HCI (CS7650) — An OMSCS Review

Abhijith C
2 min readJan 6, 2024


Photo by Amélie Mourichon on Unsplash

Originally published in my blog.

As I inch closer to the culmination of my academic journey, I selected my courses for this semester aiming to strike a balance between relevance and manageability — Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Game AI (GAI). The former was intended to be a light but pertinent addition to complement the ML specialization that I am pursuing.

So, HCI wasn’t about coding, but more about papers. The lectures were solid, though. We got into user experience, how to design interfaces for computers, and putting users first, scientific approach to interface creation, etc. It was fascinating, to be honest.

Grades were a mix of assignments (30%), projects (15% + 15%), and tests (30%). Assignments were like baby steps into redesigning or creating interfaces. We did this waterfall model thing, step by step, twice for two interfaces which involved coming up with prototypes for a redesign, running evaluations (surveys, etc.) to gather real human feedback, incorporating those feedback and redesigning the interface, running final evaluations and finally telling what worked and what didn’t. Then came the big ones: a team project (15%) and an individual project (15%), both ending with a hefty 30-page paper.

Tests were open-everything — book, internet, the works. Just had to dive into lecture videos and readings for prep. And yeah, class participation points, as usual.

What’s cool about HCI is it’s all practical. You’re not just learning theories; you’re actually creating stuff. Assignments guide you through making prototypes, collecting feedback, and redesigning based on real human opinions. The projects bring it all together, showing how well you can use what you’ve learned.

HCI is like a mix of theory and real-world action, and it’s perfect for anyone who wants to get how people and computers can get along better. Getting an A is totally doable with some focus on lectures and the class readings. It was a good course to combine with GAI which was more code heavy.