Topics in Human Computer Interaction
Universal Usability, CSCW, and Personalization
UBC Computer Science - Winter 2016/17


What is CPSC 554M?

CPSC 554M is an advanced course in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), covering the topics of Universal Usability, CSCW, and Personalization. Students are expected to have taken an HCI course prior to taking 554M.

Note that 554M counts towards HCI breadth for the Computer Science's Comprehensive Course Requirement (pdf form).


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

Day/ Time/ Location

Tuesday and Thursday 9:30 - 11:00 AM, January - April 2017

Location: HCI Learning Studio, X360 (see bottom of this page for direction)

554M details in the UBC calendar

First Class

Tuesday January 3, 2017


Piazza for 554m

Office Hours

By appointment.


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 Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies requirements for undergraduates registering in graduate courses. Follow the procedures for undergraduates.

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

Additional Information:

If this course becomes oversubscribed, graduate students 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 554M 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 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 for 2016-17 are: universal usability, CSCW, and personalization.

Learning Goals

Upon completion of this course, student will:
  • be familiar with a breadth of HCI research in the specific themes of the course
  • know how to read a research paper and be able to articulate its strength and weakness
  • be familiar with the peer review system and have written a peer review for an HCI conference paper
  • be familiar with some of the key venues (conferences and journals) in which HCI research is published
  • have gained a deeper understanding of key HCI design and evaluation methodologies, through reading the research literature and from the hand's on term project
  • have gained the requisite skills to locate, summarize, and synthesize key research papers on an advanced topic in HCI, and write a short report reflecting that work
  • have honed their presentation skills through delivering a 20 minute interactive class
  • have honed their team work and other soft skills through a team term project

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, some through the ACM Digital Library. You have access to this digital library when you are connected to the UBC network. You can access the network remotely (e.g., from home) through UBC's VPN.

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 554M students for their group project work. The studio provides an excellent environment for teams to work together; it contains 6 round tables with one workstation 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.

Laptop/device policy

Laptops/devices can be used in class, but only for the purposes of taking notes and supporting class activities. Any other uses require the student to leave the classroom.

CS554m Human Computer Interaction - McGrenere 16/17