Collaborative Society


The students are introduced with various cases of collaborative society (e.g., sharing economy, peer production, collaborative media consumption and production, collaborative knowledge) as described in “Collaborative Society” book by Jemielniak & Przegalinska (2018). Students select one of the cases in the book and discuss the influence of the collaborative case’s influence on different areas such as economy, culture, intimacy, and social relationships. Topics for the final discussions is on how students would envision the controversies and the opportunities in the future of collaborative society with respect to the current trends, the dilemma between positive and negative effects of collaborative society’s advances, possible intermediating technologies on the future of collaboration.

With the exercise, the students are expected to work in groups (max. 4 people in one group) to examine how people succeed and fail to connect to each other and take action against a disastrous situation by using mediating tools. Identify mediating aspects, motivations and values of various stakeholders who are directly or indirectly involve in the collaborative society from a critical perspective. Evaluate contradictions between different stakeholders and ideate on design for further improve the collaborative interaction between stakeholders.

Learning Outcomes

On completing this module the students should be able to:

  • describe different cases of collaborative society
  • critically evaluate the influence of collaborative cases on different aspects of human interactions
  • elicit insight into the opportunities and challenges of the selected collaboration cases, and develop design ideas to improve current effects of collaborative society
  • build knowledge that combines theories around collaborative interaction into interaction design practices.
  • analyse different motivations and values of people for using a mediating tool to connect people to collaborate in a challenging situation.
  • develop ideas for a reformulation/reconceptualization of a component in the current tool to improve contradictions within the collaborative society for further improvement.

Teacher Guidance

This teaching activity consists of two main components, a lecture and an accompanying exercise. The expected length of the lecture is 30-45 minutes. The exercise can be given varying amount of time, but a couple of hours is recommended giving a total duration of about 3 hours.

  1. In the lecture (75 min), the teacher introduces students to the cases of collaborative society based on the book by Jemielniak & Przegalinsk (2020).
  2. In the exercise (60 min), the students in groups discuss and evaluate the current and potential effects of collaborative society from a critical perspective and analyze value tensions between direct/indirect stakeholders from the book and/or exercise.
  3. The teacher checks what the students are doing, and advises on aspects to consider.
  4. The students share their practice outputs with peers, and gain access to peers’ outputs as a model for their practice (30 min).
  5. Students Map their reflections on collaborative society cases or provide Peer-feedback to one other group to assess what they have learned new (e.g. Mentimeter wordcloud) (10 min).
  6. The teacher chairs a class discussion, asking for reflections on experiences, and consolidating the lessons learned (5 min).

Note: The number of people in each group can be adjusted depending on the number of students in class

Recommended Readings

Jemielniak, D. and Przegalinska, A. (2020) Collaborative Society. MIT Press 




Collaborative Society, how to analyse and reflect on different cases of collaborative society


Design and engineering in higher education


Online, face-to-face, or hybrid


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