OMS CS6750: Human-Computer Interaction – Fall 2016

This page provides information about the Georgia Tech OMS CS6750 class on Human-Computer Interaction relevant only to the Fall 2016 semester. Note that this page is subject to change at any time.

The Fall 2016 semester of the OMS CS6750 class will begin on August 22nd, 2016. Below, find the course’s calendar, grading criteria, and other information. For more complete information about the course’s requirements and learning objectives, please see the general CS6750 page here.

Quick Links

To help with navigation, here are some of the links you’ll be using frequently in this course:

Course Calendar At-A-Glance

Below is the calendar for the Fall 2016 OMS CS6750 class. Note that assignment due dates are all Sundays at 11:59PM Anywhere on Earth time. We recommend changing your time zone in T-Square to show the due date in your local time. For the complete course calendar, please see the Full Course Calendar.

Week #Week OfLessonsDeliverableAssignment Due Date
108/22/20161.1, 1.2, 1.3Introductions, Start-of-Course Survey08/28/2016
208/29/20162.1, 2.2Assignment P109/04/2016
309/05/20162.3, 2.4Assignment P2, Peer Feedback, Team Formation & Project Selection09/11/2016
409/12/20162.5, 2.6Assignment P3, Peer Feedback, CITI Training09/18/2016
509/19/20162.7, 2.8Assignment P4, Peer Feedback, Quarter-Course Survey09/25/2016
609/26/20162.9, 2.10Assignment P5, Peer Feedback10/02/2016
710/03/20163.1, 3.2Test 1, Peer Feedback10/09/2016
810/10/20163.3Assignment M110/16/2016
910/17/20163.4Assignment M2, Peer Feedback, Mid-Course Survey10/23/2016
1010/24/20163.5Assignment M3, Peer Feedback10/30/2016
1110/31/20163.6Assignment M4, Peer Feedback11/06/2016
1211/07/20163.7, 3.8Assignment M5, Peer Feedback11/13/2016
1311/14/20164.1Test 2, Peer Feedback11/20/2016
1612/05/20165.1Final Project12/11/2016
1712/12/20165.2, 5.3Peer Feedback, End-of-Course Survey, CIOS Survey12/18/2016

Given above are the numeric labels for each lesson. For reference, here are those lessons’ titles:

Unit 1: Introduction

  • 1.1 Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction
  • 1.2 Introduction to CS6750
  • 1.3 Exploring HCI

Unit 2: Principles

  • 2.1 Introduction to Principles
  • 2.2 Feedback Cycles
  • 2.3 Direct Manipulation and Invisible Interfaces
  • 2.4 Human Abilities
  • 2.5 Design Principles and Heuristics
  • 2.6 Mental Models and Representations
  • 2.7 Task Analysis
  • 2.8 Distributed Cognition
  • 2.9 Interfaces and Politics
  • 2.10 Conclusion to Principles


Unit 3: Methods

  • 3.1 Introduction to Methods
  • 3.2 Ethics and Human Research
  • 3.3 Needfinding and Requirements Gathering
  • 3.4 Design Alternatives
  • 3.5 Prototyping
  • 3.6 Evaluation
  • 3.7 HCI and Agile Development
  • 3.8 Conclusion to Methods

Unit 4: Applications

  • 4.1 Technologies
  • 4.2 Ideas
  • 4.3 Domains

Unit 5: Conclusion

  • 5.1 Course Recap
  • 5.2 Related Fields
  • 5.3 Next Steps


Course Assessments

Your grade in this class is generally made of four components: ten assignments, two tests, one final project, and 33 peer reviews (three each for each assignment and project). This class is not graded on a curve; if you receive 90% or more of the available points, you’ll receive an A; 80%, a B; 70%, a C; 60%, a D; and fewer, an F.

Written Assignments (40%)

There are ten written assignments in the course, each graded out of 20 points. The first five are Principles assignments and cover the material covered in Unit 2. The second five are the Methods assignments and cover the material in Unit 3. Each Principles assignment asks four questions, each of which will be evaluated out of five points; thus, each Principles assignment is out of 20 points. Each Methods assignment asks for a more thorough plan for performing user research and prototyping interfaces; these assignments are also made out of 20 points. There are ten total assignments that together comprise 40% of your grade; thus, each assignment is worth 4% of your grade. Note that the Methods assignments are to be done in the context of the group project, but are to be completed individually; the results of these assignments will then be used as the foundation for the group project at the end of the semester.

Tests (30%)

There are two proctored tests in this course, each graded out of 100 points. Test 1 takes place at the end of Unit 2 and covers the lessons of Unit 2, while Test 2 takes place at the end of Unit 3 and covers the lessons of Unit 3. Each test is worth 15% of your overall grade. The tests are comprised of multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and other automatically-gradable questions and will be proctored via Proctortrack.

Final Project (20%)

Early in the semester, you will be formed into small groups around different project ideas. All work during the semester prior to the final project is to be completed individually, but you are encouraged to talk with your teammates about how to best use your assignments to build toward the final project, as well as to lay plans for the final project early. Then, the final four weeks of the semester are devoted to completing the final project. As a team, you will conduct user research, produce prototypes, and evaluate those prototypes with potential users, all building on the ideas proposed during your individual assignments. At the conclusion, you will deliver a final project, graded out of 100 points, as a group that contains a summary of your individual work, your results from needfinding, prototyping, and evaluating, and your recommended steps forward. All group members will receive the same grade, although there will be mechanisms to report if you feel the workload in your group was unbalanced.

Peer Review (10%)

HCI is a deeply collaborative field, and there is no better way to learn than to see the variety of approaches taken by your classmates to the class’s assignments. For each assignment in the class, you will be assigned three peer reviews to complete, and you will be given one week to complete them (although you are encouraged to complete them earlier so your classmates may incorporate the feedback into their next deliverable). These play many of the same functions that the poster sessions play for an on-campus version of this class. You are graded not only on whether or not you submit these peer reviews, but also on the quality of what you supply; only peer reviews that provide some substantive feedback will be given credit. Substantive feedback may include critiques, suggestions for improvement, questions for further exploration, or testaments to what was particularly impressive or interesting in the assignment. Your overall peer review score is graded out of 33 points, one point per peer review completed substantively.

Course Policies

The following policies are binding for this course.

Official Course Communication

You are responsible for knowing the following information:

  1. Anything posted to this syllabus (including the pages linked from here).
  2. Anything posted to the general course landing page.
  3. Anything emailed directly to you by the teaching team (including announcements via Piazza), 24 hours after receiving such an email.

Because Piazza announcements are emailed to you as well, you need only to check your Georgia Tech email once every 24 hours to remain up-to-date on new information during the semester. Georgia Tech generally recommends students to check their Georgia Tech email once every 24 hours. So, if an announcement or message is time sensitive, you will not be responsible for the contents of the announcement until 24 hours after it has been sent.

We generally prefer to handle communication via Piazza to help with collaboration among the teaching team, but we understand Piazza is not ideal for having information “pushed” to you. We may contact you via a private Piazza post instead of an email, but if we do so, we will choose to send email notifications immediately, bypassing your individual settings, in order to ensure you’re alerted. As such, this type of communication will also fall under #3 above.

Note that in two years as a Georgia Tech OMSCS instructor, I’ve encountered exactly one instance of a time-sensitive email; so, the 24-hour rule likely won’t ever be relevant. As with other things, however, we believe it’s better to be clear at the beginning rather than write policies later.

Note that this means you won’t be responsible for knowing information communicated in several other methods we’ll be using. You aren’t responsible for knowing anything posted to Piazza that isn’t linked from an official announcement. You aren’t responsible for anything said in HipChat, Slack, or other third-party sites we may sometimes use to communicate with students. You don’t need to worry about missing critical information so long as you keep up with your email and understand the documents on this web site.

Office Hours

We’ve experimented with several kinds of office hours in the OMSCS program, each with their strengths and weaknesses. This semester, we’re going to try something new: Slack office hours. If you are unaware, Slack is a popular team communication chat tool that allows conversations in public rooms, private rooms, and private messages. Slack office hours are times when the instructor and/or one or more teaching assistants will be available on the popular student Slack community. You can sign up for the student Slack community at

During Slack office hours, the instructor and/or teaching assistants in attendance will be available for conversations in the public #cs6750 channel, a private #cs6750 channel, private group channels, or private one-on-one channels. When necessary, Hangouts, Skype calls, or other forms of conversation can be launched from Slack office hours.

The calendar of office hours for OMS CS6750 can be found here. Changes to any given office hours session will always be made at least 24 hours in advance; if late changes are needed, they’ll be announced with an announcement. If you are not comfortable signing up for Slack to participate in Slack office hours, you may also feel free to email or post privately on Piazza to set up a chat via an alternate technology at the same time. If you would like to participate in office hours but are unable to make the given times, feel free to email or post privately on Piazza and we’ll try our best to accommodate you.

Late Work

Running such a large class involves a detailed workflow for assigning assignments to graders, grading those assignments, and returning those grades. As such, work that does not enter into that workflow presents a major delay. Thus, we cannot accept any late work in this class. All assignments must be submitted by the posted deadlines. If you have technical difficulties submitting the assignment to T-Square, post privately to Piazza immediately and attach your submission.

If you have an emergency and absolutely cannot submit an assignment by the posted deadlines, we ask you to go through the Dean of Students’ office regarding class absences. The Dean of Students is equipped to address emergencies that we lack the resources to address. Additionally, the Dean of Students office can coordinate with you and alert all your classes together instead of requiring you to contact each professor individually. You may find information on contacting the Dean of Students with regard to personal emergencies here:

The Dean of Students is there to be an advocate and partner for you when you’re in a crisis; we wholeheartedly recommend taking advantage of this resource if you are in need. Justifiable excuses here would involve any major unforeseen disruption to your classwork, such as illnesses, injuries, deaths, and births, all for either you or your family. Note that for foreseen but unavoidable conflicts, like weddings, business trips, and conferences, you should complete your work in advance; this is why we have made sure to provide all assignment and project resources in advance. If you have such a conflict specifically with the tests, let us know and we’ll try to work with you.

Academic Honesty

In general, we strongly encourage collaboration in this class. You are encouraged to discuss the course material, the exercises, the written assignments, and project with your classmates, both before and after assignments and projects are due. Similarly, we will be posting the best assignments for public viewing so you may learn from the success of others’ designs.

However, we draw a firm line regarding what copying is permissible in your assignments. Specifically, you must adhere to the following rules:

  • Any content that is copied or barely paraphrased from existing literature in HCI must be cited, both in the references at the conclusion of your assignment and in-line where the borrowed material appears. Failing to provide in-line citations for borrowed material will be regarded as plagiarism even if the source is provided in the references. This applies to figures as well as text, including those figures that are part of this course’s material.
  • Do not copy any content from other students in current or previous semesters of HCI, even if cited.

In all written work, sources should be cited in APA style, both in-line and at the end of the document. Please consult the Purdue OWL for information on when and how to cite sources in research. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask!


This is the first time this course has been offered, and as such, there are bound to be things that go wrong. We ask your patience and support as we figure things out, and in return, we promise that we, too, will be fair and understanding, especially with anything that might impact your grade or performance in the class. Second, we want to consistently get feedback on how we can improve and expand the course for future iterations. You can take advantage of the feedback box on Piazza (especially if you want to gather input from others in the class), give us feedback on the surveys, or contact us directly via private Piazza messages.