The class CS 6452 Prototyping Interactive Systems also known as HCC 2, was first offered in Spring 2005 and served as a complement to HCC 1.  Whereas, HCC 1 focused on social theory and practice, its counterpart HCC 2 focused on imparting technical skills to HCC students who came from a variety of backgrounds.

Broadly, HCC 2 exposed students to:


  • Technical Doing
  • Technical Writing
  • Technical Reading
  • Technical Thinking

Since the time it has been offered, the class has been taught in rotation by different GVU faculty, and with the exception of a few readings the syllabus for the class roughly remained the same between hand-offs. In Fall 2014, Dr. Gregory Abowd and his team comprising Dr. Elizabeth DiSalvo, Aman Parnami and Zane Cochran (joined the team in Spring 2015 for another similar class) decided to update the syllabus so that it covered skills that were more in line with current technologies.

While the two curriculums are in similar vein of being technically oriented and promoting programming efficacy there are differences in how they approached these overarching goals which are captured by the following table:


Spring 2005- Fall 2013
-class first created by Keith Edwards in Spring 2005 (later offerings taught by Mark Guzdial and Blair MacIntyre)
-fulfilled computational portfolio requirement for HCC students
– building level of competency in building medium scale programs(2000-3000 lines of code)
-GUI, client-server networking,  web services, databases using Jython
– assignments that build up to common project, an instant messaging/chat program

Fall 2014 – Fall 2015
-class revised by Gregory Abowd and team (Aman Parnami, Elizabeth Disalvo, Zane Cochran)
HCC students + MS HCI students across all departments
breadth in hardware and software prototyping

-arduino, processing, laser-cutting, 3D printing,  MIT App Inventor, Android
-baseline assignments to impart skills + personalized project based on common requirements

Table 1. comparison of the old and new curriculums for Prototyping Interactive Systems


The syllabus for the new curriculum drew heavily on the concepts and spirit of the DIY (do-it-yourself) culture and could be seen as a maker-oriented approach to prototyping. My project was an endeavor to package this curriculum so it could be handed off to a new instructor with no experience teaching such a curriculum before.