TEACHING COMPUTER SCIENTISTS TO MAKE USE
Mary Beth Rosson, John M. Carroll, and Con Rodi
School of Information Sciences and Technology, Pennsylvania State University, USA
SCENARIO-BASED DESIGN is a family of techniques in which the use of a future system is concretely described at an early point in the development process. Narrative descriptions of envisioned usage episodes are then employed in a variety of ways to guide the development of the system that will enable these use experiences. Scenarios are stories of users and their behavior, which makes them an excellent medium for discovering, addressing, refining, and managing usage concerns in the design of software systems.
In this chapter, we present a scenario-based approach to teach computer science students to make use—that is to design and build software with use as the goal. Our audience is computer science students who have been trained in programming and software engineering methods. Few, if any have taken classes that study human behavior. Thus as instructors, we must convey the concepts of human–computer interaction (e.g., human perception, interpretation, and social interaction with computing systems) at the same time that we teach a suite of methods for usability engineering (e.g., scenario analysis and development, prototyping, usability evaluation). We describe how we are using case-based learning techniques to integrate these two complementary aspects of making use.