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Human Computer Interaction Closes The Software Engineering Gap

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Programming Issues for Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.678.1 - 9.678.6



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John Fernandez

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract


John D. Fernandez, Ph.D. Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi


With the pervasiveness of computers throughout our environment, there is a growing demand for diligent Human Computer Interaction (HCI) education of graduate and undergraduate students to close the gap left by software engineering education. This paper describes one approach to teaching HCI while requiring students to develop systems for various city, school, and university organizations. The benefits derived by the students and the clients receiving their services are many. There is a wide range of opportunities for community-based HCI education. The various client applications provide a plethora of learning scenarios that don’t fit into the software engineering paradigm. The process, experience, and results of HCI education that closes the gap are presented in this paper.


There is growing interest in exploring the benefits of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) design in computer science education programs. The prominence of the Internet and associated Web applications has propelled HCI issues to the forefront of the discussion on software development. Since software engineering is geared more towards the development of large-scale systems, there is an education gap in many computer science programs that don’t include a design and implementation course for small to medium size systems that emphasize user interaction. The best course to close the gap is a course in HCI that includes hands-on development efforts with real users.

At Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, the author experimented with a paradigm that is community-based HCI (CB-HCI) to close the gap in the education of students. This initial experiment was with a graduate course in HCI, but the same paradigm is to be applied to the undergraduate HCI course. Before relating the details of the process and paradigm, it seems appropriate to discuss some fundamental concepts of HCI for those who may not be as familiar with the topic.

HCI Fundamentals and Software Engineering

There are few good textbooks that address HCI with the rigor and span that is appropriate. The three most commonly cited by authors are the books by Preece et al.7, Shneidereman10 and Rosson & Carroll9. McCracken and Wolfe6 provide a definition for HCI that includes its major components: Human-computer interaction is a discipline concerned with the design, evaluation, and implementation of interactive computing systems for human use and with the study of major

Proceedings of the 2004 American society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Fernandez, J. (2004, June), Human Computer Interaction Closes The Software Engineering Gap Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13513

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