Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute phasing out online HCI program

24 Feb 2009 - 6:23pm
5 years ago
12 replies
2731 reads
sharon greenfield
2008

Why is noone interested in this program?
There are only two online HCI programs to my knowledge - Rensselaer's
and Brigham Young University.
RPI's name has cachet and prestige. I know some nuclear engineers who
graduated from RPI - smart school for smart people.

I think they are phasing the online HCI program out because they
didn't have enough applicants.
Does no one have an interest in working while getting a degree remotely?

Just checking the temperature here...

Comments

24 Feb 2009 - 11:47pm
Tina Ajmera
2009

I've been looking to take online courses in HCI. I didn't know of
this program. I would definitely be interesting in working while
getting a degree remotely in HCI.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=39194

25 Feb 2009 - 8:36am
Bill Welense
2008

DePaul University in Chicago recently started offering their MS in HCI with an on-line option:

http://www.cdm.depaul.edu/academics/Pages/MSinHuman-ComputerInteraction....

25 Feb 2009 - 9:57am
Mike Oren
2009

Iowa State University began offering an online Masters program this year (http://www.hci.iastate.edu/Academics/msonline.php). They have had an online certificate program for awhile.

Full Disclaimer: I'm a PhD student in the program and president of the student group. I should also note that in addition to the courses, the student group has been working to make our meeting accessible to off-campus students.

25 Feb 2009 - 11:45am
Becky Reed
2008

I wonder how much of it goes back to findability and information architecture (but I can be a little biased thinking most problems come back to these things).

Placement in search engine isn't really high (and didn't even seem them for "online hci program" and the like) and then the description provided seemed accidental and had an odd subdomained URL that didn't give you the university's name or program in it.

When you go to the program site you arrive at from some of the more obscure search terms, I didn't see a mention of format (online vs oncampus). There was a link for "working professionals". Mmmm...here's the mention: "live on-campus and, by electronic means". I guess in the months I spent searching for an online program I never Googled for "masters program HCI electronic means".

In my experience, disambiguating on-campus only programs from distance ones was a challenge. Trying to winnow them down via search engine alone was impossible and even as noted above...it was kind of a treasure hunt on their program sites.

I went with an barely online Human Factors program through U of Idaho last year and would have certainly looked at Rensselaer's HCI program as I could have taken it "by electronic means".

Becky

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of sharon
Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 4:23 PM
To: IxDA
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute phasing out online HCI program

Why is noone interested in this program?
There are only two online HCI programs to my knowledge - Rensselaer's
and Brigham Young University.
RPI's name has cachet and prestige. I know some nuclear engineers who
graduated from RPI - smart school for smart people.

I think they are phasing the online HCI program out because they
didn't have enough applicants.
Does no one have an interest in working while getting a degree remotely?

Just checking the temperature here...
________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
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25 Feb 2009 - 12:05pm
mtumi
2004

From what I remember they required some time on-campus for the
degree. that was a dealbreaker for me.

MT

On Feb 25, 2009, at 11:45 AM, Becky Reed wrote:

> I wonder how much of it goes back to findability and information
> architecture (but I can be a little biased thinking most problems
> come back to these things).
>
> Placement in search engine isn't really high (and didn't even seem
> them for "online hci program" and the like) and then the description
> provided seemed accidental and had an odd subdomained URL that
> didn't give you the university's name or program in it.
>
> When you go to the program site you arrive at from some of the more
> obscure search terms, I didn't see a mention of format (online vs
> oncampus). There was a link for "working professionals".
> Mmmm...here's the mention: "live on-campus and, by electronic
> means". I guess in the months I spent searching for an online
> program I never Googled for "masters program HCI electronic means".
>
> In my experience, disambiguating on-campus only programs from
> distance ones was a challenge. Trying to winnow them down via search
> engine alone was impossible and even as noted above...it was kind of
> a treasure hunt on their program sites.
>
> I went with an barely online Human Factors program through U of
> Idaho last year and would have certainly looked at Rensselaer's HCI
> program as I could have taken it "by electronic means".
>
> Becky
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
> ] On Behalf Of sharon
> Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 4:23 PM
> To: IxDA
> Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute phasing out
> online HCI program
>
> Why is noone interested in this program?
> There are only two online HCI programs to my knowledge - Rensselaer's
> and Brigham Young University.
> RPI's name has cachet and prestige. I know some nuclear engineers who
> graduated from RPI - smart school for smart people.
>
> I think they are phasing the online HCI program out because they
> didn't have enough applicants.
> Does no one have an interest in working while getting a degree
> remotely?
>
> Just checking the temperature here...
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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

25 Feb 2009 - 4:05pm
sharon greenfield
2008

> I wonder how much of it goes back to findability and information
> architecture (but I can be a little biased thinking most problems
> come back to these things).
>
> Placement in search engine isn't really high (and didn't even seem
> them for "online hci program" and the like) and then the description
> provided seemed accidental and had an odd subdomained URL that
> didn't give you the university's name or program in it.
I've had a tough time finding programs in most university's convoluted
information architecture.
This is the URL:
http://www.rpi.edu/ewp/distance/course_masters/ms_hum_comp_int.html

> When you go to the program site you arrive at from some of the more
> obscure search terms, I didn't see a mention of format (online vs
> oncampus). There was a link for "working professionals".
> Mmmm...here's the mention: "live on-campus and, by electronic
> means". I guess in the months I spent searching for an online
> program I never Googled for "masters program HCI electronic means".
Wow. I found it trough 'distance learning', but you are so right, that
term above is ridiculous in this day and age.

> In my experience, disambiguating on-campus only programs from
> distance ones was a challenge. Trying to winnow them down via search
> engine alone was impossible and even as noted above...it was kind of
> a treasure hunt on their program sites.
Agreed! It really is hard to find programs nowadays...

> Why is noone interested in this program?
> There are only two online HCI programs to my knowledge - Rensselaer's
> and Brigham Young University.
> RPI's name has cachet and prestige. I know some nuclear engineers who
> graduated from RPI - smart school for smart people.
>
> I think they are phasing the online HCI program out because they
> didn't have enough applicants.
> Does no one have an interest in working while getting a degree
> remotely?
>

25 Feb 2009 - 11:24pm
Christine Boese
2006

Sorry to be so late chiming in on this thread. I thought I'd hear something
from the RPI faculty about the phasing out of HCI distance program, or
clarify what is happened, and I haven't yet.

I am a product (PhD) of the same dept and took many of the core classes that
are part of this program. This is also the dept that initially invented the
field of technical communication and offered graduate degrees in it.

Knowing the way RPI works, and the strength and commitment to their
offerings (and having at one time been responsible for that entire distance
learning web site, in the mid-1990s, mostly just catalog updates, as I could
not do too much structurally), I am also familiar with the RPI distance
learning system, which, I believe has been around 20+ years now. Not many
distance learning programs can say that. It confers very high end masters
degrees in specialized engineering, polymer chemistry, really wonky stuff,
in addition to t-com and HCI.

Not just courses. Entire graduate degrees.

So what's going on with this? It was a few years back that the technical
communication certificate and master's degree in the distance learning
program morphed into the HCI concentration, and I'm guessing what they are
really doing is morphing it back to a broader focus.

I really don't believe the degree is going away, unless enrollments have
fallen way off. RPI is an expensive, private engineering school, and the
economy sux right now, so that could be having an effect. But at the same
time, there will be a lot of laid off people needing to retool their skill
sets.

The larger issue, as I remember from the 1990s, was the nature of their
distance learning program, which was VERY high quality compared to a lot of
these fairly new distance learnning university offerings which are just one
step away from lite correspondence courses, if you ask me.

RPI has always used elaborate video conferencing with satellite link-ups,
even before the time of the web, before the days of WebEx, when professors
there wrote the software to run it. Also, it tended to cater to big
corporate clients who provided the on-site satellite link for the live
interactions in the classroom with mixed face to face students and distance
students. In addition, the university always had high standards for
computer-supported collaborative work, and studio courses had big project
and collaboration components, in which the distance students were expected
to participate fully.

I know I sound like a PR person, but if you could imagine the elaborate
system around all those video teleconferences (now supported on web
software, I hear), dedicated distance classrooms with multiple cameras and
professor view controls, etc. What I'm saying is it ain't your basic
"Blackboard" setup with a prof on a phone line and some email
correspondence.

And RPI has been out in front in innovating on multi-disciplinary design, so
if they are moving away from the HCI angle, it could be likely that they are
gearing up to blaze another trail in a new area. Like I said, I sound like
PR, and I was involved in the founding of the RPI EMAC degree program, so I
know how they decide to do these things. Absent a major revenue shortfall,
that is what I would expect.

Chris

On Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 4:05 PM, sharon <sharongreenfield at gmail.com> wrote:

>
> I wonder how much of it goes back to findability and information
>> architecture (but I can be a little biased thinking most problems come back
>> to these things).
>>
>> Placement in search engine isn't really high (and didn't even seem them
>> for "online hci program" and the like) and then the description provided
>> seemed accidental and had an odd subdomained URL that didn't give you the
>> university's name or program in it.
>>
> I've had a tough time finding programs in most university's convoluted
> information architecture.
> This is the URL:
> http://www.rpi.edu/ewp/distance/course_masters/ms_hum_comp_int.html
>
> When you go to the program site you arrive at from some of the more
>> obscure search terms, I didn't see a mention of format (online vs oncampus).
>> There was a link for "working professionals". Mmmm...here's the mention:
>> "live on-campus and, by electronic means". I guess in the months I spent
>> searching for an online program I never Googled for "masters program HCI
>> electronic means".
>>
> Wow. I found it trough 'distance learning', but you are so right, that term
> above is ridiculous in this day and age.
>
> In my experience, disambiguating on-campus only programs from distance
>> ones was a challenge. Trying to winnow them down via search engine alone was
>> impossible and even as noted above...it was kind of a treasure hunt on their
>> program sites.
>>
> Agreed! It really is hard to find programs nowadays...
>
> Why is noone interested in this program?
>> There are only two online HCI programs to my knowledge - Rensselaer's
>> and Brigham Young University.
>> RPI's name has cachet and prestige. I know some nuclear engineers who
>> graduated from RPI - smart school for smart people.
>>
>> I think they are phasing the online HCI program out because they
>> didn't have enough applicants.
>> Does no one have an interest in working while getting a degree remotely?
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
> 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
>

25 Feb 2009 - 11:36pm
Christine Boese
2006

Ach, I spoke too soon. RPI is phasing out ALL distance learning graduate
degrees and certificate programs, meaning polymer chemistry, mechanical
engineering, all that (all those courses that I had to upload in that damn
distance catalog).

http://www.rpi.edu/ewp/distance/academics/schedule_projected.html

What's important to know is that this page, the projected schedule, is the
most important document on the site, from the POV of the Institute, cuz it
represents a legally-binding commitment to the students IN PROGRESS.

So scanning down this course list, it looks to me like all the HCI courses
are still going to be offered thru 2010 or so, but the degree programs are
going away.

This is the note at the very bottom:

Prospective Students
Beginning with the Fall 2008 semester, Rensselaer has begun a three year
transition to phase out the delivery of degree and certificate programs via
distance learning. Please be assured that all distance students will be able
to complete their programs as originally planned, and we will work with each
student individually to develop their plan of study or account for any
changes to their plan of study resulting from this change. If you have not
applied or been accepted these programs are no longer available.

Chris

On Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 11:24 PM, Christine Boese <christine.boese at gmail.com
> wrote:

> Sorry to be so late chiming in on this thread. I thought I'd hear something
> from the RPI faculty about the phasing out of HCI distance program, or
> clarify what is happened, and I haven't yet.
>
> I am a product (PhD) of the same dept and took many of the core classes
> that are part of this program. This is also the dept that initially invented
> the field of technical communication and offered graduate degrees in it.
>
> Knowing the way RPI works, and the strength and commitment to their
> offerings (and having at one time been responsible for that entire distance
> learning web site, in the mid-1990s, mostly just catalog updates, as I could
> not do too much structurally), I am also familiar with the RPI distance
> learning system, which, I believe has been around 20+ years now. Not many
> distance learning programs can say that. It confers very high end masters
> degrees in specialized engineering, polymer chemistry, really wonky stuff,
> in addition to t-com and HCI.
>
> Not just courses. Entire graduate degrees.
>
> So what's going on with this? It was a few years back that the technical
> communication certificate and master's degree in the distance learning
> program morphed into the HCI concentration, and I'm guessing what they are
> really doing is morphing it back to a broader focus.
>
> I really don't believe the degree is going away, unless enrollments have
> fallen way off. RPI is an expensive, private engineering school, and the
> economy sux right now, so that could be having an effect. But at the same
> time, there will be a lot of laid off people needing to retool their skill
> sets.
>
> The larger issue, as I remember from the 1990s, was the nature of their
> distance learning program, which was VERY high quality compared to a lot of
> these fairly new distance learnning university offerings which are just one
> step away from lite correspondence courses, if you ask me.
>
> RPI has always used elaborate video conferencing with satellite link-ups,
> even before the time of the web, before the days of WebEx, when professors
> there wrote the software to run it. Also, it tended to cater to big
> corporate clients who provided the on-site satellite link for the live
> interactions in the classroom with mixed face to face students and distance
> students. In addition, the university always had high standards for
> computer-supported collaborative work, and studio courses had big project
> and collaboration components, in which the distance students were expected
> to participate fully.
>
> I know I sound like a PR person, but if you could imagine the elaborate
> system around all those video teleconferences (now supported on web
> software, I hear), dedicated distance classrooms with multiple cameras and
> professor view controls, etc. What I'm saying is it ain't your basic
> "Blackboard" setup with a prof on a phone line and some email
> correspondence.
>
> And RPI has been out in front in innovating on multi-disciplinary design,
> so if they are moving away from the HCI angle, it could be likely that they
> are gearing up to blaze another trail in a new area. Like I said, I sound
> like PR, and I was involved in the founding of the RPI EMAC degree program,
> so I know how they decide to do these things. Absent a major revenue
> shortfall, that is what I would expect.
>
> Chris
>
>
> On Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 4:05 PM, sharon <sharongreenfield at gmail.com>wrote:
>
>>
>> I wonder how much of it goes back to findability and information
>>> architecture (but I can be a little biased thinking most problems come back
>>> to these things).
>>>
>>> Placement in search engine isn't really high (and didn't even seem them
>>> for "online hci program" and the like) and then the description provided
>>> seemed accidental and had an odd subdomained URL that didn't give you the
>>> university's name or program in it.
>>>
>> I've had a tough time finding programs in most university's convoluted
>> information architecture.
>> This is the URL:
>> http://www.rpi.edu/ewp/distance/course_masters/ms_hum_comp_int.html
>>
>> When you go to the program site you arrive at from some of the more
>>> obscure search terms, I didn't see a mention of format (online vs oncampus).
>>> There was a link for "working professionals". Mmmm...here's the mention:
>>> "live on-campus and, by electronic means". I guess in the months I spent
>>> searching for an online program I never Googled for "masters program HCI
>>> electronic means".
>>>
>> Wow. I found it trough 'distance learning', but you are so right, that
>> term above is ridiculous in this day and age.
>>
>> In my experience, disambiguating on-campus only programs from distance
>>> ones was a challenge. Trying to winnow them down via search engine alone was
>>> impossible and even as noted above...it was kind of a treasure hunt on their
>>> program sites.
>>>
>> Agreed! It really is hard to find programs nowadays...
>>
>> Why is noone interested in this program?
>>> There are only two online HCI programs to my knowledge - Rensselaer's
>>> and Brigham Young University.
>>> RPI's name has cachet and prestige. I know some nuclear engineers who
>>> graduated from RPI - smart school for smart people.
>>>
>>> I think they are phasing the online HCI program out because they
>>> didn't have enough applicants.
>>> Does no one have an interest in working while getting a degree remotely?
>>>
>>> ________________________________________________________________
>> 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
>>
>
>

26 Feb 2009 - 1:29pm
Jeffrey D. Gimzek
2007

On Feb 25, 2009, at 9:05 AM, Michael Tuminello wrote:

> From what I remember they required some time on-campus for the
> degree. that was a dealbreaker for me.

Oh, come on, Troy is beautiful this time of never.

> On Feb 25, 2009, at 11:45 AM, Becky Reed wrote:
>
>> I wonder how much of it goes back to findability and information
>> architecture (but I can be a little biased thinking most problems
>> come back to these things).
>>
>> Placement in search engine isn't really high (and didn't even seem
>> them for "online hci program" and the like) and then the
>> description provided seemed accidental and had an odd subdomained
>> URL that didn't give you the university's name or program in it.
>>
>> When you go to the program site you arrive at from some of the more
>> obscure search terms, I didn't see a mention of format (online vs
>> oncampus). There was a link for "working professionals".
>> Mmmm...here's the mention: "live on-campus and, by electronic
>> means". I guess in the months I spent searching for an online
>> program I never Googled for "masters program HCI electronic means".
>>
>> In my experience, disambiguating on-campus only programs from
>> distance ones was a challenge. Trying to winnow them down via
>> search engine alone was impossible and even as noted above...it was
>> kind of a treasure hunt on their program sites.
>>
>> I went with an barely online Human Factors program through U of
>> Idaho last year and would have certainly looked at Rensselaer's HCI
>> program as I could have taken it "by electronic means".
>>
>> Becky
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com [mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
>> ] On Behalf Of sharon
>> Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 4:23 PM
>> To: IxDA
>> Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute phasing
>> out online HCI program
>>
>> Why is noone interested in this program?
>> There are only two online HCI programs to my knowledge - Rensselaer's
>> and Brigham Young University.
>> RPI's name has cachet and prestige. I know some nuclear engineers who
>> graduated from RPI - smart school for smart people.
>>
>> I think they are phasing the online HCI program out because they
>> didn't have enough applicants.
>> Does no one have an interest in working while getting a degree
>> remotely?
>>
>> Just checking the temperature here...

--

Jeff Gimzek | Senior User Experience Designer

jeff at springstudio.com | www.springstudio.com

26 Feb 2009 - 3:40pm
.pauric
2006

re: findability;
http://platial.com/map/Interaction-Design-Schools/56336

/pauric

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=39194

26 Feb 2009 - 3:52pm
Sharon Greenfield5
2008

Yes, but which ones are DISTANCE LEARNING?

Not many, I would guess...

Are people really ready to give up their jobs, houses, and move their
families just to continue school and finish a degree?

On Feb 26, 2009, at 12:40 PM, Pauric wrote:

> re: findability;
> http://platial.com/map/Interaction-Design-Schools/56336
>
> /pauric
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=39194
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> 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

26 Feb 2009 - 5:21pm
Mike Oren
2009

The Iowa State online Masters is for distance learning. All required courses are offered online and we're making efforts to get more of the elective courses of interest online, as well as creating additional ones with a focus on distance learners. We are particularly striving to try to connect on-campus students with off-campus students so the off-campus students can gain a larger sense of academic community and the on-campus students can gain more practical knowledge from current practitioners.

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