Heritage, Culture and Museums


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Emerging Exhibits: Exploring New Models of Human Computer Interaction (HCI)

HA 488H (1.5 units)

Computer-based interactive exhibits are undergoing a major transformation. The lone, single-user kiosk is now being replaced by multi-touch tables and walls, motion-sensing spaces, networked installations, and RFID-based exhibits. Advances in augmented reality, speech recognition, eye tracking, and other technologies promise even more radical change for exhibits in the near future. 

Collectively these new technologies represent a fundamental advance in Human Computer Interaction (HCI). This course will look at a new generation of computer-based exhibits that are more physical, more intuitive, and have more social qualities than their predecessors.

The new models for HCI provide us with opportunities to rethink how technology is used in museums and other public spaces. Computer technology is on the cusp of finally living up to its promise in the museum world, providing a platform for developing compelling and authentic experiences for the public.

In this course, you will investigate the new HCI technologies, explore examples of effective practices and develop your ability to: 
- understand the workings of multi-touch, motion-capture, RFID, augmented reality, and others
- explore the early “exemplar” exhibits in the field that utilize new computer technology
- identify informational, hardware and software resources for new HCI technologies
- define various types of visitor experiences, and identify the most effective practices in the field
- understand the design parameters involved in creating multi-touch and multiuser exhibits
- conceptualize and design more effective computer-based exhibits
- create more engaging exhibits, with stronger social interaction
- plan, implement, and evaluate computer-based exhibits


Jim Spadaccini is the founder and director of Ideum (, a New Mexico-based multimedia design firm that works with museums, nonprofits, and socially responsible companies.  He is also the Principal Investigator of the Open Exhibits (, a National Science Foundation sponsored open source exhibit software project.  Ideum focuses on the development of multitouch and multiuser software, hardware products, and custom installations. For the last 11 years, it has designed and developed over 70 projects with top museums and cultural institutions across North America. Before founding Ideum, Jim was the Director of Interactive Media at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. You can view some of Jim's work here:


Online/By Distance

Students login to the course and communicate with the instructor and fellow students via the course management system Moodle. For further information about Moodle, visit the Moodle Startup Kit at

Distance Learning Online

For information on online privacy, please see Privacy Consideration in Moodle on the Distance Education Services website.


Course Materials: This course requires the following materials that you must purchase through the UVic Bookstore:

    1. TBD

NetLink ID: Students must have a working NetLink ID before course start date in order to access the course Moodle website

Technical Requirements: Please see Computer Requirements for Using Moodle on the Distance Education Services website to ensure you have appropriate requirements to access the course Moodle website

Note: If you are planning on accessing your online courses using a mobile device such as a tablet or a smartphone, please note that not all required course features will be accessible with these devices. Your mobile devices can be used to access some of your online course tools; however, to fully function in your online courses, you will need to have access to a computer running Windows or MacOS. Please see the Computer Requirements page on the Distance Education Services website for complete support details.

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Course Code: HA488H006