Syllabus for IST 331:
Foundations of User-Centered Design

Fall 2016 [Press releases: '08, '12 (local copy), and '15]

Section 1: M/W 4 to 515 pm, 113/260 IST
http://acs.ist.psu.edu/ist331

3 credits
Frank Ritter
316g Building IST
865-4453
frank.ritter@psu.edu

Office hours: M/W 5:15-6 pm (outside 260 and 316g), F 3-4 pm (316g), and by appointment


Teaching Assistant: Mr. Jacob Oury
(ouryja@gmail.com, (260) 242-2287)
Office hours: Th 11-1 & 3-5 pm, Reese's Cafe;
and by appointment
Teaching Assistant: Ms. Jin Zhang
(zhangjin94@gmail.com, (814) 777-0616)
Office hours: T 12-1 & 430-530 pm 316c,
and by appointment
Grader: Ms. Ysabelle Coutu
(yjc5017@psu.edu)
Office hour: F 2-3 pm Reese's Cafe,
and by appointment

Last Updated 10 Dec 2016

Please note, this is a live document. Changes announced in class and on the list server will be incorporated from time to time. Announcements in class and their mirror here are the definitive version.
Copyright 2016, Frank E. Ritter


1. COURSE OVERVIEW

This course provides students with data, theories, models, and analytic techniques regarding how users interact with information systems. It includes basic concepts of use, tied to how humans process information, that are developed through projects, cases studies, examples, reading, exercises, discussions, and exams. The course also covers aspects of how small groups process and share information, use information systems, and interact. The course serves as a focused introduction to the concept that people are important in technology systems and has become either a co-requisite or prerequisite to all other 300 and 400 level IST courses.

2. COURSE OBJECTIVES

This course provides a balance between theory and practice, which are tightly intertwined in this area. Readings and lectures will introduce the student to current thinking about facts, theories, and ways to gather new data. The course objectives are:

  • Provide an introduction to the idea that people are a core component in technical systems, introducing Human-Centered Design (HCD) for information systems.
  • Provide real, descriptive information about those aspects of human behavior that influence the development, use, and accidents that will arise in such systems due to having people as part of the system.
  • Understand a bit more about design and how to modify design to support users.
  • Develop a little taste about information literacy, telling the difference between books, journals, conference papers, tech reports, etc.

A group project, drawing on the different backgrounds students bring to the program, will support integrating these various types of knowledge and applying them to an illustrative interface or system. The teaching philosophy includes working in groups and presentations.

At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Define in a qualitative and quantitative way some of the most relevant aspects of user's behavior.
  • Be familiar with some common theories, problems, and terms in the area of human-computer interaction (HCI).
  • Be able to gather data in several ways to explore how people individually and as a group use an interface.
  • Be able to prepare a report assessing a website or other system providing concrete, objective support for good and bad aspects of the system, suggesting theory- or data-based changes to the design (not just opinion).

3. COURSE ORGANIZATION

3.1 The IST 331 Website

This page. This is the active web page of the course that contains the syllabus, assignments, links to useful sites, and other valuable material (such as how to correctly prepare assignments, citation templates, and other academic and recreational information). This page can currently be found at acs.ist.psu.edu/ist331. The syllabus assumes you can use C-f in browsers to search, that you read the whole syllabus, that you bookmark the page, and you use your PSU email.

3.2 Mailing List

Use this l-ist331@lists.psu.edu to contact class members or to send grouped emails.

Include "IST331" in the subject, as this will help filters bring your email to our attention.

3.3 Required Text

(FDUCS) Ritter, Churchill, and Baxter (2014). The foundations of designing user-centered systems: What system designers need to know about people. 421 pages. Also see www.frankritter.com/fducs for a website to support the book. This book is available from the bookstore and through the Library (print on demand, for a good price), try this link, but the link seems to vary. New typos in the book (already found typos) are worth a bonus of 0.1 on your final grade (up to 10).

3.4 Required Readings (handed out in class or online)

The readings are linked below by class period. Some of these are password protected. The password will be sent out to the mailing list (save that email!), announced in class several times, and available from the instructor and TA.

The slides used in class mostly repeat what is covered in the book and readings, but sometimes include material that is newer or that reacts to issues that arise in class. They will be/are available on an "as-is basis" in the slides directory because:

**Research repeatedly shows that that reading the readings and creating slides lead to better learning than reading the slides.**

3.5 Optional Texts and Interesting Resources

Communities, professional organizations, and information portals:

Another interesting book that gathers basic concepts of psychology for designing:

  • Norman, D. (1988/2013). The psychology of everyday things (PoETs). NY: Basic Books. (also available as The design of everyday things).

4. EVALUATION

You earn your grade but it will be assigned by me. Each assignment will be evaluated on how well it addresses the questions posed, the clarity of thinking, the organization and presentation of the material, the quality of writing, and its timeliness.

Your grade will be based on 100 possible points. You earn points with each assignment (see below). As a maximum scale (i.e., cutoffs may be lowered):

        A: [100-94], A-: (93-90], B+ (89-87], B: (86-84], B-: (83-80], C+: (79-77], C: (76-70], D: (69-60], F: (59-0]

        (The cutoffs for each grade is the lower number, without rounding.)

Class attendance is expected, or a valid justification for absence should be sent to the TA (cc to me) the day before. Points for attendance are noted below.

Your learning will be assessed in several ways. Please consult the schedule to see when papers/assignments are due and exams scheduled. You will receive more written instructions for each assignment well in advance of the due date.

Here is a brief summary of each assessment. An Excel spreadsheet is available to explain this scheme, to help compute your grade, and to do sensitivity analyses.

Assessment Weight Explanation Due Date
Labs
30%

You will do labs in teams. Each lab writeup is worth 10 points, making a total of 40 points, the maximum lab grade, scaled to 30% of the course. The initial, 1 point, project report is also included here.

Extra credit can be earned in this category. An on time approved team contract is worth 1 point.

Becoming IRB qualified [1 pt.]. You will find the link and related information on the PSU ORP website. If you are already IRB qualified see me in the first month.

Doing a Plagiarism module [1 pt.], email results.

There will be extra credit points available for attending and writing about current events, such as talks. The total points will be at least 45. All extra credit is due by the last day class meets.

As below.
Mid-Term Exam
20%
In class, taken individually
Second Exam
10%
In class, taken individually
Project
30%
Final website analysis, including a table of suggestions
Class participation
10%
Based on attendance (up to 3 without excuse) (3%),

1 page reading summary for 10 readings (what did it say, do you believe it, any questions or implications, template) (3%), and

In-class quizzes (each worth 1%, typically 3 quizes).
Total
100%



5. IST331 CLASS SCHEDULE2 (subject to revision)

Class
Number

Date In Class Read/Prepare for this class Due
Part I: Why
1
22/aug/16

Introduction to course, syllabus

Kegworth disaster, Asiana disaster
BBC on Kegworth [video]

syllabus quiz

sorting quiz

2
24/aug/16 In class review, group formation FDUCS-Preface & Foreword
Part II: Human information behavior
3
29/aug/16

Overview of the areas

Project step I - choice [1 pt]

FDUCS 1, 2 (14)

ยง5.2.3 (PQ4R)

Lego exercise
4
31/aug/16

Intro to Information seeking behaviour

Start IS lab in class [10 pt]

Data

Example report, Example 2, Project Report Form, Example RTF template

Barnes et al. 1996

FDUCS 7.4

FDUCS-A3

5
7/sep/16 Further information behaviour,
comments on writing
Byrne et al, 1999 Project Step I due BoC
Part III: Individual Behavior
6
12/sep/16 Anthropometrics FDUCS 3
7
14/sep/16

Learning Lab [10 pt]

background paper [Optional]
Ethics of running participants
Online stopwatch

FDUCS 5.4 IS Lab due BoC
8
19/sep/16

Perception and motivation

Colour wheel (local copy)

Change blindness
More on change blindness and vision

Elderly kits

FDUCS 4

Popout applet

9
21/sep/16 Cog: Memory, attention, and learning FDUCS 5
10
26/sep/16 Cog: Mental rep, PSing, and Decision making

FDUCS 6

Learning Lab due BoC
11
28/sep/16

Perceptual Interaction Lab [10 pt]

Using this tool or Tellab similar approach

Example report

FDUCS 4.1-4.5

12
3/oct/16 Cog: Human-computer Communication FDUCS 7
13
5/oct/16 Cog: Errors FDUCS 10
14
10/oct/16

Review for exam, 2016 [pdf]

Review for exam, 2005 or so [html]

Perceptual Interaction Lab due BoC
15
12/oct/16 Task analysis - Intro FDUCS 11
16
17/oct/16

** In Class Midterm Exam **

Example midterms

Group feedback due, handed out with exam

17
19/oct/16

More on task analysis

Start in class Project II - draft plan [5 pt]

18

24/oct/16

Start Task analysis lab in class

RUI keystroke logger

KLM paper

Example lab report

19
26/oct/16 Yet more on Task analysis
20
31/oct/16

GOMS (GOMS slides)

GOMS papers

Local GOMS Guide

Example full analysis

21
2/nov/16 Non-goal-driven activities (ActivityTheory.pdf)
Part IV: Group behavior
22
7/nov/16 In class do Group Lab Agre on networking Task analysis Lab due BoC

23

9/nov/16

Group behavior

FDUCS 8 Project plan due BoC
24
14/nov/16 Group Behavior FDUCS 9
24
16/nov/16 Social Media
Thanksgiving break
25
28/nov/16

Interface evaluation post-hoc

Project - Presentations

FDUCS 13
26
30/nov/16

Project - Presentations

In class project presentations

27
5/dec/16

Introduction to HCI and Risk-driven design

Review session for exam [pdf]

Office hours, 316G BIST, 4-5 pm

FDUCS 12, 14
28
7/dec/16

** In class exam: Social & task analysis **
(all readings and material since Midterm)

Example S&TA exams

Preflight available on class project reports:

12 dec 2-5 pm, office hours, Ritter plus other times by appointment and with teaching team at regular times

Project reports due
13 dec 2016 (Tues)
17:00, email or paper

Project report form

Example RTF template


6. Labs for IST 331

The labs in IST 331 provides students with the chance to become familiar with using the concepts and data about how people behave with respect to computers. They are very useful for understanding the material and will be useful for passing the exams.

You have been put into small groups to do your labs because we believe this generally leads to better learning, for example, it leads to clearer writing and presumably clearer thinking [Murphy, 2000]. That means that you must turn in one lab report per group, that in this case conferring within your group is not a violation of academic policy or of ethics on the lab section of this course, and that conferring with other groups *is* a violation of academic policy and ethics if it results in reports that are noticeably similar without citation. Having other groups proofread your project is encouraged.

The best way is to start work on the lab in class and then meet to discuss and proofread the report. The worst way is to have each member of the group do (and thus learn) only one of the sections. This will result in a noticeably inferior product. We suggest that you trade who leads the preparation of each write-up.

Each lab needs an abstract, an introduction, the method, the results, and a discussion/conclusions. There should be at least 2 relevant references per report (examples in the book). Reports must include authors & contact details, group, page numbers, and date. Figures and tables should be prepared correctly but be inline. It is useful to read and follow APA guidelines. Examples on the website are approximate, representing previous good but not necessarily excellent work. Sections must identify the author(s). Individual scores on a lab may be modified/moderated/adjusted by Ritter with advice from the TA based on team evaluations.

One paper copy is required for each lab. Print them before coming to class. Each report section must have an author or authors.

Each lab/project needs this form included or a team contract on file, or both. [Notes on generating a contract]

Comments on writing up labs, and More comments on writing up labs [Further example labs]

7. Project

Each group does a useful project. There must be the possibility that your report can have impact, and most reports will (see the examples). Here are several examples of places that can have impact. My connection or interest is (shown). You should do a project on this list or a better project. Local social clubs usually will not have enough impact, PSU clubs have enough but you can usually do better. You are expected to share your results with the target site in compensation for your interactions with them.

Example/Allowed interfaces/websites to analyse

Previous Example projects (around 60 of them, many password protected) are available, and a larger example of this type of work is available in the following report:

Ritter, F. E., Freed, A. R., & Haskett, O. L. (2002). Discovering user information needs: The case of university department websites (Tech. Report No. 2002-3). Applied Cognitive Science Lab, School of Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State. acs.ist.psu.edu/acs-lab/reports/ritterFH02.pdf. Later published as: Ritter, F. E., Freed, A., & Haskett, O. (2005). User information needs: The case of university department websites. ACM interactions.12 (5). 19-27.

Project and Lab Marking Scheme

8. Course Conduct

  • Classes will start on time and end as scheduled. Please take your seat with your group prior to the start of class.
  • You should attend each class and actively participate in the discussions during class. University policy on class attendance is applied.
  • If you are uncomfortable with public speaking, or if English is not your native language, we must meet in the first two weeks of school to establish ways to make you more comfortable in speaking and interacting with your peers. I am happy to do this, as I have been not a native speaker myself.
  • For every hour of lecture, I anticipate that you will need to budget about 2.5 hours of out-of-class time. This implies that you need to budget about 120 hours of out-of-class time over the course of the semester. This time estimate is a guide and you may need to budget more or less. For example, if the material is new to you or difficult to comprehend, it will require more of your time.
  • You are responsible for all the readings, even if the material is not explicitly covered in class. You should read the class materials prior to class and be prepared to discuss and ask questions about the readings and assignments. You should also re-read the material after class as not every topic will be covered during class time. Some passages in the text may need to be read several times to gain clarity. Also, taking notes on the material you are reading and reflecting on the reading and these notes will help you better understand the issues, concepts and techniques that are being presented.
  • All work must be completed and turned in at the start of class on the assigned date. Late work will be accepted but with a penalty. Late means after the class has begun. Note that a computer's failure is not an excuse (it represents poor planning on your part). If you miss a deadline, a written explanation of a university recognized excuse and written request must be handed to me with the work.
    Assignments that are simply late are very welcome to be turned in for feedback but 0 marks.
  • All assignment should be double-spaced (or 1.5 spaced where appropriate), on 8.5"x 11" or A4 paper. All pages should have 1" margins. Papers should be stapled and collated. Please do not use report covers; they will not be returned. Your group number, names, and date should be on the cover, as well as an abstract (where appropriate).
  • Proofread your work. Mistakes include spelling, grammatical errors, and other typos. You should assume that your reader is about as smart as you, not smarter. You must also show your work. The marker will want to know that you know how to get the answer.
  • I expect group work should be just that—from all of the group. If I become aware that you are not contributing to your group equally, I will intervene.I expect individual work should be just that—it should be done by you, alone. For more help, see this site and university policy.
  • Students who participate in University-sanctioned events (such as drama, clubs, athletics, interviews) must make prior arrangements and give ample written or email notice, but will be supported.
  • The official language of this course is English (e.g., you cannot turn the homework in here in translation for advanced language courses).
  • Requests for regrading must be turned in with this form.

9. Relevant University Policies