Jodie Locklear

H.C.I. – Honored, Compelled, Inspired.

Reflections on Courera's Human-Computer-Interaction Course

H.c.i. – Honored

It’s been a little over a week since the human-computer-interaction course offered through Coursera, and taught by Stanford University associate professor, Scott Klemmer, ended. I feel truly honored and thankful to have been a part of the beta offering of this course. I remain in awe of the quality of the course, the richness of learning that was attained, and the fact that it was free.

The course was listed as a 5-week course, although it ended up being 6-weeks. Each week consisted of about two hours of video lectures, a studio assignment to be completed and submitted the following week, a quiz, peer grading evaluation training, followed by actual peer grading of a minimum of five peers assignments. I estimate I spent an average of about 20 plus hours per week completing and meeting the course requirements for the studio track, which I explain below.

The course was designed to have two tracks of accomplishment.

  • The Studio Track – Required that you watch all the course video lectures, take all quizzes, complete the studio assignments, pass peer evaluation training, evaluate your peers assignments, and earn at least an 80% average on quizzes and studio assignments.
  • The Apprentice Track – Required that you watch all the course video lectures and earn at least an 80% average on the quizzes. Submitting the studio assignments and peer grading were not required for this track.


need finding observation photo

Photo of need finding observation.

This was not an easy course to get through. Mainly because of its rapid pace and quantity of time required to complete assignments. As a teacher, I was able to devote time to the class and completing the assignments since I have summers off.

Here’s a look at the requirements for each weekly assignment. Keep in mind, in addition to doing the assignment, you had to pass evaluation training which consisted of grading five to seven of your peers assignments within a predetermined range of the instructors pre-evaluated score. You were then required to actually grade a minimum of five peer assignments after passing training, watch the course video lectures, and take the weekly quiz.

  • Assignment Week One – Choose from three design brief options. Select an activity to observe, perform a need finding observation of three people performing the activity, and document and submit with notes, observation summary, and photos of each activity observed. Brainstorm and submit a list of at least 15 needs/goals discovered from your observation. Research and submit at least five existing designs you plan to use for inspiration.
  • Assignment Week Two – Develop a point-of-view for your intended design and sketch two separate storyboards that engage your chosen point-of-view. Share your storyboards with others and get feedback. Choose one storyboard to implement. Create two rapid electronic prototypes, using the Balsamiq prototyping tool, of two different UI interface options. Perform a heuristic evaluation on both prototypes of five of your course peers, in addition to grading five peer assignments, watching the video lectures for the week, and taking the quiz.
  • Assignment Week Three – Choose a prototype to implement as a working, interactive application/website based on the feedback from the heuristic evaluations. Write a detailed list of changes you plan to implement based on the heuristic evaluations. Write an implementation plan of the timeline and steps you plan to take to create an interactive application of your prototype. Create a working/functional home page of your application/website with working links to placeholder pages using handwritten code or a WYSIWYG type editor.
  • Assignment Week Four – Update implementation plan with accomplishments and actual time spent, etc. Plan, write, and submit user study experiment for upcoming week. Create documentation/surveys, etc. that you will use in the user study. Finish creating your application/website and make sure it is fully functional, and ready for testing.
  • Assignment Week Five – Perform the user study and write a summary of your findings. Select a feature of your application/website to redesign based on the feedback from the user study. Create a second prototype that implements the redesign. Write a list of all the changes you would implement if you were to complete a full re-design of your application/website.

The quality of the course materials, the uniqueness of taking a class with such a diverse group of people, and the opportunity to experience firsthand the creativity and innovation of my peers, compelled me to continue in this course!

Despite the amount of work that it required. It was well worth my hard work and effort. According to statistics from the course website, just over 29,000 people, from over 126 different countries watched the course videos, a little over 6,800 took the quizzes, and 791 people completed all five studio assignments.



concept drawing of interface interaction

Concept sketch of gestural interface.

I leave the class not only motivated to continue on this UX journey I have begun, but also highly inspired by the generosity of the instructors and teaching assistants at Stanford who produced this course, Coursera for providing the platform, the amazing creativity, innovation, and generosity of my peers who stuck it out through the studio process – and graded my work, and the work of others. You inspire me, thank you all!

I leave humbled, in a very good way…

This entry was published on July 19, 2012 at 7:31 pm. It’s filed under UX Transition Mission and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “H.C.I. – Honored, Compelled, Inspired.

  1. Pingback: My Human Computer Interaction course on Coursera | Lotte Harmsen's Blog


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