Analysis and Update of the Academic Standard in Teaching User Experience in Response to the Digitalization Requirements
Amelina, Yevgeniya (2019)
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The thesis addresses a gap in the literature, in which descriptions of the cases of updating university curricula in the fields of user experience (UX) and HCI are lacking, although user-centricity is a premise of digitalization, a trend that must be reflected in the curricula. The study uses the example of the project for revising and updating the content of the courses in UX at the Department of Future Technologies of the University of Turku as a case. The aim of the thesis is to consider the international best practices and the empirical data collected via in-depth interviews with the faculty of the University of Turku involved in teaching UX, to contribute a practical case of updating the curriculum in response to the digitalization requirements. First, a literature review is performed, in which international examples of advanced techniques in teaching UX and HCI and approaches to redesigning courses are presented and analysed. Next, a qualitative research methodology of in-depth structured interviews is discussed, based on an overview of qualitative research methods and interview as a means of collecting in-depth rich data about the studied subject. The thesis goes on to analyse the transcripts of 8 hour-long in-person interviews with the lecturers and researchers involved in teaching UX and HCI at the Department of Future Technologies to identify common themes as to the changes that are necessary to the content of the courses to adapt to the requirements of digitalization. The key findings are that UX should be more prominent in the course content, or should be the topic of a separate discipline. Further, fragments of the curricula in the fields of design and art are found to be indispensable to include in the augmented course content. The views as to incorporating business and marketing topics are found to be contrasting, with half of respondents seeing ways of including the content into the existing courses, and the other half dissenting. The opinions as to the integrative model combining technology, business, design and art within study programmes are also found to differ. Half of the participants accentuated the cluster of technology, design and art, while the other half saw potential in also including business topics. To conclude, based on the literature review highlighting the international best practices and the analysis of empirical data, recommendations as to updating UX curricula to foster active experiential learning are provided.