M 9am-12pm; NSH 2609
Instructor: Jen Mankoff (jmankoff @cs.cmu.edu)
Office: NSH 2504A
Office Hours: W 1:30-2

This is a seminar-style deep exploration of the innovations and challenges that have been tackled by the pioneers of our field over the past 60 years. The intersection of humans and computation has reflected dramatic changes in technology over time, from the vision of Vannevar Bush to the ability to predict human interruptibility with sensors.

The material in this class would be of value to anyone interested in classic and cutting edge work representing the history and future of computational innovation in the service of humans. It is one of a series of four, seminar style mini-courses covering four distinct traditions in HCII--computer science, cognitive science, social science, and design.

Each week, we will discuss one or two important areas. In the class itself, there will be reviews of readings, discussions and exercises in proposing new topics.  You'll read six to eight articles to prepare for the class session. Papers will be selected either because they frame a sub area, are the first best paper in the area, represent different approaches to the a subarea and so on. While we can't possibly cover every important paper that has been published in the last 4 decades, we will try to focus on pioneering work, and we will try to cover enough areas to give a sense of the breadth of HCI.

This is a 6-hour credit course.


You will be doing a lot of reading an writing in this class. You can find some general advice on doing both, including information about what standard of proofreading and writing I am expecting, on the Process and Theory FAQ page (Process and Theory is a required class that covers multidisciplinary HCI and research methods).
  • Paper summaries: You will be responsible for summarizing and presenting a paper approximately every other week. In preparing for this, you should identify what you think is important about the paper. Some questions you might want to answer in a summary include: Who are the authors? Have they done groundbreaking work in this area, contributed incremental next steps, or are they perhaps just starting out (maybe they're still students). What about this paper? Is it groundbreaking now? Was it groundbreaking when it was published? To answer these questions, you need to understand the paper's intellectual context. This means looking up the authors and their work; skimming some of the things it references, and using a tool like google scholar to find out what has referenced it, and possibly skimming some of those. You will also need to understand how it relates to other related readings from the class. Some other questions I like to ask myself about a paper: What is the goal of the paper? Did the authors achieve it? What was their method? What are the flaws in the work? What has it's impact been?
    • Post a summary/critique online to our discussion group (http://groups.google.com/group/hcii-minis)
    • Attach slides to your post. Presentations should be no more than 7 minutes long, with another 10 minutes for discussion
  • Comments: Every week, including the weeks you are presenting, you should comment on at least two course readings, by Sunday at noon. This deadline is important, because these pre-class comments help the discussion leaders. The class discussion group is hcii-cs-minis@googlegroups.com.
  • Literature Review: You will complete a literature review on a topic approved by the instructor.  Details on the assignment are available here. A 1 page abstract, and a preliminary reference list (not included in the 1 page) is due by April 20th. The final paper is due Friday, 5pm, May 1st. 
  • Take Home Final Exam: Date -- TBD. Approximate length: 4 essays. Sample Exams

Past Years

Spring 2007