HCI-CSCL: Final Textbook Journal

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Submit a paper of about 5-10 single-spaced pages containing your textbook journal. This should be a compilation and summary of the notes you kept in your journal about the textbook chapters during the quarter.

Start your journal with an abstract, introduction or executive summary that provides an overview of what you have to say about the textbook. Conclude your journal with a critical evaluation of the textbook and how it supported the course.

Place a title, your name and the date at the top of your paper. Number the pages. Save your paper with a file name of your last name and "_journal" (e.g., stahl_journal.doc). Submit your Word document as an attachment to an email to: Gerry.Stahl@drexel.edu.

Email your paper by midnight of the due date. Grades will be substantially reduced for late papers.


HCI-CSCL Textbook Journals


Submit a paper of about 5-10 single-spaced pages containing your textbook journal. This should be a compilation and summary of the notes you kept in your journal about the textbook chapters during the quarter.
Start your journal with an abstract, introduction or executive summary that provides an overview of what you have to say about the textbook. Conclude your journal with a critical evaluation of the textbook and how it supported the course.

Ranking by instructor

The journals reflected a variety of styles and approaches, from various outlining techniques to reflections on the personal impact of central ideas in each chapter. They also varied depending upon the writers’ professional backgrounds and concerns. In general, most people seemed to find the textbooks accessible, informative, stimulating, helpful and relevant to the course. The journals submitted on time showed that their authors had read the assignments with a certain level of care. I include some of the summary comments below:


Dorian Bowen
My approach to the textbook journal was to take notes that supplemented the interactive experiences with my group. For each chapter I focused on key points that were then practically applied to our wiki pages, conceptual design prototype, and analyses. The textbook itself was straightforward. The topics were logically organized. I found it to be a quick and useful reference throughout the quarter.
Joseph Detri
I felt that overall this book was a worthwhile read and really gave me insight upon how people think and how to design products for users. More surprisingly it changed the way I think, I began analyzing things that I do on a daily basis and look at items around me and conclude whether they were designed successfully and with the end user in mind.
Its funny how a book can change the way one thinks, I do not look at doors the same anymore you begin to notice simple things. Stupid little errors that designers made that could easily be improved upon. And then you wonder how they did not see them. For example my light switches at home, how could the builder have not noticed that the light switches in the bathroom were wired backwards? Was he just careless during his installation or does he really thinks that the light switch should follow the fan switch? I also began to notice successful changes like Microsoft Office 2007, many users from the older generations complain about how confusing the new product is, however conducting research amongst users learning it for the first time they say how wonderful the layout is with images corresponding with their outcome.
Overall I have found this book to be a wonderful addition to Human Computer Interaction, many of Normans observations can be applied to our groups design project. We can use his example of successful button mapping and some of his observations about users to layout our interface to be intuitive and welcoming to a user.
Missing review of the online textbook.
Greg Felber
Norman’s book helped show the flaws in modern day design. It showed the ideology behind common objects that we normally would never think of. I felt all the examples were very well thought out and showed us what types of things we needed to think about when designing something for an everyday user. It is true that already I am not an everyday user, I have always been able to figure things out with a bit of work, but reading the book made me realize that that extra work shouldn’t exist in a working design. It should be intuitive and easy for anyone to figure out. The book did start to repeat itself about halfway through.
The online text book is what the class is about, and the information it contains is exactly what we need to know. It breaks down each chapter very nicely into easily understood steps, and is a great tool that I will probably come back to sometime in the future. I now understand the steps that we are going through in our own software development and I feel that every section covered is important and that the reading should be kept the same for your next class. I think if that we would be better off if the book was more of a focus than some of the readings we are required to do presentations on.
Robert Krause
The textbook Interactive Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction is a recent work describing the history and advances of designing products, websites and their interfaces. It itself is a clearly written interactive tome with an interlude format. This comes from the breaks in the text provided by suggested activities, invitations to websites for further information, and sidebar style boxes providing elaboration to the specificities of the text.
While the subject matter is advanced in nature, the author’s style is extremely clear, and the book was actually quite pleasant to read, a far cry from many similarly orientated texts.
The review seemed to run out mid-way through the book.
Javier Lanchang
With each additional chapter, the focus changed between users, the interface, and the evaluator in attempts to analyze the interface more effectively. Even within the context of the users, the multiple approaches to analyzing the use of an interface whether from user physical responses, user verbal responses, or observation of the user shows how even within the one view, there can be different approaches to obtaining the information.
As the class progressed, the Wiki group project and readings further enhanced the book readings. I found my journal changing after chapter five from the interface samples to the processes discussed. The book provided a framework for this class for me.
Constantine Lazarakis
On the other hand though, there are issues that –in my opinion- are prohibiting this text from being called “great”. I briefly expand on these:
The book does not follow a fundamental principal of design: “Keep it simple”. By unnecessarily repeating text over and over again from one chapter to another, it becomes uninteresting and sometimes offends the reader’s intelligence; despite the fact that repetition aids in learning, it’s just too much.
The book would do its readers a great service, if it expanded a little more on basic notions involved in design, in general: e.g. the (subtle) differences between what is meant by ‘original’ versus what is meant by ‘innovation’ ; planning and design, etc.
According to my opinion this book would much have benefited the reader if it dealt in sufficient detail with the new communications capability of the internet for collective or collaborative design efforts; peer-to-peer networks and communities; working with Wiki for conceptual design and beyond; or the Grid, a worldwide collection of computers of extreme performance that allow huge problems to be approached, including ones of design.
A detailed analysis of the content of the text.
Jason Lee
This book served two purposes that I can tell – inform the reader that there is more to this domain than just human-computer interfacing and to help the reader understand how to perform interactive design. The book achieved these two purposes for sure. However, there were many portions of the book that were extraneous or extremely wordy. There was relatively little information about how to create a conceptual model.
The interviews, side boxes, activities, and figures were all helpful in teaching the principles of the respective chapters. I was somewhat confused as to why some boxes or interviews were longer in content than others – perhaps indicating relative importance. But they were, in general, helpful to the reader.
As stated previously, the purpose of reading this textbook for me was to gain insight into HCI (or as I learned, interactive design) so that I could use it immediately in my career as a software engineer. Though I would have preferred a more concise reading, it served my purpose and I believe I have come away from this course and this textbook with a fairly solid understanding of interactive design and evaluation.
Jolene Noyes
There is so much associated with software and product development that I was not aware of. When I stop and think about it, I should have realized that all the evaluations and user studies would go into building of a computer product, but somehow it never really occurred to me. I, for one, just get on the computer, turn on my program and go. Never really thinking about how it was developed. So, I am glad for this knowledge. I will certainly think differently now. And, it is a good thing, although I am not a computer science major, nor have any desire to be, I am a computer user and need to be somewhat of an “expert” with relation to the patrons needs of a librarian. So, I feel that this textbook and the information in it were very helpful.
A thoughtful relating of the text to personal concerns.
Justin Patterson
Clayton Lewis and John Rieman expand upon Norman's ideas, applying them to the computer world more so than Norman could due to the technology of the times. It is interesting to note that many of the fundamental issues touched upon by Norman are still prevalent in a somewhat different user realm, the user interface. To close the gap between the “user model” and the “design model" in terms of technology, designers of systems need to test users before distributing their products.
Available in hypertext at: http://vmt.mathforum.org/vmtwiki/index.php/User:Jhp33.
Erik Poole
The most important aspect of this book is how it supported the work done in the course. The fundamental theories covered in the textbook provided a good overview of how to design an application. One important note is how the book emphasized the user throughout the entire process. This is important in the design of every application, but it may be even more so when designing applications for CSCL. This field relies on the user experience more so than most other applications. For a CSCL application to be successful, it is absolute necessary for the needs and requirements to be identified and implemented.
An extensive discussion of the chapters.
Amanda Tockert
I found this to be a superb text. Information was clearly stated. Illustration helped to convey the meaning of the text and strategically used text boxes really pointed to the important ideas. The authors of this text are well read and eloquent in their presentation of the information available. They succeed in making the student wish to further their research. Few text book I have read draw you in and make you want to turn the page, this one pulls it off. Each chapter reviews the information from the last while pulling the reader seamlessly into the new information and pushing them on into the next chapter eager to know what happens next with a project or design that has been showcased. Each major idea of the text is highlighted by real world examples which make it easier for students new to the topic to understand and retain the knowledge presented to them.
Each chapter built on the last and seemed to sync up well with the course work as well. Much of the information that was needed for the assignments was easily locate in this text. This was a rare joy to find an understandable and enjoyable textbook. Unlike others that I have read and could not wait to sell back this book has a place on my book shelf, as I am sure I will be able to use the ideas in other areas of study and because some of the stories I would like to keep up with and see how they turn out.
Zdravko Tyankov
I’ve been interested in web design and development for quite a while now. Norman’s book gave me some great insights on things that I was doing, which were wrong from user and usability point of view, and things that I should start doing when designing a new interface or a whole system. Overall this was a great read.
A lot of the information presented in the Lewis and Rieman book helped us improve on our group design project. We spent hours refining our screens. Overall this book was fun, but a little harder to read. It can be considered the essential continuation of Norman’s ideas.
Sarah Westley
I felt that the textbook supported the course most excellently. There were passages that seemed familiar because they were reiterated within the course and in the themes of our group projects. When I was reading I could see in the frameworks provided by the authors enriched our viewpoint and explained why we examined one of the frameworks and not the others. This was especially true in Chapter 8 when reading about distributed cognition, grounded theory, and activity theory.
Chanthy Yoeun
Everything that I have read and learned in this textbook, I was able to apply to the weekly group assignments. The knowledge that I gained can help me better understand the idea of interaction designs and how it can affect the user community. Also, how the integration of well-designed conceptual model of a computer based media to support and help the user community.
Picks out a couple of take-away points in each chapter.

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