CHI 2015

Course: An Introduction to Positive Computing

This course will be held Thursday 23 April, 2015 as part of the ACM Computer-Human Interaction Conference (course info on the CHI 2015 website).


A growing number of HCI professionals are asking how we might design technology to foster psychological wellbeing. Meeting such an aim will involve a crossing of disciplines, of methods, and a new way of thinking about what technology should be doing for us.

By turning to well-established research in psychology, education, neuroscience, and HCI, we can begin to cultivate a field dedicated to the development of technology that supports wellbeing and human potential, a field we refer to as positive computing.

Using multidisciplinary approaches, researchers have begun to explore how digital experience can support wellbeing determinants like self-awareness, autonomy, resilience, mindfulness, and altruism.


This course will provide you with: 
  • Theoretical foundation - Understanding of the relevant literature from multiple disciplines that can inform technology design & evaluation for wellbeing. 
  • A theoretical and practical framework for developing new technologies for wellbeing. 
  • A broader, deeper, and multidimensional understanding of the ways technology use scenarios impact wellbeing. 
  • Review of the State of the art - Exposure to a range of cutting-edge technologies designed to promote factors of wellbeing. 
  • Group-generated design strategies for better supporting wellbeing in your current and future projects. 
  • A copy of the resource text Positive Computing for reference.*


In the same way that economists are measuring wellbeing at the national level, and psychologists have been measuring it at an individual level for decades, it’s time to consciously and systematically consider wellbeing measures in the design and evaluation of technology. It is only by designing technology with consideration to wellbeing that we can make a happier and healthier (not just more productive) world.


Beginning to Advanced HCI professionals interested in design for wellbeing. Pre-requisites None


 Rafael Calvo is Associate Professor of Software Engineering at the University of Sydney. His publications include The Oxford Handbook of Affective Computing and Positive Computing: Technology for Wellbeing and Human Potential.

Dorian Peters is a designer and author who specializes in design for wellbeing and learning. Creative Leader at the Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney, her books include Interface Design for Learning (New Riders) and Positive Computing (MIT Press).



Other opportunities

Workshop: If you are interested in this tutorial, and the whole area of technology and wellbeing, you might find the CHI 2015 workshop "Developing Skills for Social and Emotional Wellbeing" also very interesting.

Special Issue: You might also want to submit your work to our special issue on Positive Computing in the journal Psychology of Well-being