I went to the Master of Science
program at Bentley College: Human Factors of Information Design at Bentley College. Here's
a little write-up of how it went.
HF710 - Managing a User-Centered Design Team:
This was one of my favorite classes. As usual at Bentley College we
were assigned to groups for the semester, and my team had two great
women in it. We became good friends during the course of the semester
and were very happy with our final grade of 4.0.
- HF730 - Visualizing Information: I strongly recommend taking
HF700 before you take this class so that you have a good idea of what
you're getting into (I didn't, and I paid for it). You'll never look
at infographics or illustrations the same way again. I was re-reading
a book that had some graphics which I had completely forgotten about,
and now that I've taken Information Visualization I can see why. (Final grade from the love/hate professor: 2.7.)
- CS603 - Object-Oriented Programming with Java: I thought Mark
Frydenberg was an excellent professor, but 10 weeks is too fast for non-programmers
to learn the concepts of OOP. It would probably have been better to
take this class during the main part of the year. I worked hard in this
class, and even pointed out a grading error made in my favor on the mid-term,
so I feel I earned my 3.3 with my integrity.
- MG635 - Negotiating: Everyone raves about this class, but this
was also a class that wasn't so great over the summer. I got a 4.0,
but I'm not sure I learned as much as I could have done.
- HF750 - Testing and Assessment Programs: This required class
focuses on usability testing, which is not where I am headed with my
career. After this class I was even more convinced that I want to do
interface design, not testing. It's a good field for people who like
cognitive psychology and computers. I worked hard, however, and got
- HF740 - Information Architecture: I took this class as an intensive
over the winter break, and all that's left is a long essay that's due
on February 20th. I thought it was a great class and I'm very glad I
took it! Final grade: 4.0. Recommendations to students taking a class
with Prof. Buchholz: use your APA
style guide and read The
Elements of Style by Strunk and White.
- HF760 - Knowledge-Based Products: This class was a natural
successor to the Information Architecture class. It was really interesting
and I learned a lot about artificial intelligence. I was content with
my final grade: 3.7.
- HF 700 - Foundations in Human Factors: This was another class with Professor Gribbons. I learned a lot from him, even though it doesn't look like it when you see my grades. He is a fantastic teacher, very inspiring, except that he penalizes people who do not cite his favorite human factors researchers. My recommandation to students taking classes from him: make notes of his favorite authors and theories and regurgitate that information. It gets you a good grade and you WILL learn what you want from his class. My final grade: 3.3.
- HF 770 - Prototyping Theory & Practice: I was one of Chauncy Wilson's last students in this class. It was a tough course, partly because it seemed to depend on your ability to design a unique combination software/hardware product. I would rather be given a project and learn what I can as I research the solution than be graded on coming up with a popular product. First I suggested a robot controller to leverage my iRobot familiarity, then a hand-held diabetes diet and blood sugar tracker that would help people with diabetes maintain a healthy diet. When Professor Wilson showed my team members an electronic blood sugar monitor they balked at my idea and we ended up using my idea for people who want to lose weight. Final grade: 3.7.
- HF 755B - Special Factors in Human Factors: Field Methods/Info Science of Healthcare
When I took this course it was a comedy of errors. The professor teaching Field Methods had no idea of how to conduct a class. She would ask a question about the reading and then start berating the students —"Come on, guys, it was only a five-page article"— within seconds, not giving us a reasonable amount of time to check our notes on all the articles we'd read so that we could respond.
The other half of this class was so specific that it was hard to get motivated. So many people do not have the background to be seriously involved in the biotech industry. I did what I could, but it was hard to get motivated for a field that I didn't want to work in.
I took this class to finish my degree because my options were limited. I earned a 3.7.
I received my Masters of Science in Human Factors of Information Design with Distinction on May 21, 2005. My thanks to my classmates, teachers, and friends who supported me through the process.