Course description

CS 160 is the introductory course to the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI). In this class, students will learn to design, prototype and evaluate user interfaces. Unlike most classes, CS 160 will not focus on any particular set of algorithmic techniques, instead students will learn techniques for user-centered interface design (e.g., prototyping, contextual inquiry, heuristic evaluation etc). This summer, we will use front-end web development technologies (HTML, CSS and JavaScript) and a backend for prototyping.

The course features two parts: (1) five weeks of curriculum and practice, and (2) three weeks of a final project.

Curriculum and practice

For the first five weeks, lecture occurs three days a week (Monday-Wednesday), studio once a week (Thursdays during lecture) and section occurs twice a week. While lectures and studio focus on core HCI concepts, sections reinforce these concepts and help students improve technical skills. Outside of class, students will work individually or in pairs on weekly projects. Weekly projects allow students to engage in the design cycle and develop technical skills.

Final project

Using design metholodologies and technical skills learned during the first five weeks, students will work in groups for the last three weeks to ideate, prototype and implement a final project. Students will choose their own design methologogies and project topic within a theme. During the last three weeks, final project studio will take the place of lecture and studio. Final project studio provides in-class time for teams to work together and recieve feedback from course staff. In addition, we will hold ╬╝HCI sessions covering technical and communication skills to aid students in implementing and presenting their final projects.


The syllabus, lecture slides, web content, and assignments of this course are only the most recent iterations of a long history of HCI classes. This iteration of the course, at the very least, draws from prior coursre materials by Cesar Torres, Bjoern Hartmann, Eric Paulos, Valkyrie Savage, Maneesh Agrawala, Scott Klemmer, John Canny, and James Landay.

Key logistics
Dates June 18, 2018 - August 10, 2018 (Session C)
Lecture MTuWTh 10:30a-12p, in 310 Jacobs Hall
Sections 101 MW 1-2p, in 405 Soda Hall
102 MW 2-3p, in 405 Soda Hall
103 MW 3-4p, in 405 Soda Hall
Midterm July 24th, 2018 10a-12p in 310 Jacobs Hall
Final critique Thursday August 9th, 2018 9a-12p in 310 Jacobs Hall
Contact Piazza class-wide or staff-only posts.
Attendance Google form
Course staff
Amy Pavel Instructor Monday 12-1pm, Friday 10-11:30am BiD (354-360 HMMB) (directions)
Nathaniel Weinman GSI Thursday 4:30-5:30pm BiD (354-360 HMMB) (directions)
Paige Plander GSI Friday 4:30-5:30pm Jacobs 10C
Qian Yu GSI Tuesday 1-2pm 310A Jacobs Hall
Amy Huang GSI Thursday 12-1pm Jacobs 10C
Winnie Lee GSI Friday 3:30-4:30pm Jacobs 10C
Sreesha Venkat Reader TBD
Yian Liou Reader TBD