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Title: The impact of usability : integrating usability engineering into the computing curriculum
Author: Faulkner, Xristine.
ISNI:       0000 0001 2451 1516
Awarding Body: London South Bank University;
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2005
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Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Usability Engineering (UE) are areas of expertise that are still relatively new to computing and many HCI educationalists are still wrestling with methods of teaching in an effective way, a diverse and difficult subject. The teaching of HCI skills is not always undertaken by computing departments; it may be carried out by departments of psychology, ergonomics, business and perhaps even art based subject areas. This probably adds to the diversity of approaches adopted by HCI academics who attempt to fit in with the ethos of their hosting departments. In order to teach students to use effective HCI skills it is necessary to adopt somewhat diverse teaching strategies. The traditional lecture and laboratory based sessions do not lend themselves to providing a ripe environment for those wishing to develop expertise in the area of HCI and related fields. Interpersonal skills and the ability to work in a team are of prime importance to the development of suitable usability skills. Usability experts frequently comment that their interpersonal skills are used not just with users but with their colleagues as well. The Open Ended Group Project (OEGP) is one such way can be used to impart and develop skills which will be useful to the HCI student. The OEGP has no fixed solution and involves working in teams which can and should be multidisciplinary. This provides students with the opportunity to use their skills and the skills of others, and to develop their powers of communication. The OEGP has been used in education for many years but it is comparatively recently that computing education recognised how the OEGP could be adapted to its needs. Usability engineering is a term used to cover a variety of activities. However, a definition of the terms `usability', `usability evaluation' and `usability engineering' is presented here and it is suggested that used in these ways the terms are more useful and specific. This covering paper discusses the work carried out in the field of usability and the teaching of HCI and human factors related courses. It concludes that the teaching of HCI is not typical of the teaching for other computing subjects but that it can provide a rich source of expertise for computing students. It discusses the impact of the OEGP and looks at attempts to define usability engineering as a distinct activity from usability evaluation and usability.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available