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Human Computer Interaction Coursework

Interactions between computers and humans should be as intuitive as conversations between two humans—and yet many products and services fail to achieve this. So, what do you need to know so as to create an intuitive user experience? Human psychology? Emotional design? Specialized design processes? The answer is, of course, all of the above, and this course will cover them all.

Human-computer interaction (HCI) is about understanding what it means to be a user of a computer (which is more complicated than it sounds), and therefore how to create related products and services that work seamlessly. It’s an important skill to master, because it gives any company the perspective and knowledge needed to build products that work more efficiently and therefore sell better. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the Computer and IT occupation to grow by 12% from 2014–2024, faster than the average for all occupations. This goes to show the immense demand in the market for professionals equipped with the right computer and IT skills.

This course provides a comprehensive introduction and deep dive into HCI, so you can create designs that provide outstanding user experiences. Whether you are a newcomer to the subject of HCI or a professional, by the end of the course you will have a deep understanding of what it means to be a user and how to implement user-centered design for the best possible results.

This course is based on in-depth videos created by the amazing Alan Dix. You'll be in great company with this renowned professor from Lancaster University, a specialist in HCI and co-author of the classic textbook, Human-Computer Interaction.

What you will learn

  • The definitions of human-computer interaction
  • The design process involved in interaction design, navigation design, and screen design
  • Cognition and perception, encompassing attention, memory, thought, and the role of the “senses” in HCI
  • Emotion, and why it is so important to user experience
  • Implementation of windowing systems, applications, architectures, and frameworks
  • How to evaluate user experience using numbers and statistics

Who should take this course

This is a beginner-level course suitable for newcomers and experienced practitioners alike:

  • UX designers who want to gain in-depth theoretical knowledge to augment their experience
  • Project managers looking to understand how to build products that work intuitively
  • Software engineers who want a solid understanding of human-computer interaction and UX design
  • Entrepreneurs looking to create well-designed products that stand out from the competition
  • Marketers who want to gain a deep understanding of customers
  • Newcomers to design who are considering making a switch to HCI or UX design

Courses in the Interaction Design Foundation are designed to contain comprehensive, evidence-based content, while ensuring that the learning curve is never too steep. All participants will have the opportunity to share ideas, seek help with tests, and enjoy the social aspects afforded by our open and friendly forum.

Learn and work with a global team of designers

When you take part in this course, you will join a global multidisciplinary team working on the course and the exercises at the same time as you. You will work together to improve your skills and understanding. Your course group will be made up of an incredibly diverse group of professionals, all of whom have the same objective—to become successful designers. It’s your chance to learn, grow, and network with your peers across the planet.

Lessons in this course

Note: Lessons become available at a schedule of one lesson per week. Once a lesson becomes available, it is open for you forever — you can take all the time you want to go through each lesson. There is no time limit to finish a course, and you always have access to your classmates, course material, and your answers.

The estimated time to complete this course is a total of 14 hours 34 mins spread over 8 weeks.

Lesson 0: Introductions and welcome

Available anytime after Mar 19, 2018. Estimated time to complete: 40 mins.

Lesson 1: Introducing Human-computer Interaction

Available anytime after Mar 20, 2018. Estimated time to complete: 42 mins.

Lesson 2: Interaction Design

Available anytime after Mar 27, 2018. Estimated time to complete: 3 hours 40 mins.

Lesson 3: Cognition and Perception

Available anytime after Apr 03, 2018. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 24 mins.

Lesson 4: Memory

Available anytime after Apr 10, 2018. Estimated time to complete: 1 hour 7 mins.

Lesson 5: Thinking and Action

Available anytime after Apr 17, 2018. Estimated time to complete: 37 mins.

Human Computer Interaction Graduate Program

Overview of the Human Computer Interaction Graduate Program

The study of the relationship between humans and computers has quickly become one of the most dynamic and significant fields of technical investigation. Iowa State University’s graduate program in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) is an established leader in this rapidly evolving field, making strategic investments to accelerate research, attract talented students and faculty, and expand the program of study.

Interdisciplinary by definition, HCI impacts nearly every area of our lives. The HCI graduate major reflects a broad recognition in academia and industry of the need to train researchers to meet the challenges created by today’s breakneck pace of technological progress. HCI graduate students benefit from interacting with ISU faculty from departments representing every college in the University as well as researchers at the Virtual Reality Applications Center.

HCI Degree Programs

The interdepartmental graduate major in HCI provides advanced education and training while fostering research excellence in HCI at ISU, offering three graduate program degrees as well as a postbaccalaureate certificate.


  • “Iowa State University’s Human-Computer Interaction graduate program has facilitated my professional career by providing cutting edge facilities and through encouraging multidisciplinary collaborations. Our interactions with computing technologies are going to rapidly change over the next decade and this program has allowed me a glimpse into that exciting future.”
    – Jeremiah Still (Alumnus), HCI PhD
  • “The coursework of ISU’s HCI program provides an excellent preparation for working in the industry. Thanks to connections I made through the program, I had an opportunity to interview for a summer internship. Much of my interview focused on projects and topics covered by HCI 521, the introductory HCI class. Thanks in part to this preparation, my interview went successfully, and I look forward to an internship with Microsoft conducting usability research this summer.”
    – Michael VanWaardhuizen, HCI MS student