Back to school: HCI & higher education

XII.5 September + October 2005
Page: 32
Digital Citation

HCI programs within the Information Science and Technology Department at the University of Missouri, Rolla

Richard Hall

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In 2002 the Information Science and Technology department was created as a part of the new School of Management and Information Systems at the University of Missouri, Rolla (UMR). A primary focus area for the department is Human-Computer Interaction. In the short time since the program's inception, there have been a number of accomplishments associated with the HCI area, including:

  • establishing the Laboratory for Information Technology Evaluation (LITE) to house HCI research projects
  • awarding of more than $500,000 in external funding to IST faculty for HCI related projects by various federal and state agencies, including the National Science Foundation
  • supporting a number of graduate students on research assistantships for HCI related projects
  • graduating a number of students who have completed master's thesis related to HCI
  • graduating a number of students who have been hired for jobs in the User-Centered Design field

Spurred by the success of HCI related activities within IST, two educational programs in HCI were started in the fall of 2004: an undergraduate emphasis area for students in the IST BS program, and a graduate certificate program. Both programs consist of three core courses (Introduction to HCI, HCI-Prototyping, and HCI-Evaluation). The graduate certificate requires an additional graduate level course in a specialized area within HCI. Courses required for these programs are offered regularly, and all courses are offered via distance education.

Some of the core philosophies of the program are:

  • striking a balance between generalizable theory and specific "real world" application
  • viewing Human-Computer Interaction from a broad perspective to include, for example, societal impacts of technology
  • including a large percentage of instruction that is experiential/project based
  • integrating research into coursework through collaboration with the research laboratories such the Laboratory for Information Technology Evaluation
  • building ties and collaboration with industrial partners that informs instruction. Our faculty and students have worked closely with a number of usability professionals in the nearby St. Louis market, and the St. Louis chapter of SIG CHI (GatewayCHI), forming partnerships, internships, and advisory panels, to assure that there is a strong connection between our program and industrial needs.

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Richard H. Hall
University of Missouri, Rolla

About the Author:

Richard H. Hall is a professor of Information Science and Technology at the University of Missouri, Rolla.

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