Kent L. Norman ( received his doctorate from the University of Iowa in Experimental Psychology, 1973. He was an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland where he was the director of the Laboratory for Automation Psychology and Decision Processes (LAPDP, and is a founding member of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (HCIL, since 1984. His research is on judgment and decision making, human/computer interaction, cognitive issues in interface design, usability research, and the design of electronic educational environments. During the last ten years his research lab has studied psychological aspects of video games including factors of attraction and immersion, violent acts in video games, and an assessment of skills required for different genres of games.   He is the developer of HyperCourseware™, a prototype for blended classroom and Web-based learning and the co-developer of the QUIS™, the Questionnaire for Interaction Satisfaction. His most recent book is Cyberpsychology: An introduction the human-computer interaction, Second Edition (2017).  He retired January 2018 after 42 years at the University  of Maryland.

Teaching has always been facilitated by technology.  In the early days by chalk and blackboards, textbooks, paper, and pencils. Then by movie projectors and overhead projectors.  In 1990, the University of Maryland built one of the first electronic environments for learning, The AT&T Teaching Theater.  It hosted a computer for each student and two for the instructor.  Materials could be accessed from servers.  I decided for better or worse to commit my teaching to a purely electronic environment: no paper, no pencils, no books.  At this point in time, there was no commercial software such as WebCT, Canvas, or Blackboard.  Consequently, I wrote my own called "HyperCourseware" ( For over 25 years, I hosted the system in my lab while constantly upgrading the technology and adding new functions to support student learning activities and to facilitate grading of online projects. In the last two years, I even "gamified" a course adding gems and treasure chests to the lecture notes.

Student evaluations of the software and learning activities were great! But it was a nightmare for me.  In fact, I still have nightmares about it to this day. Nevertheless, I had a good time and learned a tremendous amount.

My philosophy of teaching?  Explore the cutting edge, challenge the students to the max, believe what you teach, remember your password, and tell more jokes. 

Humans are human and machines are machines. An interface exists between humans and machines. The human/computer interface is one sided in the sense that the human side has all the brains and the machine side has all bits and bytes. Empirical research and guiding theory are required to direct the design of the interface rather than reliance on millions of years of evolution. In the design of the interface, human needs and desires take precedence over machine requirements and limitations. While some humans are smarter than other humans, and some machines are faster than other machines, no machine acting independently of humans is smarter than a human acting independently of a machine. Machines were created by humans to serve humans. Although some humans hold that humans were created by God to serve the Creator, no machines hold that machines were created by humans to serve humans or vice versa. Therefore, we should investigate the nature of the human mind and its use of machines to solve problems, make decisions, and accomplish goals, investigate design features of the interface that facilitate the cognitive processing of the human mind in the pursuit of its goals, expose design flaws, biases, prejudices, and the ideologies of designers embedded in the interface that have a negative impact on users. encourage students to publish papers and attend conferences with a sense of purpose and excitement.

Dr. Kent Norman
klnorman [at]