Another amazing edition of CSE 501: Designing Human Centered Systems

Teaching DHCS has always been fun and exciting! As always, I had a lot of stories to tell students on the first day of class, about the past editions of the course, with descriptions of the projects, video recordings of past students, and Facebook pictures of BBIs! In total, we had 108 students take the course, with 20 projects, and 6 Teaching Assistants. We had wonderful guest lectures by Karan Gupta from Dropbox (IIITD Alum, MS in Design from Univ. of Washington), Apoorv Narang from Instawork (IIITD Alum, MS in HCI from Carnegie Mellon University), Prof. Timothy Moyers (faculty at IIITD), and Harshita Arora, an unschooler! All these guest lectures added great flavor to the topics that we covered in the class. Broad topics that we covered were:

  •  Design process overview
  • Contextual Inquiry
  • Task analysis
  • Sketching and prototyping
  • Human factors & Mental models
  • Low-Fidelity prototyping
  • Visual design
  • Usability engineering
  • Usability evaluation: think aloud, observing users, testing and modeling users, expert evaluations
  • Information visualization
  • HCI and mobility
  • HCI and security
  • User modeling, personalization
  • Interface modalities: color, sound, etc.
  • Cool characteristics of a good HCI designer, user experience engineer
  • Recent trends and happenings in HCI
  • Whirlwind tour of different research groups, academic conferences, and organizations in the space of HCI

We had, on average, 1 activity per class. Some pictures from the activities in the class. In addition to activities, we also have Critique, i.e. we spend about 30 min in class after the formal project reviews, where students showcase their projects to all their classmates. Every group showcase their project artefacts on a table for other students in class to come and see them. Below is a pic from Critique, more pics from both activities and Critique.

This edition we had some really interesting projects! Below is the list of all projects from the course (arranged in alphabetical order), with the respective blog entry written by students, a video showcasing the project, and fliers / promotional materials used by students. The reason for making all these public is to get future students or others interested in the course / projects to make use of the content. I sincerely thank all students who agreed to share the content.

  1. Alumnect | Blog | Video | Flier and Promotional materials
  2. Brú | Blog | Video | Flier and Promotional materials
  3. busKARO | Blog | Video | Flier and Promotional materials
  4. CookMate | Blog | Video | Flier and Promotional materials
  5. EventsCart | Blog | Flier and Promotional materials
  6. FITOR | Blog | Video | Flier and Promotional materials
  7. GamesUp | Blog | Video | Flier and Promotional materials
  8. GentleReminders | Blog | Video | Flier and Promotional materials
  9. GrupTack | Blog | Video | Flier and Promotional materials
  10. IIIT Express | Blog | Video | Flier and Promotional materials
  11. IIITD Mess App | Blog | Video | Flier and Promotional materials
  12. Interacto | Blog | Video | Flier and Promotional materials
  13. MayMayMe | Blog | Video | Flier and Promotional materials
  14. noWhinge | Blog | Video | Flier and Promotional materials
  15. Reche | Blog | Video | Flier and Promotional materials
  16. Rove | Blog | Video | Flier and Promotional materials
  17. Sportify | Blog | Video | Flier and Promotional materials
  18. TechTinder | Blog | Video | Flier and Promotional materials
  19. Trappic | Blog | Video | Flier and Promotional materials
  20. TechTinder | Blog | Video | Flier and Promotional materials

It is super fun to see students like, enjoy, and learn from the course. I received 4.2 or more on 5 for all parameters of evaluation for the course. Parameters of evaluation were, Course Outcomes, Course Organization, Course Administration and Instruction. HUGE thanks to every student for your involvement and creative project work! This would not have been possible without the help of TAs (Simran, Sahar, Prerna, Twishi, Ojasvi, Khushboo). Special thanks to all project evaluators (Sneha, Aman, Nishtha, Rishabh, Nitendra, Ankita, Sachin, Mayank, Indira, Shubham, Divyansh, Kushagra, Niharika) and admin support (Pooja, ShEetu, Arun, Anshi, Ashutosh, Prachi, Priti)! Below is the traditional picture of the course! 100+ pics from the final poster presentation. 

Signing off #CSE501 #Spring2018

#DeanGiri V1.0

It is natural in the course of a faculty’s life to take up administrative roles in the institute. Rolling positions of Deans, HoDs is something faculty would do at least once in their career. While it is very prestigious to be a Dean or HoD, it also means less time for research, attending more meetings etc. So, obviously it was a mixed emotion when I started as the Associate Dean of Communications and Alumni starting July 1, 2017. I was excited that I will be interacting with students/alums all around the world. This is something I have been doing for past some years on my trips to various cities in India and abroad. Now I will be doing it more formally. I will also be interacting with faculty more often now. I will get to know their research better, so that my team and I can share it on different communication platforms such as IIITD website, Facebook page, etc. I will get the opportunity to showcase the accomplishments of students and faculty, two main stakeholders of the institute, through various channels of communications.

Another aspect I was excited about was, being able to work with an excellent staff of the office of the Dean of Communications and Alumni along with inputs from the staff of various other departments like academics, HR, Placements, etc.

I started off with all these exciting thoughts and some apprehensions and now it’s been four months since I have been doing Deangiri! In the past four months we have had alumni meet ups in three cities, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Noida. It is always refreshing to see our past students doing great work, in industry or academia, they never fail to make us proud.

From our various interactions with the alums we realised that many were curious about the status of IIITD construction, Phase II. They were eager to know its progress and wanted to know about new facilities being added to the existing infrastructure. So we did a Facebook Live of the new Academic Block, we had 25+ alums join from all around the world.

About two weeks into Deangiri I was told to prepare an annual report of the institute. This came as a surprise. Not just preparing it but also presenting it to the Board of Governors. I must accept that it was only an average job done, given the little time. But the bright side of the whole endeavour was, I got to know the institute better. As a professor one is more focussed on his/her own research, students, courses, etc. and not much aware of the institute as a whole. This annual report helped me look into IIITDs achievements at a broader level, where we stand today in the country / ranking and why, what are our strengths and where is the scope for improvement. There are so many statistics; average pay packages our students get, number of students getting placed in A* companies, variety of funding agencies, and so on …

We also had interactions with faculty groups, student groups, PhD students groups, and alums to get inputs on what they would like our office to do. What are their needs and where our office can help to make their stay at IIITD more exciting and fulfilling? Many interesting ideas were discussed and we will take up some of these over the next few months.

Very soon we will start a new feature on IIITD’s website, ‘Behind-The-Scene’, where we will get to see who keeps our gardens beautiful or keeps our campus safe, the library staff or the finance office. All these people are like those backstage artists who never get the spot light yet are like pillars behind our successes. So it will be good to know them a little up close.

In January, we will organise Retrace, an annual home coming for alums across the world. This year the event will be followed by a happy hour and a sleep over. Like I said before, all credits to our discussions with various groups, they have come up with some really cool ideas to make this Retrace a memorable one. The day long programs will be followed by a happy hour at the Director’s Terrace garden. Some alums are totally excited about staying in the hostels that night. We think it will be very nostalgic for them to re-live their days on the campus. Our new hostels (construction, phase II) are getting ready just in time for this sleep over.

To conclude, I never imagined this responsibility will be so exciting. Thanks to IIITD community. There is a lot I am learning in the process. My only hope is, I am able to add some value to the institute as the Associate Dean of Communications and Alumni.

On a lighter note, not sure if it has to do with my deangiri, but I observe more people in campus exchanging pleasantries with me. I have become popular 🙂 !!!

This is Why I Love My Job #2

Once again it is that time of the academic year when all graduating students and Research Associates are moving on to the next phase in their life; starting work or grad school in India or flying off to some grad school outside India.

I don’t have to write the nth time how much I love my job. But will definitely like to mention that it is very gratifying to see students achieve what they want to achieve and it is even more satisfying to know that, as a faculty, we play a small role in their achievements.

Below is the list of students (arranged in alphabetical order of last name) who have spent significant amount of time working with me this year / last 2 years or who are graduating with me or I have written a Letters of Recommendation (LoRs) for their admissions / job and are now headed to great places.

  1. Mallika Aggarwal: #classof2017 Has taken some of my courses, did a project spanning 2 semesters. Started Masters in Computer Science at GaTech.
  2. Amod Agrawal: #classof2017 Has taken many of my courses, did UG thesis on Privacy with me. Started Masters in Computer Science at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
  3. Varun Bharadwaj: #classof2017 from NIT Trichy, #PrecogAlum from Summer 2016. Starting Masters in Intelligent Information Systems program at the Language Technologies Institute  at Carnegie Mellon University (my alma mater!).
  4. Juhi Bhatnagar: #classof2017 Has taken many of my courses, did UG thesis with me. Started Masters in Computer Science at Rice University. 
  5. Srishti Chandok: #classof2017 #MTech Has taken some of my courses, did Masters thesis on Privacy with me. Started work at Nucleus Software. Thesis | Slides
  6. Sahil Jain: #classof2014 Has taken some of my courses, has come back to be as evaluator for my HCI course. Started Masters of Business Analytics at University of British Columbia, Canada.
  7. Shiv Kandikuppa: #classof2016 Has taken some of my courses. Started Masters in Computer Science at Ohio State University.
  8. Saravana Kumar: #classof2017 from CEG Chennai, #PrecogAlum from Summer 2016. Started Masters in Computer Science at Ohio State University.
  9. Aditi Mithal: #classof2017 Has taken most of my courses, did UG thesis with me which contributed into a peer-reviewed research paper. Started Masters in Computer Science at UCLA.
  10. Priyanshi Mittal: #classof2013 Has taken some of my courses. Started Master of Science in Software Management at Carnegie Mellon University, Silicon Valley Campus.
  11. Bhavna Nagpal: #classof2017 Has taken some of my courses, did UG thesis with me. Started Masters in Design at IIT Guwahati.
  12. Mansi Panwar: #classof2016 Has taken some of my classes. Started Masters in Information Systems and Operations Management at Warrington College of Business at University of Florida.
  13. Ashwin Rajadesingam: #classof2012 from VIT, #PrecogAlum 2011 / 2012. Completed Masters at ASU a few years back, and now starting with Ph.D. in Information with cool Professors Ceren Budak & Paul Resnick at University of Michigan.
  14. Apoorv Saini: #classof2014 Has taken some of my courses, completed UG Thesis on Anonymous Social Networks with me. Started Masters in Computer Science at Syracuse University.
  15. Ayush Shah: #classof2017 Has taken many of my classes, completed UG Thesis with me. Working at IBM IRL.
  16. Yashovardhan Sharma: #classof2017 Has taken some of my courses, did a project spanning 2 semesters. Started at University of Cambridge to study MPhil in Advanced Computer Science and will be advised by one of the pioneers in the are of Information Security Prof. Ross Anderson.
  17. Mayank Vachher: #classof2017 Has taken some of my courses, was my Teaching Assistant for the HCI course, did UG Thesis with me. Started Masters in Big Data Program at Simon Fraser University, Canada.
  18. Manan Wason: #classof2016 Has taken some of my courses, did summer internship with me. Started Masters in Information Security at Johns Hopkins University.

Below is picture with most of these students. I sincerely thank each one of them for contributing towards my ProfGiri!

Here is a pointer to the blog that I wrote last year (2016) about graduating students and their next steps.

Hoping to see more and more success stories every year!