Musings about Coursera’s HCI course

As I have exactly six weeks between the end of Coursera’s NLP course and the beginning of design school (and because I envision some knowledge of HCI will be useful in the next two years, even if what I’m going to learn might need to be “unlearned”) I took the plunge and enrolled in Coursera’s HCI course, taught by Stanford’s Prof. Scott Klemmer.

Coursera bills HCI as a “computer science” course, but from what I’ve seen so far, it’s decidedly not one. For one, the word you hear the most in the video lectures is the word “design”. One of the lectures in its second set of lectures talks about ethnography. And the assignments are hinged upon a set of design briefs and require you to do your own ethnographic research and your initial design is going to be peer critiqued. Plus the professor calls the advanced track of the course the studio track.

Seriously, when have you seen the words “ethnography” (or “studio”, even) and “computer science” used together in the same sentence?