Special topics courses

Special topics courses include courses that address a current or timely topic, that are in a "pilot" phase before being offered on an ongoing basis, or that are known to be one time offerings. Special topics course offerings can vary from term to term.  This list includes course descriptions and meeting information for current UMSI Special Topics courses.

Fall 2018

699.001 UX Research and Design (Tawanna Dillahunt)- Mastery Course
This course will require you to demonstrate mastery in application of design theories, concepts, and principles to defining valid problems, uncovering user needs, articulating service requirements, documenting UX research results, proposing, refining, and prototyping design solutions, and communicating with stakeholders effectively. You will have opportunities to integrate methods and theories about user experience design in this course by engaging in a whole process from identifying design issues to developing design solutions. You will work on a single project end-to-end during the semester. You will either work on a project individually or in pairs. For the most part, you will choose and design projects from scratch, though projects for real-world clients will be allowed as long as you meet the course requirements.


699.002 UX Research and Design (Silvia Lindtner)- Mastery Course
User Experience Research & Design is an interdisciplinary approach to technology that emerged out of earlier research and design methods and fields including but not limited to Participatory Design, Human-Computer Interaction and User Interface Design. It is often understood as a reaction to and intervention into engineering approaches to technological development. User Experience Research and Design as such can mean a variety of approaches and range of activities – often what is meant is highly dependent on the specific culture of an employer or the institution. Across various instantiations it is always though some form of blend of social scientific, technical, creative, and critical thinking skills, and this course will reflect this interdisciplinary commitment.

Experience design is both fascinating and challenging because of its elusive character and its politics of inclusion. What is experience? Who gets to say so? What makes an experience fun, challenging, novel, or different? Are experiences shared, individual, or collective? How is it that some people are excluded from certain experience spaces? Is it possible to design experiences, or can we only design interactive things? Who is the user in user experience design? And what form can design take in user experience design? The first weeks of the class “Understanding User Experience Design” will help you articulate answers to these questions as well as work out your own approach to user experience design. The second part of the course “Prototyping and Hacking User Experience Design” will be focused on the hands-on engagement with a user experience design project.


699.003 Developing Social Computing Applications (Michael Hess)- Mastery Course
The mastery course provides students in opportunity to develop and demonstrate mastery in user research, application design, and system implementation by creating novel social computing applications. This course will challenge students to build on prior coursework in human-computer interaction and programming to apply and adapt their existing skill sets to identify and solve the problems that arise in the design of a new social computing systems, including the areas of user experience, technical implementation, and stakeholder communication. It is intended for students who want to go beyond prototypes to understand the full experience of creating and launching a new system.

This course is intended to be very advanced in nature, and assumes that students will approach the course with a solid design, user research, and technical foundation. This course will result in at least 3-4 items for a student's portfolio.