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Written Exam and Portfolio Details

Content Areas and Reading Lists

The HCC Comprehensive Examination covers both the Core Human-Centered Computing Reading List and the Human-Centered Computing Concentration Area HCC reading lists as well as Methodology. The five reading lists are:

Core Human-Centered Computing Reading List
30 items, same as the IS PhD Program’s HCC Comprehensive Review Reading List

Human-Centered Computing Concentration Area Reading Lists (12-16 items each):

  1. Accessibility, Health & Wellness
  2. Human Factors Engineering
  3. Human Information Interaction
  4. Social Computing

Updates to the reading lists are announced by July 1.

All students should read the Core HCC Reading List. Students are responsible for selecting two of the four HCC Concentration Area reading lists and notifying the Graduate Program Director about these by email by Friday of the first week of the semester during which they plan to take the exam. Students are expected to be very knowledgeable regarding the articles on the Core HCC and the two selected HCC concentration area reading lists. They are also expected to integrate material into their exam answers from the research methodology courses they have taken.

Written Exam

All students will take the written exam on the same day and at the same time (see timetable for more details). The exam session will take four hours. Students will have access to all articles (in print format) and personal notes. Students cannot access electronic files or the Internet during the exam. Students cannot access the Internet during the exam. The students will receive three questions to reflect the three reading lists. They will type their answers on a computer provided by the Department.

Students are expected to adhere to the UMBC Policy on Academic Integrity. The answers to the questions must be original work and not contain material previously written by the students for assignments or other purposes. The student is free to cite material from the reading lists.

When answering questions in the written exam, students are free to make any reasonable assumptions and should clearly state these assumptions as a prelude to the answer. While an examinee is free to ask the GPD for clarification of a question, it is important to realize that understanding the question and possible approaches to answering it are part of the examination.

The written exam will be evaluated by the faculty committee.  Anonymity is not guaranteed during this process.

Portfolio Review

Exactly two weeks after the exam, each examinee must also submit a portfolio that includes:

  1. Name of advisor
  2. List of courses taken and grades achieved
  3. Self-assessment of progress so far including strengths and weaknesses
  4. Copies of all papers (published as well as unpublished course papers)
  5. Dissertation plans

In order to develop a successful portfolio, students are recommended to demonstrate how their learning has grown since starting the graduate program, offering evidence from their completed assignments, projects and publications.  This should be done in a reflective fashion.  Students are recommended to place emphasis on developing the self-assessment of progress and plans for the intended dissertation.  Both should be explained in sufficient detail.  Contributions to knowledge should also be described.

The portfolio will be evaluated by the Comprehensive Review Committee. The HCC GPD has the right to requests revisions to the Portfolio and to defer decision if a revision was necessary