Measurement & Evaluation of HCC Systems

HCC 4400/6400

This is the syllabus website for Clemson University Spring 2021 course HCC 4400 and 6400: Measurement & Evaluation of HCC Systems.

Meeting information:

Credit hours: 3

Location: online via WebEx

Day and time: Monday & Wednesday, 4:00 – 5:15 pm

Instructor information:

Prof. Bart Knijnenburg


Office location: McAdams Hall 215

Office hours: Monday & Wednesday, 5:15 – 5:45 pm

Important: The information below may change!

Changes will be announced in class and through email.

Course description

This course will teach you how to scientifically evaluate computing systems using a quantitative, user-centric approach. By the end of this course you will be able to statistically evaluate data obtained from a user experiment, a survey, or system usage log files. The basic idea of this class is explained in this TEDx-talk.

What are we going to do?

Course content and structure: This class will be a lot of work, but the advanced methods will give you a competitive advantage over other HCC students at other institutions. This course roughly consists of 3 parts:

  • Part 1 (week 1-3): The practice of experimental evaluation (stuff you may have learned in Research Methods)
  • Part 2 (week 4-7): Basic statistical methods: Correlation, Regression, ANOVA, and T-test (stuff you have forgotten from undergraduate statistics)
  • Part 3 (week 8-15): Non-linear and multilevel statistics (stats for “messy” HCC variables)

Course materials: This course uses the following resources:

  • Knijnenburg B. P. and Willemsen, M. C. “Evaluating Recommender Systems with User Experiments”: author copy available for free here.
  • Chapters 4 and 5 of MacKenzie, I. S. “Human-Computer Interaction: An Empirical Research Perspective”: available for free via our library proxy.
  • Almost all chapters of Field, A. et al. “Discovering Statistics Using R”, 1st ed.: for sale or rent on Amazon.

Students are strongly recommended to buy the Field book, since it is an invaluable reference guide for future research projects.

Software: For the most part, we will use R and RStudio. R is like a programming language, and RStudio is an IDE for R (like how Eclipse is an IDE for Java). R and RStudio are both free. For sample size calculations we will use G*Power (also free).

Office hours: Office hours will be directly after class (Monday and Wednesday 5:15-5:45 pm). If you want to attend office hours, please stay on the WebEx call at the end of the class.

Slides: Presentation slides are linked in the course schedule below (topics listed in orange are clickable and link to the slides).

Assignments: There will be 4 assignments for this class. There will be some “insight” questions and some data analysis questions. Insight questions usually require a short (1-2 sentence) answer. Data analysis questions should be done in R (unless suggested otherwise), and the requisite dataset will be provided. The answers to data analysis questions should contain the executed R commands, a summary of the output (only the parts that answer the question), and an explanation/description of the results in your own words.

Assignments are each worth 10% of your grade. You are allowed to discuss the assignments, but you have to write your own write-up (i.e. you can discuss, but not copy). If you collaborate with others, please add a collaboration statement to your assignment (a simple statement saying “I collaborated with [name(s)]” is sufficient).

Midterms and final exam: The midterms and the final are each worth 15% of your grade. They will be very similar to the assignments, but they are timed, and you are not allowed to collaborate.

Graduate/undergraduate differentiation: The assignments and midterms as listed in the syllabus are for the graduate course (HCC 6400). Undergraduate students are exempt from certain assignment/exam questions. Exempt questions will be announced throughout the semester.

Prerequisites: This course has no prerequisites, but you will get the most out of it if you have a basic understanding of human-centered computing and quantitative research methods.


  • Assignments: 40% (10% each)
  • Midterms and final: 60% (15% each)

In unusual circumstances these percentages could change, but I do not expect that to happen. Your final grade will be calculated by multiplying the percentages with the points you achieve on each assignment and midterm.

Graduate course grades (HCC 6400): In my default graduate grading scheme, 85+ is an A, 80+ is an A-, 75+ is a B+, 70+ is a B, 65+ is a B-, 60+ is a C+, 55+ is a C, 50+ is a C-, 45+ is a D, and less than 45 is an F. I sometimes apply a curve to lower some of these thresholds (this has historically happened mostly for the threshold between B and C).

Undergraduate course grades (HCC 4400): In my default undergraduate grading scheme, 80+ is an A, 70+ is a B, 60+ is a C, 40+ is a D, and less than 40 is an F. Undergraduate grades may be curved as well; this is done separately from the graduate grades.

Cheat sheets

For the homeworks, students should learn to apply the methods using the book and the lecture slides. For the midterms and the final, I will provide a cheat sheet for each method. Cheat sheets will become available after each homework.

I have created the following cheat sheets for your convenience:

Course schedule

For your convenience, you can add the course schedule to your calendar (ICAL or HTML).

WeekDatesTopic and contentsWork
1.2Wednesday Jan 6

Overview and welcome (video)

Read BEFORE class: Handbook chapter, Chapter 4 of MacKenzie

2.1Monday Jan 11

Introduction to HCI evaluation (video)

Read before class: Chapter 5 of MacKenzie

2.2Wednesday Jan 13

Dealing with data - Part 1


Read before class: Chapters 1-4 of Field

3.1Monday Jan 18

MLKjr day (no class)

3.2Wednesday Jan 20

Dealing with data - Part 2 (video)

4.1Monday Jan 25

Assumptions, sample size (video)


Read before class: Chapter 5 of Field

4.2Wednesday Jan 27

Correlation (video)

Read before class: Chapter 6 of Field

5.1Monday Feb 1

Regression - Part 1 (video)


Read before class: Chapter 7 of Field

5.2Wednesday Feb 3

Regression - Part 2 (video)

Homework 1 available


6.1Monday Feb 8

T-tests (video)


Read before class: Chapter 9 of Field

6.2Wednesday Feb 10

ANOVA (video)


Due before class: Homework 1

Read before class: Chapter 10 of Field

7.1Monday Feb 15

Review session

7.2Wednesday Feb 17

Midterm 1 - Everything up to regression

8.1Monday Feb 22

Factorial ANOVA (video)


Read before class: Chapter 12 of Field

Homework 2 available

8.2Wednesday Feb 24

Logistic regression - Part 1 (video)


Read before class: Chapter 8 of Field (except 8.9)

9.1Monday Mar 1

Logistic regression - Part 2 (video)

9.2Wednesday Mar 3

Categorical data (video)


Due before class: Homework 2

Read before class: Chapter 18 of Field (except 18.7-18.12)

Homework 3 available


10.1Monday Mar 8

Review session

10.2Wednesday Mar 10

Midterm 2 - Everything up to factorial ANOVA

Mar 15+17

No class - Spring Break

11.1Monday Mar 22

Repeated measures


Read before class: Chapter 13 of Field

11.2Wednesday Mar 24

Mixed designs


Read before class: Chapter 14 of Field

12.1Monday Mar 29

Multilevel linear models - Part 1


Read before class: Chapter 19 of Field

Due before class: Homework 3

12.2Wednesday Mar 31

Multilevel linear models - Part 2

Homework 4 available


13.1Monday Apr 5

Review session

13.2Wednesday Apr 7

Midterm 3 - Everything up to categorical data

14.1Monday Apr 12

TBD, if we run behind schedule

Due before class: Homework 4

14.2Wednesday Apr 14

TBD, if we run behind schedule

15.1Monday Apr 19

Discuss midterm 3 answers

15.2Wednesday Apr 21

Review + preview of Measurement & Evaluation II

examTuesday Apr 27

Final exam, 7-9:30pm

Attending class, etc.

Things discussed in class are part of the course materials, and although the slides and recordings will be put on this website, I cannot guarantee that no additional material are discussed in class. Classes will include “follow along” examples, so please have R and RStudio installed on your computer. For the midterms and the final you will also work on your laptop, so make sure it is properly working on exam days!

You will get an email notification in the event that class is cancelled. If the instructor is more than 15 minutes late, you can assume a last-minute cancellation. Hopefully this will not happen!

Academic integrity

Please refer to the following official statement on academic integrity:

As members of the Clemson University community, we are supposed to have a mutual commitment to truthfulness, honor, and responsibility, without which we cannot earn trust and respect of others. Futhermore, we are supposed to recognize that academic dishonesty detracts from the value of a Clemson degree. Therefore, we should not tolerate lying, cheating, or stealing in any form.

Practically speaking: Do not cheat. Plagiarism will not be tolerated, and be dealt with through official university channels, see:

Cheat sheets are created for your convenience to help you with the midterms and the exam. Please do not use cheat sheets (e.g., from last year) when making the homework. Using last years‘ cheat sheets on the homeworks is considered cheating, and will be dealth with accordingly.

Disability access

p>Students with disabilities requesting accommodations should contact the Office of Student Disability Services in Suite 239, Academic Success Center building 864-656-6848, to discuss specific needs within the first month of classes. Students should present a Faculty Accommodation Letter from Student Disability Services when they meet with instructors. Accomodations are not retroactive and new Faculty Accommodation Letters must be presented each semester.

Title IX (Sexual Harassment) statement

Clemson University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, veteran‘s status, genetic information or protected activity (e.g., opposition to prohibited discrimination or participation in any complaint process, etc.) in employment, educational programs and activities, admissions and financial aid. This includes a prohibition against sexual harassment and sexual violence as mandated by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This policy is located at Mr. Jerry Knighton is the Clemson University Title IX Coordinator. He also is the Director of Access and Equity. His office is located at 111 Holzendorff Hall, 864.656.3181 (voice) or 864.565.0899 (TDD).