Sydney School of Education and Social Work events - 2013 Archive

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Developing autonomy and self-efficacy with technology

16 October 2013

Join us on October 16 for a CoCo seminar by Rafael Calvo, and Dorian Peters titled “Developing autonomy and self-efficacy with technology”.

The presenters are very interested in engaging in an interdisciplinary discussion on the issues of autonomy and how educators (and social workers and technologists) think technologies could be designed in ways that favour support for learner/user autonomy over compliance and control.

Autonomy is a cornerstone of both motivation and psychological wellbeing (according to self-determination theory). Supporting autonomy (and related concepts such as independence, competence, self-regulation and self-efficacy) is also a core goal of both education and social work, but seldom an explicit goal of technology designed for these fields. There are plenty of software applications that remind, notify, monitor, and track us, for example, to remind patients to take their medicine or do exercise, to monitor the elderly in care homes, or to track signs of plagiarism in student work. However, what would technology that develops a patient’s ability to self-manage their care look like? How would a technology that helps develop a student’s ability to guide their own learning be designed? Can technology (for example, in the form of fading scaffolds, open-ended and adaptive design, or other forms) take part in increasing levels of autonomy population-wide?

In this discussion-based session, the presenters will summarise some of the work in this area and then open the floor to a multidisciplinary conversation on the many and varied constructs and issues to do with autonomy and how technology could be designed to support and develop it.

This seminar will be available live online at

Event details

  • When: 11am–12.30pm

  • Where: Rm 230, Education Building A35

  • Cost: Free

  • Contact: Patricia Thibaut Paez

  • More info: Arrive 10.45am for refreshments.

  • Speakers: Rafael A. Calvo is associate professor of software engineering at the University of Sydney and research program leader at the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre. He has a PhD in artificial intelligence and has authored ore than 100 publications, including the forthcoming Positive Computing with MIT Press and the Oxford Handbook on Affective Computing. Dr Calvo is a senior member of IEEE, associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, and an affiliate of the Cambridge University Well-being Institute.

    Dorian Peters is a designer, author, and specialist in user-experience for learning and wellbeing. Her books include Interface Design for Learning to be published by New Riders in December 2013, and Positive Computing: Technology for Wellbeing and Human Potential forthcoming from MIT Press in 2014. She has designed software interfaces for Carnegie Mellon, Cambridge University, Westpac Bank, ABC, and BMG Music. Ms Peters is a regular contributing author about design issues for publications such as ACM Interactions, UX Matters, UX Magazine and A List Apart. She has a master's in multimedia design from the University of Sydney and a bachelor’s in writing and directing from Carnegie Mellon.

Developing autonomy and self-efficacy with technology


Education Building (A35)

Room 230


16 October 2013

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