About

This WordPress FU blog contains all the information about the course „Human-Computer Interaction I“ in the summer semester of 2021. We will update the blog from week to week as we go


  • Instructor: Alexa Schlegel
  • Office hours: Mondays 3:00 – 4:30 PM
  • Emailalexa.schlegel@fu-berlin.de
  • Lecture: Videos & additional material for study at your own pace
  • Exercise: Tuesdays 2:00 – 4:00 PM
  • Learning space: Tuesday 4:00 – 6:00 PM

📜 Course Description

Nowadays, in our digital society, the question is no longer whether we should use software but which software to chose and how we, as computer scientists, should design our software for human users. In such decision-making processes, the software’s usability strongly influences its success (independently of how success is defined). We can only achieve excellent usability and positive user experience by knowing and understanding the user’s goals, hidden needs, and cognitive abilities. Thus, besides choosing the „right“ technology, considering the users and their needs is fundamental for the later success of the service or product. However, usability is neither a characteristic inherent in software nor can usability be developed separately at a certain point in time as a software feature. Usability always stands in a particular usage context, and we must clearly understand. Thus, we need to ensure software usability for the respective target group despite probably existing complex software functionality. Accordingly, for improving a software’s usability, we must adapt the entire software development process. Depending on the development phase, and the project situation, we can select and apply different principles and methods. In the course „Human-Computer Interaction I,“ you learn and use these principles and techniques to create a positive user experience.

🗣️ Course Language

The class material is provided in English, however, we will talk and communicate in German. E.g. the lecture videos are in German, but the slides are in English. Additional material related to lectures (texts, books, videos, etc.) is mainly in English. During exercise time, we speak German. Most of the course material (e.g., exercise sheets) and email communication is in English. The exam will be provided in English and German, so it is up to you which language you choose.

💡 Course Concept

This course consists of a total of 11 learning units. It consists of asynchronous self-learning phases (according to the flipped classroom principle) and synchronous exercise/lab sessions, which take place weekly. During the lab, you work in groups of three students on a self-selected project. The weekly learning room serves as a space for group work.

🧱 Learning Units

A learning unit (LU) consists of:

  1. Videos and Slides (PDFs)
    Lecture videos by Prof. Müller-Birn (Summer term 2020)
  2. Additional Material
    Scientific texts, book chapters, websites, short videos, etc. for those who want to go deeper into the topics
  3. Self-Test
    Individual tasks (multiple choice questions) to test your knowledge gained from lecture videos (H5P)
  4. Quiz
    We conclude each learning unit with a quiz. The students partly develop the quiz questions (and answers).
  5. Assignment
    Step by step, you will go through the Human-Centered Design process based on a self-selected project. We apply and practice methods introduced in the lecture.
The process of a learning unit.

📚 Literature

  • Shneiderman, Ben, et al. „Designing the user interface: strategies for effective human-computer interaction„. Pearson, 2016.
  • Dix A, Finlay J, Abowd GD, Beale R „Human-Computer Interaction“. Pearson Prentice Hall 2004.
  • Sharp, Helen, Yvonne Rogers, and Jenny Preece. „Interaction design: beyond human-computer interaction.“ 2007.

👥 Target Group

This course is part of the bachelor and master program of computer science, but the level is designed for bachelor students. We expect students to be in the 5th semester of the bachelor program (not earlier) or any time in the master
program.

🗝 Requirements

There are no prerequisites for this course, except that you are open and motivated to learn about a human-centered development practice. You are expected to conduct interviews with strangers and to work in groups with other students. Being familiar with (web) programming is beneficial.

It is advisable to have attended the course Software Engineering (Vorlesung Softwaretechnik) and to have completed one software project.

🎯 Learning objectives

You will learn how to:

  • apply human-centered design methods in your development  practice.
  • study humans and collect data on their activities.
  • summarize data into models that  help you to identify human needs and to derive users’ requirements.
  • design and prototype graphical user interfaces.
  • evaluate your designs in user studies.

⏳ Module & Workload

The course is assigned to the module „Current Research Topics in Practical Computer Science“ and „Special Aspects of Practical Computer Science.“ This results in the workload shown in the table below. You have to plan for about 8h 30min per week for the lecture and exercise (120/14 weeks). Depending on your specific study and examination regulations you will get about 5LP.

LectureExercise/LabExamTotal
Presence time3030262
Pre- and postprocessing30302888
Total606030150
Workload according to the module.

🏆 Grading and 🧠 final examination

Your final grade is based on the result of your written exam only. There will be a take-home exam in the last week of the lecture period.

Update: The exam will take place on the 27th July.

☝️ Active participation

In order to actively participate in this course, you need to fulfill all the following requirements:

  • You need to submit all assignments.
  • You need to get 60% of all scored assignments (= 14 points).

Each week on Monday you need to hand in a progress report about your project as a blog post (group assignment). Occasionally, you need to hand in a quiz question (and answer) or a glossary entry (individual assignment) also on Mondays.

AssignmentAmountScoreTotal
Glossary entry2 x
Quiz question and answer3 x
Project progress report (blog post)11 x222
Final project description + short screencast (blogpost)1x22
Overview of all course deliverables

Late assignments

Late work will result in minus 0.5 per 24 hours. If foreseen or unforeseen circumstances prevent you from completing an assignment on time, you may request an extension. Extensions must be requested in advance of the due date via email.

Correction of blog posts

  • 2 points
    All subtasks were processed well to very well.
  • 1 point
    All subtasks have been completed. OR
    At least half of the subtasks were completed well to very well.
  • 0 points
    All other cases.

Requirements: Blog post

Requirement: Glossary entry

Why a glossary?
To deepen the learning content of this course, a glossary is suitable. A glossary functions as a collection of terms that are important for a subject area. A glossary entry is one central term that you pick related to a specific learning unit.

Example: https://blogs.fu-berlin.de/hci1-sose2021/2021/04/23/lu01-mentales-model/

  • Due date: Your choice! You choose 2 learning units. The Monday after the learning unit goes online, the glossary entry needs to be ready.
  • 📏 Text length: Approximately 100 words per entry. (Use a word counter, e.g. wordcounter.net)
  • 📚 Sources: Always provide original and secondary sources and links! Please follow scientific standards.
  • 🖼️ Illustration: Graphics, pictures, hand drawings, photos, and videos can also be included or attached for a more in-depth explanation.
  • 👤 Author: Include your name in parentheses at the end. (EDIT: Please ignore that, WordPress will take care of that!)
  • How to technical write a glossary entry in WordPress (WP):

Requirement: Quiz question

⛰️ Projects

Please read more about the projects here: https://blogs.fu-berlin.de/hci1-sose2021/projekte/