Computer Ethics References

Netiva Caftori

Fall 2003

Course and grading philosophy

You are encouraged to participate.

Course description

The course concentrates on the theory and practice of 
computer and information ethics. It covers the basics 
of ethical decision-making, and emphasizes group work 
and presentations. Topics studied in the course 
include risk and reliability, privacy, info-war, crime, 
access, business ethics, copyright, patents, and more. 
Students will write short summaries of their reading, 
write two short papers, respond to discussions in 
class and on the web, and present topics. 
Attendance is important.

This course will convey material such as:
-	Codes of ethics 
-	Ethical reasoning skills 
-	Professionalism and professional responsibility 
-	Effective inter-personal communication 
-	Effective public presentation 
-	Legal and ethical issues 
-	Awareness of current events 
-	The impact of computers locally and globally 
This knowledge and the accompanying skills are critical for 
productive and constructive professional careers. Although 
one course cannot teach everything, we will cover key topics.

Written Assignments:
Weekly written homework: One to two paragraphs due before 
the topic covered that week so the students come prepared. 
No credit for late submission. Students will be answering 
prepared questions, or formulating questions raised by the 

Weekly participation on our Blackboard system discussing 
current events which relate to ethical issues. 
When you are participating in a discussion, you should 
read the previous comments made by students in your group, 
and then make your comments. 

Your comment will be graded taking into account the following 
-How original it is (i.e., how much it avoids duplicating 
comments made earlier by other students).
-How many intelligent points it makes.
-How well your position is supported. Supporting evidence may 
come from articles referenced on the course Web pages. 
other articles or books that treat ethical issues in computing, 
including other articles that you find on the Web, 
newspaper (or other published) accounts of relevant cases, 
religious or philosophical literature, personal experience.
-How well written your comment is. (Points may be deducted for 
comments that have serious spelling or grammatical errors.)
-There is no explicit length limit, but comments should fit on 
one browser screen. 
-Extra credit will be given to those alerting us of topics 
in the news or in the literature that were not yet raised
Two short (2-5 pages) papers: The students can choose their topics within areas assigned 
by the instructor. 


Total possible points: 250, as follows:

Two papers	   		 50 (25x2)
Discussion on Blackboard	 30 (2x15 on average)
Final Pres.		 	 50
Attendance & participation	 75 (5x15 weeks) |  8 points per week
Weekly responses        	 45 (3x15 weeks) |  to a total of 120

-  Maximum of 25 points each for the two papers. You will have an 
   opportunity to revise the papers once to improve the quality.-  
-  Maximum of 30 points for a weekly participation in discussion on our 
   Blackboard system based on content (20 pts.) and delivery (10 pts.)
-  Maximum of 50 points for the final oral presentation
-  Maximum of 120 points (8x15) -- weekly paragraphs, attendance, 
   and participation, divided into 8 points per week, 15 weeks as follows:
-	5 points for attending and participating, because a main emphasis of 
the course is discussing behavior and issues in computer science today. 
Attendance really means "attending," as in being involved. Some people might 
come to class and try to sleep through it--that would earn a zero. 
-	3 points for the effort put into the weekly response. We would like 
you to think about what you've read or experienced, and put some time into 
your paragraphs. Graded as follows:

3 pts.  =  Well thought-out response
2 pts.  = Adequate response, but needs a little more
1 pt. = Inadequate response, more effort needed
0 pts. = No submission / Completely inadequate 

You will be able to check your grades on the Blackboard system as the 
semester advances. If the course progresses as intended, any student with 
90% or more of the available points will earn an A or A-. Any student with 
80% or more will earn a B+, B, or B-,
60% or more will earn a C+, C, or C-, 
40% or more will earn a D of some sort, and a person with 
less that 40% of the available points will not earn a passing grade. 

Your 1st paper, which is like a midterm project, is to be done in a team, on a case study of your choice. Each person will work on a piece of it, but all the team members should overlook what was done by each person and correct and improve on it. You are graded as a team, so it is to your benefit that each piece is excellent...
You will present to the class your finished analysis, using a web page or powerpoint presentation, or transparencies, or whatever...
Each student should present something, not necessarily what they worked on. You can have an introduction of the story by one person, the analysis, and a conclusion of some sort. You may also role play the incident if you are so driven. The sky is the limit...:)
This will be due some time in the 8th week or so.
In the meantime, write your paragraph-long summary (about a half page) for each chapter read.

Your 2nd paper will be individual, but similar in nature to the team project. Start thinking of it now as you may have many other interests. We'll talk in class about them so we won't have duplications.
Try to be concise... The analysis could fit even on a page, or 2 (of the 1 started in class). However the case study for the team should be more detailed, maybe 3 pages per person. It can be fictional but realistic for nowadays, or near future, or recent past.
You may use Roger Gilman's method or your own...Just be fair and convincing.

Your comments are appreciated.


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Last updated 8/04/04