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Course: Value Sensitive Design (starts 13.11.2012)


Place: University of Oulu

Instructor: PhD Fahri Yetim


Date (Time, Classroom) 
Tue 13.11.2012 (13-16, IT135)
Wed 14.11.2012 (8-11, IT134)
Tue 11.12.2012 (10-13, PR105)
Wed 12.12.2012 (8-11, IT134)

Credits: 2

Pre-registration and inquiries: Send an e-mail to Tuomas Lehto: tuomas|dot|lehto|at|oulu|dot|fi

Value Sensitive Design (VSD) is an interdisciplinary approach to the design of information technology that accounts for human values (e.g. privacy, security or trust) throughout the design process. It broadens the goals and criteria for judging the quality of information systems to include those that advance human values. This course will provide a thorough introduction to the theory and methods of VSD, including tripartite methodology of conceptual, technical, and empirical investigations. The VSD methods are to be used in consort with other existing technical and design methods. This course will also pay a particular attention to value issues in persuasive technology design.

The content of the course will deliver not only the current articulation of the concepts and methods of VSD but also areas where more work needs to be done. Analysis of readings, participation in class discussions and activities are essential for experiencing practical applications of the concepts and methods and developing knowledge and skills to apply VSD to the analysis and/or design of a system. The most significant component of the work in the course will be a term paper which will be delivered and presented in class at the end of the course. 


As a result of participation students will be able to: 

  • Explain the current theory, methods, and practice of VSD as well as of its limitations and critiques;
  • Analyze a system from a value perspective and evaluate how particular design features (or mechanisms) may affect a value.
  • Identify the values relevant for the design of a particular technology, and translate these values into design requirements/design features for supporting the values.
  • Experience reflection as an integral part of a VSD process, in particular when making value and design choices and evaluating them.


13.11.2012 (13-16, IT135)
  • Introduction
  • Values and Information Technology
  • Considering Values in Information Systems Design
14.11.2012 (8-11, IT134)
  • Conceptual Investigations
  • Empirical Investigations
  • Technical Investigations
11.12.2012 (10-13, PR105)
  • Value Sensitive Design of Persuasive Systems
12.12.2012 (8-11, IT134)
  • Critiques and Extensions of Value Sensitive Design
  • Presentation of Term Papers and Discussions


  • Participation: Each student is expected to deliver a 1 page reflective paper about lessons learned and issues emerged after the last class of each day.
  • Term paper. Students working in small groups (of 2 or 3) or individually will either address a VSD issue or method or apply a VSD method to a project of their choice (in particular ones that could be an aspect of their current research or dissertation). For example, students might identify a specific technology (e.g., a persuasive technology) and analyze its value implications. Alternatively, they may analyze a value and suggest design requirements/features for a specific technology to promote the value. Some options for the term paper will be presented in the class.


  • 40% Participation (including reflective paper)
  • 60% Term paper (30% Presentation)