Ethics & Values
This teaching activity expands students’ value vocabulary when thinking and working with values in design. The students will consider the nuances, associations and different connotations of a specific value word, and through that exploration broaden and deepen their vocabulary around specific values.
To build an expanded value vocabulary, the students will create value clusters through conceptual explorations that identify, combine, and name value words’ synonyms, antonyms, associations, connotations and denotations.
When working with values in design, students sometimes lack a nuanced and elaborate vocabulary for communicating about values. This creates the risk of a narrow understanding of what values in design imply and how to work with and talk about values in a holistic and multifaceted way. By expanding our value vocabulary, we might also gain a more nuanced understanding of the values we are working with – in effect creating better products, systems, or services.
If students lack a nuanced value vocabulary, values run the risk of becoming one-dimensional buzzwords with no depth or situated meaning.
After the teaching activity students will be able to:
Documentation of the value clusters can be commented on by the other groups or the teacher to provide reflections, words or feedback to the value cluster.
The value cluster can be used in succeeding teaching activities as a value vocabulary in the students’ design projects, when communicating with stakeholders or when analysing existing products, systems, or services. Furthermore, it can be used to reflect on the ethical implications of a design.
To assess whether the intended learning outcomes were attained by the teaching activity the following assessment activities can be carried out (in class or after class).
Assess students’ learning by asking them to create maps of their expanded value vocabulary (summative assessment) focusing on a) explicating and integrating nuances, associations and connotations of specific value words and b) combining value words into clusters.
Assess students’ learning by making them co-create a round robin chart (formative assessment) with open-ended questions. Ask them to use their values clustering to reflect on the value words and their organisation of their clusters and what that might mean to them as responsible designers.
In the assessment activity ask students to focus on:
Bos-de Vos, Marina (2020). A framework for designing for divergent values, in Boess, S., Cheung, M. and Cain, R. (eds.), Synergy - DRS International Conference 2020, 11-14 August. https://doi.org/10.21606/drs.2020.374
Boztepe, Susan (2007) User value: competing theories and models. International Journal of Design 1(2), 55-63.
Friedman, Batya & Hendry, David (2019). Value sensitive design: shaping technology with moral imagination. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Kheirandish, Shadi, Funk, Mathias, Wensveen, Stephan, Verkerk, Maarten, Rauterberg, Matthias. (2019). HuValue: a tool to support design students in considering human values in their design. Int J Technol Des Educ. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10798-019-09527-3
Schwartz, Shalom. H. (2012). An Overview of the Schwartz Theory of Basic Values. Psychology and Culture, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.9707/2307-0919.1116