April 24, 2011
Some comments about my winter 2011 courses
Can’t believe I am already half way done! I am already on my way back to China, looking forward to spending time with my family and doing an internship this summer, yet my mind is still wrapping up this past semester.
Starting from courses:
SI500 – I learned about great topics in the field of information via experts of those topics. The best thing about this class, in my opinion, was inviting SI professors to give a lecture on their specialty. However, I just wish I had done more reading – sometimes when there is no concrete outcome required, the time originally scheduled for 500 reading was just so easily replaced to do something else. I also keep thinking what else could have been done in the discussion session. We did do a lot of discussion but sometimes I wish there were more diverse forms such as mini-lecture, in-class exercise, or reading synopsis. Overall, I think I did achieve most of the goals that were set in the beginning of the class.
SI622 – Evaluation of Systems and Services, the HCI course for user experience research. This class was heavy!!! On average a group (3-4 people) has to finish an evaluation report (around 4,000 words) every 2-3 weeks. Sometimes we had to work on two projects simultaneously. We did manage to send in all the reports, but I really wish I had more time on the reading! In the last lecture there was a quiz testing concepts from readings… man if the quiz was made as the final, for sure I would not pass. All major UX methods were covered, and there was a great guest lecture on web analytics. If there were more time, I wish we could maybe produce another report using web analytics, and even more other methods could be introduced… well maybe this is just because of my personal interests in UX.
SI658 - Information Architecture: This was taught by an adjunct lecturer, Dan Klyn. He really has wide connections in this industry – he could almost get every author of the books we read to Skype with us in class! You certainly could not expect that in other classes. I think this class would be a great fit for someone with a real project in mind, and then he could apply theories in those books as we progress in class. I wish I had one :( Without a real project I found it hard to visualize those theories sometimes.
SI539- Design of Complex Websites: a required programming class for HCI. My original goal was to establish my own website after the class is done, however, I found myself too busy with meeting assignment requirements to actually pay much attention to the content. As a result, now after the class is done, I still need time to work with the website’s content. Here is my current unfinished site if you do not understand what I mean: http://www.shichen917.appspot.com
Looking back at this past semester, it seems that I could certainly use more time in every class... Maybe it was not just because I didn’t have enough time, but also because I wasn’t sure how I was going to use them in the future. I wish my internship this summer will clear up some doubts and help shape my direction in the future.