The paper presents a novel approach to collaborative design of educational software with students, one that asks the participants for the formation and use of fictional characters – design alter egos – as a means towards eliciting requirements and design ideas. In order to evaluate the suggested approach, we conducted 12 collaborative design sessions with the participation of 54 undergraduate university students (aged 19 to 24) for eliciting requirements for the design of an ideal course website. The analysis of the results showed that the design alter egos liberated the majority of the students from the fear of straightforwardly exposing themselves, supported and enhanced their introspection, stimulated their creativity and helped to establish an informal and constructive atmosphere throughout the design sessions. We suggest the use of design alter egos as an engaging and effective supportive technique for co-designing educational software with students.
Author and article information
Ioannis A. Tsoukalas
Department of Informatics
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
54124, Thessaloniki, GREECE
Department of Industrial Informatics
65404, Kavala, GREECE