Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years (1.8.2018-31.7.2020), which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


You are familiar with some scientifically or technically demanding topic.

Credits: 3

Schedule: 02.06.2020 - 01.09.2020

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Petri Vuorimaa

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Nitin Sawhney

Contact information for the course (valid 21.05.2020-21.12.2112):

Instructor: Prof. Nitin Sawhney, Department of Computer Science

Teaching Assistant: Magdalena Mihalache <>

CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    This course has a varying topic. The content of the course is a selected current topic areas in communication, computer and information sciences. When arranged, the course may be given in English. Information about the arrangement and the beginning of the course will be published in the web pages.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    The course introduces students to understanding and engaging in crisis contexts, using human-centred design principles and participatory research methodologies in conjunction with domain experts, partner organizations and everyday citizens. The course will build on extensive research findings from inter-related disciplines of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), Participatory Design (PD), Participatory Action Research (PAR), A.I. and Crisis Informatics, among others to develop a range of conceptual, rigorous, creative, and pragmatic approaches towards inquiry and engagement in complex crisis contexts. 

    Public Course Website:

    Approach: This online course will consist of weekly seminars on a series of topics with invited guest speakers and workshops/discussion sessions to review case-studies, methodologies and working design research projects. The weekly sessions will be held using Zoom and other online platforms will be used throughout the course. Students will have an opportunity to prepare critical responses to readings and monthly assignments, maintain a learning diary and optionally conduct team-based projects with industry or public organizations in the Helsinki area. The collaborative project outcomes can be conceptual designs, working prototypes or proposals for extended research into technology or policy implications of engaging critically with crisis contexts.

    Learning Outcomes: After completing this course students are expected to have a deeper understanding of how human-centred research, design and technological innovations can productively engage the complex challenges emerging in crisis contexts, including natural and man-made disasters, socio-political crises, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Students should develop critical skills to recognize the limitations and ethical implications of conducting research, participatory design, and deployment of technologies including security, privacy and any unintended consequences of such work, while applying rigorous human-centred design principles and practices to have a meaningful impact in such crisis situations.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Announced later.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    Assessment Methods and Criteria: All students must actively participate in weekly seminars and workshops, complete selected readings, an online learning diary, and 3 brief assignments as working papers or mixed-media works (blog/website/wiki/video). To receive additional credits, students must complete a group project with a proof-of-concept idea or working prototype and a short paper of their findings for presentation at the end of the course.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    Workload: Class sessions and workshops (36 hours), weekly readings (18 hours), 3 brief assignments (15 hours), learning diary (12 hours). To receive an additional 3 credits students must conduct a group project with collaborative design research, a final presentation and jointly-written short paper.


Study Material
  • Applies in this implementation:

    Selected readings in Human-Computer Interaction and Crisis Informatics as online materials distributed via MyCourses.

SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure


Further Information
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    The content of the course varies.

  • Applies in this implementation:

    Credits: 3 - 6 cr

    Level of the Course: Advanced Bachelor’s, Master’s level, Doctoral level

    Status of the Course: Optional course for Computer Science, CCIS and EIT majors

    Enrollment Form: Please fill out this form to share more about your background and interests in this course:

Details on the schedule
  • Applies in this implementation:

    Schedule: 02.06.20 - 01.09.20; No classes 15.07.20 - 30.07.20 (2 week summer break). 

    The course is divided into two parts (6-weeks each). Lectures and Workshops for part 1 of the course are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 17:15 - 18:45. The schedule is revised for part 2 of the course.


Registration and further information