Catalogue of Modules, University of Nottingham

G54DET Design Ethnography
(Last Updated:03 May 2017)

Year  17/18

Total Credits: 20

Level: Level 4

Target Students:  G440 HCI masters students and students enrolled for higher research degrees (MRes, MPhil, PhD). Part III undergraduate students satisfying module prerequisites, only in the School of Computer Science. Also available to students enrolled for other MSc courses in the School of Computer Science and from other Schools enrolled for higher research degrees with the agreement of the module convenor.  Available to JYA/Erasmus students.

Taught Semesters:

Autumn Assessed by end of Autumn Semester 

Prerequisites: G52HCI for Part III undergraduate students in the School of Computer Science.

Corequisites:  None.

Summary of Content:  This module introduces you to the theory and practice of design ethnography. You’ll cover a range of topics including: origins and evolution of ethnography; foundations and nature of the ethnomethodological approach; ethnographic analysis; its relationship to systems design; and the perceived problems with the approach. You’ll spend around three hours each week in lectures and tutorials for this module.

Method and Frequency of Class:

ActivityNumber Of WeeksNumber of sessionsDuration of a session
Lecture 11 weeks1 per week1 hour
Tutorial 10 weeks2 per week1 hour

Activities may take place every teaching week of the Semester or only in specified weeks. It is usually specified above if an activity only takes place in some weeks of a Semester

Method of Assessment: 

Assessment TypeWeightRequirements
Coursework 1 80 Individual 4000-word field study report. 
Presentation 1 20 15-minute presentation of design activity outcomes from group work. 

Dr J Fischer

Education Aims:  
The aim of this module is to develop students' theoretical and practical knowledge of design ethnography. It will provide students with a skill set that is essential to effective human-centred software development.

Learning Outcomes:  
Knowledge and Understanding
Understanding of the analytic foundations of ethnography in a design context.
Understanding of the role of ethnography in IT research and software development.

Intellectual Skills
Ability to reason about the social character of human activities.

Professional Skills
Ability to conduct fieldwork and provide ethnographic analyses.
Understanding of design practices used to relate ethnographic analyses to systems development.

Transferable Skills
Writing field reports. Critical reflection. Presentation skills. Group work.

Offering School:  Computer Science

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