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FHN3015 Involving old people in engineering and design 7.5 credits

The purpose is to provide doctoral students with knowledge of different scientific perspectives on technological development for older people and the opportunity to critically reflect on what can be effective, meaningful and sustainable for modern ageing.

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Choose semester and course offering to see information from the correct course syllabus and course offering.

Headings with content from the Course syllabus FHN3015 (Spring 2021–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

  • Why old people must be involved in technology and design - demographic challenges
  • Methods and approaches for involving old people in technology and design
  • The benefits of involving older people in research

Intended learning outcomes

After completing the course, the doctoral student must have

  • Acquired knowledge of technical and social science perspectives on the issue of technological development for older people.
  • Ability to critically evaluate how older people's life experiences can be an asset in innovation processes.
  • Reflected on an ethically and socially sustainable implementation of technology in the lives of older people.

Course disposition

The course is offered through the zoom. Most consist of self-study, but opportunities for individual tutoring are associated with the coursework.

The course covers seven weeks of work corresponding to 200 hours and consists of three parts:

The first part involves literature studies in preparation for a digital four hour seminar.  Course participants will read selected parts according to the course coordinators recommendation from the reference list below. Some further inspirational publications may occur.

The second part consists of a digital four hour seminar. The first part of this seminar include a lecture on why old people should be involved in technology and design and whether it makes a difference to involve old people in the development and design of technology. The second part is a design workshop in which the participants will try out product development and design for older users.

The third part consists of a mandatory and individual assignment corresponding to eight weeks of half-time studies on the theme: The benefit of involving older people in research and design. The course participants will relate the course content to their own thesis work and write a scientific text that can be published in a scientific journal or be part of the outline. The result will be presented at a digital seminar. The course participants will also make comments on each other's work.

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

Eligible for studies at the third-cycle level.

Recommended prerequisites

No information inserted


Digital platform for reading articles and writing texts.

Contact the examiner / course coordinator for information.


Coleman, R., Lebbon, C., Clarkson, J. & Keates, S. (2003) From margins to mainstream. In Coleman et al: Inclusive Design. Design for the Whole Population. Springer, page 1-25. 

Essén A & Östlund, B. Laggards as Innovators?  Old Users as Designers of New Services & Service Systems. International Journal of Design 2011, Vol. 5 No. 3, pp. 89-98.

Oudshoorn, N. & Pinch, T. (eds.) 2003, How Users Matter, The Co-construction of Users and Technology, Cambridge, MA, US. Recommended readings are the Introduction chapter and chapter 3.

Peine, A., Rollwagen, I, & Neven, L. The rise of the “innosumer” – Rethinking older technology users. Technological Forecasting & Social Change 82 (2014) 199–214

Tillkommer förslag på bokkapitel som publiceras 2021.

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

P, F


  • HEM1 - Home assignment, 1.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • SEM1 - Seminar, 1.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • UPP1 - Written report, 4.5 credits, grading scale: P, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

A passed course gives 7.5 credits and contains active participation in prepared seminars and a written essay. Participation in seminars is mandatory and must be at least 80% for approved.

Other requirements for final grade

Presentation of an individual written assignment related to the students' own dissertation and comment on another participant's written assignment.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

No information inserted


Profile picture Britt Östlund

Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web FHN3015

Offered by

CBH/Biomedical Engineering and Health Systems

Main field of study

This course does not belong to any Main field of study.

Education cycle

Third cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted


Professor Britt Östlund

Supplementary information

The course is conducted in English. Course literature is in English.

Is given on-line spring 2021.

Postgraduate course

Postgraduate courses at CBH/Biomedical Engineering and Health Systems