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Office: Haberlin 308
Office Hours: Monday 11 a.m. - 12 p.m., Thursday 1 - 4 p.m., or by appointment.
Mon, Wed, Fri, 3:00 - 3:50 p.m.
This course will examine the ethical issues that arise as a result of
increasing use of computers, and the responsibilities of those who work with
computers, either as computer science professionals or end users. The course
will stress the ways in which computers challenge traditional ethical and
philosophical concepts, and raise old issues in a new way. Students will
be expected to: read and understand the ideas in the readings; explain the
ideas; analyze issues and see them from diverse perspectives; and formulate
and critique arguments. The readings will include technical issues in computer
science and may focus on a particular area such as software design as well as
more traditional topics such as philosophical theories (e.g. ethical relativism,
utilitarianism, deontological theories, rights, and virtue ethics), privacy,
intellectual property rights and proprietary software, security, accountability,
liability, the digital divide, hacking, and viruses.
There are several course goals: (1) to give a fuller, richer, deeper understanding
of the social impact of computers and the ethical issues in human activities
affected by computers, (2) to prepare the student for living in a computerized
world and perhaps working as a professional in the computing field, and (3) to
improve presentation, debating and writing skills.
There are two required textbooks in this class.
1. Computer Ethics, Fourth Edition, by Deborah Johnson.
2. Readings in CyberEthics, 2nd Edition, Edited by Richard Spinello
and Herman Tavani.
In addition, other readings will be assigned throughout the semester.
Quizzes and Exams
There will be several quizzes during the semester, usually unannounced. The
purpose of the quizzes is to help you pace your reading and to make sure you have
completed the assigned reading.
There will be one midterm exam, Wednesday, October 23, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
The final exam will be held during finals week:
Final Exam: Wednesday, December 11, 11:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
The homework will consist of readings, essays and written responses to questions
about the readings. All written homework must be typed. No handwritten work will be
Presentation and Participation
You are expected to attend all classes and participate in class discussions.
In addition, students will work in pairs to prepare and present to the class at least
once during the semester. The presentations will consist of making a presentation
on a topic, leading class discussion, and/or developing class activities. Finally,
each student will be assigned a week to cover ethical issues of computing in the news.
This will entail finding relevant news articles and briefly presenting them in class.
Midterm exam: 20%
Final exam: 20%
Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the assigned due date.
Late assignments will be marked down 10% for each day late. That is, assignments
turned in after the time they are due will be marked down 10%, assignments turned
between 24 and 48 hours after the due date will be marked down 20%, and so on. The
penalty will be determined when the assignment is physically transferred to the
instructor or signed in by any Math/CS faculty member or the department secretary.
Late work will not be accepted after the graded assignment is returned to the class.
In this course you are encouraged to discuss the material and issues
addressed in the course inside and outside of class. You may even discuss the
topics of essay assignments or presentations with members of the class or with
others. However, when it comes to writing up the essays, responses to homework
questions or presentations, you must do the work yourself. You may not collaborate
on any exams, including any take home exams.
You may consult public literature (books, articles, etc) for information,
but you must cite each source of ideas you adopt. Citing your sources will
have the added benefit of showing me that you took the effort to research the
topic and are justifying your arguments from published literature.
Please familiarize yourself with the department's policy on
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Computer Science 328--Ethical Issues in Computer Science
Last Modified: August 21, 2013
Page Expires: September 2, 2014