Abstract

Current university culture is experiencing a gradual increase in diversity. For many this is an opportunity to express their differences, and celebrate it. However, often times topics of diversity can be difficult for people to share, understand, and even communicate. Nonetheless, attempting to communicate the unique and wonderful things about what makes one diverse is incredibly important in developing an understanding between people. This paper describes a system that is motivated by the question: When people discuss their majors with someone of a different major, do they begin to break down some of the barriers that have formed over time, and do they develop a better understanding of people in the other major? Below I describe the design, prototyping process, and the evaluation of the system in addition to paths of future research. Based on data collected during the prototyping process the system was successful in breaking the barriers placed between people and in developing knowledge about each other. The data also shows that these outcomes are only possible when the system users are distant colleagues or complete strangers. Future research would allow for the implementation of this system through the already existing Talkabout system, and within the context of university orientation programs.