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Design Practices for Interacting with Technology    
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Course Information

Title: Design Practices for Interacting with Technology
Institution: Metropolitan State College of Denver
Course ID: CS 390B
Semester [CRN]: Fall 2008 [54923]
Meeting Times:

Mondays & Wenesdays 1:00PM - 2:50PM


Science 136

Credit Hours: 4

CS 2050 or permission of instructor.

Course Website:
Course Support:
Instructor: Dr. Jody Paul (schedule & office hours)
Office: Science 225C (x68435)
Campus Mail: Campus Box 38

Supplemental Details, Resources, Schedule of Topics, Assignments

Course Description

This interdisciplinary course evaluates the current state of the human-computer experience through innovative design practices. With instruction and guidance from a team of faculty in Art, Computer Science and Industrial Design, students will research, design and execute interactive interfaces using design research methods that will enhance or improve our environment through a reflective design process. This course examines elements of interaction design that can inform the design and testing of a large and growing environment of interfaces. Topics include: ubiquitous computing, virtual and augmented realities, wearable computing, ambient design, tangible interfaces and smart and clever environments. In addition, the following subjects will be explored: design research, prototype & implementation; design for the future.

This course provides the opportunity to:
- become familar with basics of human-computer interaction design
- experience “real-world” problem solving
- gain an exposure to a variety of tools that can improve your effectiveness
- expand your expertise and abilities in a positive critical atmosphere
- facilitate an appreciation of good design and effective communication
- work in a multi-disciplinary team-based environment
- share knowledge with peers outside of your field
- develop and build interactive design works that enhance your portfolio

Students will work in teams on interaction design projects, supported by lectures, readings, and discussions. Conceptual development, verbal articulation of solutions, research, production, and visual, verbal and written presentation skills are all essential to this course.

Goals for this course include exposure to and experience with:
  • Interpretation and the critique of research related to interaction and user-experience design.
  • Working as a member of a team to design a model or simulation for an immersive interface that enhances the human experience.
  • Production of a design-based prototype intended to have a strong socio-cultural impact in the community.
  • Sharing experiences and knowledge among colleagues across multiple fields.
  • Introduction to concepts that encourage future-oriented design.
  • Executing design plans and initiating projects that incorporate new technologies.
  • Validating, verifying and evaluating application-specific projects.
  • Foreseeing design trends of the future.
Expected learning outcomes that students should be able to do upon completion:
  • Compare and evaluate innovative design approaches to human-computer interaction.
  • Interpret and critique research related to interaction and user-experience design.
  • Apply human-centered design, system design and interaction design methodologies.
  • Design and produce innovative functional prototypes that could support people in their everyday lives.
  • Critically analyze technical, conceptual and aesthetic aspects of in-progress and finished work.
  • Collaborate effectively in teams comprised of diverse backgrounds & expertise


Book Cover - Link to Amazon

The Design of Future Things
by Donald A. Norman
Basic Books (2007); ISBN 0465002277

Numerous additional references are provided at the supplementary website.

Course Information & Policies

You are expected to prepare for class sessions (reading, preparatory exercises, etc.), to participate in class discussions and in-class activities, and to make several in-class presentations associated with homework exercises and projects. Class sessions will begin on time and there is no opportunity to "make-up" in-class activities that were missed due to absence or lack of preparation.

Your final course grade is determined by combining scores on the exercises, presentations, assignments, and projects. You are guaranteed a grade no lower than that given by the following conversion of score (percentage of total possible) to letter grade:

100-90%: A;  89-80%: B;  79-70%: C;  69-60%: D;  59-0%: F

The expected weighting of formal assessments is:

In-Class Activities 10%
Homework Exercises 20%
Project 1 30%
Project 2 40%

A substantial amount of information will be disseminated during class sessions or on course websites that you will be responsible for knowing whether or not you attended the sessions or accessed the websites. Note in particular that the textbooks and references do not provide all of the information necessary to successfully complete the course requirements.

I will give each of you conscientious feedback on as much of your work as is possible. All students should be prepared to spend a significant amount of time outside of class time for research, process and final production of projects.

Students are expected to think creatively and critically as well as participate thoughtfully in class. As a good portion of this class is based in critique of student work, it is expected that all students will participate in this dialogue so that we may all benefit from the feedback. All comments are expected to be constructive and honest. It is the group dynamic that will inform and educate our individual projects. Be open to the critique process. Your participation will impact your final grade.

Collaboration is encouraged and regarded as essential aspect of this learning experience, thus collaboration and discussion with fellow students is strongly encouraged. You are not expected to learn the course content or work on assignments and projects in isolation on your own.

However, each must include an individual write-up done independently, documenting your individual contribution and reflecting on your personal experience. In your write-up, you must credit the people with whom you worked.

If you consult any sources, please note in your document the materials that you used. Turning in work that does not credit collaborators, or includes uncited quotations or references will be treated as academic dishonesty and an attempt at fraud. Collaboration during exams is never acceptable. All incidents of suspected dishonesty will be reported to the department and the Dean of the college. Consequences may include a grade of 0 on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, academic probation, or dismissal from the institution. This is a very serious matter and should not be taken lightly. If you have any uncertainty or concerns, please discuss them with your instructor or advisor.

Group deliverables are expected to be a joint effort involving all group members. An overall grade will be assigned for each deliverable that reflects the quality of product. An individual grade for each team member will also assigned for each deliverable. This individual grade will incorporate instructor assessment.

Official Announcements

Official policies applicable to all courses:

Also see the MSCD College Catalog at for official announcements, including Academic Policies and Procedures and Student Rights and Responsibilities, and the Academic Calendar at for additional official dates and deadlines, including the last dates to withdraw and receive NC (with and without faculty signatures).

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