Welcome to Interaction Programming!
Interactive technology is changing society. Some of today’s interfaces are used by a billion people at a time. Almost everything we create is created for people to use, through user interfaces. We will learn about interactive systems, including programming paradigms and design of event handling, layout, undo, accessibility and context awareness.
For quick links to key things, check out the navbar above and the table of contents here:
- Class Instructors, time and date
- Should I take this class?
- Prereqs and expectations
- Other relevant classes to know about
- Course Structure
- Class Coordination
- Class Expectations
- Late Days
Class Instructors, time and date
CSE 340 will be held on M/W/F at 10:30am Labs will be Thursday morning
CSE 340 is taught by Jennifer Mankoff. Ryan Rowe is Head TA.
|Instructor||Role||Office Hour Time/Location|
|Jennifer Mankoff||Instructor||2:30pm to 4pm, Wednesdays, Gates 211|
|Ryan Rowe||Head TA||Fridays 1:30-3pm, Gates 150|
|Saidutt Nimmagadda||TA||Mondays 12-1pm, Allen Center 021|
|Adam Towers||TA||Tuesdays 5pm-6pm, Gates 131|
|Harshitha Akkaraju||TA||Thursdays 5:30 - 7:30pm Allen Center 021|
Should I take this class?
Yes! Some of today’s interfaces are being used by a billion people at a time. Almost everything we create is created for people to use, and user interfaces are how people interact with anything else you do (whether it is a new machine learning algorithm or a database system). User interfaces are incredibly important, but they also represent a different programming paradigm than you may have learned before. This class will teach you
- How to write an event-driven program which reacts to user input and displays output. If you’ve never done this before, the abstractions you will learn are standard in almost any user interface toolkit. Even if you have, too often, without attention to structure, interfaces become impenetrable spaghetti code.
- How to think about the design of novel interaction techniques. As devices diversify, so too do the ways in which people interact, from voice based interfaces to augmented reality. By understanding the principles of interaction technique design you can do a better job of making interactions that users will want, which improves both the user experience and the business value of what you create.
- How to avoid common gotchas in the implementation of user interfaces. We will teach you the proper way to implement Undo, create Accessible Interfaces. We will also touch on other necessities (no modal dialogues; good use of color; inclusion of support for help and so on).
Taking a class is a big commitment, and you will work hard in this class. So we want to help you make sure this is the right class for you. Below is some information about prerequisites and expectations.
Prereqs and expectations
The only requirement for this class is that you have taken CS 142 and 143 or an equivalent class, meaning you are comfortable programming in Java, and have some experience with data structures. However, if you are not comfortable working in an IDE environment, using version control, and picking up and working with someone else’s library code, you will likely need to plan for extra time with TAs, and possibly attend extra tutoring sessions, to keep up with the class. A good plan is to take 391 just before or concurrently with 340 to learn some of these things.
The specific platform and language for this class are Java on Android phones (or simulators); using the IntelliJ IDE (Android Studio). While Google is switching over to Kotlin, there are good reasons to start learning Android with Java first.
Note that this class is designed for CS majors, and other students who work regularly with information technology and are strong programmers. While we will consider applications from outside the major, in its first year, financial and room restrictions may limit space for such students.
Other relevant classes to know about
There are a number of classes on campus that teach related concepts which you may wish to consider in addition to this one. As of summer, 2018, here are the ones we are aware of:
- HCID 520: User Interface Software + Technology (Wi 17, Wi 16) This course teaches about user interfaces, including what they are, how they are built, and some inventions in user interface software and technology. There are many similarities between these classes. However HCID 520 is only open to MHCI+D students Masters students.
- HCDE 310: Interactive Systems Design & Technology This course is a project based course that teaches how to prototype applications on the web using Python that solve human problems or enable new activities. Includes information about APIs and how people interact with them. It differs from CSE 340 in its choice of platform. Additionally, it doesn’t cover the theory of UI programming, nor issues such as accessibility, undo, and so on.
- HCID 521: Prototyping This class is for the MHCI+D students only and focuses on prototyping techniques, not implementation. It covers everything from paper prototyping to physical interfaces to 3D printing.
- CSE 440: Introduction to HCI; 441: Advanced HCI This is an advanced series of courses for undergraduate seniors. The focus of 440 is less on programming and more broadly on methods for designing, prototyping, and evaluating user interfaces to computing applications, while 441 is an open ended capstone course. These are excellent follow on courses to 340, for a student who wants to go deeper into how to make usable, enjoyable effective interfaces, and how to solve interesting problems with HCI. Related is CSE 510, the HCI course for the professional masters program.
- Optional textbook: (but finding a good introduction of your own is recommended): Android textbook
- Required textbook: UI textbook
- Programming Platforms: Android Platform/Github
Many of the goals in this class center around learning by doing. This means that hands on time trying out everything from implementation to evaluation is critical to learning. An educational approach that can support this is active learning. To support this, readings and videos will be available ahead of class, while class time will be used as much as possible for activities, discussion, review, and homework. This means you’ll be getting information at home and doing problem sets in lecture, rather than the reverse. We will help to support and guide your learning, but your preparation outside of class is essential.
Why break the mold of standard lecture classes? I believe that this will improve your learning.I also value the chance to support you while you do work on assignments and practice material. However this requires you to be independent and accountable for your own learning, stay on top of course materials, bring your questions to class and seek help if there are problems.
This is a challenging, four credit class, meaning you should expect 8 hours of homework a week. We hope make the workload as predictable as possible. You can expect your weeks to look look something like this:
- Monday: Come to class ready for discussion and activity
- Tuesday: Do your Wednesday reading and quiz [10 minutes]
- Wednesday: Come to class ready for discussion and activity; Finish your homework by class today [6-7 hours]
- Thursday: Come to lab ready to work on your homework; do your Friday reading and quiz [10 minutes]
- Friday: Come to class ready for discussion and activity
- Weekend: Focus on your homework. Most Monday classes will have no assigned reading.
Homework takes two forms – exercises and assignments. Exercises are assigned on Thursdays and due on Mondays. Assignments typically have two weekends to be completed.
We want you to succeed in this class, and an important way that you do that is by asking questions and discussing course issues with your peers and teaching staff. Some ways to do that include:
- We have a class discussion board on Piazza, where you can make public posts that benefit the whole class, and are answered more quickly because your fellow students can help the course staff by responding also. This is the best way to ask questions about things like homework. Before posting, please search through the questions that have already been posted in case someone has already asked the same question.
- We hold office hours (see Piazza Staff Page). If none of those times work for you. You can also discuss matters with us privately on Piazza. Using Piazza gets the whole course staff at once and is usually faster than email. Lastly, if none of these work for you you can send an email asking to set up an appointment.
The class is a shared learning environment, and it is important that you treat everyone in the class with respect. Some specific things we will do to try to make the class a welcoming environment:
- Accessibility: I have attempted to make all the course materials accessible according to web standards. If you need any additional support, I am always happy to work with you and the Disabled Students Office to make sure that the class meets your needs
- Inclusivity: I will be working toward a broad base of examples, and a welcoming environment for all. Please let me know if you see opportunities to improve this.
- Sharing and Group Projects: Working together is encouraged, as long as you in the end implement your own code, and make sure to document any information you get from other students in comments at the top of the relevant file. You will work on one of your projects in pairs.
- Pronouns: I use she/her, please let me know if you have any specific pronoun preferences
Grades will be assigned approximately as follows:
- 70%: Assignments
- 10%: Effort, participation and altruism
- 20%: Exams
To estimate your final GPA, multiply your current overall grade (from 0 to 100) by 4 and divide by 100.
Each homework will allow late days with a 10% penalty per day. Partial days may not be used (i.e., 12 hours late is a 10% deduction, not 5%). You are allowed to use up to 2 late days on each assignment, after which turn-ins will be given a zero.
For the quarter, two penalty-free late days are provided which can be used on assignments by filling out the late day request form posted on Piazza.
- Penalty-free late days do not pause late penalty accumulation. For example, one late is day is used, but the assignment is turned in two days late: -20%.