Digiblog

What is Human-Computer Interaction?

22.03.2016 17:59:50

David (the Head of the programme) please describe, what is the Human-Computer Interaction MA programme about?

The programme is about human-computer interaction (HCI). A field of study that focuses on the design and use of computer technology, particularly on the interfaces between people (users) and computers.

lamas
The Head of the programme David Lamas.

How did the programme come about?

Computers are everywhere, some we can see, some we cannot. How we relate to them has a relevant impact in how we live our lives as individuals, as communities, as a society. The programme was designed to address this challenge and is specially relevant when deployed in e-Estonia.

Why is the Tallinn University School of Digital Technologies the right place for this programme?

In Estonia, Tallinn University is the higher education institution focusing on the human side of computing. In this sense, computing is situated in relevant human-centred settings and we do have a long tradition of doing so.

What are some of the ways that this programme is distinctive internationally, in Estonia?

The Human-Computer Interaction programme is distinctive in the sense that it combines a sound conceptual foundation with core topics intertwined around a transversal projects taking participants from idea generation to product deployment. The programme is also distinctive in the sense that it allows students to build their individual profile around a core set of skills and competences, by providing a range of state of the art courses on elective topics.

What kind of courses will be offered to students?

Courses can vary from being predominately conceptual to offering very pragmatic and hand-on opportunities to students. And they cover a set of topics related with the design, development and evaluation of interactive products.

hci students
HCI students discussing their project.

What kind of students, with what kind of backgrounds, might be interested in this programme?

As HCI is an interdisciplinary study area, we welcome students with a wide variety of backgrounds. We favour those with computing or design backgrounds but no student is excluded based on his initial study area. We favour all interested in improving the way technology is made available to those using it.

What are the practical skills that students acquire during their studies?

Well, students will learn how design, develop and evaluate interactive systems, and they will take these skills further into their personal interests areas when selecting among our choice of electives. Students will also develop autonomous and teamwork skills and they will learn to cooperate in a blend of physical and virtual settings. As we favour problem-based learning, students will be empowered and encouraged to lead, balancing assertiveness with the flexibility required to accommodate peer contributions and feedback. In a nutshell, ready to deal with 21st century challenges.

What jobs will students go on after they graduate?

They become design researchers, interaction designers or user experience specialists. But actually the options are broader. We have a significant number of entrepreneurs among our alumni, and also many serving in medium and top hierarchical strata, in jobs related with their studies.

What in your view is most exciting about this programme?

From an intrinsic perspective, our programme really pushes the boundaries and goes beyond conventional practices and solutions. From an extrinsic perspective, the highlight is definitely the diversity of backgrounds, interests and nationalities of our students.

Text by David Lamas (School of Digital Technologies, the Head of the Human-Computer Interaction programme).

 

Read more about the programme and admission requirements from our webpage.

Ask our student ambassadors what they think about the programme: tlu.ee/ambassadors.

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