04/06/2013

My (brief) return to academia


For the past eight weeks I’ve been on a remote learning course. I had been toying with the idea of signing up for an HCI course for a while now, so when a colleague told me about a new remote learning programme run by Stanford I decided to jump in.

The course is comprised of components from Stanford’s Human Computer Interaction degree. It’s delivered in four aspects; video lectures, tests, practical assignments and peer evaluations. Because it’s a condensed course it skims through a large number of HCI topics and the assignments move quickly.

Although it covered areas of psychology and interaction design that I’m interested in the lack of depth was a little frustrating. I took comfort in the fact that the course didn’t cover any topics that felt way out of my depth. The aspect of the course that I found most challenge was the abstract nature of the assignment briefs. I guess the past 14 years of commercial work has hardened my expectations. I initially struggled to work without any technical, financial and brand limitations. Essentially you’re expected to invent something entirely new that you can prove to be a useful and successful digital product.

The course is now complete I've got my grades and certificates. Looking back I can say I'm glad to have done it, but at the time the late nights and seemingly endless lectures certainly wore me down. It was like being a student again, but without the awesome parties, long hair and hopeful outlook on my career ;)