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Welcome to the website of the assistant Professorship of Information Systems, especially IT for the Ageing Society!

ITalG Kommunikations-Workshop 2020-03-06 Siegen_geschnitten
The research assistants around Jun. Prof. Claudia Müller: (from left) Martin Dickel, David Struzek, Katka Cerna, Prof. Claudia Müller, Richard Paluch, Sven Bittenbinder

It is common knowledge that demographic change gives rise to numerous challenges and problems. The teaching and research at the heart of the assistant Professorship are concerned with finding solutions to these issues; solutions which are supported by information technology.

The aim is to maintain and improve the social inclusion of the elderly, particularly their mobility and independence, as well as to enable them to lead a comfortable, healthy life at home, even at an advanced age.

Beyond this, “Ageing Society” draws attention to concepts enabling different generations to lead a fulfilling life of social inclusion, despite the diversity of individual needs and requirements involved. This perspective encompasses the gender-specific assessment of the appropriation and usage of new media. New technologies are considered to hold great innovative potential for future generations of domestic and health care. To tap this potential, it is essential to have a solid understanding of the everyday lives and living environments of the elderly and especially of their appropriation and potential usage of modern media.

The different ways elderly men and women apply themselves to new media demonstrates a “digital divide”. Indeed, the gender-specific habituation and role patterns show that this “digital divide” is often a “gender divide” which hinders women from accessing the support offered by new media in terms of independence, self-determination and social inclusion.

In addition to the elderly users of technology themselves, people from their immediate environment can play a key role in easing – or hindering – access to technology in everyday life. These groups, which until now have been decidedly underrepresented in research, include consultants, carers and volunteers, in addition to friends and family. These groups, as well as little-analysed diversity aspects, are accordingly incorporated by the assistant Professorship in the work conducted. The work pertains to the appropriation and usage of technology by elderly cohort groups of participants aged 50+ and the people with whom they are familiar and is principally concerned with the systematic gathering of data and its subsequent active incorporation in technology development projects and product design.

Embedded within the group of the Chair of Information Systems and New Media and the Professorships of CSCW and New Media, the assistant Professorship is based on the research findings, procedures and methods of user-oriented IT-design which were successfully and firmly established by the group several years ago. The assistant Professorship aims to bundle these findings and methods in order to address the pressing problems of the Ageing Society. An insight into previous fields of research can be found (in German language only) on www.inclusive-ageing.com.

The spectrum of research methods is oriented towards qualitative-empirical and participative approaches to the living and work environments of future groups of users. The assistant Professorship considers itself a partner in the „Praxlabs“ initiatives which pursue participation-oriented technology research and design.