Course Meeting Time and Location:
Wednesday 4:30 - 7:20 pm
GUG 204

Course Description:

Value Sensitive Design is an approach to the design of information technology that accounts for human values in a principled and comprehensive manner throughout the design process.  One important focus of Value Sensitive Design is consideration of values that center on human well being, human dignity, justice, welfare, and human rights.  Specific values include but are not limited to trust, accountability, freedom from bias, access, autonomy, privacy, sustainability, and consent.  This course will provide a thorough introduction to Value Sensitive Design's interactional theory, direct and indirect stakeholder analyses, value tension analyses, and tripartite methodology of conceptual, technical, and empirical investigations.  The theory and methods of Value Sensitive Design are to be used in consort with other existing technical and design methods.  Ultimately, Value Sensitive Design requires that we broaden the goals and criteria for judging the quality of information systems to include those that advance human values.

Because Value Sensitive Design continues to evolve, the course will be structured to introduce you to its history and current articulation as well as to areas where more work needs to be done.  We hope that your coursework may contribute to this endeavor. The most significant component of the work in the course will be a quarter-long project in which students apply Value Sensitive Design to a project of their choosing.  We encourage students to bring their own projects, in particular ones that could be an aspect of their dissertation or capstone research.


Alan Borning
Professor, Department of Computer Science & Engineering
Adjunct Professor, The Information School
644 Allen Building
borning at
Office hours: By appointment, or anytime the door is open

Batya Friedman
Professor, The Information School
370E Mary Gates Hall
batya at
Office hours: Wednesday 1:30 - 3pm and by appointment


A wiki has been set up for the class. Acess is restricted to class members only. When you try to access the wiki, if you get a security certificate please just accept that.


A listserv has been set up for the class. You should have already received a test message.  If you did not, please email the instructors, and we'll add you to the listserv.

November 11: No class, UW Holiday for Veterans Day
Final Presentations Dec 9, 1:30pm - 3:30pm in CSE room 303, and 4:30pm - 7:20pm in GUG 204 (the usual classroom).

Academic Integrity

The essence of academic life revolves around respect not only for the ideas of others, but also their rights to those ideas and their promulgation. It is therefore essential that all of us engaged in the life of the mind take the utmost care that the ideas and expressions of ideas of other people always be appropriately handled, and, where necessary, cited. For writing assignments, when ideas or materials of others are used, they must be cited such that the source material can be located and the citation verified. In any situation, if you have a question, please feel free to ask. Such attention to ideas and acknowledgment of their sources is central not only to academic life, but life in general.

Please acquaint yourself with the University of Washington's resources on academic honesty (

Students are encouraged to take drafts of their writing assignments to the Writing Center for assistance with using citations ethically and effectively. Information on scheduling an appointment can be found at:


All of the expressions of ideas in this class that are fixed in any tangible medium such as digital and physical documents are protected by copyright law as embodied in title 17 of the United States Code. These expressions include the work product of both: (1) your student colleagues (e.g., any assignments published here in the course environment or statements committed to text in a discussion forum); and, (2) your instructors (e.g., the syllabus, assignments, reading lists, and lectures). Within the constraints of "fair use", you may copy these copyrighted expressions for your personal intellectual use in support of your education here in the iSchool. Such fair use by you does not include further distribution by any means of copying, performance or presentation beyond the circle of your close acquaintances, student colleagues in this class and your family. If you have any questions regarding whether a use to which you wish to put one of these expressions violates the creator's copyright interests, please feel free to ask the instructor for guidance.


To support an academic environment of rigorous discussion and open expression of personal thoughts and feelings, we, as members of the academic community, must be committed to the inviolate right of privacy of our student and instructor colleagues. As a result, we must forego sharing personally identifiable information about any member of our community including information about the ideas they express, their families, life styles and their political and social affiliations.  If you have any questions regarding whether a disclosure you wish to make regarding anyone in this course or in the iSchool community violates that person's privacy interests, please feel free to ask the instructor for guidance.

Knowing violations of these principles of academic conduct, privacy or copyright may result in University disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct.

Student Code of Conduct
Good student conduct is important for maintaining a healthy course environment. Please familiarize yourself with the University of Washington's Student Code of Conduct at:

To request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disabled Student Services: 448 Schmitz, 206-543-8924 (V/TTY). If you have a letter from DSS indicating that you have a disability which requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to me so we can discuss the accommodations you might need in the class.

Academic accommodations due to disability will not be made unless the student has a letter from DSS specifying the type and nature of accommodations needed.

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Last updated: Wednesday, 23-Dec-2009 12:45:56 PST
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