The University of Kentucky Center for Visualization & Virtual Environments


Graduate Certificate in Human-Technology Interaction
Although the Vis Center does not offer an independent graduate program, many of our faculty are involved in mentoring students in the multidisciplinary Human-Technology Interaction (HTI) graduate certificate. The study of HTI seeks to bridge the gap between knowledge about the physical, cognitive, and social characteristics of people, on the one hand, and theory and practice of systems design, on the other. The premise of this multidisciplinary field is that the development of new systems should be user-centered. The ultimate goal is to ensure that technological innovations enhance the safety, comfort, productivity, and pleasure of the end users, regardless of whether the system involves a complex medical process, multimedia instruction, information visualization and decision aids, game environments, or everyday consumer products.

The HTI certificate reflects the content of the profession usually known as Human Factors Engineering (HFE) or ergonomics, although the terms Usability Engineering and User Experience (UX) are often used by designers of consumer products and information technology. The study of HFE has been recognized as a specialty since the 1950s, with the formation of the Human Factors Society in the U.S., and the Ergonomics Association in Europe. Early collaborations brought together engineers and experimental psychologists who worked to reduce aviation accidents and to increase the efficiency of human-machine systems in both the military and industry.

Today the study of HTI has expanded beyond its application to the complex, military systems that characterized its early years. Current approaches to understanding and improving the interaction of people and technology are represented in the work of faculty at the Vis Center, as well as in the labs of affiliated faculty in education, business, psychology, and engineering.

The demand for qualified usability specialists has recently accelerated with the growth of information technologies,  sophisticated consumer products, and smart buildings. Human-computer interaction is now a focus of much HTI research.

Certificate Faculty
Gary Anglin (Curriculum and Instruction)
C. Melody Carswell (Psychology; Vis Center), Coordinator
Larry Gottlob (Psychology)
Betty Lorch (Psychology)
Bob Lorch (Psychology)
Joan Mazur (Curriculum and Instruction; Vis Center)
Radhika Santhanam (Decision Science and Information Systems; Vis Center)
W. Brent Seales (Computer Science; Vis Center)
Gerry Swan (Curriculum and Instruction; Vis Center)
J.W. Yates (Kinesiology and Health Promotion; Ergonomics)

Certificate Curriculum
Students who wish to complete the certificate should sample from the following courses in consultation with the certificate’s coordinator.

(1) Foundations: (6 semester hours):
Two of the following:

EDC 609: Interactive Multimedia Research and Design (Mazur)
PSY 562: Advanced Topics in Cognition: Human Factors Engineering (Carswell)
PSY 780: Special Problems in Psychology: Engineering Psychology and Human
Performance (3) B offered once every two years. (Carswell)

(2) Applications and Methods (6 semester hours):
Two of the following:

CS 585: Intermediate Topics in Comp. Sci:Exploring Virtual Worlds@ (Seales)
EDC 548: Instructional Computing II (Smith).
EDC 607-8: Instructional Design I, II (Anglin)
EDC 611: Authoring Applications for Technology-Based Instruction. (Smith).
EDC 771: Social Design and Research of Interactive Systems (Mazur)
PSY 780: Problems in Psychology (note: This is a special title seminar series, thus only some topics will be appropriate. Check with the coordinator each term).
CE 635: Transportation Safety (Stamatiadis)
EDC 777: Introduction to Instructional Web Applications.
EDC 605: Distance Learning Research and Design

Additional seminars on special topics such as aesthetics and design, e-commerce, decision support systems, and assistive technologies will be offered on occasion. As a result, the above cluster of courses will be updated each term.

(3) Research or Internship Experience (3 semester hours):

One semester of supervised research or internship is required of each student, depending on his/her interests and background. Research will be conducted in certificate associates’ labs. Internships at usability labs or with local HFE consultants are also encouraged for those students with no formal design experience.

Admissions Requirements
All participants must be either graduate students or post-baccalaureate students at UK. In addition to meeting the graduate school’s requirements for admission as a post-baccalaureate student, applicants who wish to pursue the HTI certificate should:

1) Hold a bachelors degree in a human science field (social, behavioral, or biological) OR in one of the design professions (any engineering discipline, instructional design, architecture, graphic design, industrial design, or interior design) OR be currently enrolled in a graduate program in one of these fields.

2) Students should have completed a graduate-level course in research methodology (including a quantitative analysis component) that is appropriate for the field of their major.

For More Information:

Contact Dr. C. Melody Carswell at or at 859.257.4468 (Department of Psychology) or 859.257.1257 (Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments).

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