Co-Designing AI Agents to Support Social Connectedness Among Online Learners: Functionalities, Social Characteristics, and Ethical Challenges
DIS’22: ACM SIGCHI Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS)
Session: design theory & Critical design
Due to the lack of face-to-face interactions, online learners frequently experience social isolation that negatively impacts students’ well-being and learning experiences. Many text-based AI agents have been equipped with different social characteristics and functionalities to support people who are socially isolated. However, the design of agent’s functionalities, social characteristics, and ethical challenges in promoting social connectedness among online learners are underexplored. Taking a co-design approach, we included 23 online learners enrolled in an online for-degree graduate program as active participants in two virtual co-design workshop studies. Through four different co-design activities, we identified online learners’ preferences for AI agent’s functionalities and social characteristics in promoting their social connectedness as well as potential ethical concerns. Based on our findings, we establish the role of AI agent as a facilitator to continuously scaffold online learners’ social connection process. We further discuss the unique ethical challenges regarding agent-mediated social interaction in online learning.
Video Presentations of DIS 2022