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Facilitating Social Participation Through Design

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Design Communications & Cognition II

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.698.1 - 22.698.13



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Paper Authors


Barbara A. Karanian Stanford University, Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Barbara A. Karanian, Ph.D., is a Professor of Social Sciences and Psychology; and a Lecturer in Graduate Design Methods. She uses stories and storytelling to facilitate student progress from the idea and prototyping phases to reality. Involved in creating collaborative research teams that include members from the areas of engineering, design, psychology, and communication, she has people painting stories of entrepreneurial success. Barbara continues to work with changing organizations and entrepreneurial leaders.

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Gregory Kress Stanford University

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Tessa Price Stanford University


Regina Getz-Kikuchi Stanford University

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Regina Getz-Kikuchi is graduating in June with a BA in psychology, and has discovered a particular passion for the emerging field of Positive Psychology. She is especially interested in how compassion, empathy and altruism play a role in the functioning and success of social networking in the virtual and real world, and is currently working on building a brand and career centered on human flourishing and happiness.

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ASEE 2011 ABSTRACT PROPOSALFACILITATING SOCIAL PARTICIPATION THROUGH DESIGN:An exploration of emotional connection and motivation in online communitiesKress, Greg; Getz-Kikuchi, Regina; Price, Tessa; Karanian, BarbaraIncreasingly, our emotional connections, artistic experiences and playful escapes aremigrating to the virtual world. Virtual environments and online communities are growingand becoming more commonplace in society; for many, they are already a primary meansof social interaction. This experiment is a preliminary investigation into the underlyingemotions and motives behind participants in the IMVU virtual universe. We seek a deepunderstanding of why these users choose to spend their time and money to take part increating this online community. Our collaborative research team includes members fromthe areas of engineering, design, psychology and communication. Our need-findinginteractions with users both inside and out of the IMVU environment have given usinsight into the role of avatars, creative expression and social interaction in the virtualworld. Surprising discoveries include a strong gender imbalance in the community aswell as a prevalence of “hiding” behavior. The full experiment offers compellingimplications for creating effective design interventions in team-based engineering anddesign classes as well as for those pursuing the stories of compassion, empathy and socialchange by design.Index terms –Design Thinking, IMVU, Emotions, Motivation, Social Participation,Compassion, Hiding, Inventive Action

Karanian, B. A., & Kress, G., & Price, T., & Getz-Kikuchi, R. (2011, June), Facilitating Social Participation Through Design Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17979

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