Course Title: Usability Engineering

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Usability Engineering

Credit Points: 12.00

Important Information:

Please note that this course may have compulsory in-person attendance requirements for some teaching activities. 

To participate in any RMIT course in-person activities or assessment, you will need to comply with RMIT vaccination requirements which are applicable during the duration of the course. This RMIT requirement includes being vaccinated against COVID-19 or holding a valid medical exemption. 

Please read this RMIT Enrolment Procedure as it has important information regarding COVID vaccination and your study at RMIT: https://policies.rmit.edu.au/document/view.php?id=209

Please read the Student website for additional requirements of in-person attendance: https://www.rmit.edu.au/covid/coming-to-campus. 

Please check your Canvas course shell closer to when the course starts to see if this course requires mandatory in-person attendance. The delivery method of the course might have to change quickly in response to changes in the local state/national directive regarding in-person course attendance. 


Terms

Course Code

Campus

Career

School

Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)

COSC1182

City Campus

Postgraduate

140H Computer Science & Information Technology

Face-to-Face

Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 1 2015

COSC1182

City Campus

Postgraduate

171H School of Science

Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020

COSC1183

City Campus

Undergraduate

140H Computer Science & Information Technology

Face-to-Face

Sem 2 2006,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 1 2015

COSC1183

City Campus

Undergraduate

171H School of Science

Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020

Course Coordinator: Dr Dana McKay

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925

Course Coordinator Email: dana.mckay@rmit.edu.au


Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Enforced requisite: ISYS1117 Software Engineering Fundamentals
Some programming experience equivalent to one semester of programming studies. COSC2531 Programming Fundamentals (or equivalent) will satisfy these requirements.
You may enrol in this course only if it is explicitly listed in your enrolment program summary.
Note that it is a condition of enrolment at RMIT that you accept responsibility for ensuring that you have completed the prerequisite/s and agree to concurrently enrol in co-requisite courses before enrolling in a course.
For your information the RMIT Course Requisites policy can be found at Course requisites – 7.29.1.6: http://www.rmit.edu.au/browse;ID=twx09y07zi1c 


Course Description

Usability is the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use Usability engineering is a set of behavioural research methods and techniques that can be applied at every stage of the software development lifecycle, to improve the usability of the developed product by conducting usability studies that analyse users’ needs or evaluate the product’s usability.

This course introduces you to concepts, methods and techniques that you can apply to design and conduct usability studies, building on your practical experience with software system analysis and design, and with writing and testing code. You will learn the theory and practice of various approaches, methods and techniques, and apply these to acquire practical experience in conducting usability studies for interactive systems. Tutorial activities provide the skills you need to complete assignments where you design a usability test of an interactive system, recruit suitable participants, conduct the test, and analyse and report on your findings.


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

The post-graduate offering contributes to the following program learning outcomes in

  • MC060 Master of Computer Science
  • MC061 M Computer Science
  • MC062 Master of Computing
  • MC063 M Tech(Internet & Web Comp)
  • MC208 M Information Technology

Enabling Knowledge:
You will gain skills as you apply knowledge with creativity and initiative to new situations. In doing so, you will: demonstrate mastery of a body of knowledge that includes recent developments in computer science and information technology.

Critical Analysis:
You will learn to accurately and objectively examine, and critically investigate computer science and information technology (IT) concepts, evidence, theories or situations, in particular to:
-- analyse and model complex requirements and constraints for the purpose of designing and implementing software artefacts and IT systems
-- evaluate and compare designs of software artefacts and IT systems on the basis of organisational and user requirements.

Problem Solving:
Your capability to analyse complex problems and synthesise suitable solutions will be extended as you learn to: design and implement software solutions that accommodate specified requirements and constraints, based on analysis or modelling or requirements specification.

Communication:
You will learn to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences through a range of modes and media, in particular to: interpret abstract theoretical propositions, choose methodologies, justify conclusions and defend professional decisions to both IT and non-IT personnel via technical reports of professional standard and technical presentations.


Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. justify the theory and practice of usability evaluation approaches, methods and techniques
  2. compare and evaluate strengths and weaknesses of various approaches, methods and techniques for evaluating usability
  3. design and implement a usability test plan, based on modelling or requirements specification
  4. choose appropriate approaches, methods and techniques to evaluate the usability of a specified interactive system
  5. devise, perform and analyse experiments to evaluate the usability of a specified interactive system
  6. write professional reports to: explain and justify usability concepts; describe results of user studies; make recommendations to stakeholders.


Overview of Learning Activities

The core material of the course will be presented in a series of pre-recorded lectures, where content will be described and illustrated with demonstrations and examples, and discussion of concepts and relevant experiences is encouraged. In tutorials and during assignment work, you will plan, design and carry out usability tests, and analyse and report the results of usability tests. Tutorials also provide the opportunity to discuss the concepts with your peers and tutors.

Your private study, working through course materials and suggested wider reading will help you gain practice at solving conceptual and technical problems.


Overview of Learning Resources

You will be provided with tools and readings on the RMIT Canvas site for this course. You will also use software that is freely accessible from the RMIT software library, and other RMIT-provided resources.

Class notes and other supplementary reading material will be made available in the Learning Hub weekly.
Announcements, tutorials, assignments and discussion forums will be available in Canvas, the Learning Hub. It is a necessity that you visit the course home page at least twice a week to make sure you are aware of the recent announcements regarding with the day-to-day activities of the course.


Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment tasks
The assessment for this course includes RMIT Microcredentials, practical work, and an Essay-based assessment.

The practical assignment work involves planning, designing and carrying out usability tests, and analysing and reporting the results of usability tests.

Assessment Task 1: User Sensitivity
18% comprising: 
Complete the RMIT Ethics training module (5%, due Week 2)
Reflection on user test participation (8%, due week 3)
Complete the RMIT Reconciliation microcredential (5% due Week 10)
This assessment task supports CLOs 2, 4, and 6, and RMIT’s reconciliation action plan

Assessment Task 2: Statistical Usability
22% comprising: 
Participate in a user study that gathers statistical data (2%, due week 3)
Quantitative analysis of statistical data from user study (20% due week 12)
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 5 and 6

Assessment Task 3: Usability Testing
40% comprising: 
User testing plan (10%, due week 6)
Report on user testing (30%, due week 10)
This assessment task supports CLOs 1 - 4 and 6

Assessment Task 4: Theory of Usability
Time bound essay assignment, (20%, due in week 14)
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2 and 6