Teaching HCI Design in a Flipped Learning M.Sc. Course Using Eye-Tracking Peer Evaluation Data

Table of Contents


This paper presents experiences from a flipped classroom M.Sc(Teaching HCI Design). Course on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). The students that finished successfully this course participated in twelve short (about two to three hours each) workshops, based on a flipped classroom model. Each workshop focused on a specific HCI activity, while before the workshops, a two-hour lecture was used to introduce the students in the flipped learning concept. This was the only lecture in this course, while all the rest of the educational material was offered to the students online before each workshop. Such material was mainly short lectures from the professor, in the form of videos uploaded in the course’s YouTube channel and documents delivered using the university learning management system (LMS). For each workshop, the students had to be prepared to participate, which was tested using brief quizzes before the start of specific workshops.

The activity presented in this paper was the design and evaluation of an interactive system. The students were asked to form six groups comprising three to four students each. Then a system’s description, vague enough to stimulate creativity, was randomly assigned to each group. This activity presented in this paper was the longest activity of the entire course and it was conducted in four consequent workshops. The paper presents the setting of this experiment, the peer assessment method, and the use of eye-tracking data collected and analysed to aid the students towards improving their design. The students created a working model of the system with limited functionality and improved this model using eye-tracking data from the peer evaluation of this model. The use of these data offered them the insight to improve their models and to undergo design changes. The paper presents samples of the progress made between various versions of the models and concludes presenting the preliminary positive results of the students’ qualitative evaluation of this experiment.

Keywords: Flipped Classroom; Blended Learning; Human-Computer-Interaction; Eye-Tracking; Higher Education.

Design in the HCI Classroom: Setting a Research Agenda
Teaching HCI Design


Nowadays the boundaries between in campus and distance education are not as distinct as they used to be, especially in higher education. Today, higher education in-campus students have a plethora of online tools in hand, that vary from tools used for communication and socializing to pure e-learning tools. Using such tools transforms their learning experience from a typical in campus-based education model to a blended learning model (Garrison and Kanuka, 2004). In fact, we argue that most campus-based learning today has changed into blended learning since the use of online tools is not a novelty, but a commodity in almost all higher education programs. Within this frame, a flipped classroom model (Bergmann and Sams, 2012) was used to teach Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) in an M.Sc. program. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time a flipped classroom is used in an M.Sc. engineering course in Greece.

The novelty of this approach is that we have used workshops focusing on the design of interaction and on the usability evaluation of these interaction designs, using real evaluation data derived from eye-tracking recordings of peer evaluation sessions. The participating students were able to follow all the steps of designing a system, starting from mock-up screens, creating a prototype, and adding interactivity to their system. Furthermore, they switched roles and evaluated the systems developed by their peers, and, finally, they used the evaluation data to improve their own prototypes. All these activities were organized into four workshops. In this paper, we present the setting of this course, the workshop details, and samples of the progress made between various versions of the models. Finally, we conclude by presenting the preliminary results of the students’ qualitative evaluation of this experiment. The rest of the paper is structured as follows. Section 2 presents a brief literature review of similar educational models for teaching HCI and for using eye-tracking data for the evaluation of interaction design, as well as within a learning process. Section 3 presents the course and the “Software Quality and Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory” that hosted the peer evaluation, while section 4 presents the activities that took place in the four workshops in detail, illustrated with examples from students’ designs. Finally, section 5 summarizes the conclusions from applying this educational process and presents the preliminary results of the students’ qualitative evaluation of this process.

Results and conclusions

The students that participated in this course had the opportunity to work both as designers of an interactive system and as usability evaluators. This setting serves well the learning objectives of the course, as students gained valuable practical and analytical experience, and they should be able to design eye-tracking testing sessions from now on according to their needs. In addition, their experience with evaluating the designs of other students provides them with good and bad examples of UI design which also contributes to their HCI learning. Furthermore, students responded enthusiastically to how this course was conducted. On the formal online assessment tool, used by the University of Patras, where students evaluate all courses they attend anonymously, this course had scored from 4.00 to 4.59 in each evaluation category (in a typical Likert 1 to 5 scale) with the lowest score being related to course difficulty (4.00) and the highest score related to the content delivery and collaboration with the students. This is a very high score compared to similar scores of other courses. Furthermore, the qualitative comments were also very positive, i.e.: “…it was the first time that I have participated in such a well-organized course…”, “…I loved the activities since most of these were both useful and fun to participate…”. Finally, this work is not without limitations. To effectively measure the educational value of these activities we should be able to compare learning gain measured in comparison to a traditional lecture-based classroom. A between-subjects experiment to investigate this is a future goal.

About KSRA

The Kavian Scientific Research Association (KSRA) is a non-profit research organization to provide research / educational services in December 2013. The members of the community had formed a virtual group on the Viber social network. The core of the Kavian Scientific Association was formed with these members as founders. These individuals, led by Professor Siavosh Kaviani, decided to launch a scientific / research association with an emphasis on education.

KSRA research association, as a non-profit research firm, is committed to providing research services in the field of knowledge. The main beneficiaries of this association are public or private knowledge-based companies, students, researchers, researchers, professors, universities, and industrial and semi-industrial centers around the world.

Our main services Based on Education for all Spectrum people in the world. We want to make an integration between researches and educations. We believe education is the main right of Human beings. So our services should be concentrated on inclusive education.

The KSRA team partners with local under-served communities around the world to improve the access to and quality of knowledge based on education, amplify and augment learning programs where they exist, and create new opportunities for e-learning where traditional education systems are lacking or non-existent.

FULL Paper PDF file:

Teaching HCI Design in a Flipped Learning M.Sc. Course Using Eye-Tracking Peer Evaluation Data


Michalis Xenos, Maria Rigou Computer Engineering and Informatics Department, University of Patras, Patras

Greece xenos@ceid.upatras.gr


This is a pre-print version of the paper. Please cite this paper as: Xenos M., Rigou M., “Teaching HCI Design in a Flipped Learning M.Sc. Course Using eye Tracking Peer Evaluation Data”, ECEL, 17th European Conference on e-Learning, pp. 611-619, Athens, Greece, 1-2 November 2018.

Teaching HCI Design in a Flipped Learning M.Sc. Course Using Eye-Tracking Peer Evaluation Data

Subjects: Human-Computer Interaction (cs.HC)
Journal reference: ECEL, 17th European Conference on e-Learning, pp. 611-619, Athens, Greece, 1-2 November 2018
Cite as: arXiv:1903.01345 [cs.HC] (or arXiv:1903.01345v1 [cs.HC] for this version)
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From: Michalis Xenos [view email] [v1] Mon, 4 Mar 2019 16:34:08 UTC (2,391 KB)
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Nasim Gazerani was born in 1983 in Arak. She holds a Master's degree in Software Engineering from UM University of Malaysia.

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Professor Siavosh Kaviani was born in 1961 in Tehran. He had a professorship. He holds a Ph.D. in Software Engineering from the QL University of Software Development Methodology and an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Chelsea.