Hasibullah Sahibzada (Afghanistan)
Human Computer Interaction always interested me. I first started CS&M at BUW, where HCI subjects are included. When the new HCI program started, I switched. During my masters, I worked on various interdisciplinary projects where I enhanced my knowledge in interaction design, user-centered design, statistical analysis, usability engineering and testing. In one project, I did research on interactive costumes for the theater stage and developed one in teamwork. This gave me a lot of insight on how and where to start research from, how to organize and face challenges in a project.
The HCI faculty is always open to new ideas and I took the opportunity to suggest ideas for my theses. My thesis was on “Comparison of Interactive and Non-interactive advertisement in public displays”. Doing this I met many helpful people inside and outside University, with full assistance of my professors and the whole department. I could successfully conduct my experiments with the available resources and a comfortable place. With the support of HCI staff, an academic paper was written for a conference, and if it is accepted, it will be my first ever paper published.
The HCI master encourages students to participate in projects and lectures from other departments. In a course from Media Art I learned about generating electronic music. I developed an interactive music installation where users can generate and control music on a table. I worked on the LightWalk project from Media Architecture, and programmed its interaction using Kinect sensors. This was exhibited at the Jena City Light festival and thousands of people experienced the installation. I have done two other projects in my interdisciplinary electives.
Weimar, besides of its rich cultural heritage, has a fairly relaxed study environment, being a non-crowded city. I could focus on my studies and projects anywhere, working undisturbed in the lab, the park or my dormitory. I met so many people from different countries and cultures. Now I have many international friends and have good personal contact with them even when I leave Weimar.
If you would like to have an excellent educational background, good study conditions, a multi cultural environment and a good career, then you should not miss the opportunity to join the HCI program.
Pavel Karpashevich (Belarus)
Coming from a Human Factors background and with experience of working in IT-companies, the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Master’s program was a great opportunity to learn the essence of user-centered design and ubiquitous computing, as well as to build a practical skill set for application of HCI research methods.
The program had several serious advantages. First, it is possible (and you are encouraged!) to take courses from virtually any other program or department at Bauhaus University and other universities in the region. Second, during my studies, I had a chance to participate in two semester-long research projects. Results of one of these were shaped into an academic paper, which was accepted for publication at the MUM conference. Third, my Master’s thesis had interdisciplinary nature, combining HCI with product design and performance art; furthermore, it was done in cooperation with respectable German theaters.
Some of the mandatory courses can be considered challenging, as they expect in-depth course content understanding and demonstration of technical skills. The challenge is fair, and I am glad that I’ve acquired this knowledge and skills.
All in all, I believe that the HCI Master's program was a jump-start for my career in the academic field and a solid preparation for my current PhD studies.
Preetha Moorthy (India)
Starting as an Engineer in Computer Science, I began my studies in the Computer Science and Media Master’s. Having only a little experience in the IT industry, I wasn’t satisfied and ready to work in front of a screen all day! Hence, when I attended the first lecture in HCI, I knew this was my calling. With much inspiration from Prof. Dr. Eva Hornecker, today I am proud to say that I am a Master’s Graduate in HCI. The HCI program provided various opportunities to not just learn about Usability of devices or prototyping systems based on user-centred approaches, but also other fields, ranging from Architecture to Product Design.
The program allowed me to think outside of my comfort zone to explore other fields from an HCI perspective, which enabled me to understand that HCI is not just limited to building prototypes but also evaluating it. Along with the two semester projects, I had the chance to do a semester project in Product Design, which later proved advantageous for my Master’s thesis. My thesis was based on the integration of electronics and fabrics by creating an interactive touch and feel book for children. An interdisciplinary approach combined designing the product and its evaluation.
Though courses can be a bit challenging, persistence and attainment of in-depth skills and knowledge made the climb to the top of the mountain (finishing my Masters!) worthwhile. I believe the Master’s program in HCI has nurtured me for a career in academic research and enabled me to pursue a PhD.
Mark Eisenberg (Ireland)
The HCI program at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar is perfect for those who want to strengthen their academic profile and put their best foot forward in the search for a postgraduate career. My B.Sc. in Digital Media Design was a mixture of computer science, product design and sociological research and I found the HCI curriculum to be a fitting progression.
The course is challenging and requires a decent technical background, yet it allowed me to engage my interests and wasn’t so overwhelming that I couldn’t take time for myself and make new personal connections. Weimar is very multicultural, meaning that you can meet people and students from all walks of life.
HCI has abundant choice of electives, so I was able to take relevant modules from the Media Arts and Design program. My two semester-long projects were focused around live projection mapping technology and urban projection interaction, making them eye-catching pieces for my portfolio. I found that the practice in academic writing, critical thinking and problem solving is very beneficial for future work. The computer science focused modules provided fascinating insight into modern software and hardware development processes. I learned more about the core of UX practically through Usability Testing and statistics, application of HCI Theory and Interaction Design.
My Master’s thesis involved the creation of an Internet of Things interface, which I entitled “HomeNodes”. The interface was projected onto household objects. Users could connect objects using a touch enabled wall interface and by tapping a smartphone on different objects. HomeNodes was subsequently tested and evaluated with users.
Having finished my Masters degree, I currently work as UX/UI Designer in Munich at BMW. Here I can already see how the skills acquired in my studies will apply to an enterprise environment. The course overall has expanded my horizon and provided me with lasting memories and experiences.
Andreas Berst (Germany)
I finished the HCI Master’s program in 2018. With a Bachelor Degree in Business Informatics, my goal was to expand my knowledge in a different field and challenge myself to learn something new. To adjust for my potential lack of required basic knowledge in HCI and Computer Science I had to pass several additional courses. These gave me a good first insight of what to expect from this study program and helped me fill knowledge gaps.
Except for Usability and HCI, most of the mandatory courses are rather technical which can be challenging but very rewarding at the same time. The Media faculty also offers a variety of computer science related subjects to engage in. Additionally, it is possible to take courses of other faculties in Weimar and even participate in courses offered by the universities in Jena and Erfurt. However, to make use of these opportunities and to explore related and interdisciplinary topics, the study program requires you to be encouraged, self-driven and proactive. Since the university is rather small, it also provides a very familiar study environment. People are very forthcoming and take an interest in your advancement and learning progress.
During my time here I learned a lot, met many awesome people and made a great number of good memories. I am certain, that the knowledge I acquired here will help me in my future career.