Modules are offered by the School of Computer Science and the Faculty of Engineering. Compulsory modules provide a foundation in Human-Computer Interaction, and a range of optional modules provide the opportunity for more advanced study.
During semester one, you must take three compulsory modules:
Introduction to Human Computer Interaction
This module is part of the Human Computer Interaction theme in The School of Computer Science. This module aims to teach an understanding of people's interactions with technology and how to apply this knowledge in the design of usable interactive computer systems. The module will introduce the concept of usability and will examine different design approaches and evaluation methods. Specifically, this module will cover an understanding of different styles of interaction with technology, an analysis of user needs, design standards, low fidelity prototyping techniques and a comparison of evaluation techniques.
Studying Human Performance
The module aims to give a broad review of the measurement techniques which can be used in ergonomic analysis and evaluation of systems or products, together with an understanding of the need for experimental design and control in order to obtain valid and meaningful results. It also provides a theoretical basis for techniques which may be practised during laboratory work and exercises in other human factors modules.
The syllabus covers:
- Introduction to experimental design; experimental controls; selection and recruitment of subjects; user trials; ethical considerations
- Observational methods: direct and indirect observation; recording techniques; measurement of behaviour; activity sampling
- Subjective measurements: ranking methods, rating scales, application in interviews and questionnaires
- Task analysis: task description; tabular and hierarchical task analysis; applications
- Introduction to SPSS
- Descriptive statistics
- Statistical analysis: Types of data; Normal distribution; Non-parametric tests; Parametric 2 samples tests, Correlation and regression, Chi Square, ANOVA
Students must also take one of the following additional compulsory modules, depending on previous experience and individual preference:
Cognitive Ergonomics in Design
- Cognitive psychology and ergonomics
- The human as information processor: Memory and attention, mental models,
- Human Workload
- Displays, controls, consoles and control rooms
- Decision making, automation
- Situation awareness
- Problem solving and artificial intelligence
- Decision support systems, decision making biases,
- Situated cognition and joint cognitive systems
This module gives you a comprehensive overview of the principles of programming, including such concepts as procedural logic, variables, flow control, input and output and the analysis and design of programs. Instruction will be provided in an object-oriented programming language. You will spend around five hours per week in lectures and computer classes studying for this module.
During semester two, all students take compulsory modules in:
Contemporary Issues in Human Factors and Interactive Systems
This module develops an understanding of human factors and interactive systems design through student led seminars and an individual literature review that each student conducts on a contemporary topic area. The seminar will cover aspects such as: defining human factors and interactive systems, approaches (experimental, ethnographic, analytical, etc) and the design of systems, case studies illustrating the need for socio-technical perspectives, and issues in user-centred design for products, processes and interfaces.
The literature review will equip each student with essential skills in the searching, critical analysis and synthesis of relevant literature (which may come from a variety of scientific journals, books, industrial/business/professional publications across a range of disciplines). Each student will develop their knowledge and understanding of a specific area in human factors/interactive systems. The information collected will be critically analysed to produce an extended essay/review.
This module introduces you to the theory and practice of design ethnography. You will cover a range of topics including: origins and evolution of ethnography; foundations and nature of the ethnomethodological approach; ethnographic analysis; its relationship to systems design; and the perceived problems with the approach. Youll spend around three hours each week in lectures and tutorials for this module.
Introduction to Human Computer Interaction, User interface design, Evaluation of computer interfaces, HCI design and requirements elicitation, Multimodal interfaces, mobile computing, Virtual Reality, Computers in context, Computers and collaboration, Accessibility, HCI in practice, advanced display systems.
In both semesters, students must also take some of the following optional modules, making up 120 credits in total from taught modules:
Advanced Methods in Human Factors
This module develops analysis and evaluation skills from the earlier grounding in Studying Human Performance, introducing further methods and analysis techniques. Topics include: predictive evaluation techniques (e.g. GOMs, Fitts Law); psychophysical methods: paired comparison, method of limits, threshold measurements; verbal protocol analysis; video analysis of observation data; ergonomics project management; qualitative approaches and methodologies; eye tracking methodologies; ethic considerations in Human Factors research. You will spend two hours per week in lectures for this module.
Cognitive Ergonomics in Design
This module will provide you with a thorough understanding of cognitive ergonomics and the way in which cognitive ergonomics can impact on human performance in the workplace. Throughout this course there will be some short interactive exercises which form part of the assessment. In addition to this, there will be two hours of lectures per week.
You will examine current techniques for the extraction of useful information about a physical situation from individual and sets of images. You will cover a range of methods and applications, with particular emphasis being placed on the detection and identification of objects, recovery of three-dimensional shape and analysis of motion. You will learn how to implement some of these methods in the industry-standard programming environment MATLAB. You will spend around four hours a week in lectures, tutorial and laboratory sessions.
Contemporary Issues in Human Factors and Interactive Systems
This module develops an understanding of human factors and interactive systems design through student led seminars and an individual literature review that each student conducts on a contemporary topic area.
The seminar will cover aspects such as: defining human factors and interactive systems, approaches (experimental, ethnographic, analytical, etc) and the design of systems, case studies illustrating the need for socio-technical perspectives, and issues in user-centred design for products, processes and interfaces.
The literature review will equip each student with essential skills in the searching, critical analysis and synthesis of relevant literature (which may come from a variety of scientific journals, books, industrial/business/professional publications across a range of disciplines).
Each student will develop their knowledge and understanding of a specific area in human factors/interactive systems. The information collected will be critically analysed to produce an extended essay/review.
This module introduces you to the theory and practice of design ethnography. You’ll cover a range of topics including: origins and evolution of ethnography; foundations and nature of the ethnomethodological approach; ethnographic analysis; its relationship to systems design; and the perceived problems with the approach. You’ll spend around three hours each week in lectures and tutorials for this module.
This module provides an overview to the discipline of Human Computer Interaction from a Human Factors perspective - considering the design and evaluation of computer systems that meet the needs of end users and the wider stakeholder groups.
Topics covered include: Usability and beyond, methods for understanding users and their requirements, developing requirements specifications, methods for designing and evaluating user experiences, visualisation technologies and multimodal interaction, virtual reality, in-car user-interfaces, designing user-interfaces for ageing and disability, designing web/on-line experiences, designing collaborative/social user experiences. For this module you will have two hours of lectures weekly.
Individual Project: Human-Project Interaction
You will undertake a project which is relevant to Human-Computer Interaction, developing your skills in research, such as: planning research activities, empirical investigation, literature review, critical reflection, evaluation, oral and written communication, individual learning and time management. Collaboration with business, industry, and other outside bodies is encouraged.
Providing you with an introduction to machine learning, pattern recognition, and data mining techniques, this module will enable you to consider both systems which are able to develop their own rules from trial-and-error experience to solve problems, as well as systems that find patterns in data without any supervision. In the latter case, data mining techniques will make generation of new knowledge possible, including very big data sets. This is now known as 'big data' science.
You will cover a range of topics including: machine learning foundations; pattern recognition foundations; artificial neural networks; deep learning; applications of machine learning; data mining techniques and evaluating hypotheses. You will spend around six hours each week in lectures and computer classes for this module.
Mixed Reality Technologies
This module focuses on the possibilities and challenges of interaction beyond the desktop. You will explore the 'mixed reality continuum' - a spectrum of emerging computing applications that runs from virtual reality (in which a user is immersed into a computer-generated virtual world) at one extreme, to ubiquitous computing (in which digital materials appear embedded into the everyday physical world - often referred to as the 'Internet of Things') at the other. In the middle of this continuum lie augmented reality and locative media, in which the digital appears to be overlaid upon the physical world in different ways.
You will gain knowledge and hands-on experience of design and development with key technologies along this continuum, including working with both ubiquitous computing based sensor systems and locative media. You will learn about the Human-Computer Interaction challenges that need to be considered when creating mixed reality applications along with strategies for addressing them, so as to create compelling and reliable user experiences.
Mobile Device Programming
You will look at the development of software applications for mobile devices, with a practical focus on the Android operating system. You will consider and use the software development environments for currently available platforms and the typical hardware architecture of mobile devices. You will spend around three hours per week in lectures and computer classes for this module.
A thorough understanding of Human Factors/Ergonomics is critical to the successful design and implementation of products, workplaces, jobs and systems. This module focuses on the physical characteristics of people (e.g. body size, strength, flexibility, vision and hearing abilities) and considers how to account for an individual’s fundamental needs, capabilities and limitations. Ultimately, such an understanding will lead to products, workplaces, jobs and systems which promote productivity, health, safety, comfort, etc.
The syllabus covers: Structure and functioning of the human body; anthropometry (human body dimensions) and product/workplace design; biomechanics (loadings on the human body); work-related upper-limb disorders; manual materials handling; risk assessment for work-related musculoskeletal disorders; designing and assessing environments to account for visual, acoustic, thermal and vibration factors. You will spend around two hours per week in lectures studying for this module.
Risk and Safety Science for Engineers
This module aims to give an understanding of risk, primarily in the context of safe systems but also in relation to major projects, investments and public and social systems. The potential causes of accidents and of human error are explained, and an introduction given to methods of reporting and investigating accidents and techniques for analysing accidents and systems reliability which will lead to the design of safer organisations and work systems.
Topics covered include: risk and risk perception; risk assessment and management; accident models and accident causation; causes of human error; epidemiology, accident reporting and analysis; accident prevention; human reliability assessment; safety climate and culture; safety systems management. You will spend around two hours per week in lectures studying for this module.
Simulation and Digital Human Modelling
This module aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills required to use digital human modelling and systems simulation approaches in human factors research and design/evaluation work. In addition, the module aims to provide students with an understanding of the fundamental assumptions upon which digital human modelling and simulation tools are based and their primary capabilities and limitations. You will spend two hours in lectures and two hours in practicals each week when studying this module.
Simulation and Optimisation for Decision Support
This module offers insight into the applications of selected methods of decision support. The foundations for applying these methods are derived from Operations Research Simulation, Social Simulation, Data Science, Automated Scheduling, and Decision Analysis. Throughout the module, you will become more competent in choosing and implementing the appropriate method for the particular problem at hand. You will spend five hours per week in lectures and computer classes for this module.
Software Engineering Management
This module is part of the Software Engineering theme. This module covers the following topics: Management of the introduction of new software or IT systems; Software project management practices; Practical experience of use of an Agile software development project management process; Practical experience of use of Test Driven Development, pair programming and various approaches to software management tools, including the use of software versioning, project management planning tools and continuous integration and deployment.
Studying Human Performance
The module aims to give a broad review of the measurement techniques which can be used in ergonomic analysis and evaluation of systems or products, together with an understanding of the need for experimental design and control in order to obtain valid and meaningful results. It will also provide a theoretical basis for techniques which may be practiced during laboratory work and exercises in other human factors modules. You will have two 2-hour lectures weekly for this module.
Systems Engineering and Human Factors
This module fills a current gap in Engineering teaching by addressing systems analysis and development across a range of applications. You will learn that technical, human, organizational and economic factors must be addressed when understanding the operation and potential failure in existing systems, and in developing requirements, implementation and evaluation approaches for social and socio-technical systems, and for systems of systems. You will spend two hours in lecture weekly for this module.
Please note that all module details are subject to change.
Over the summer period towards the end of your course, you will undertake an individual research project in Human-Computer Interaction under the supervision of a member of academic staff. The topic can be in any area of HCI that is of mutual interest to both you and your supervisor, ranging from purely theoretical studies to empirical studies of users and/or practical design work developing and evaluating prototypes of novel computing systems to support user needs, including novel mobile and location-based or 'ubiquitous' computing application
For more details on our modules, please see the module catalogue.
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.