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The University Magazine

Human-computer interaction is focus of new degree

Human-computer interaction – the study of design, evaluation and implementation of interactive computing systems to benefit the end user – is the focus of a new Master of Science degree offered through the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. The degree is available either on-campus or online.

“Companies such as Google, Yahoo, Adobe and Oracle are looking for people with in-depth knowledge and skills in developing computing systems that people will enjoy using and want to use,” says Evelyn Rozanski, RIT professor of information technology and a developer of the degree program. “Products with poor usability are costly in terms of errors, unfinished tasks, frustration and even safety.”

The curriculum for the degree includes studies in software development, learning and knowledge management, cognitive psychology, industrial design and game design.

Melissa Spike ’03, a content producer at Fisher-Price, graduated with an M.S. degree in information technology and concentrations in human computer interaction as well as learning and performance technology and multimedia programming.

“From my classes in human factors and interface design, I learned principles of design that apply directly to my current job at Fisher-Price,” says Spike. “I work on some of the more complex toys with speech and multiple modes of play, kid-friendly electronics video games and personal computer software. With more and more computers in homes and so much competition with Web sites and software, consumers are starting to demand interfaces that are easier to use and industry is taking notice. This is only going to increase the need for graduates with degrees in human-computer interaction.”

The master’s degree requires completion of 52-quarter credit hours and a capstone project in which research will be completed in institute labs, including the Usability Testing Laboratory and labs within the Center for Advancing the Study of Cyberinfrastructure.

For more information about the degree program, call 585-475-6791 or visit www.rit.edu/emcs/ptgrad/ online.

Kelly Downs