Undergrad LSoCS students & world-class interaction design

Research and design work carried out by 2nd year Lincoln School of Computer Science students has recently been recognised as excellent, through the acceptance of a paper describing that work to ACM CHI 2013, the worlds leading conference in the field of Human-Computer Interaction.

We have recently redesigned the Human-Computer Interaction module, which is taken by most 2nd year students in the Lincoln School of Computer Science. The module focuses on the processes of user-centered, experience centered, and participatory design. Students are given a design challenge at the beginning of term and required to go through the process of designing technological solutions to that challenge, using cutting edge research and design techniques from the field of Human Computer Interaction. Crucially, the design challenges revolve around technology for which our undergraduate students are the intended users. So, the entire module is an exercise in participatory design, where students experience the various roles of participant, researcher and designer.

This year, the design challenge was derived from the HEFCE-funded “KillaWhats?” project. This project revolves around the design of energy interventions for student accommodation – a problematic design space, since the majority of student accommodation involves a flat rate for electricity. There is relatively little incentive for people living in shared student accommodation to reduce energy consumption. We felt that undergraduate students themselves would be the best people to explore and investigate the various challenges and opportunities facing technologies that aim to persuade students to use electricity more efficiently.

We were astounded by the exceptional quality of work carried out by the students – so much so that we decided to submit a brief paper describing some of the work undertaken as part of the module. This paper was accepted to the conference as a “Work-in-Progress” and will be presented by Derek Foster and Conor Linehan in Paris in late April. Due to the huge amount of rich, diverse data generated by students, we are intending on analyzing this work in-depth in the coming months and submitting a full paper to the main track of ACM CHI 2014.

Well done to all the 2nd year students and a big thank you for all the effort you put in!

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