Post-graduate degree advice (London, UK)

8 Mar 2009 - 7:11am
5 years ago
10 replies
1569 reads
djlittle
2009

Hi Tim,

Can't answer your question directly I'm afraid, but thought you
might be interested in a similar thread where this kind of thing's
being discussed:

http://www.ixda.org/discuss.php?post=39584

PS, as a London-based web person maybe in a similar position to you I
found it interesting that these institutions offered degrees in these
areas. I was aware that City was involved in HCI research, although
not UCL and Kingston.

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Comments

8 Mar 2009 - 7:23am
Anonymous

Hi Tim,

I was in exactly the same position as you in August last year. I
chose to do the HCS course at City, I'm just coming up to the end of
it very soon.

It's a great course but not sure how it compares to the other 2. If
you have any questions fire away,,,

Paul

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8 Mar 2009 - 4:11pm
madushani
2009

Hi Tim,

First of all I would like to say i have no experience to those
universities you mentioned but i have experience @ Middlesex
university as a post - graduate Interaction Design Student.

1) It is not possible to say what is better than other becoz it is
mainly based on the course content and etc.

My personal opinion is its better if you could do Interaction design
course at a reputed university where it carry a strong course content.
if you look at interaction design disciplines It covers HCI ,
Usability Engineering, Industrial design , Information Architecture,
Human Factors, User interface Eng, Communication design also
Interaction design in a part of User experience design. To get a
basic idea i would suggest you to read Designing for Interaction by
Dan Saffer .

Madu

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8 Mar 2009 - 1:53pm
Nick de Voil
2009

Tim

I can't tell you whether it's better than the other two, but I can
tell you that the course at UCL is first-rate. Why not study the
syllabus for the 3 courses and come back with some more detailed
questions?

Nick

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9 Mar 2009 - 8:06am
James Page
2008

I would look at Sussex as well as City, UCL, Middlesex, and the
interaction course at the Royal College of Art.
It may be worth asking the question is do they practice what they teach? How
good is their web sites?

I have done a quick scan and most of them fail such basic questions such as
:-

Do the web sites deal with basic questions such what facilities do they
have? How much does the course cost? What are modules, and the learning
outcomes?

The most important question is who is teaching each module. Do they have
any experience in that field? Have they contributed anything major to the
subject they are teaching in. Surprisingly it is quite common for somebody
to lecture in a field they know nothing about!

Have I left out any question that there websites should answer?

James
http://blog.feralabs.com

2009/3/8 Nick de Voil <nick at devoil.com>

> Tim
>
> I can't tell you whether it's better than the other two, but I can
> tell you that the course at UCL is first-rate. Why not study the
> syllabus for the 3 courses and come back with some more detailed
> questions?
>
> Nick
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=39626
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
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9 Mar 2009 - 8:35am
Caroline Jarrett
2007

James Page
> I would look at Sussex as well as City, UCL, Middlesex, and the
> interaction course at the Royal College of Art.
> It may be worth asking the question is do they practice what they
> teach? How good is their web sites?

That presupposes that the interaction design academic team has influence
over the design of the web site. May be true, may not be. Some combinations:

- brilliant teachers but bad at influencing colleagues
- rubbish teachers and rubbish on the web site
- brilliant teachers, have redesigned the web site, web site not yet
launched
- brilliant teachers, spend their time teaching, too busy to get involved in
the web site

And many others.

Cheers
Caroline

9 Mar 2009 - 9:48am
James Page
2008

Caroline,

> That presupposes that the interaction design academic team has influence
>
over the design of the web site. May be true, may not be

If they don't there is an issue. Academic research is about finding evidence
for or against a theory. I would hope that somebody teaching interaction
design would have enough evidence to convince the powers that be that the
departments website should be usable.

Tim,
I would also look at Anthropology and psychology as subjects to study.

All the best

James
http://blog.feralabs.com

2009/3/9 Caroline Jarrett <caroline.jarrett at effortmark.co.uk>

> James Page
> > I would look at Sussex as well as City, UCL, Middlesex, and the
> > interaction course at the Royal College of Art.
> > It may be worth asking the question is do they practice what they
> > teach? How good is their web sites?
>
> That presupposes that the interaction design academic team has influence
> over the design of the web site. May be true, may not be. Some
> combinations:
>
> - brilliant teachers but bad at influencing colleagues
> - rubbish teachers and rubbish on the web site
> - brilliant teachers, have redesigned the web site, web site not yet
> launched
> - brilliant teachers, spend their time teaching, too busy to get involved
> in
> the web site
>
> And many others.
>
> Cheers
> Caroline
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

9 Mar 2009 - 10:19am
Anonymous

Hello and thanks to everyone has taken a moment to reply.

Thanks to David for the link to the past discussion [1]. If anyone
else is following this thread and thinking about a further degree
I'd recommend reading that. It's certainly stoked my interest.

>From my (web)site visits so far, Kingston Uni is most visually
appealing [2] and I think has benefited from the most recent update.
I haven't taken the time to deconstruct it, but it also seemed the
easiest to use. They are also the only uni holding a virtual open
evening which I think is an interesting experiment.

UCL, being the university with (I think) the best rating, has the
least welcoming website IMO.

@James, I studied Psychology at undergraduate level, and although it
was some 13 years ago... I'm hoping I will have retained a fair
amount of it. ;) Clearly many areas will need to be revisited...

Following some preliminary research, none of the lecturers at the
institutions listed above are known to me, so I guess it's a
question of Googling them.

I'm quite interested in the inclusion of Ergonomics at UCL [3]. I
think being able to study human interaction away from the screen
would be fascinating. Nothing at all to do with the fact I wanted to
study it as an under-graduate but didn't get the grades... ;)

Cheers,
Tim
1. http://www.ixda.org/discuss.php?post=39584
2. http://cism.kingston.ac.uk/
3. http://www.uclic.ucl.ac.uk/courses/

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9 Mar 2009 - 11:15am
Adrian Howard
2005

On 9 Mar 2009, at 15:48, James Page wrote:

> If they don't there is an issue. Academic research is about finding
> evidence
> for or against a theory. I would hope that somebody teaching
> interaction
> design would have enough evidence to convince the powers that be
> that the
> departments website should be usable.

Having dealt with some UK university web folk I can say with
confidence that they'll sometimes ignore you no matter what the
evidence you give :-)

Sometimes for "valid" reasons - available budget / skill sets for
example.

The people who understand the value are often three or four layers of
management away from the folk who make the decisions about the web
site. In one instance I'm aware of the UX folk weren't even aware that
a redesign was happening until it had been released.

At that point, of course, the budget has been spent on that oh-so-
wonderful design company...

Cheers,

Adrian
--
delicious.com/adrianh - twitter.com/adrianh - adrianh at quietstars.com

10 Mar 2009 - 3:55pm
boon
2008

Tim,

I'm currently studying the HCI-E Masters at UCL, and I am enjoying
every moment of it. Ok, maybe not every moment, but I'm really happy I
decided to go with UCL instead of City (my other choice).

I've put up some thoughts of my experiences on my blog, which might
give you a flavor of what it's like:
http://boonyew.com/interaction/category/uclic/

Another review, not done by me, is from Kevin Cheng of OK/Cancel. He
took the course in 2004.
http://www.ok-cancel.com/archives/article/2004/09/a-review-of-uclic.html

A bit about my background, I've been working in software development
for 7 years, and fell into UX work when I picked up Cooper's About
Face 3 and kickedstarted a project using his Goal Directed Design
methodology. That inspired me to switch gears towards more HCI work,
and that led me to the Masters.

UCL has a lot of good research, and a lot of ex-students I've met now
work in established UX companies like Flow Interactive, Serco, Systems
Concepts, Webcredible and well-known tech companies like Google.

The ergonomics component provides solid grounding if you're interested
in doing stuff in human factors, industrial design, etc. This module
is quite practical and UCL regularly brings in practitioners from the
field, which can help with networking and getting a feel of what's out
there. An intensive 2-week design work is aimed at getting your hands
dirty with the methods commonly applied in industry.

In response to David Little's comment about the lack of research at
UCL - this is totally untrue.
There are a good group of strong researchers here, and some only focus
on doing research alone.
The lectures encourage heavy reading of literature from CHI and other
established high-profile HCI-related academic conferences, and our
coursework is graded against a similar quality.

I would say that City offers a more hands-on, practical perspective of
the field, whereas UCL gives you a very broad, historical, but
essential parts of the practice.
We have a fair number of practitioners here, both part-time and full-
time, and I think because UCL focusses a lot on the integration and
critical application of theory and practice, you may find it
challenging because it causes you to see UX work in the light of many
contrasting perspectives (psychology, ethnography, design, ergonomics,
etc.), even with considerable amount of UX experience.

While I agree that UCL's website is not as flash, it really doesn't do
it justice.

If you're keen to find out more, I'd be happy to help answer any
queries you have.

12 Mar 2009 - 6:36am
djlittle
2009

Can I just add that I didn't mention anything at all about research
or lack of it at UCL, I simply sent the link to the original
discussion I was involved with. I'm sure UCL has a very record of
research!

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