Social Informatics course, University of Malaya

Description of the course

Social Informatics is a student empowerment program offered by the Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology of the University of Malaya. The course is designed for all students in the university. The course structure is designed by the Computer Science faculty. The course introduces social research perspectives on the use of ICT and their impact on contemporary social relations, exploring ways in which ICT has reshaped thinking and practice within society and communities. It also explores the various tools and techniques in the use of social networks. The course is conducted virtually. It deploys a 100% continuous assessment to evaluate students’ understanding and knowledge. Upon completion of the course students are able to apply selected approaches in understanding various dimensions and implications of social informatics and ICT

Description of the participants

Students that attended this course were enrolled in a University Malaya undergraduate program in multiple majors. A total of 30 students were registered in the course in the 2021 – 2022 academic year. All students were Malaysian and were enrolled in programs by the Faculty of the Business and Economics, the Faculty of Art, and Faculty of Science. The majority of students were in the 2nd semester of their studies and had some informal technology background and understanding.

Description of gamified design thinking activities

Design thinking methodology was used to help students in their continuous assessment. The course methodology was problem-based learning. The medium of communication was English. MSTeams® was used to host the online discussion. The ICT-INOV digital learning platform was used to systematically monitor student progress in pre-defined activities within designated weeks. In addition, a MOOC platform provided by the University of Malaya was also used to disseminate notes and capture poster submissions for student projects.

Design thinking was deployed in the course semester project, which focused on social well-being in the new world of the Metaverse®. The objective of the project was to encourage students to investigate innovative skill sets among students in innovating solutions for a given case in the new technology environment. More specifically, students were required to innovate a secure solution to protect data and identity. Students were asked to conduct literature analysis as part of the empathy activity, followed by ideation. They worked in groups of 4 individuals. A total of 7 groups were created. Students were asked to develop a prototype via different types of techniques mainly using storyboarding. Students were encouraged to explore any technology-related design tools, such as video, editing, and analytic concept to implement design thinking stages.

The activity was divided into the following steps.

Step 1. Registration and team building.

Students were asked to register for the course in the ICT-INOV digital learning platform and join their group’s working space. They developed a team name and logo and presented them to the class. They conducted a short brainstorming session during the class to identify advantages and disadvantages, problems, issues, and challenges in the Metaverse®.

Step 2. Problem definition.

Students were asked to identify the problem they would like to focus on. This would become the basis of their proposed solution. They were challenged to describe the objectives of their innovative solution, to identify the technology needed for implementation, and to define the target users.

Step 3. Solution design.

Students were asked to introduce innovative solutions to the problem in focus.

Step 4. Presentation.

Students presented a 3-minute video and a 1-page infographic poster describing their solutions.