• Course home page

    iSkin (Weigel et al. Proc. CHI'15)

    Advanced Topics in User Interfaces

    This is an advanced course meant exclusively for students specializing in human-computer interaction. The course is organized one or two times per year, each time with a different topic. It follows a research-driven teaching approach where researchers provide lectures and supervision on state-of-the-art topics. Annual topics are announced in the MyCourses page in September. Students can also suggest personalized topics.

    Topic of Fall 2016

    In the semester 2016-2017, the course will be run in Periods I-II. The topic of the course will be artificial intelligence and user interfaces:

    "Although AI and HCI explore computing and intelligent behavior and the fields have seen some crossover, until recently there was not very much. This article outlines a history of the fields that identifies some of the forces that kept the fields at arm’s length. AI was generally marked by a very ambitious, long-term vision requiring expensive systems, although the term was rarely envisioned as being as long as it proved to be, whereas HCI focused more on innovation and improvement of widely used hardware within a short time scale. These differences led to different priorities, methods, and assessment approaches. A consequence was competition for resources, with HCI flourishing in AI winters and moving more slowly when AI was in favor. The situation today is much more promising, in part because of platform convergence: AI can be exploited on widely used systems." (Jonathan Grudin in AI Magazine in 2009)

    The course is organized around a new seminar series for researchers in the area of HCI. The course runs from September to December.


    Prof. Antti Oulasvirta, School of Electrical Engineering


    The course is organized as a mixture of state-of-the-art lectures, diary, an essay, and an oral exam:

    • Kick-off meeting (September, will be announced to accepted students)
    • 3-4 two-hour expert lectures in Otaniemi. These are organized via the HCI Helsinki seminar series and start September 9th. These meetings will take place on the first Fridays of a month at 10am (there will be exceptions).
    • 3-4 assigned video lectures by outside experts (e.g., IxDA, TEDx, CHI, UIST)
    • A weekly learning diary. Based on lectures and readings. Each diary entry should critically assess the topic of the lecture in the light of published research in HCI.
    • Individually assigned essay topic with related scientific articles from proceedings of CHI, CSCW, UIST, IUI or the like. The essay consists of 4-6 pages in the Proc. CHI template.
    • Oral examination in mid-December. Area: expert lectures and the topic of the essay. Duration: 30-60 mins.


    Master's studies (major or minor) in human-computer interaction or a closely related area. At least half of this specialization must be completed before taking this course. 

    Participation via JOO

    Students of University of Helsinki are welcome, but are kindly asked to contact the teacher well in advance.

    Credits and grading

    The default number of credits is three, but can be extended up to 5 with good reasons. Grading (0-5) will be based on:

    • participation in expert lectures in Otaniemi (must attend most) (25%)
    • learning diary (25%)
    • essay (25%) 
    • oral exam (25%).

    Sign up by Sep 7

    Sign up by emailing 1) a brief letter of motivation and 2) a transcript (opintosuoritusote) of your Master's studies to antti.oulasvirta@aalto.fi by September 7th 15:00.