05-773A4: Computer Science Perspectives in HCI,
(CS Mini), Spring, 2021, Mini 4

Literature Review

On this page:

Time and Place: Tuesdays-Thursdays, 10:40AM - 12:00PM EDT - virtual
Instructor: Brad A. Myers (bam@cs.cmu.edu)
Office: NSH 3517
Office Hours: By appointment
Course Web page: www.cs.cmu.edu/~bam/uicourse/csmini2021
(also uicourse.com temporarily)
Course Discussion page: See Canvas Discussions section

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. 


Because of the discussion-based nature of the class, the fact that this is a “mini” over only seven weeks, with only 13 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. 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.


This class will be fully virtual, using Zoom. The zoom link is available in the Canvas site for this course. (It is not posted here on the public web to avoid Zoom bombing.) All class sessions use the same Zoom link. I know it is difficult and non-standard, but I prefer if you have your cameras on, and everyone should participate in the discussions. You can turn your microphone on and off yourself so you can avoid background noise when others are talking, but feel free to jump into the discussions. Class sessions will not be recorded, since everyone should be present. However, if anyone would like to record a session for their own personal use (like of their own presentation), please ask the professor (and the presenters).


This course is centered around readings from the research literature.  Many of these readings will be drawn from the ACM Digital Library: https://dl.acm.org/dl.cfm. 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 are at: https://www.cmu.edu/computing/services/endpoint/network-access/vpn/index.html. There will be a number of required readings each week, as shown in the schedule.

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's Canvas Discussions 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 on the day before class (Monday for Tuesday class, and Wednesday for a Thursday class) by 8:00pm EDT (but they won't be counted as "late" until midnight, to accomodate people in different time zones -- but be try to be nice to your classmates and try to get them in by 8:00pm EDT). 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 Canvas Discussions 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 all 3 papers.

Leading the Discussion

We are organizing the discussions the same as the Social Mini this year. Each student will select a class session to be the co-discussion-leader. Since there are 22 students and 11 sessions, sessions will have 2 co-leaders. The co-leaders together will be responsible for summarizing and presenting all 3 of the required papers for that session. The co-leaders are also welcome to discuss the optional readings if you want. Also, if there are find other readings you think should be added, please let the professor know. We will assign the leaders through a Google Sheets signup (class access only), and negotiation.

The co-leaders can work it out among themselves how to divide the time and work, but all students are expected to take at least some of the presenting time. The goal is to encourage discussions that delve deeply into the readings, explore their implications and applicability, show how they fit into a broader intellectual context, etc. You can assume that your fellow students have read each article, so you don't need to summarize an article in detail unless the article is especially difficult to understand, or if pre-class discussion forum activity indicates that others are missing important points or misunderstanding the article. Instead, focus your summary of the articles on highlighting the main points you want the class to discuss and explaining how these tie into the larger research landscape.

In preparing for your summary and presentation, you should identify what you think is important about the papers. 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.  

For each summary that your group is in charge of, you will need to first provide a summary of the three articles to Canvas Discussions. Each paper should already have an entry I created in Canvas Discussions, and you can fill in your summary as the first reply, and then the rest of the class will add their discussion items. The deadline for adding your summary of the three articles is: before midnight two days before class. That is, posted by Sunday night for Tuesday’s class, by Tuesday night for Thursday’s class. Please be sure the summary is the first item for each article. You should also monitor the students' discussion, 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 made with Google Slides. Please name your slide file with the the class and year (05773s2021-), the lecture number, and the first word in the session title (I made each session have a useful first word!). For example, 05773s2021-01-Course Intro. If you make different slide files for each presenter or for each article, please concatenate them together before turning in your slides. Your first or second slide must contain:

  1. The class session number and name
  2. The full names of all the presenters
  3. The list of articles being discussed, with the full citation (as in the schedule)

You need to upload the slides (or a shortcut) to them into the class Google Drive at least 2 hours before class (that is, before 8:30am EDT) on the day of your presentation. (It is fine to fix errors and update your slides after the link is posted and even during class, but please make sure they are complete before 8:30am.) Make sure the slides have the right permissions so they are viewable at least by the class. I prefer that they be viewable publically, or at least by everyone at CMU, but if you want, you can use the class list.

As a guideline, I expect the presentation to be about 21 minutes (about 7 minutes per reading), leaving about 59 minutes for discussion. Again, the co-leaders for that session can decide how to break it up -- doing the papers separately, each with its own discussion, or presenting about 2 or all 3 together, and then discussing them all at the end, or some other organization.

The students in the class will evaluate your presentation using this form: https://forms.gle/cqGHTNGGxGqUVdK1A. Students should provide their feedback preferably the same day, but no later than noon the following day, so I can get the feedback back to the speakers in a timely manner.

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

Obviously, in class presentations cannot be late.

Late policy for parts of the Literature Review: 5 points off out of 100 per day. That is, on the first day, it will be 5 points off; on the second day, it will be 10 points off, etc. That is, for something due on a Tuesday, at 10:31am on Tuesday, it will be 5 points off. At 10:31 on Wednesday, it will be 10 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 schedule page. The course also has a Canvas site which will be used for uploading private parts of the literature review, and downloading non-public information, and for discussions of each article. The Zoom link for class and the links for the class's Google Drive are also on Canvas.