- by Mount Saint Mary College

Mount Saint Mary College is proud to unveil a new concentration: Human Computer Interaction, for Information Technology students.

Existing IT students at the Mount may begin taking this concentration immediately. Incoming IT students may sign up for the concentration as well.

The concentration will require 24 credits in Information Technology and 24 credits in the concentration. Students enrolled in this program will earn a Bachelor of Arts in Information Technology with a Concentration in Human Computer Interaction. 

Human Computer Interaction (HCI) studies the impacts of technology on the human experience, from both the psychological and technological perspectives. With this concentration, IT students will learn about the theoretical aspects of technology, and will also understand it practically.

 Today, we are connected to the rest of the world like never before through the internet and mobile apps. Usability and accessibility, therefore, are profoundly important. Those in the HCI field observe the ways in which people interact with computers and then design technologies that offer optimal user experiences. For example, cellphones are very human-centered products that require a high degree of user friendliness.

“We are really excited to have a program that is very cutting edge,” noted Lee Fothergill, chair of the Mount’s Division of Mathematics and Information Technology. “We are now going to school and going to doctors via technology, and people in the HCI field help design, create, and improve the user experience. Because of the pandemic, the job market in the HCI field has sky-rocketed and the field will continue to grow,” even after COVID-19 is no longer a global threat. 

Interaction between computers and humans should be intuitive, explained Micah Modell, assistant professor of Information Technology at the Mount. However, many products and services do not meet the needs of the consumer. The HCI concentration at the Mount will help students to create and design experiences, products, and services that best serve the user.

 “Design is about solving problems, and with this concentration, we’re helping our students tackle the problem of bringing joy to everyday tasks,” said Modell.

HCI students will look at the broad-reaching impact of technology from all aspects of life, taking courses in Psychology, Business, and Math. HCI enhances what students learn in their general Information Technology classes, and focuses on how technology can better serve the people who will use it. 

 With a concentration in Human Computer Interaction, Mount IT students will be particularly qualified for positions in technology consulting, front-end designing or developing, user experience and information architecture, and more. 

HCI students are highly encouraged to take advantage of internships and co-ops. These experiences are often paid, and many have led to job offers for many Mount students. Mount IT students have interned with IBM, Google, Travelers Insurance, UPS, Marvel, area businesses and schools, and more. 

The Mount’s Division of Mathematics and Information Technology also offers a concentration in Cybersecurity for undergraduate IT majors. This program provides comprehensive coverage of technical, ethical, legal, and contemporary topics in the field; skills to identify and mitigate security vulnerabilities in software applications, operating systems, computer networks, and mobile networks; and an insider understanding of the mathematical algorithms behind encryption and decryption techniques. Also available as a major.

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