This is an OLD version of the course. Please go to the 2019 version!

05-773A3: Computer Science Perspectives in HCI,
(CS Mini), Spring, 2017, Mini 3

Literature Review

On this page:

Time and Place: Tuesdays-Thursdays, 10:30AM - 11:50AM in DH 2122 (formerly in GHC 4301)
Instructor: Brad A. Myers (
Office: NSH 3517
Office Hours: By appointment or walk-in
Course Web page:
Course Piazza page:

Course Description

This course is designed to provide new PhD candidates in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) with an initial base of knowledge about technical research in the field.  Using a seminar-style – centered around readings and discussion – it will consider a broad introduction to the research literature, approaches, and methods from the technical side of HCI.  Students should leave the course with an appreciation of how and why technical HCI work is typically done, an ability to understand work presented in the technical HCI literature, and a knowledge of past and current work across a range of different key topics within the field. 


This course is centered around readings from the research literature.  Many of these readings will be drawn from the ACM Digital Library: Material from the ACM digital library is available free when accessed from any computer on the CMU network.  To access the material free from other computers use the VPN service.  For VPN, the instructions for SCS are at:, or the general CMU instructions are at: There will be a number of required readings each week, as shown in the syllabus.

If you are knowledgeable about an area and want to recommend a different paper, please let the professor know!

On-Line Discussions

Each person in the class is expected to read all of the "required readings" for each class. There are never more than 3 required readings, so this should be tracktable. There may be a "pop-quiz" about any of the required readings at the beginning of the class, which will count as part of your grade.

Each person is also required to post discussion items to the class Piazza forums for at least two (2) articles for each class. These “discussion items” can be an insight you found in the paper, something you found particularly interesting or noteworthy, a question you would like to discuss in class, a point you disagree with, or a constructive comment on someone else’s posting. These will typically be 5 to 10 lines; up to a paragraph or two long, and should provide evidence that you have read and understand the paper. These are due before midnight on the day before class (e.g., by 11:59pm on Monday for a Tuesday class). This deadline is important, because these pre-class comments help the discussion leader for each paper.

The "optional" articles are for your information if you are interested in the area, and may be discussed in class by the professor or any interested students. You are welcome to add discussion items to Piazza for the optional readings for extra credit, but you still have to add items for the required readings.

Note that when you are a discussion leader, you do not necessarily have to add to the discussion of the other two papers on the same day. However, you should still read the other 2 papers.

Leading the Discussion

At least once, you will be responsible for summarizing and presenting one of the required papers. Each student must do (at least) one summary at some point during the term. (There are 31 students and 36 slots for papers to be reviewed, so you might want to get your selection in right away! Everyone won't fit in the last few weeks of the class.) A few people can do more than one for extra credit, if you want. Please sign up for the paper you want to cover in this GoogleDoc. (We will decide assign people by sorting all students into a random order.)

In preparing for your summary and presentation, you should identify what you think is important about the paper. Some questions you might want to answer in a summary include:

To answer these questions (and others), you need to understand the paper's intellectual context. This means looking up the authors and their work; skimming some of the things it references, and using a tool like Google Scholar to find out what has referenced it, and possibly skimming some of those. You will also need to understand how the paper relates to other readings from the class.  General advice on how to prepare a summary can be found in Prof. Mankoff’s FAQ list for the HCI Process and Theory class here:

For each summary you are in charge of, you will need to first provide a summary of the article to Piazza. Each paper should have a "question" entry in the appropriate topic number in Piazza, and you can fill in your summary as the "question", and then the rest of the class will add their discussion items as "followup discussions". The deadline for adding your summary is: before midnight two days before class. That is, posted by Sunday night for Tuesday’s class, by Tuesday night for Thursday’s class. You should also monitor the students' discussion on Piazza, and you should reply to people’s comments on your summary if you think they are misunderstanding the paper or your summary. Please do not add content-free responses like "Thanks".

You also need to prepare some slides to present in class. The slides should be in PowerPoint or PDF format. Please name your slide file with the lecture number, the lastname of the first author of the article, and then "by" followed by your name. For example, if I was doing it: lecture 03-Bush-by-Myers.ppt. You should also put your name and the full citation for the article on the first slide. You need to email your slides to the professor at least 2 hours before class (that is, before 8:30am) on the day of your presentation, so the slides can be posted for the class on the syllabus page. (If you modify your slides after that, please send the updated version to the professor directly after class.)

Your class presentation should be no longer than 7 minutes long and will be followed by 10-15 minutes of discussion which you will lead (in conjunction with the course instructor). The students in the class will evaluate your presentation using this form.

Other Work in the Course

In addition to summaries and discussion items, you will be asked to perform a literature review on a topic proposed by you and approved by the instructor.  Additional details on the literature review are provided on another page.  Finally, class participation will be a significant part of your final grade.

Late Policy

Late policy: 20 points off out of 100 per day. That is, on the first day, it will be 20 points off; on the second day, it will be 40 points off, etc. That is, for something due on a Tuesday, at 10:31am on Tuesday, it will be 20 points off. At 10:31 on Wednesday, it will be 40 points off, etc. This is a short course and the work keeps coming, so don't fall behind!

On-Line Course Materials

The schedule and links to the papers are already available on the syllabus page. The course also has a Blackboard site which will be used for uploading private homeworks and downloading non-public information. The course has a Piazza site for discussions.


Because of the discussion-based nature of the class, the fact that this is a “mini” over only seven weeks, with only 14 class meetings, it is imperative that you attend every class.  In line with this, a fairly strict attendance policy will be enforced which will be incorporated into your class participation grade.  Because many of you are beginning researchers we realize that you may have professional commitments such as attending a conference.  Consequently, an “absence for professional reasons” (approved in advance) will be excused.  Absences due to legitimate illnesses will of course also be excused.  However, beyond the first excused absence, you may have to take an incomplete in the course with additional (onerous) assignments as makeup for the missed work.  Please discuss any planned absences with the instructor as soon as possible.  Note that in the case of an excused absence you are still expected to do the readings and to provide your two required comment postings by the normal deadline.