The Institute for Information Technology at Thames Valley University is
pleased to accept applications for its MSc in Computing Interaction
September 2008 & February 2009
Full Time: 12 Months for taught modules (N.B. Those who start in
February may require 15 Months to complete) plus dissertation time ( up
to 2 semesters )
Part Time: 2 Years for taught modules (delivered in the evenings) plus
dissertation time (up to 2 semesters)
Postgraduate Diploma or Certificate in CID can also be obtained in less
time after the completion of a combination of taught modules.
* The integration of both technical and creative skills that are
needed for usable successful interactive products.
* In-depth knowledge of the user, reflecting the state of the art
of research and practice in industry and academia.
* Close involvement of speakers from industry and access to a
network of interaction design employers.
* Careers advice and assistance with CV preparation and job
Interaction design is becoming more challenging because of advances in
technology - pervasive, ubiquitous, multimodal and adaptive - are
changing the nature of interactive systems such as those for the
internet, interactive TV, games and mobile devices.
The context is further complicated when these changes are combined with
newer development processes focused on rapid application development,
agile and extreme programming and the recognition that users need to be
placed at the centre of design process.
Given this scenario, this programme focuses on a specific element of the
systems design process - namely the capture of requirements, the design
of user interactions and their presentation to the user in increasingly
The Programme addresses three key strands of study. These strands
provide a coherency and structure to the Programme which will enable
students to get maximum benefit from the Programme. The strands within
the Programme are:
Current Design Practice
This strand focuses on the methods of analysis and design currently used
in Industry. The focus on interaction design allows students to gain an
insight into a vast array of interactive systems in different platforms,
including mobile. The strand further develops this theme by providing
students with a thorough grounding in the current highly user oriented
aspects of the IT industry. As new technologies emerge their integration
into users' everyday lives is of outmost importance.
Advances in Technology
This strand provides students with a focus on the key interactive
technologies that underpin new paradigms of interaction. Students
develop detailed practical knowledge cutting edge areas in mobile
devices, multimedia technology and social software.
Management and Social, Legal and Ethical Issues
This strand enables students to gain a detailed awareness of the key
issues that surround the design and integration of interactive systems,
with an emphasis on the challenges posed by participatory design.
Students will gain knowledge of the change management issues facing
organizations as they introduce user-centred design and development
methods as well as the legal and social issues surrounding this area.
Design for Mobile Devices
From the humble beginnings of pocket calculators and pagers, through to
modern PDAs and portable games consoles, the acceptance and widespread
use of mobile devices has grown exponentially in the last forty years as
has the technology. Multifunctional devices combining telephony,
wireless networking and multimedia capture and playback are now
commonplace. This module explores the unique issues and opportunities
that designing for mobile devices present, such as limited design
spaces, presentation and accessibility issues and design for
multi-platform applications. Students will gain an in-depth
understanding of the design process and hand-on experience in developing
for a variety of contemporary devices.
User Centred Design
This module aims to provide the student with a good understanding of
user-centred design (UCD) principles and frameworks. This is
accomplished by introducing the student to various requirement
elicitation and evaluation techniques involving users, including the
practice of adopting a socio-technical approach for the design of
interactive systems. All phases of the process will be described,
critically analysed and exemplified. The practical exposition UCD
techniques will be executed through the use of low fidelity prototyping
scenarios. The integration of UCD with novel software developments
methods, such as Agile, is also discussed.
On completion of this module the students will have understood the way
in which UCD and prototyping techniques are used within the general
practice of software engineering.
Advanced Rich Media
This module provides the essential knowledge and skills concerning the
design, evaluation and implementation of interactive computing systems
for human use and the major phenomena surrounding them. HCI itself is an
interdisciplinary area. It is emerging as a specialty concern within
several disciplines such as computer science, psychology and industrial
design, each with different emphases. In this module the focus is on
computing aspects of HCI - the application, design and engineering of
On completion of this module the students will have understood the way
in which knowledge of human computer interaction is used within the
general practice of software engineering.
Interactive Systems Prototyping
Prototyping is particularly meaningful as a design model for developing
interactive software and systems. The process of putting together, and
iteratively refining, a working model (prototype) in order to test
designs, illustrate ideas or features and to gather user feedback is
well-suited to software and systems where there is a high degree of
This module provides an in-depth understanding of prototyping in all its
forms. Utilising standard scripting languages, the module also provides
students with the opportunity to explore and exploits the use of
prototyping in the specification, design and development of an
interaction-intensive digital artefact.
Designing Social Software
This module explores the use of the world wide web (www) as a mechanism
for the creation and support of social networks and as an enabler for
collaborative cognition and communities of practice.
The growth of the social web (Web 2.0) is considered from psychosocial,
historical and technical standpoints. Students will have the opportunity
to develop their design knowledge and technical skills within the
context of Web 2.0, in order to produce social applications. Such
applications may be designed from the bottom up, or be the combination
(mashup) of content from more than one third party source accessed via
public interfaces or APIs (application programming interfaces).
This module provides a grounding in research methods which is at Masters
level. The module is free-standing, but links easily with subsequent or
concurrent preparation of a dissertation. The module addresses core
content areas appropriate to research in a management context, and
supports participants to achieve appropriate levels of competence in
these areas. It will be equally relevant to all participants who wish to
broaden their armoury of research tools, and deepen their understanding
of issues relating to management research - whether that is for
work-related purposes or in support of further academic work.
The module is intended to equip participants with an overview of
research methods across a broad range of management contexts. It builds
on technical expertise which the students may have from previous - or
may acquire concurrently as they study this module.
The dissertation provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate the
mastery of a particular subject area by the completion of an extended
piece of self-managed research. The aim of the dissertation is to
develop and test your ability to conceptualise, appraise and critically
evaluate a significant topic in the field of the Masters through a
process of research and present findings in the form of a 15,000 word
Typical employment prospects will be end-user IT organizations with
roles such as interaction designer, usability engineer, information
architect and user experience consultant where roles such as Senior
Consultant and Project Manager will be common.
For more information please contact Dr. Jose Abdelnour-Nocera at
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