time being split between small group learning and hands-on practical classes throughout the semester). In addition, the course has been configured to require students to actively engage in constructivist learning experiences across the semester through a mixture of self-directed and directed learning experiences. Assessment relating to students’ engagement in these learning processes aims to highlight the importance of participation. With multiple assessments spread across the semester the course aims to reduce assessment-burden, while ensuring that students are able to learn and build upon their assessed work over the semester.

Study abroad students may request to take their exam before the semester 1 exam period, in which case the length of the exam may differ from that shown in the MOF.

Reading Lists