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The Curriculum

Learn about core and elective classes that create the MHCI+D experience

The Master of Human-Computer Interaction and Design program is a one-year, non-thesis full-time (daytime) program. Students complete a total of 46 credits in four consecutive quarters. Students begin the program with a one-week Fall Kickoff event preceding the beginning of autumn quarter. During the academic year, students take a three-quarter Interdisciplinary HCI+D Seminar, a three-quarter studio sequence, a three-quarter core course sequence, and additional advanced elective coursework. During the final summer quarter, they take the capstone Summer Project Studio. Each of these components is described below.

Interdisciplinary HCI+D Seminar (DUB Seminar)

Session topics of the DUB seminar will range from project presentations to technology previews to guest talks by outside speakers. The seminar will introduce the students to a broad range of interdisciplinary perspectives as well as to leading designers and professionals from related disciplines in local/regional companies and organizations and, together with the Fall Kickoff and Summer Studio, help them integrate what they are learning in their classes and studio work.

Core Lecture Courses

The core course sequence consists of three graduate-level, one-quarter courses that complement the studio courses. These three courses introduce many of the topics used hands-on in the studio, but also cover more of the theory and related work of the field.

Core Studios

The studio sequence consists of three graduate-level, project-oriented one-quarter courses. Each has a distinct emphasis, but all three address the interwoven, iterative processes of data collection, visualization, insight, design, prototyping, and evaluation. Each course may include guest presenters, reviewers, and/or project sponsors from industry.

Summer Project Studio

This final 9-week intensive summer course will give graduates a deeper, focused time to continue on the iterative design, prototyping, and evaluation process. They will focus on a team project that they have developed over the course of the previous two quarters, and they will create a portfolio to record their process and product. Projects will be focused on solving current relevant problems in professional practice and may address domains such as health, the environment, education, assistive technology, retail, or travel. Student teams will work closely with both faculty and industry advisors in the development of a comprehensive project solution and presentation. Example Capstone projects from previous cohorts include services, systems, and technology applications to support stress free travel, exploring new products in retail, empowering the hearing disabled to live more independently at home, and fostering interest in computational thinking through play in elementary school age girls. View capstone projects from previous cohorts.

Fall Kickoff

Three Day Orientation

Participants begin the year by attending a three day orientation session. New students will meet their cohort and faculty, learn about the many resources and benefits of the UW and dub community, and attend fundamentals sessions in design, research. and technology. Finally, students will take part in a rapid, team design exercise while getting to know their classmates in a non-course situation.

Quarter 1

Autumn (12 Credits)

Class

Type

Credits

U/UR: Usability/User Research covers issues relating to both the discovery of user needs and the evaluation of systems in view of those needs. Usability topics cover both empirical evaluation and expert inspection methods. User research topics cover needs-finding, design ethnography, contextual inquiry, interviews, surveys, and other social scientific research methods.

Ideation Studio

Studio

5

Ideation has interdisciplinary student teams pursuing problems important to a community client. The teams engage in project definition, data collection, and visualization to both inform their early design ideas and to provide a basis for design decisions as they iterate through cycles of design and evaluation towards a more finished design. The quarter also involves student teams iterating on designs (sketches and mock-ups) that address the criteria established through community participation. The main focus in this first course is on user-centered design.

dub Seminar

Seminar

1

Session topics of the seminar will range from project presentations to technology previews to guest talks by outside speakers. The seminar will introduce the students to a broad range of interdisciplinary perspectives as well as to leading designers and professionals from related disciplines in local/regional companies and organizations and, together with the Fall Kickoff and Summer Studio, help them integrate what they are learning in their classes and studio work.

UW Elective

Variable

3+

See Additional Advanced Coursework below

Quarter 2

Winter (13 Credits)

Class

Type

Credits

UIST: User Interface Software and Technology covers issues relating to the implementation of user interface software and hardware. This includes a thorough understanding of user interface software tools, such as windowing systems, toolkits, and user interface development environments, as well as novel hardware for input, output, and environmental sensing.

Prototyping asks student teams to take the previous quarter’s designs along with new ideas and create working prototypes. The emphasis is on constructing prototypes that will provide answer to design questions as well as on learning a range of methods from paper to electronic, from low- to high-fidelity. Prototypes will be informed by a variety of evaluation techniques involving users from the target population. Teams convert evaluation data into visualizations to inform the studio design activity.

dub Seminar

Seminar

1

Session topics of the seminar will range from project presentations to technology previews to guest talks by outside speakers. The seminar will introduce the students to a broad range of interdisciplinary perspectives as well as to leading designers and professionals from related disciplines in local/regional companies and organizations and, together with the Fall Kickoff and Summer Studio, help them integrate what they are learning in their classes and studio work.

In the Capstone Planning Seminar, students will conduct initial research on topic themes, learn to form effective project teams, and identify appropriate industry sponsors, delivering formal project proposals that will serve as the focus for their research activities in the spring User Research Studio.

UW Elective

Variable

3+

See Additional Advanced Coursework below

Quarter 3

Spring (12 Credits)

Class

Type

Credits

DIS: Designing Interactive Systems covers issues relating to the design of interactive systems, favoring design thinking in lieu of implementation concerns. Skills covered include design processes, design rationale, abductive reasoning, structured brainstorming, design techniques, and design critique.

The User Research Studio provides an opportunity for students to apply formative and evaluative research methods in the context of their Capstone project as well as other relevant technology design problems. Team and individual projects will include practice across all phases of research design, data collection, analysis and design recommendations.

dub Seminar

Seminar

1

Session topics of the seminar will range from project presentations to technology previews to guest talks by outside speakers. The seminar will introduce the students to a broad range of interdisciplinary perspectives as well as to leading designers and professionals from related disciplines in local/regional companies and organizations and, together with the Fall Kickoff and Summer Studio, help them integrate what they are learning in their classes and studio work.

UW Elective

Variable

3+

See Additional Advanced Coursework below

Quarter 4

Summer (9 Credits)

Class

Type

Credits

Capstone Studio

Studio

8

This final 9-week intensive summer course will give graduates a deeper, focused time to continue on the iterative design, prototyping, and evaluation process. They will focus on a team project that they have developed over the course of the previous two quarters, and they will create a portfolio to record their process and product. Projects will be focused on solving current relevant problems in professional practice and may address domains such as health, the environment, education, assistive technology, retail, or travel. Student teams will work closely with both faculty and industry advisors in the development of a comprehensive project solution and presentation. Example Capstone projects from previous cohorts include services, systems, and technology applications to support stress free travel, exploring new products in retail, empowering the hearing disabled to live more independently at home, and fostering interest in computational thinking through play in elementary school age girls.View capstone projects from previous cohorts.

dub Seminar

Seminar

1

Session topics of the seminar will range from project presentations to technology previews to guest talks by outside speakers. The seminar will introduce the students to a broad range of interdisciplinary perspectives as well as to leading designers and professionals from related disciplines in local/regional companies and organizations and, together with the Fall Kickoff and Summer Studio, help them integrate what they are learning in their classes and studio work.

Advanced Additional Coursework

The Master of Human-Computer Interaction and Design advanced coursework offerings give students flexibility in choosing advanced courses to reinforce their integrative and studio experience. Examples of elective courses include: