Researcher journals are an important part of the deliverables in this course. 

Instructions on how to post your entries in your researcher journal are found further below.

Journal entry: Reflections on the assigned readings

Due: by 5:00 PM the night before readings are covered in class. This is a strict cut-off. (Note: we reserve the right to change this time within the term.)

What is the benefit of the course readings?  Sometimes, doing the class reading can seem like one more thing in a long list of to-dos each week.  It is definitely something you will need to manage along with deadlines for this and other classes. Before describing this assignment, which involves engaging in the core class reading, we want to stress why we read:

  • To understand how human-computer interaction (HCI) researchers frame and express their work. This is important in thinking about how you will execute the deliverable for the Design Project.
  • To identify what you know and don’t know about the topic. In doing this, we can surface knowns and unknowns in the lecture and resolve uncertainties.
  • To learn about and think critically about the methods and practices you are reading about. Conducting research is often a series of trade-offs – there is no ‘perfect’ method! – based on the constraints of the populations, tools and settings we are working in.
  • The readings should inform our class discussions, but also your ability to effectively engage in other assignments, other courses, and the DFP community.

By the due date/time, students must create an entry in their shared journal with a question/comment about the material being covered that day.  You should aim to make connections and comparisons between the readings.  Some classes have two or more readings listed.  We have provided instructions in the reading list, e.g., read Jones OR McGowan & Firth AND Prince et al.  This means you will read TWO items total, which Prince et al. being mandatory and then choosing from either Jones or McGowan & Firth. Some readings are marked “recommended” meaning they are optional but will enhance your understanding of the topic.

We encourage you to also to have a copy of these questions/comments with you in class and use them as a springboard for discussion. We will go lighter on required readings and researcher journals toward the end of the term, but you may still be asked to respond to the readings in class as part of an in-class activity or discussion.

Your questions/comments should be thoughtful, and clearly show that you have done the reading and reflected on it. They do not all have to be phrased in the form of a question, a comment is fine. If you are genuinely confused by some aspect of the reading, then it is useful and legitimate to ask for clarification. However, simply asking something that you could trivially look up yourself is not a good question. As with any written work that you submit, we expect correct grammar and spelling.

The shared journal promotes self-reflection on the readings, as well as an awareness of others’ thinking to encourage richer in-class discussions. For this reason, the journal entries are open to the full class. When you submit your journal entry…

  • Course staff will grade your questions/comments on a 3-point scale of {good-2, okay-1, poor-0}, and we will provide some feedback, especially at the outset of term.
  • Each question/comment should be one short to medium length paragraph (max!). Often two or three sentences will suffice. The goal is to have short, crisp questions/comments. Marks will be docked for excessive length. Possible prompts…
    • Select a significant or controversial passage in the reading and explaining why you think it is so…
    • Share how an aspect of the reading connects to other readings, or to current events/technologies…
    • Highlight something that was unclear or confusing and ask for clarification…
    • Reflect on what is written in the article with respect to how you might apply it in your Projects or in a real-world setting…
  • We will drop your lowest 3 Thus, you can essentially choose not to do this assignment for 3 of the readings. Choose these wisely.
  • Unless otherwise specifically arranged with the course staff, your questions/comments will not be graded after the due date/time (as timestamped on the journal entry).

Submitting your Researcher Journal entries

Each reading is set up as a Canvas “Discussion” with the label that matches the reading number on the course schedule page. For example, to submit your journal entry for the first reading simply “Reply” to the discussion topic “Journal #1: Human-centred design & HCI” OR reply directly to other students’ entries.

Four important things to note:

  1. The researcher journals are visible to the entire class. Thus, all students in the class and instructors will be able to see your entry; no one will see the grade for your entries except the instructors.
  2. You will not be able to see any entries for a given reading from other students until you have posted/submitted your own entry for that reading.
  3. After you submit, you cannot edit your entry.