Course Descriptions

Descriptions of Key Courses

Five new transdisciplinary courses have been incorporated into the PHI core curriculum, with other new courses planned for PHI electives. For a complete list of courses offered at Northeastern University, see the searchable PDF course catalog from the Registrar.

Core Courses

Short Description

HINF 5200: Theoretical Foundations in Personal Health Informatics

This course offers an introduction to and foundation for personal health informatics by reviewing major theories and models of health behavior change and health education at individual, interpersonal, and community levels in a wide variety of settings and populations. Health behavior change is arguably our greatest hope for reducing the burden of preventable physical and mental disease and death around the world. A thorough understanding of health behavior change theories is thus essential to developing and translating personal health interface technologies into practice and policy that can result in more powerful interventions and more robust theories. Emphasizes cultural and health disparities, global applications, advances in health communications, and the use of electronic media (e-health) and mobile media (m-health). (4 SH)

HINF 5300: Personal Health Interface Design and Development

This project-based seminar course explores the design of innovative personal health human-computer interface technologies. Examples include assistive technologies that aid persons with disabilities, consumer wellness promotion applications, patient education and counseling systems, interfaces for reviewing personal health records, and eldercare and social network systems that monitor health and support independent living. Working in teams, students have an opportunity to build a prototype personal health interface system to solve a real problem. Topics surveyed in the course include needs assessment and participatory research, iterative user interface design methods for health interface development, computational sensing of health states and behavior, software architectures for iteratively testing prototype personal health interface technologies, human-computer interaction issues related to personal health technology, and technology transfer requirements to support future validation studies of technology. This is the first part of a two-semester, team-taught course sequence that provides the cornerstone of the doctoral program, with students engaging in an experiential learning team project that will begin with needs assessment and conclude with a full validation of a novel technology designed, implemented, and deployed by multidisciplinary student teams.

HINF 5301: Personal Health Technologies: Field Deployment and System Evaluation

This project-based seminar course explores the deployment and evaluation of innovative personal health technologies. Working in teams, students will deploy and evaluate a prototype personal health technology that has been previously developed by Northeastern students/themselves in HINF 5300 Personal Health Interface: Design and Development. In this course, students will develop a research plan to measure the effectiveness, usability and/or feasibility of the technology, recruit study participants, deploy the technology, and analyze the data collected. Students will learn about each of these steps and work towards producing a publishable-quality research paper on the technology and results of the efficacy study. Students will also prepare a grant application that extends the technology and research methodology. Additional topics include technology transfer and implications on health policy. This is the second part of a two-semester, team-taught course sequence that provides the cornerstone of the doctoral program, with students engaging in an experiential learning team project that will begin with needs assessment and conclude with a full validation of a novel technology designed, implemented, and deployed by multidisciplinary student teams.

HINF: Personal Health Informatics Usability Evaluation Practicum

Students are immersed in a healthcare context studying needs from the patient’s and consumer’s perspective and develop skills in ethnography and design (1 SH)

HINF: Personal Health Informatics Seminar Series

This course consists of guest lectures from local and national experts working on health technology projects invited to campus. (0 SH)

CS 5340: Computer/Human Interaction

This course covers the principles of human-computer interaction and the design and evaluation of user interfaces. Topics include an overview of human information processing subsystems (perception, memory, attention, and problem solving); how the properties of these systems affect the design of user interfaces; the principles, guidelines, and specification languages for designing good user interfaces, with emphasis on tool kits and libraries of standard graphical user interface objects; and a variety of interface evaluation methodologies that can be used to measure the usability of software. Other topics may include World Wide Web design principles and tools, computer-supported cooperative work, multimodal and “next generation” interfaces, speech and natural language interfaces, and virtual reality interfaces. Course work includes both the creation and implementation of original user interface designs (targeted in the health domain), and the evaluation of user interfaces created by others. (4 SH)

CS 6350: Empirical Research Methods

This course presents an overview of methods for conducting empirical research within computer science. These methods help provide objective answers to questions about the usability, effectiveness, and acceptability of systems. The course covers the basics of the scientific method, building from a survey of objective measures to the fundamentals of hypothesis testing using relatively simple research designs, and on to more advanced research designs and statistical methods. The course also includes a significant amount of fieldwork, spanning the design, conduct, and presentation of small empirical studies. (4 SH)

Read about the admission process…

Comments are closed