DESIGNING FOR PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR
2014/2015, Semester 2
Arts & Social Sciences (Communications And New Media)
Modular Credits: NM5217 ( 4 ) / NM5217R ( 5 )
Prosocial behavior describes actions, such as sharing, helping and cooperation, intended to benefit another individual or group of individuals. The focus of this course is developing designs for computational applications/interventions to motivate prosocial behavior from the end users. Through readings, discussion, and design work, students will learn about theories about prosociality from the social sciences and apply them in the designs of systems, policies, campaigns etc. that encourage prosocial behavior. The course will comprise of readings, discussion, written work and a project focused on the development of a prototype system/policy/communications strategy designed to motivate prosocial behavior.
NOTE: detailed information about the module may change up until the start of the module in January 2015.
This module is focuses on using social science theories to inform the design of applications/system/policy/comm strategies that promotes prosocial behavior. The goal is to familiarize and develop the students’ appreciation of the challenges confronting the design of applications/systems/policies/strategies that motivate prosocial behavior. Through this course, students’ will develop the ability to draw on prior literature from psychology, economics, sociology and utilize findings from empirical research to justify their design choices.
At the end of this course, a student should:
Have a grounding in research and social science theories on prosocial behavior.
Identify the major social, design and technical elements that can be employed to promote prosocial behavior.
Draw on social science theories understand the implications of specific design choices.
Carry out a case study that applies social science theories to the
Be able to develop an original research proposal that investigates the motivation of prosocial behavior through design.
Case study assignment 20% (Due: Week 6)
This presentation should describe a successful design feature (taken from an existing system/application/policy/comm strategy) and relate it to readings from this course, or the paper can describe a failed design feature and use readings from the course to help explain why the feature has failed. The paper should briefly explain the design feature(s) of interest, the community it is a part of, and should focus on how its success or failure relates to literature from the course or related literature. Both theory and empirical research should be included.
Final research proposal paper 30% (Due: April 22
This paper should use a social science theory to motivate the creation of a novel social, policy, comm strategy and/or technical design idea that could be applied to motivate prosocial behavior. A specific system, online community, policy area or comm campaign should be selected where the design idea would likely be most effective. The paper should explain the social science theory that motivated the design, the proposed design idea along with its goal or purpose, the type of system,policy,comm campaign the design would work in, and what empirical evidence could be used to demonstrate the new design features effects.
“Eat our own dogfood” class project 20% (Due: Week 10)
I am leaving this project particularly open ended. I would like us as a class to carry out a project that will allow us to “eat our own dogfood” in some way. The project could include some kind of intervention in an existing prosocial effort or a white paper on prosociality and design are some examples. I believe that this will enable us to carry out what I believe to be “engaged” scholarship where we share and apply what we have learnt to the wider community.
Weekly posting to class facebook group: 20%
As mentioned earlier, students are expected to generate weekly postings to the module’s IVLE forum page. These weekly posts will be comprised of the following elements:
Description: statements or questions about what the author claims.
Critique: arguments about whether the author is correct or what the author has left out.
Connection: how the claims or concepts relate to those in other readings.
Application: how the reading applies to each student’s individual case study
Other participation (i.e. seminar participation and engagement): 10%
Students will also be assessed for their contribution to the module’s weekly seminar in terms of contributing to the class discussion and for commenting on each other’s weekly IVLE postings.
Workload Components : A-B-C-D-E
A: no. of lecture hours per week
B: no. of tutorial hours per week
C: no. of lab hours per week
D: no. of hours for projects, assignments, fieldwork etc per week
E: no. of hours for preparatory work by a student per week