Int. J. Engng Ed. Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 452±460, 2004 ALICE M. AGOGINO, CATHERINE NEWMAN, MARISA BAUER and JENNIFER MANKOFF University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. E-mail: [email protected] A study to examine students' perceptions of the design process was conducted in the freshman/ sophomore class E39D: Designing Technology for Girls and Women at the University of California at Berkeley. The course covered gender issues associated with new product development from a human-centered design perspective. Students worked in multidisciplinary design teams and participated in interactive workshops with target users and industry sponsors. The class was taught as part of Berkeley's Virtual Development Center sponsored by the Institute of Women and Technology (www.iwt.org) and supporting companies in the San Francisco Bay area. Three forms of data collection techniques were used: interviews, questionnaires and a design process assignment.
Evaluation showed that students developed a strong belief that `good design' dictates that technology can and should serve all members of the potential user population, including those traditionally under-represented in technology. Finally, students showed an increased level of confidence in technology and an increased comfort level working on design projects.
. Did this class result in the students believing that technology can and should serve a broad and the past few decades have not impacted all popu- . Did this class result in women in the class being lations equally, begging the question: how can a more inclined to work with technology and/or in wider range of people benefit from current tech- nologies? The specific question motivating this paper is: how can more women have an impact We will argue that this class met the goals on the design and deployment of new technologies? described by the first two questions and some The purpose of this paper is to address this aspects of the third. Interestingly, counterintuitive question with respect to the UC Berkeley under- results were achieved from the third question when graduate course `Engineering39D: Designing comparing the target class with the results of a Technology for Girls and Women'. This course required freshman engineering design class. We took place during the spring semester of 2003 at also suggest improvements to the course that the University of California at Berkeley, and was could result in more clear and positive results taught by Professor Alice M. Agogino (Mechan- ical Engineering) and Professor Jennifer Mankoff (Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences).
In this paper, we evaluate to what extent this course resulted in the students feeling that technol- ogy could serve women and that women could This course sought to cover gender issues influence the design of new technologies.
associated with new product development (e.g.
Our evaluation addresses three key areas: how readings [1±7] ) from a human-centered and con- technology is designed with respect to women, the textual design perspective [8±9]. Students learned degree to which technology serves women, and to apply state-of-the-art information technology, who among today's female youth will work in teamwork [10] and current design processes in new technology in the future. We address these issues product development [11] to tackle solutions to by asking whether the class met the following crucial societal problems, with a focus on those problems that affect girls and women. This course was co-listed in the College of Engineering and in . Did this class result in the students believing that the Department of Women's Studies, and covered designing technology for traditionally under- design issues from both engineering and social represented populations, such as women, is This course was comprised of 12 students (10 women and two men), all either freshmen or sophomores. Of the 12 students, half were declared An Examination of Gendered Aspects of New Product Development in a technical majorÐcomputer science, applied assignment, the students were asked to depict their math or architecture. Two of these students were concept of how the design process worked, both computer science majors from Mills College, a with and without taking gender into account. The women's college with an articulation agreement students were asked to do this assignment both at with UC Berkeley. None, however, were engineer- the beginning and end of the course. The design ing majors. The others were in the humanities or assignment was used as an effort to capture each social sciences with majors in a range of disciplines student's view of the design process before exten- including business, economics, psychology and sive exposure to design and then assess how that political science. The students met once a week view changed as a result of the course.
throughout the semester to cover topics related to The following sections define our evaluation of the design process. The students were expected to the course impact with respect to the three research meet outside of class with their team members to questions posed earlier. To support our claims we prepare the required project deliverables.
will cite data gathered using the methods outlined The problems and the populations the students chose to serve were determined by the students through service work conducted prior to or during the first two weeks of class. Two of the teams elected to work with local museums to design exhibits appropriate for both girls and boys. A third team chose to work with a local girls group called `Girls, Inc.' to develop a workshop that By the end of the course, the students of E39D taught girls how to make movies about their appreciated that good design involves evaluating lives. The students had the opportunity to work the needs of all possible customers. Specifically, in multidisciplinary design teams, give both indi- technology used by women must be designed with vidual and team oral presentations, and attend an women in mind. This does not mean that it must interactive concept generation workshop involving be designed exclusively for women, but rather target users and industry sponsors. This class that `good design' dictates that all genders, worked closely with the Anita Borg Institute for cultures, religions, disabilities, socioeconomic standings, etc., pertaining to possible customers supporting companies in the San Francisco Bay can and should be considered throughout the area. The mission of IWT is to increase the impact design process. For the purpose of this paper, we of women on all aspects of technology and to will define `good design' as design that best meets increase the positive impact of technology on the the needs of all possible customers, including those lives of the world's women. The students had an customers not traditionally considered in the opportunity to present their conceptual designs to design process. This definition is in accordance other student groups at the IWT conference in with the observations from the Mudd Design April 2003 (see Smith College, TOYtech, for The class taught that, in order for women to be able to use technology optimally, women must be explicitly considered in the design process. Em- phasizing customer-centered design, the students were required to meet with potential customers in The three core data collection methods were order to gauge how technology could best serve questionnaires, interviews and a design process them. As a result, they learned how to include their assignment. The questionnaires consisted of multi- customers in their design process. According to ple-choice questions which were intended to gauge if the students were interested in working in `The class has altered my perception of how technol- technology and/or in serving their community.
ogy should be designed . . . I think that it is important These questionnaires were distributed both at the to include people who would be using the technology beginning and the end of the semester, and the as part of the designing process, whether that is by results compared. Additionally, the student co- directly including them in the design team or having authors of this paper conducted one-on-one inter- the target groups test out the technology as it is being views. Students were asked in these interviews to created to give feedback, for that's the best way to explain their feelings about the course, their ensure that the technology will be used once it is comfort level with technology, what types of technology they currently use, and whether or In spite of the course focus on including girls and not they could see themselves working in technol- women throughout the design process, students ogy in the future. The objective of the interviews felt that this must be done without the exclusion and questionnaires was to determine changes in the of boys and men. We found through our interviews levels of motivation and confidence associated and surveys that, when it came to their own with the students' use of and interest in technology personal experience with technology, many of the as a result of this course. For the design process female students did not like being singled out as unique simply for being a woman in technology.
lack of diversity. He compared this example to the Although they wanted their opinions to be consid- design process: when one group is excluded or ered, they did not want this to happen at the absent, the lack of diversity can result in compro- expense of the men. When asked how they felt about working in a technological capacity often as Finally, the students felt that, by including all the minority, many girls expressed a similar senti- possible customers in the design process, there could ment: they wanted their opinions to count, but be unexpected yet desirable effects, giving them they did not blame individual men for being in the additional incentive to include all possible custo- majority. More importantly, they felt that a more mers in the design process. The students studied a equitable environment could be achieved. The case where one school was remodeled to better students expressed this belief through the projects accommodate the disabled, resulting in a campus that they chose. Two of the three groups chose to that was easier for everyone to use. According to work on projects that involved both girls and boys as their target customers. While designing these `After seeing the different types of design that one can projects, the students made a concerted effort to come up (with) based on what the target audience is, I design something that worked well for both girls realized that it should all be about `good design'. For example, when that high school decided to remodel Students showed an understanding that `good the school so that handicapped people could get design' went beyond the consideration of just men around easier, it made the whole facility easier to and women; they felt all minority populations use for everyoneÐeven people who weren't handi- should be included. A poignant example comes from a student in the class who uses a wheelchair.
Overall, the students felt that women must be The students were able to see first-hand how included when technology is designed, and this problematic design can be when it does not should not have to happen by excluding others.
consider the disabled. When this disabled student The students learned to address the question: how and her group tried to use an elevator in a public can the needs of minority populations be addressed transit station, they found that she barely fit into without pitting those populations against the needs the elevator. She noted that, if she were not able to of the mysterious and inarguable whole? The use her hands, she would not have been able to students were able to see by way of this class that press the buttons to operate the elevator and, addressing the needs of women and other minority because of the elevator's size, her attendant populations does not inhibit the design process but would not have been able to ride with her. She can in fact result in better design.
also commented that the elevator was located in a dark and distant location of the station out of sight of the station's attendant. She extended this ex- ample to a parent with a child in a stroller, who would have difficulty fitting into the elevator, or a person with a number of parcels, who in a dark This class resulted in the students believing and obscured location would be susceptible to that technology can and should serve a range of attack. The students who shared this experience customer populations. We found that, before observed that, if they were to design a product that taking this course, many students were not aware focused exclusively on women, or simply on men that technology was traditionally designed in a and women, without considering other popula- manner that excluded certain members of the tions, their products would clearly be limiting the population. Through the material covered in number of potential customers. This experience the course and the semester group project, the underscored the point that to ignore any one students came to understand that technology can group of people in the design process could make and should serve everyone. During the first two a technology unnecessarily less useful for others.
weeks, the class studied examples of designs Another example comes from an interview in that did and did not consider a broad population which one student drew an analogy between his in the design process (e.g. automotive design, air educational experience and that of designing tech- bags, information technology, classroom environ- nology for diverse users. The negative effects of ments, toys and video games). The students were excluding a minority population in the design surprised to find that technology could be made to process may be revealed in the fiscal failure of a better serve all members of the target populations.
commercial product, but negative effects can also This lack of awareness was likely due to the fact be revealed in instructional design with reduced that students were used to seeing and accepting quality of the classroom experience. The student in technology in a singular way, that being the way question compared his general architectural that technology is traditionally used and designed.
courses to others that were more balanced with Clewell and Campell refer to extensive research in respect to gender. He felt that the more balanced which girls perceive math and science as the classes were livelier and more open to diverse `domain of White boys, that they do not see perspectives, whereas he felt that the quality of these subjects as useful to either themselves or his architectural classes was compromised by the humanity in general' [14]. For example, one An Examination of Gendered Aspects of New Product Development student stated in her interview, `We often think the world with science and technology with the that technology is only meant to be used by cultures of the world. The last team worked on a professionals.' To draw a parallel between this museum exhibit that explored the concept of `fear' issue and the former belief that computers would in terms of the physiological and sociological never need to extend to a personal computing issues. This third team devised a series of activities market, people have an inclination to believe that along this theme, some of which were physical technology can only be used in the ways in which while others required sustained mental involve- they already see living examples. This lack of ment. This displayed a comprehensive understand- awareness was probably also because students ing on the part of the students that a variety of may not realize that different people use technol- approaches must be taken in order to teach the ogy in different ways. According to one student, `I principles to the young students. These last two never knew there was such a difference in technol- teams concentrated on making exhibits that ogy for men and women.' Because people of all engaged both girls and boys equally. All three different types have always been made to use teams made projects that were targeted at children technology that is designed for one specific type or teenagers, groups that many people may not of person, many students were not even aware that typically associate with technology. By the end of there was an alternative. Thus, before taking this the semester, students had first-hand experience of course, a number of students were unaware that designing technology for girls and other tradition- technology could be designed in a manner to better ally under-represented sectors of the population.
serve all members of the population.
We found that, as a result of the various topics This class provided students with several exam- and work the students were exposed to throughout ples of technology that served varying sectors of the course, the students came to believe that the population, sectors that are traditionally technology can and should serve such populations.
under-represented in the design process. For ex- The students who were not aware that technology ample, students were exposed in two different could serve all members of the population under- lectures to the design of video games for girls. In stood through course study and experience how it one lecture, Yasmin B. Kafai of UCLA gave a could do so. According to one such student in her lecture on research she had done that involved girls interview: `I have come to learn that good technol- designing video games [1]. Students also read ogy is something that is accessible to all, no matter Justine Cassell's paper `Genderizing HCI,' which the age, sex, background of the user and his/her discusses various issues concerning designing level of expertise/experience with technology.' information technology for women [2]. Addition- Another student in the class stated in her interview ally, students were taught different design para- that, `this class made the fact that technology can digms that allowed for the inclusion of all types of serve everyone from toddlers to anyone else people and of different types of needs throughout concrete for me.' Thus, for those students who the design process. First was `Universal Design', were already peripherally aware of the concept defined as `the design of products and environ- that technology can serve everyone, this class ments to be usable by all people, to the greatest helped to solidify that idea for them. The only extent possible, without the need for adaptation or students whose minds were not changed on this specialized design.' Students also studied `Empa- issue were the ones who had already reached the thetic Design' [9], which stresses looking for `needs conclusion that technology should serve everyone; that customers may not yet recognize.' While the according to one such student, when asked if this first design paradigm helped students learn how to class had altered her perception of whom technol- include traditionally neglected populations in their ogy should serve, she said: `No. I've always design process, the second paradigm helped thought that technology should . . . be useful for students learn how to include traditionally everyone.' Even though the students had different neglected needs in their design process. Thus, the perspectives about who technology serves at the various topics of the class worked to make start of the course, by the end of the course all students more aware of the fact that it is possible students agreed that technology can and should to design technology in a manner that better serves serve all sectors of the population.
the various sectors of the population.
The group teamwork gave students personal experience designing technology that serves girls and women. There were three project teams; while one team focused specifically on girls as their target customers, the other two created projects The students of E39D: Designing Technology designed for children of both genders. The team for Girls and Women were given identical surveys that targeted girls created a workshop that taught at the beginning and end of the semester. For the girls how to make their own short films, intention- purposes of comparison, a freshman engineering ally using current technological media. Another design course, FED, was given the same survey team sought to create a science and technology only once, at the end of the semester. Of these museum exhibit, entitled `the world in the palm of students, it is assumed that the students are major- your hand', which sought to bridge the cultures of ing in engineering, because this is a required course Fig. 1. Pre- and post-questionnaire responses for the question `I am comfortable using technology' given to E39D students.
for engineers. Fifty-one FED students took the students from humanities, social sciences and survey (19 females and 32 males); 11 of the 12 students from E39D took the survey at both the The pre- and post-questionnaire revealed an beginning and end of the course. Among other increase in confidence in using technology for the questions, all students were asked to respond to the students in E39D, as shown in Fig. 1. Using a 4-point scale (with 4 being the highest at `strongly agree'), the average score to the question I am 1. I would consider a career in a technical field.
comfortable using technology moved from 3.27 2. I am comfortable using technology.
in the pre-questionnaire to 3.64 in the post- 3. I would be comfortable within a technical field.
questionnaire, with the majority being in the (Available responses: 1Ðstrongly disagree, 2Ð `strongly agree' category. This is a statistically significant difference, according to a paired- While all of the women surveyed in FED either We found the results of the questionnaire given `agreed' or `strongly agreed' with the statement `I to the engineering students in FED at the end of would consider a career in technology', only five of the semester to be quite surprising (see Fig. 2).
the nine female students surveyed from E39D said Only three of the 19 (16%) female FED students they `agreed' or `strongly agreed' in the post- `strongly agreed' with the statement: `I am comfor- survey. These differences understandably reflect table using technology'. In contrast, of the 32 male the self-selection of FED students who are intend- FED students, 15 (47%) said they `strongly agreed' ing to major in engineering, in contrast to the with the statement. In fact, the E39D students Fig. 2. Responses for the question `I am comfortable using technology' given to E39D and FED students at the end of the semester.
An Examination of Gendered Aspects of New Product Development from a range of disciplines rated their confidence Through individual interviews, it was concluded in technology higher than the female engineering that a number of female E39D students became students in FED at the end of the semester (Fig. 2).
more inclined to work in a technological field, even E39D women moved from 3.27 (pre-test) to 3.64 if it were only as part of a design team. The (post-test) on this question and all E39D students evidence supporting this fact is based solely on reported that they were comfortable using technol- personal statements, but to go beyond such state- ogy (56% `strongly agreed' and 44% `agreed'). One ments more research would be necessary. For possible hypothesis to explain this difference is that example, no one indicated that they were going women, in general, could be made to feel more to seek a job or internship in a technological field, comfortable using technology if they were made and no one planned on changing their major to a aware of the many ways in which technology could technical one as a result of this course. We did find serve them. Another explanation is that women are that, overall, student interest in technological more likely to build confidence in using technology design increased. For most of the students, this if given educational experiences in which women course was the first time they had been exposed to technological design and the design process. This Finally, both classes were asked to respond to exposure gave them greater insight into how tech- the statement `I would be comfortable within a nology and design affect people with respect to the career in a technical field'. The E39D students everyday world. According to one student when showed an increased trend in rating for this ques- tion between the pre- and post-questionnaire, although it was not statistically significant `I enjoyed being introduced to the design process.
(Fig. 3). Again there was a large gender difference Before this class I had no idea that the design process in the responses in the benchmark FED class. For was such an extensive process. It really opened up my this question, only four of the 19 (21%) female eyes to what would be expected of me in the future if I planned to pursue a career in designing our nation's engineering students `strongly agreed' with the statement. In stark contrast, 16 of the 32 (50%) male engineering students `strongly agreed' with This exposure seemed to spark an interest in the statement. Surprisingly, the female E39D technological design for the majority of the students from a range of disciplines gave the students. This is substantiated by the fact that same average ratings (3.0) as the female engineer- most of the female students indicated in the ing students in FED (3.05) at the end of the course survey that they would, if given the semester to this question. This is amazing, consid- chance, continue with their course project. As a ering that there were not any engineering students side note, a number of these students also indi- in E39D. It is also of concern that so few of the cated that they did not feel as if they had the female engineering students in FED were optimis- technical expertise necessary to move their project tic about their comfort level in working in a forward. Nevertheless, these numbers indicate that this course had a positive impact and in Fig. 3. Pre- and post-questionnaire responses for the question `I would be comfortable within a career in a technical field' given to fact sparked an interest in design for the majority project work. If this course were defined as a freshman technical elective, with an increase in Further, when asked whether students would units and a comprehensive course description, be interested in pursuing a career in technology, students may have a better idea of what to the majority of the female students we interviewed expect. Cross-listing, this course (Women's Studies indicated that this was the case. All of the women and Engineering in this case) is still essential to fell into two categories: either they came into the creating a diverse class population. This is because class already knowing that they wanted to work in those students who have chosen to study liberal a discipline that was scientific or technical, or they arts should not be ruled out when designing came into the class not interested in working in technology; in fact they have proven throughout such a discipline. We are happy to say that this this course that they are capable to contributing in course did not turn any of the women that knew a variety of respects, including in a technological that they wanted to work in a technological discip- fashion. An additional benefit to increasing the line off from doing so, and they are still planning number of units is that students could have sched- on pursuing technical or mathematical careers.
uled hours for team meetings. The students found The other women showed varying degrees of that, despite the necessity of team meetings for the interest in working in design for technological progress of the student projects, it was difficult to products. More than half of these students find enough common time to meet with other team mentioned in their own words that this class had increased their interest in working in design `I would have liked to have some more one-on-one because they now realized that design could group time class time for this course. Perhaps, 30±40 require applications of sociology, anthropology minutes could be delegated as group time for each and psychology. For example, one student said in her interview: `I am more inclined to work in a technological field because I realized that the With more course units, more time could be technological world requires a lot of input that is allotted for the course, of which time could be set often non-technical in nature.' Another student aside for team meetings. This would ensure that all discussed how she enjoyed discovering how tech- members could meet and everyone would be on the nology could help members of the community that same page with respect to the project.
The feedback from the students regarding the suggested that the communities should be pre- selected or assigned at the beginning. Many students felt that the course and their work During final student course evaluations, essen- suffered because a lot of time was spent identifying tial improvements were repeatedly suggested. We the community organizations and establishing believe that implementing these improvements relationships with them. One student wrote: would result in E39D having an even greater `I think that community service programs for the impact on the students, thus making them more students in this course should be assigned. This way interested in continuing an education and career in students can spend more time getting to know their technological design. The improvements are as community and those community's needs as opposed follows: (1) the number of course hours should to spending a good majority of their time looking for a community to provide a service to. This I believe be increased and (2) existing relationships between will lend more time for structured product and design the local communities and the school should be development of a product or project that will best help pre-established before the start of the semester.
each individual group's assigned community.' By increasing the number of units for the course, a number of obstacles incurred throughout the semester could be rectified. One problem asso- `Choosing the communityÐAlthough I appreciated ciated with a seminar course (typically 1 or 2 the fact that we got to choose our own community, I units) is that the class expectation for a seminar think we spent too much time in the first few weeks course is different across the campus. As a result, establishing a connection with the community that we the students in the course, who represented a broad could have spent developing ideas and such.' cross-section of Berkeley students, came to the One possible solution to this problem would be to course with a diverse set of expectations. While have a number of communities with existing rela- some students believed that a seminar was for tionships with the school from which the students surveying a new subject, others believed it was could choose. Because so much emphasis is placed for working on a small individual or group project.
on customer-driven design, it is essential for the This course had hoped to accomplish a bit of both students to have access to the customer. The delay by exposing the students to the design process and that some teams experienced in identifying their allowing them to work with the community in teams and establishing communicative relation- small groups. This was a source of frustration for ships with members of these communities hindered many of the students, who had not anticipated that not only the progression and success of the the course would involve a great deal of team and students' projects, it failed to provide the students An Examination of Gendered Aspects of New Product Development with an accurate impression of the fundamentals the students were prepared to change majors from a non-technical to a technical field, the course increased their interest in working as a member of a technical design team. In order to better ensure that this course will have a lasting effect, we propose that the number of units students We evaluated the effectiveness of Engineering receive for this course should be increased and 39D: Designing Technology for Girls and Women that the relationships between the communities with respect to students' perceptions in three areas: with which the students work should be established (1) how technology is designed with respect to women, (2) the degree to which technology serves AcknowledgementsÐThe authors are grateful to Dr Anita Borg, women, and (3) the extent to which this course can founder of the Institute of Women and Technology, for provid- increase the number of women who are interested ing the vision, intellectual leadership and enthusiasm that in working in technology in the future. We have inspired us and made the Designing Technology for Girls and found that, as a result of the lecture topics, read- Women class possible. Gloria Montano and Sara Hart from IWT were inspiring role models for the students during the ings and project work, the students in the course conceptual brainstorming workshop and Virtual Development believe that good design practice should consider Center workshop. The computer labs and digital cameras were women and others who might use a product in the provided by a generous matching grant with IWT from Hewlett design process. The students also discovered from Packard. We very much valued our collaboration with the Exploratorium, the Lawrence Hall of Science and Girls, Inc.
their personal experiences in doing project work Finally, we acknowledge the value of the gender equity and other class-related work that technology can resources added to the NEEDS engineering education digital and should serve women and any other under- library funded by the NSF gender equity supplement to grant served population to a much greater extent than it EEC-9872570 `Expanding the National Engineering Education does today. We also found that the students in Delivery System as the Foundation for an On-Line Engineering Education Community'. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions the course by and large indicated an interest in or recommendations are those of the authors and do not neces- working in design in the future. Although none of sarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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Alice M. Agogino is the Roscoe and Elizabeth Hughes Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley (UCB) and also serves as the UCB President of the Association of Academic Women. Previously, she served in a number of administrative positions, including Associate Dean of Engineering and Faculty Assistant to the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost in Educational Development and Technology. Dr Agogino also served as Director for Synthesis, an NSF-sponsored coalition of eight universities with the goal of reforming undergraduate engineering education, and continues as PI for the NEEDS (www.needs.org) and smete.org digital libraries of courseware in science, mathe- matics, engineering and technology. Dr Agogino received a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineer- ing from the University of New Mexico (1975), an M.Sc. degree in Mechanical Engineering (1978) from the University of California at Berkeley and a Ph.D. from the Department of Engineering±Economic Systems at Stanford University (1984).
Marisa Bauer graduated from UC Berkeley in May 2003, with a major in Computer Science and a minor in Hebrew. She spent her junior year studying at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Marisa is currently working as a Software Engineer at Google.
Jennifer Mankoff is an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) at the University of California at Berkeley. Her research focuses on evaluation techniques appropriate for the application domains of accessible technology and ubiquitous computing. Dr Mankoff is an active member of the ACM ASSETS, CHI, and UIST research communities, and has served on the program and conference committees at all three conferences. Her research has been supported by the Intel Corporation, Hewlett- Packard, Microsoft Corporation, and the National Science Foundation. She earned her B.A. at Oberlin College and her Ph.D. in Computer Science at the Georgia Institute of Catherine C. Newman recently completed her undergraduate studies in Mechanical Engineering and Dance at the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently a graduate student in mechanical design at Berkeley.

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