HCI Learning Studio

The HCI Learning Studio is located in room X360, in the east wing of the ICICS/CS building. Access is available 24/7 to students taking courses making use of it.

HCI, team based learning and studio methods

Human-Computer Interaction is concerned with designing, implementing, and evaluating interactive technology, by involving end users throughout its development. It is a young, highly interdisciplinary field that is evolving a rich set of methods that draw from many other fields: e.g., controlled experiments from psychology; and rapid, targeted prototyping practices from industrial design. Most of these methods are best learned in hands-on, team-based exercises culminating in a practical team project that puts students through the full design cycle with the appropriate roles and timing for its various methods. Team-Based Learning (TBL) and studio methods that include production of physical artifacts are a particularly good fit for HCI learning.

Several CPSC courses with HCI components are being used to prototype TBL techniques and studio design methods in intensive, TA-led sections of 20-25 students divided into small teams. Our HCI curriculum is offered by a world-class HCI group, and draws ~150 graduate and undergraduate students / year from CS (one of the largest departments in Science) and other departments such as Psychology, ECE, Mechanical Engineering, and others.

What the studio offers

The HCI Learning Studio is a facility designed to support these teaching efforts. Located in room X360 in the new (2005) wing of the computer science building, it is novel for our computer science courses to utilize dedicated, computer-sparse space. It differs from other CS undergrad labs in several notable ways:

  • Tables are arranged in groups so students can work in teams.
  • By student request, there is only 1 computer / team table, which means there is lots of available table space. Much of the work we do is not on the computer, and further, it involves non-electronic media - including physical and semi-functional mockups of actual interfaces, and lots of hand sketches. The computers there, however, are equipped with special software.
  • Teams have lockers to store that non-electronic media; as well as flip charts and lots of whiteboard space which they can use however they want.
  • networked projector and screen allow students to easily share their (electronic) prototypes with their section.
  • comfortable seating area in one corner is for group discussions, interviews and simulation of non-desktop interactions.
  • The room is keyfob-protected; all students taking a class that use the studio in a given term have 24/7 access to this special room, allowing them easy access to both the special facilities and their teammates as they work on their projects.

The first iteration of the HCI Studio, developed in summer of 2005, was made possible through the CS department's generous commitment to this experiment, essential to our simultanous HCI curriculum redesign (resulting in the new undergrad courses 344/444). The second iteration was supported through a successful TLEF proposal, developd by the CS HCI faculty with active involvement from undergrads taking the first iteration of 344. This support allowed acquisition and installation of much of the existing equipment as well as TA support to help with both lab and curriculum development.

So - try HCI and check it out!

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia


ICICS/CS Building 201-2366 Main Mall
Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z4 Canada
Tel: 604-822-3061 | Fax: 604-822-5485
General: help@cs.ubc.ca
Undergrad program: undergrad-info@cs.ubc.ca
Graduate program: grad-info@cs.ubc.ca

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