- Ethical Issues in Software Design
- Team Rules
- Project Overview
- Workshop Report
- Data Plan
- Information Interview Plan
- FInal Project
- Exam Question Superset
- Ethical Dissent
- Free Speech
- Intellectual Property
- Professional Roles
- Ethical Distancing
- Ethical Theories
- Talk Aloud Protocol
- Field Observation
- Interaction Design
- Methods Menu
So you write cool applications and utilities and they they do cool things. Or you see a new use for a current application. Or you want to use the latest technology in an organization. How do you know the application will do what you think it will? And how do you know it will not do unfortunate things, like kill people, or accidentally start a nuclear war, or more prosaically, discriminate against some people because of its design? As a thoughtful designer of technology you will want to know how to answer these questions.
This class will give you support and practice in thinking about how people will use the software you design. It is not about code or languages, but is instead about the people and systems. Thus, you will learn some basics of human-computer interaction (or user experience design), some basic philosophical ideas, a fair amount about particular ethical issues in computing (privacy, safety, professionalism, property, etc.), and a great deal about the topics and socio-technical system associated with the system you will be helping to design.
There are two primary texts for this class, Deborah Johnson & Keith Miller’s Computer Ethics, 4th Edition, and Sharp, Rogers, and Preece’s Interaction Design, 3rd Edition. You can buy both of these used at our bookstore.
- Schedule of Days and Assignments
- Team Rating Sheet
- Project Product Descriptions
- Exam Items
- The Exam
- Intermediate Concepts
- Ethics Concepts
- Methods Concepts
- Productivity Inc. Bibliography
- Security Training Annotated Bibliography
- MineCraft Annotated Bibliography
- Privacy Matrix Bibliography
Ethical Consulting Projects
The class will together be analyzing the ethical and social issues on 5 different projects. On the first day of class, I will inform you about the team to which you have been assigned. I have based assignments on the skills document you gave me and on recommendations from CS faculty. Each team each will undertake an independent socio-technical analysis of some aspect of their client’s project, analyzes the ethical issues associated with those aspects, and develops and tests solutions that address the functional and non-functional requirements of the projects. There will be a series of 6 products that your team will produce over the term:
- A bibliography of relevant sources for your project
- An an interview protocol for your first informational interview with your client
- A data collection plan that will help you construct and test a proposed solution
- At least one interim report to the class during data collection
- A final written report and oral presentation of your solution(s) to your contact person.
Your grade on this project will be a combination of the grade given by the instructor (that’s me), a rating given by the client (in this case, your contact person), and team member ratings of your work. Here are a set of recommendations for setting up your teams, and some rules about how to fire a member or for a member to move.
There will be one concept exam that you will take as a team. It will be based on a set of basic and intermediate concepts that are covered in the various readings and in my short-lectures and handouts. You will show your understanding of these concepts by answering a set of questions that require their use. On April 16 I will hand out in class the final subset of these question that your team must answer. The exam is due on April 23. The exam is a team take-home, and you can use any resources to answer the questions. I have provided a detailed rubric that explains my expectations for complete answers.
Finally, you will be asked to write two short reflections based on your vocation as a computing professional. Both should be no longer than 3 pages (1,200 words or so). The first vocation essay might address the following questions: How do you see your computing work as a calling? (or, Do you see your computing work as a calling?) What is the meaning in it? What obligations does this mean you have? Note that this first essay is due quite early, Feb. 14. This first essay is your considered opinion (both words are important here) and need not include references. The second essay is a revision of the first one, that will need to include reference to the material we have covered for the class. I have provided a rubric that explains my expectations for excellent vocation essays.
Speaking Credit (ORC)
You will be making many presentations in class. This is because you will be constantly consulting with the class for their input on your project. In addition, you will be making a final presentation to the class and to your client. I will be giving you lots of feedback on these presentations, and I hope you will learn from them. There is no independent grade for this aspect of the course, but your performance will be reflected as a part of your project grade.
Late papers will be reduced according to the following schedule: up to 24 hrs late = -5%, between 1 & 3 days late = -25%, 4 days to 1 week late = -50%. Papers beyond a week late will not be accepted. Grace is available if the lateness is the result of an oversight or accident on the part of one of the members of your group. Negotiation is possible based on hardship. It is your responsibility to keep track of time and to turn your paper in. I will not track you down. Lateness for a product, a class presentation, or an appointment for the client is very serious. Other people are depending on you.
If you have a documented disability that will impact your work in this class, please contact me to discuss your needs. Additionally, you will need to register with Student Disability Services located at the Academic Support Center. All such discussions will be confidential.