The differing profiles of the human-computer interaction professional: perceptions of practice, cognitive preferences and the impact on HCI education

Austin, Ann (2018) The differing profiles of the human-computer interaction professional: perceptions of practice, cognitive preferences and the impact on HCI education. Doctoral thesis, University of West London.

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Abstract

At a time when there is increasing demand for Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) skills, it becomes increasingly important that the curriculum is effective and relevant. This research aims to provide a better understanding of the professionals who work in the field of HCI. It extends previous studies by examining the different roles of HCI professionals in order to identify differences regarding cognitive preferences, background, what is valued, concerns and issues, and the potential impact of these upon curriculum design and delivery within the Higher Education sector. This study also extends technological frames theory by applying the framework to HCI practice. The literature review covers the history of HCI, the position of HCI within the software development lifecycle, HCI academic research and its relationship to practice, HCI practice and HCI education. It then discusses cognitive style research and the Cognitive Styles Index (CSI) and the Object-Spatial Imagery and Verbal Questionnaire (OSIVQ), concluding with the social construction of technology and technological frames. This study follows a mixed methods approach adopting a pragmatic epistemological stance, collecting data by means of a survey which gathered demographic data and cognitive profiles. These were complemented by interviews which were analysed using the Template Analysis approach. iv Both the quantitative and the qualitative data highlight a number of differences between the roles of the professionals, and in particular between those who educate and those who are involved in practice. The interview findings also highlight inconsistences in what is valued, and indicate that HCI is not well understood outside of the HCI community. It appears that a dominant technological frame has not yet been achieved in the field of HCI, with particular incongruences noted between academia and practice. In particular, the interviews confirm the findings of the literature that the curriculum may not be meeting the needs of practice, and that there still exists a lack of consensus regarding terminology and processes. The discussion moves on to consider the implications for the curriculum discussing the need for more input from practice when designing the curriculum, the advantages of embedding HCI skills within the curriculum in order to address graduate attributes, and the need to be aware of role differences in order to offer appropriate academic advice to students.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Computing
Depositing User: Kevin Sanders
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2018 12:51
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2018 10:09
URI: http://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/5327

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