December 12, 2010
End of the Fall 2010 Semester: Wrap-up and Look-ahead
Almost everyone would say: “I can’t believe how quickly it goes!” Yes I feel the same way, but somehow I feel this has also been a slow-going semester, probably because I’ve learned so much in relatively such a short time.
It is hard to summarize the overall gain, but I am trying:
A. I got myself into the world of HCI! It has been a long way from the initial contact and interest to the final decision of completing this specialization requirement. I feel fearless with full passion! Sometimes I told myself I could still go back to the museum world if I fail in HCI, but I want to make a difference! This time, first and foremost for my own interest and passion! In the meantime, after all, I don’t want to give up on LIS (because of all the connections with my previous background), so I will keep both of them going for now.
B. I’ve learned plenty of new perspectives from great classes, in particular, SI502 for programming and networked computing, SI 688 for new perspectives of learning human behavior in application to interactive system design and evaluation.
C. I start to have the sense of belonging to the great SI community. I got THE BEST team work experience with my 501 group (thanks again Brian, Jeff, and Emily!). I am looking forward to melting into SI more~
D. In addition to the study, I am slowly adjusting to the life in Ann Arbor. I’ve seen the greatest snow in my life today and took an outdoor adventure to take photos (to share with my family in China) ~ The snow and coldness somehow gives me the clarity of mind.
There got to be more but these are all for now. So, looking ahead next semester:
A. I want to make more friends at SI…maybe consider going to the happy hours? Yeah I admit I’ve been a little introvert this semester due to the heavy coursework, but that is just an excuse. SI people I am coming at you in January~
B. By taking the essential “user experience research” class SI 622 “Evaluation of Systems and Services”, I hope to have a much clearer idea of what I can do within HCI.
C. More training on programming and design through SI 539 “Design of Complex Websites.”
D. Find a good summer internship in China – where I want to work after graduation, of course!
I will finish up everything tomorrow and fly back to China the day after. See you all in the new semester~
December 06, 2010
What resources are out there for course advising?
Selecting what classes to take next semester is tricky. It has to do with how you want to shape your career path through your time at SI and what classes might help fulfill that goal. On a more practical level, it also means arranging your classes in a way that you can finish requirements for the MSI degree in four semesters (and also for your specialization(s) or making a better statement as a tailored student). I have been exploring resources for course advising for the past month and gladly just finalized my course schedule for winter 2011. In the following I am going to talk about general information for MSI students as well as some specified sources for HCI.
If you are already on a certain track in terms of specializations or interested in new specialization, the tap sheets offer a range of classes under the specialization. The ones with * count for more than one specialization. Then find the course descriptions and get a basic idea. Sometimes there will be links to the past syllabus.
The faculty advising is only open for two weeks. Make sure you grab your professors as soon as you can! This is also what I found most useful. Not only come to faculty for whom you have explicit questions, but also to those you just find interesting and want to chat with. There is no rule that says you can’t use these 20 minutes and just chat with them~~ Sometimes the loose chatting leads to really good inspiration. However, before your appointment, even if you just want to “chat,” prepare for explaining what you want to learn from them.
Sometimes there are faculty group advising for specific specializations, in which several professors will be invited for giving suggestions and answering questions. I didn’t go this time, but I saw the meeting summary from previous years, which is really helpful.
3. Peer advising
This is usually held among specialization groups (LIS, HCI, ARM…). You will receive email announcements from those groups. It will be casual, sometimes over lunchtime, but it is nice to gather in the community and learn the “unofficial” comments of courses.
4. Online records and discussions
There seems no centralized forum for course advising, but you can either send an email to si.all.open or look at the discussion threads that someone else started. I found the SOCHI web page on “Academic” really helpful, although a little outdated and no one seems posting for this year…
Last but quite important: after you decide what classes to take, as soon as your registration appointment opens, get in there and register! I was amazed how quickly classes got full for both of my registrations (for fall 2010 and winter 2011). You will regret if you don’t go there immediately and lose the class you want to take most!