INFM 204-10 (2 Units)
Human Centered Design
Spring 2021 Syllabus

Dr. Virginia Tucker
Office Hours: By appointment

Syllabus Links
Course Learning Objectives (CLOs)
Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)
Canvas Login and Tutorials
iSchool eBookstore

Canvas information: This two-unit course runs from March 15 to May 17, 2021. The class will be available on Canvas on March 15. You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course seminarsKick-off seminar will be held Thursday, March 18, 6-7 pm PT, to help orient students to the course assignments and provide a live venue for Q&A; students may participate in the Kick-off or watch the recording. Project Presentation seminars, where students give interactive talks on their projects, will be held May 11 and 12, 6-8 pm PT; students will participate in one of the seminars (and are welcome to come to both). There will be a poll distributed for seminar date sign-ups; sign up early to be sure of getting your first choice. See further information below under Assignments. All seminars are held via Zoom.

Course Description

INFM 204 covers designing and developing user-centered knowledge structures for the Web environment. Core topics are: problems addressed by effective design for human-computer interaction; how to design for findability; design thinking concepts and tools; prototyping; and informing stakeholders about a content-rich product. This two-unit course is an offering of SJSU’s School of Information, which offers all courses completely online.

Course Requirements

General Requirements

  • Meet the iSchool home computing requirements for students:  
  • Keep up with assigned readings and recordings, complete assignments to the best of your ability, and engage thoughtfully in the discussions.
  • Check the course site daily for announcements and discussion posts.
  • Submit all assignments by the due date. Late assignments are not accepted except in cases of serious sudden illness or family emergency.

Textbooks & Further Readings

  • Be sure to purchase correct editions of the required textbooks, described below.
  • Readings in addition to the textbooks will be provided on the course site.


Course assignments, their graded weight, and the CLOs they support:

  • Heuristics Critique. Evaluate a website using composite design heuristics and principles as criteria, discuss findings in small groups, then submit a written summary. Supports CLOs 3 and 4 and serves as preparation for course project. (15% of grade)
  • Design Project, with 3 deliverables as outlined below. Supports CLOs 1,2,3,4,5
    • Project Proposal (10% of grade) A structured Proposal is the initial phase of the project, communicating to stakeholders the project's scope, plan for deliverables, and team composition.
    • Presentation (15% of grade) Students present on their projects in a seminar setting (small groups of colleagues in the class), giving an overview of the project, their preliminary documents and recommendations, and eliciting feedback to improve the final deliverables.  See Seminar dates above; slides are due 2 days before presentation.
    • Project Report (40% of grade) The project report has multiple components, such as executive summary, project objectives, usage scenarios, site model documents and final recommendations.
  • Discussion Forums (20% of grade) Participation in discussions is an important component of the course. Posts need not be lengthy but must be timely, constructive, and address the questions posed.
    4 forums, each aligned with module topics. Support CLOs 1,2,3.

Course Calendar

Module Topics Dates Assignments
& Due-dates
1 Introduction:
  to the course; to the nature of human-centered design
March 15-18 Forum 1: Introductions,
posts due 3/16 & 3/18
2 Understanding users:
  user experience, user perception, user research
March 19-28
Forum 2: UX,
posts due 3/24 & 3/28
  Spring Break March 29-April 2  


Design principles:
  heuristics, best practices, design thinking
Design processes: 
  planning, collaborating, making it happen
April 3-11 (extended) Critique Findings Forum,
posts due 4/7 & 4/9
Critique Summary
due 4/11
4 Communicating to stakeholders:
  documenting design processes & deliverables, the project proposal
April 12-18 Forum 3: Communicating,
posts due 4/16 & 4/18
5 Tools overview:
  tools for design & prototyping
  tools for user research
April 19-25 Project proposal due 4/25
6 Tools in action:
  exploring, evaluating, applying
April 26-May 2 Forum 4: Tools,
1st post due 5/2
7 Iteration in design:
  eliciting & incorporating feedback, preparing for it
May 3-9 Forum 4: Tools cont'd,
2nd post due 5/9
8 Worktime:
  presentation seminars held; project reports completed
May 10-17 Seminars 5/11 & 5/12
Report due 5/17

A detailed calendar will be available on the first day of the course. Due-dates above are subject to minor changes with plenty of notice.


Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

Graduate Standing or Instructor Consent

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Differentiate between design thinking and user experience recognizing and explaining how they complement each other.
  2. Refine interaction designs by studying the user's experience.
  3. Evaluate and use appropriate tools to create design deliverables.
  4. Apply best practices in information architecture (IA) to iterative design.
  5. Communicate HCI design deliverables to project stakeholders.

SLOs and PLOs

This course supports Informatics SLO 4: Use best practices in Web application design and information architecture to design and develop user-centered knowledge structures for the Web environment and to communicate deliverables to project stakeholders.

SLO 4 supports the following Informatics Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs):

  • PLO 1 Apply technology informatics skills to solve specific industry data and information management problems, with a focus on usability and designing for users.
  • PLO 4 Identify user needs, ideate informatics products and services, prototype new concepts, and evaluate a prototype's usability.
  • PLO 5 Work collaboratively in teams and use project management practices effectively to solve user-centric information and data problems.


Required Textbooks:

  • Rosenfeld, L., Morville, P., & Arango, J. (2015). Information architecture: For the web and beyond (4th ed.). O'Reilly Media. Available through Amazon: 1491911689arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain
  • Sharp, H., Preece, J., & Rogers, Y. (2019). Interaction design: Beyond human-computer interaction (5th ed.). John Wiley & Sons. Available through Amazon: 1119547253arrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation. You must repeat the class if you wish to stay in the program. If - on the second attempt - you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.

In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.

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