Infx 242/CS 248B: Ubiquitous Computing and Interaction: Readings

This is a rough outline of the readings for the class, although it will evolve as discuss the material. However, it should keep us at least roughly on track.

Week 1: Introduction

I want to start off by looking at ubiquitous computing not so much as a radical departure from previous practice, but rather as a further step in a gradual process of expanding the range of natural skills and abilities upon which interactive technologies draw.

Week 2: Tangible Interaction

We'll start off at the small scale, thinking about interaction with physically embodied interfaces. This is the arena of "tangible interaction", manifested most significantly in the "Tangible Bits" program initiated by Hiroshi Ishii at the MIT Media Lab, although it has spread to many sites since then.

Leading the Thursday discussion: Silvia and Amy.

Week 3: Social Computing and the Production of Social Order

Tangible interfaces are physically embodied, but the concept of embodied interaction extends beyond this to include a particular perspective on social interaction. I want to talk about the ways in which we can think about the relationship between social action and interactive systems -- not simply the "social consequences" of interaction, or even the idea that people might use computer systems "together," but to think about the production of social realities, and to think about information technologies as means of social and cultural production.

Leading the Thursday discussion: Marisa and Sameer.

Week 4: Sociality/Beyond Efficiency and Usability

We'll start off this week by extending some of last week's discussions with sociality as an aspect of technological practice, looking more specifically at technologies around which social practice evolves. This will lead us into some broader questions of the sorts of values enshrined in technologies as we move out of the traditional office setting. HCI has traditionally been concerned with usability and efficiency, focusing on the ways in which we can build interactive technologies that can be used easily, quickly, and conveniently. These concerns make sense when technology is deployed in work settings, and where workplace productivity is an important value. When we move technology into other settings, though, it's important to recognise the different value systems at work. What might it mean to design interactive systems around surprise, mystery, engagement, intimacy, or other considerations?

For Tuesday:

Leading Tuesday's discussion: Ersin and Jungmin.

For Thursday:

Leading the discussion: Jae and Arun.

Week 5: No classes

No class this week; I'll be away at the CHI conference.

Week 6: Foundations

We've spend some time now looking at different perspectives on interaction with and through ubiquitous computing, considering the questions at different levels from physical interaction to cultural interpretation. This week, I want to explore some foundational material that attempts to pull all this together, developing a "practice-oriented" view of interaction in ubicomp settings. The material for this week will come from the book.

For Tuesday:

For Thursday:

Week 7: No classes

No class this week; I'll be away at the Ubicomp 2007 PC meeting and then the Pervasive Computing conference. However, drafts or outlines of your term papers are due at the end of this week, so you'll have plenty to do in my absence.

Week 8: Foundations (contd.)

This week, we'll continue our discussions of foundations, and then explore a couple of papers in terms of these ideas about emergence and interaction.

For Tuesday:

For Thursday:

Leading Thursday's discussion: Phong and Amy.

Week 9: Critical Technical Practices

Readings this week focus on a different way of connecting theory to design, through what Agre has termed "Critical Technical Practice."

For Tuesday:

Leading Thursday's discussion: Marisa and Ersin.

For Thursday:

Leading Thursday's discussion: Silvia and Sameer.

Week 10: Design, Wrap-up

We'll conclude this week by coming back to the question of how to link these ideas to design practice and to specific technological settings.

For Tuesday:

No class on Thursday: term papers due Friday.