Assignments - ISU570 Human Computer Interaction

Professor Futrelle, CCIS, Northeastern University - Spring 2008

Version of January 4th, 2008

Your reading assignments are on the course schedule page.


Your "audience": It is always important whenever you write anything or make a presentation, to have a particular audience in mind. For the assignments in this course, you should never assume that audience is Professor Futrelle or the grader. This may seem odd, but it is important. Instead, you should imagine that your reader is some other upperclassman, probably not someone who has taken or is taking and HCI course. Your task is to keep this reader in mind and strive to explain,instruct, and inform him or her clearly and in an interesting and substantive way.

Figures/graphics in your assignments: As our texbook and Norman emphasize, a crucial part of virtually all interaction is its visual aspects. So in your various assignments, it will typically be useful to include figures in what you hand in. These can come from a variety of sources including images from the web, from documents, your screenshots, digital pics you take with a camera or your phone.

All figures you turn in must have captions that explain what they're about and where you got them from.

General instructions that you must follow for handing in your work

Assignments will normally need to be emailed by 9pm on the due date, typically a Monday or Thursday evening. In addition, a hardcopy of the mailed information plus supplementary material in hardcopy form, such as a paper you read or chapter you xeroxed, should be handed in at the beginning of the next class. We would be happy to get hardcopies of your main assignment doc, so I don't have to print yours out in order to write comments on it as part of the grading process.

The format and labeling of your emailed assignments must be in a standard form: The Subject line should begin in the standard required way, with "isu570sp08", or else it will be returned, unread. For assignments, this must be followed on the subject line with "Assignment n" where n is the appropriate assignment number. You may put additional information on subject line after this, as you like.

Your written documents, such as an MS Word file, must include, up front, your name, the date, the class name and year, the assignment number, assignment title, and any title of your own that you want to add to it. Don't assume we'll follow URLs and read what's there, unless it is the location of your actual assignment handin.

You must attach only one single file in your email, either a single stand-alone file such as PDF (preferred) or MS Word, or a link to a Google Doc that has the proper permissions for Prof. Futrelle and the grader, Ms. Chitre (please, no LaTeX, OpenOffice, etc.) If you do have more than one file to send they must be zipped, tarred, or jarred into a single file. Never attach multiple files. Finally, your file or zip file must be given a meaningful name, which would be the course name, your name, and the the assignment, e.g., "AllanJonesISU570Sp08Assign2.pdf" - all of these three. The worst name you could choose, and some students have done this (!) would be "assignment" or "assignment 2". Futrelle has over one million files on his MacBook, including thousands of student files handed in over the last ten or more years. He can't try to keep track of files with incomplete, nonspecific names. If your subject line or file name is deficient, your mail will simply be returned, replied to with a note pasted into it.

Where to send your email: Send your mail to Professor Futrelle at If you are sharing Google Docs that you would like me to have edit access to, you would need to use one of my Gmail addresses, specifically, You may also put your assignment together as a web page(s), though we would prefer that you hand me hardcopies of your site too, something we can write grading comments on.

Assignment #1 - Analyzing and critiquing some artifact - Due as hardcopy, beginning of class, Friday, February 1st.

The assignment is described in detail on this page. It is not a trivial assignment. It demands some research and writing. It is not an assignment that can succeed if you put it off until the last day or two. So get started right away.

Assignment #2 - Finding and critiquing two recent papers - Due as hardcopy, beginning of class, Friday, February 22nd.

The assignment is described in detail on this page. This requires you to track down and discuss two recent high-quality papers on Interaction Design. As with Assignment #1, it is not an assignment that can succeed for you if you put it off until the last day or two. So get started right away.

Assignment #3 - Experimenting with simple GUI code - Due emailed, Thursday, March 20th, 9pm

The assignment is described in detail on this page. This requires that you take some existing Java code for a simple GUI and make minor modifications to it to substitute your own text and images.

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