Course Information

The goal of this course is to familiarize you with academic publications on technical systems research in the field of HCI (human-computer interaction). Here are some logistics that will help us achieve this goal.


  • 70% – Piazza written responses for each day's paper, due before each class period (including Wednesdays when the class period is the Design@Large seminar talk). This will comprise the bulk of your grade. For each Piazza response, you will get:
    • full credit for making at least a reasonable effort
    • half credit if it's obvious that you didn't put in an honest effort (according to the “sniff test”)
    • zero points if late or not turned in. We cannot accept late submissions since we will discuss them during each class period, so there's no point in being late.
  • 10% – oral presentation. You will make one oral presentation in class on an assigned paper. Again, full credit for making a reasonable effort, half credit if it's obvious that you didn't put in an honest effort, zero credit for not doing it.
  • 15% – attendance. All class sessions have mandatory attendance with sign-ins at the start of the hour. Here is our policy on excused absences.
  • 5% – following the code of conduct. We expect everyone to get full credit here. We will inform you if you are at risk of getting points taken off here, so if you don't hear anything, then assume you get all the points.

At the end of the quarter, raw point scores are translated into letter grades using the standard letter grade scale.

Our one change to the standard scale is that A+ grades will be given only to exceptionally-performing students, not simply to those who fulfilled all the points, since it's relatively easy to get all of the points if you simply do all of the work to a reasonable standard. A+ will be reserved for exceptional cases.

In this class, as with any, the grade you earn reflects your performance. There is no curve, so you are not competing with your classmates for a limited number of letter grades.

Mandatory Attendance

Class attendance is mandatory. You are allowed two excused absences for the quarter without penalty; thereafter you will receive zero credit for missed class. To receive an excused absence, you must ask the staff in advance on Piazza and receive written confirmation. Excusable absences include family emergencies, out-of-town job interviews, and presenting at a conference. It does not include wanting to leave early for a long weekend or vacation, or attending another class or campus event. Athletes who want to miss more than one class to participate in athletic competitions must make requests during the first week of class.

Code of Conduct

Our priority is to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment so that all students can fully focus on learning. Thus, everyone involved in the course (staff + students) should agree to show respect and courtesy to each other. To make this commonsense phrase more concrete, we have adapted the following Code of Conduct from the Recurse Center:

This course is dedicated to providing a harassment-free learning environment and community for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, religion, or anything else. We do not tolerate harassment in any form.

All communication related to this course, in person and online, should be appropriate for a professional audience including people of many different backgrounds. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate in this course in any context.

While this course as a whole is a professional community, it's also a community of friends. We ask you to be aware of the fact that conversations that may be appropriate within the context of a specific friendship or relationship with another member of the course may be inappropriate in a group conversation with classmates or staff members you don't know well.

Be kind to others. Do not insult or put down others in the course. Behave professionally. Remember that harassment and sexist, racist, or exclusionary jokes are not appropriate for this course.

Thank you for helping make this a welcoming, friendly community for all.

Academic Integrity

The staff works hard to help you learn course concepts and gain the skills necessary to be an ethical member of society. We expect your help in achieving these goals. If you cheat, you not only fail yourself (in that you won't have gained critical skills), but you fail UCSD (by lowering the expected quality of our degrees). Thus, we have a personal responsibility to both you and to your fellow UCSD students – and we take it seriously. So don't cheat. We will submit an allegation report on anyone we believe to be not upholding our academic integrity contract. This is processed through UCSD's Academic Integrity Office.

Aside from being bad for you, cheating is also highly inconsiderate to your classmates, since all the time and energy that the course staff spends dealing with the paperwork of cheating cases means less time to devote to the vast majority of students in class who are doing good honest work.

As a reminder, the following is an excerpt from the UCSD General Catalog section on Academic Dishonesty:

No student shall engage in any activity that involves attempting effort, for example:

  1. No student shall knowingly procure, provide, or accept any materials that contain questions or answers to any examination or assignment to be given at a subsequent time.
  2. No student shall complete, in part or in total, any examination or assignment (including clicker participation) for another person.
  3. No student shall knowingly allow any examination or assignment to be completed, in part or in total, for himself or herself by another person.
  4. No student shall plagiarize or copy the work of another person and submit it as his or her own work.
  5. No student shall employ unauthorized aids in undertaking course work.
  6. No student shall, without proper authorization, alter graded class assignments or examinations and then resubmit them for regrading.