Human Computer Interaction: CPSC 544
UBC Computer Science - Fall 2009



Joanna McGrenere, joanna@cs.ubc.ca
Office ICICS X665

Day/ Time/ Location

Tuesday and Thursday 2:00 - 3:30 PM

HCI Learning Studio, X360 (see bottom of this page)

544 details in the UBC calendar

First Class

Thursday September 10

Office Hours

There are no formal office hours. Please book a meeting with me via email.


A background in Computer Science is not required to take this course, although the class size is restricted and there are a limited number of positions available for non-CS students. Students require:

1. Graduate standing, with an undergraduate course in Human-Computer Interaction (comparable to CS344 or CS444) or permission of the instructor.

- OR -

2. Undergraduate standing, with CS344 or CS444, and permission of the instructor and satisfaction of FOGS requirements for undergraduates registering in graduate courses. Follow the procedure for undergraduates.

The most important prerequisite for this course is an ability to write, speak, and understand English.

Additional Information:

This course is often oversubscribed. Graduate students who satisfy the pre-requisites, or who require this course for their graduate research (including those participating in the MAGIC HCI Specialization in HCI), will be given priority. As such, a student who is registered but who does not have priority, may be asked to de-register if there is insufficient space.

Graduate students from departments other than Computer Science can register in the course. See the UBC CPSC 544 calendar entry for details on which departments are eligible. When those slots are full, or for students from all other departments, an Add/Drop form is required. Follow the procedure for graduate students from other departments. These students will be admitted on a space-available basis during the first week of classes.


This is intended to be an advanced course in Human-Computer Interaction.

This course will provide a deeper treatment of some topics that are typically found in an undergraduate HCI course. For example: design methodologies, evaluation methodologies (both quantitative and qualitative), human information processing, aspects of human movement, cognition and perception.

This course will also introduce students to research frontiers in HCI. The research themes vary from year to year. Topics covered in the recent past include: groupware and computer-supported cooperative work; customizable and adaptive systems; small screen, large screen, and tabletop displays; hypertext and multimedia; virtual and augmented reality.

The specific topics to be covered during the term will be announced during the first week of the course.

Course Materials

Survey and research articles will be the primary text for the course, chosen from a collection of readings. There is no textbook required.

Copies of some of the readings will be provided as handouts to students. Other readings are available on-line in the ACM Digital Library. You have access to this through the UBC Library proxy server. Set your browser to use the proxy portal.ubc.ca:8000 (portal.ubc.ca and port 8000) and then login using your UBC library card number as your name and the last five digits of your card as your password.

Selected articles not available in either of these will be on reserve in the ICICS/CS Reading Room (for copying only).


Students will complete two to three individual assignments which include a short report and presentation on an advanced HCI topic. In addition there will be a project that is done in groups of three to five students.

HCI Studio (X360)

The HCI Studio is available to CPSC 544 students for their group project work. The studio provides an excellent environment for teams to work together; it contains 6 round tables with two workstations per table. The workstations are equipped with prototyping and video editing software.

Further details about the availability of the studio as well as access instructions and its resources can be found here.

CS544 Human Computer Interaction - McGrenere 09/10