IMS3470 Human-computer interaction - Semester 2 , 2006 unit guide

Semester 2, 2006

Chief Examiner

Dr Kathy Lynch


Caulfield : Dr Kathy Lynch


This unit provides a detailed understanding of the underpinning theories, principles and practices of interface design for computer-based systems. It examines issues in the design of system interfaces from a number of perspectives: user, programmer, designer. It explores the application of the relevant theories in practice. The unit will cover topics such as methods and tools for developing effective user interfaces, stresses the importance of usability and evaluation methods such as the conduct of usability and heuristic evaluations, design of appropriate interface elements including the design of menus and other interaction styles. The unit will also focus on designing user information and designing for a diverse range of users and environments.


Knowledge and Understanding

At the completion of this unit the students should have knowledge of:

  • C1. The underpinning theories relevant to HCI
  • C2. The principles and practices of HCI in designing user interfaces
  • C3. The importance and role of usability and evaluation in systems design
  • C4. The issues relating to user diversity, different types of systems, interaction styles, devices and environments.
  • Attitudes, Values and Beliefs

    At the conclusion of the unit students should:

  • A1. Appreciate the development of systems from a user perspective
  • A2. Differentiate between good HCI practice in systems development from other development practices
  • A3. Formulate attitudes which enable them to interact effectively with users
  • A4. Empathise with all users particularly those with specific needs
  • Practical Skills

    During the process of studying this unit students will be required to put into practice some of the HCI skills learnt including skills to:

  • P1. Recognise the principles of HCI design required in systems development
  • P2. Gather user requirements effectively
  • P3. Design an effective user interface
  • P4. Conduct appropriate evaluation of systems from a HCI perspective and interpret the outcome
  • Relationships, Communication and TeamWork

    As a result of studying this unit students should develop the skills to:

  • S1. Work in teams to complete assessment tasks
  • S2. Empathise with users particularly those with some form of disability
  • Prerequisites

    Before attempting this unit you must have satisfactorily completed

    CSE1203, CSE1303, BUS1042, IMS1002, IMS2805 or equivalent, and completed at least 48 points of an undergraduate degree, or equivalent.

    Unit relationships

    IMS3470 is an elective unit in the Bachelor of IS, the Bachelor of Computing, and any other appropriate undergraduate degree program.

    It is a prerequisite/corequisite for Before attempting this unit you must have satisfactorily completed

    CSE1203, CSE1303, BUS1042, IMS1002, IMS2805 or equivalent, and completed at least 48 points of an undergraduate degree, or equivalent..


    You may not study this unit and

    Prohibitions: CFR3208, CFR3232, COT3030, IMS2403, MMS2403, SYS3080, SYS3084, SYS4470, SYS3470"--and for IMS3470 -CSE3030,

    in your degree.


    Texts and software

    Required text(s)


    Textbook availability

    Text books are available from the Monash University Book Shops. Availability from other suppliers cannot be assured. The Bookshop orders texts in specifically for this unit. You are advised to purchase your text book early.

    Software requirements

    Web authoring program

    Graphics/drawing program

    Hardware requirements

    On-campus students may use the facilities available in the computing labs. Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook. You will need to allocate up to 6 hours per week for use of a computer, including time for newsgroups/discussion groups.

    Recommended reading

    Norman (1988). The psychology of everyday things. Basic Books

    Preece, Rogers, Sharp, Benyon, Holland and Carey (1994). Human-computer interaction. Addison-Wesley

    Preece, Rogers and Sharp (2002) Interaction Design ?Beyond human computer interaction, John Wiley and Sons

    Library access

    You may need to access the Monash library either personally to be able to satisfactorily complete the subject.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.

    Study resources

    Study resources for IMS3470 are:

    This Unit Information outlining the administrative information for the unit.

    Newsgroups/discussion groups that are linked to from the Unit Homepage (uses MUSO)

    Structure and organisation

    Week Topics
    1 Introduction to HCI
    2 Background and underpinning HCI theories
    3 Background and underpinning HCI theories
    4 Designing effective HCI
    5 Designing effective HCI
    6 Designing effective HCI
    7 Interface elements
    8 Interface elements
    9 Interface elements
    10 Interface devices
    Non teaching week
    11 Designing for diversity
    12 TBA
    13 TBA


    The timetable for on-campus classes for this unit can be viewed in Allocate+


    Assessment weighting

    Assessment for the unit consists of 2 assignments with a weighting of 40% and an examination with a weighting of 60%. Read this section VERY carefully.

    Assessment Policy

    To pass this unit you must:

    obtain at least 40% in each assessable component (that is assignments and examination) AND obtain at least 50% overall.

    Your score for the unit will be calculated by:


    Assessment Requirements

    Assessment Due Date Weighting
    Assignment 1: HCI theory report. (Individual) Week 5 (5pm Friday) 15%
    Assignment 2: The design and development of the user interface for a specific product or organisation. (Group of 3) week 12 (5pm Friday) 25 %
    The exam is 3hours long and is closed book. Exam period (S2/06) starts on 23/10/06 60 %

    Assignment specifications will be made available Handed out early in the semester and on the unit web site.

    Assignment Submission

    Assignments will be submitted by electronic submission to the unit's MUSO website AND by paper to the students' tutor's mail box. An appropriate cover sheet correctly filled out must be attacehd to all assignments. The due date is the date by which the submission must be received/the date by which the the submission is to be posted.

    Extensions and late submissions

    Late submission of assignments

    Assignments received after the due date will be subject to a penalty of 10% per day. Assignments received later than one week after the due date will not normally be accepted.

    This policy is strict because comments or guidance will be given on assignments as they are returned, and sample solutions may also be published and distributed, after assignment marking or with the returned assignment. 


    It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are seldom regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. 

    Requests for extensions must be made by email to the unit lecturer' at least two days before the due date. You will be asked to forward original medical certificates in cases of illness, and may be asked to provide other forms of documentation where necessary. A copy of the email or other written communication of an extension must be attached to the assignment submission.

    Grading of assessment

    Assignments, and the unit, will be marked and allocated a grade according to the following scale:

    Grade Percentage/description
    HD High Distinction - very high levels of achievement, demonstrated knowledge and understanding, skills in application and high standards of work encompassing all aspects of the tasks.
    In the 80+% range of marks for the assignment.
    D Distinction - high levels of achievement, but not of the same standards. May have a weakness in one particular aspect, or overall standards may not be quite as high.
    In the 70-79% range.
    C Credit - sound pass displaying good knowledge or application skills, but some weaknesses in the quality, range or demonstration of understanding.
    In the 60-69% range.
    P Pass acceptable standard, showing an adequate basic knowledge, understanding or skills, but with definite limitations on the extent of such understanding or application. Some parts may be incomplete.
    In the 50-59% range.
    N Not satisfactory failure to meet the basic requirements of the assessment.
    Below 50%.

    Assignment return

    We will aim to have assignment results made available to you within two weeks after assignment receipt.


    Feedback to you

    You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This feedback may be provided through your participation in tutorials and class discussions, as well as through your assignment submissions. It may come in the form of individual advice, marks and comments, or it may be provided as comment or reflection targeted at the group. It may be provided through personal interactions, such as interviews and on-line forums, or through other mechanisms such as on-line self-tests and publication of grade distributions.

    Feedback from you

    You will be asked to provide feedback to the Faculty through a Unit Evaluation survey at the end of the semester. You may also be asked to complete surveys to help teaching staff improve the unit and unit delivery. Your input to such surveys is very important to the faculty and the teaching staff in maintaining relevant and high quality learning experiences for our students.

    And if you are having problems

    It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem with your study. The semester is short, so we can help you best if you let us know as soon as problems arise. Regardless of whether the problem is related directly to your progress in the unit, if it is likely to interfere with your progress you should discuss it with your lecturer or a Community Service counsellor as soon as possible.

    Plagiarism and cheating

    Plagiarism and cheating are regarded as very serious offences. In cases where cheating  has been confirmed, students have been severely penalised, from losing all marks for an assignment, to facing disciplinary action at the Faculty level. While we would wish that all our students adhere to sound ethical conduct and honesty, I will ask you to acquaint yourself with Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Faculty regulations that apply to students detected cheating as these will be applied in all detected cases.

    In this University, cheating means seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in any examination or any other written or practical work to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. It includes the use, or attempted use, of any means to gain an unfair advantage for any assessable work in the unit, where the means is contrary to the instructions for such work. 

    When you submit an individual assessment item, such as a program, a report, an essay, assignment or other piece of work, under your name you are understood to be stating that this is your own work. If a submission is identical with, or similar to, someone else's work, an assumption of cheating may arise. If you are planning on working with another student, it is acceptable to undertake research together, and discuss problems, but it is not acceptable to jointly develop or share solutions unless this is specified by your lecturer. 

    Intentionally providing students with your solutions to assignments is classified as "assisting to cheat" and students who do this may be subject to disciplinary action. You should take reasonable care that your solution is not accidentally or deliberately obtained by other students. For example, do not leave copies of your work in progress on the hard drives of shared computers, and do not show your work to other students. If you believe this may have happened, please be sure to contact your lecturer as soon as possible.

    Cheating also includes taking into an examination any material contrary to the regulations, including any bilingual dictionary, whether or not with the intention of using it to obtain an advantage.

    Plagiarism involves the false representation of another person's ideas, or findings, as your own by either copying material or paraphrasing without citing sources. It is both professional and ethical to reference clearly the ideas and information that you have used from another writer. If the source is not identified, then you have plagiarised work of the other author. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is insulting to the reader and grossly unfair to your student colleagues.


    Communication methods

    First contact regarding the unit is through the tutors. If you need ot contact the lecturer, please email, using the unit code in the subject line.

    Please post general questions into the appropriate section in the online discussion area in MUSO.


    Notices related to the unit during the semester will be placed on the "NEWS" section in the Unit Website. Check this regularly. Failure to read the Notices is not regarded as grounds for special consideration.

    Consultation Times

    Please email for an appointment. Consultation times TBA

    If direct communication with your unit adviser/lecturer or tutor outside of consultation periods is needed you may contact the lecturer and/or tutors at:

    Dr Kathy Lynch
    Senior Lecturer
    Phone +61 3 990 32583
    Fax +61 3 990 32005

    Mr Jacob Zhivov

    Mrs Pamela Spink

    All email communication to you from your lecturer will occur through your Monash student email address. Please ensure that you read it regularly, or forward your email to your main address. Also check that your contact information registered with the University is up to date in My.Monash.

    Last updated: Jul 11, 2006