OMS CS6750: Human-Computer Interaction – Spring 2017

This page provides information about the Georgia Tech OMS CS6750 class on Human-Computer Interaction relevant only to the Spring 2017 semester. Note that this page is subject to change at any time.

The Spring 2017 semester of the OMS CS6750 class will begin on January 9th, 2017. 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 Spring 2017 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
101/09/20171.1, 1.2, 1.3Introductions, Start-of-Course Survey01/15/2017
201/16/20172.1, 2.2Assignment P101/22/2017
301/23/20172.3, 2.4Assignment P2, Peer Feedback01/29/2017
401/30/20172.5, 2.6Assignment P3, Peer Feedback, CITI Training02/05/2017
502/06/20172.7, 2.8Assignment P4, Peer Feedback, Quarter-Course Survey, Team Formation & Project Selection02/12/2017
602/13/20172.9, 2.10Assignment P5, Peer Feedback02/19/2017
702/20/20173.1, 3.2Test 1, Individual Project, Peer Feedback02/26/2017
802/27/20173.3Assignment M1, Peer Feedback03/05/2017
903/06/20173.4Assignment M2, Peer Feedback, Mid-Course Survey03/12/2017
1003/13/20173.5Assignment M3, Peer Feedback03/19/2017
1103/20/20173.6Assignment M4, Peer Feedback03/26/2017
1203/27/20173.7, 3.8Assignment M5, Peer Feedback04/02/2017
1304/03/20174.1Test 2, Peer Feedback04/09/2017
1604/24/20175.1Team Project04/30/2017
1705/01/20175.2, 5.3Peer Feedback, End-of-Course Survey, CIOS Survey05/07/2017

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, two projects, and participation. 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. The first five (P1, P2, P3, P4, P5) are Principles assignments and cover the material covered in Unit 2. The second five (M1, M2, M3, M4, M5) are the Methods assignments and cover the material in Unit 3. Each Principles assignment asks you to answer three of four provided questions, each of which will be evaluated out of five points; thus, each Principles assignment is out of 15 points. Each Methods assignment asks for a more thorough plan for performing user research and prototyping interfaces; these assignments are graded out of 20 points. These ten total assignments together comprise 40% of your grade; thus, each assignment is worth 4% of your grade (the Principles assignments are weighted the same as the Methods assignments). Note that we recommended that the Methods assignments are done in the context of the team project despite being completed individually; the results of these assignments would then be used as the foundation for the team project. This is not required, however.

Tests (25%)

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, and Test 2 takes place at the end of Unit 3 and covers the lessons of Unit 3. Each test is worth 12.5% of your overall grade. The tests are comprised of 20 five-option multiple-choice, multiple-correct questions and will be proctored via Proctortrack.

Projects (25%)

There are two projects in this class: an individual project and a team project, each worth 12.5% of your overall grade. The individual project is due in week 7, and the team project is due in week 16. In the individual project, you will take an interface with which you are familiar, perform a usability evaluation of the interface, redesign the interface based on that evaluation, and justify the redesign based on the principles covered in Unit 2. In the team project, as a team you will conduct user research, produce prototypes, and evaluate those prototypes with potential users. All work this semester is to be completed individually except the team project; however, teams will be formed prior to the start of Unit 3 so that you may choose to use your individual assignments as a foundation for the team project. At the conclusion, you will deliver a final project, graded out of 100 points, as a team that contains your results from needfinding, prototyping, and evaluating, and your recommended steps forward.

Participation (10%)

HCI is a deeply collaborative field, and there is no better way to learn than to interact with your peers, to participate in one another’s usability studies, and to see the variety of approaches taken by your classmates to the class’s assignments. Thus, participation credit may be earned in one of three ways: by completing peer reviews, by participating in one another’s surveys and interviews, and by participating in discussions on Piazza. In order to support rapid feedback, additional incentives are built in to complete peer reviews quickly. Note that all three types of participation are graded not only on their quantity, but also on their quality; peer reviews and Piazza contributions only receive credit if they are substantive, and participation in peers’ studies receives differing amounts of credit based on the effort involved.

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 spring under #3 above.

Note that in three 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

This semester, we’ll be using Slack for 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 dedicated CS6750 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 #office-hours channel, or in private one-on-one channels. When necessary, Hangouts, Skype calls, or other forms of conversation can be launched from Slack office hours. You are also encouraged to use the Slack community for discussions, project work, or anything else. The instructors and/or TAs will be available during office hours, but they may also be available at other times as well.

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 second 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.