Multimedia Tools and Applications

, Volume 76, Issue 4, pp 4895–4923 | Cite as

HCI and education: a blended design experience



Teaching HCI in an undergraduate course for computer scientists is often a challenging experience, because the skills that characterize HCI are different from scientific and computational thinking that are the focus of most subjects of the curriculum. Often HCI teaching is organized as a set of lectures that are useful to learn concepts, but don’t increase the design skills of the students. This work reports the results of an educational experience where both learners and teachers were actively involved in a process of knowledge construction and design. This process usually happens in other domains, such as architecture or industrial design, but is not part of most computer science curricula. We chose as project a challenging theme: the design of eco-feedback interfaces that inform people about the consequences of their actions for the environment and help to take decisions for lowering energy consumption. Eco-feedback interfaces are also representative of the gap between the products available on the market and the results of scientific studies, evidenced also by a recent workshop about HCI education. The workshop evidenced a number of pitfalls in HCI education that in our educational experience we tried to overcome with appropriate methodologies. An additional challenging task was the attempt to organize all the design activities taking advantage of a platform for remote learning, stressing its limits. The paper will discuss all these issues, evidencing where the applied methodologies gave good results and where they need further improvements, with the final goal of giving useful advices for HCI educational experiences to come.


Design thinking Eco-feedback Education Environmental awareness HCI teaching Interfaces for children Prototyping tools Remote learning 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Università Ca’ Foscari VeneziaMestre VeneziaItalia

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