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Teaching HCI to computing students: some considerations

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Slides presented at the workshop on "New perspectives to improve quality, efficacy and appeal of HCI courses", CHITALY 2015 Conference, Rome, La Sapienza, Sept 28, 2015

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Teaching HCI to computing students: some considerations

  1. 1. Teaching HCI TO UNDERGRADUATE COMPUTING STUDENTS: SOME CONSIDERATIONS CHITALY 2015, Roma, 28 Sept 2015 Roberto Polillo DISCO – Università di Milano Bicocca
  2. 2. My experience  HCI corse for Laurea Triennale Informatica (3d year), University of Milano Bicocca  15 editions since 2000  Presently, 8 CFU (about 70 class hours) (course size varied over the years 6  4  8 CFU  Elective; average attendance: 80-100 students p/y  The course is supported by my book “Facile da usare” (2010) 2 R.Polillo 28/9/2015
  3. 3. Why HCI to computing undergrads  Many undergrads will directly enter the job market without additional studies  Many will go to small organization or work as freelancers…  … so many will be the “sole” responsible of design & implementation of small applications (mobile, web) Practical experience of designing usable apps nowadays is essential 3 R.Polillo 28/9/2015
  4. 4. Course goals  A practical, hands-on introduction to the design of usable software applications  Introduction to the basic concepts and principles of Human Computer Interaction 4 R.Polillo 28/9/2015
  5. 5. Challenges 1. Very scarce teaching time 2. Typical computing students are “left brained” 3. Difficulty of linking theory to the practice of design 5 R.Polillo 28/9/2015
  6. 6. The “classical” course organization6 Theory Practice Principles Deduction Laboratory TOP-DOWN - DEDUCTIVE In short: it does not work! Often left as a student task Often left as a student task R.Polillo 28/9/2015
  7. 7. The “experiential” organization 7 It works (but is very demanding) Practice Theory Laboratory Induction Principles BOTTOM-UP – INDUCTIVE (EXPERIENTIAL) MUST involve the teacher MUST involve the teacher R.Polillo 28/9/2015
  8. 8. The design project  Groups of 3 students develop a mobile app prototype, proposed by them (and approved)  Must follow a precise well structured process  No technical support for the OS & development toolkit (chosen by the group)  Final protype UI must be complete (but no algorithms and db) 8 R.Polillo 28/9/2015
  9. 9. Typical mobile app examples  Management of a personal library  Management of payments for Milano ZTL  Multi-user treasure hunt (geo-localized)  Group excursion organization and support (geo-localized)  Support to footbal referee activity  … R.Polillo, 24.3.2014 9
  10. 10. An evolutionary design process 10 R.Polillo 28/9/2015 4 Final exam Requiremen ts Interactive “paper” prototype Review Video scenario Navigation prototype (toolkit) 2 1 Graphical prototype (toolkit) Usability test (video & report) 3 Review Review popapp.inpopapp.in
  11. 11. Conclusion: 10 Golden Rules 1) Practice first, concepts follow 2) “Real world” app design, whenever possible 3) Interaction, not description 4) Coaching and co-design, not teaching 5) Test with users 6) Improve prototypes until "WOW!" 7) Learn design, not design tools 8) Stimulate creativity 9) Leave technology details out of an HCI course 10 Be prepared to allocate a lot of teacher time! 11 R.Polillo 28/9/2015
  12. 12. Thank you! www.rpolillo.it roberto.polillo@unimib .it 12 R.Polillo 28/9/2015