CAPP40140 - COMPUTER ETHICS
Copyright © 2006 by Robert N. Barger. Last edited on
The course concentrates on the theory and practice of computer ethics. The aim of the
course is to study the basis for ethical decision-making and the methodology for reaching
ethical decisions concerning computing matters. Topics studied in the course appear in the
outline below. Methodologies used in the course include lectures by the instructor,
lectures by visiting lecturers, in-class discussions, in-class writing assignments,
individual class presentations, individual case analyses, and examinations. The course is
open only to Notre Dame students who have a second major in Computer Applications or a
minor in Technology, Business, and Society (TBS).
A. The student will be able to describe and distinguish between the various
ethical theories which can be used to form the basis of solutions to moral
dilemmas in computing.
B. The student will be able to identify and define the components of a
structured plan for solving ethical problems and, in the process, will be
able to understand the basis for her/his own ethical system.
C. Given a variety of ethical problems, the student will be able to indicate
which of them may be unique to computing and what makes each unique.
D. The student will be able to prepare case studies dealing with moral dilemmas related to
computing, including appropriate components of the plan described in objective B above.
E. Given several examples of professional codes of ethics related to
computing, the student will be able to compare and contrast these examples,
discussing their commonalties, differences, and implications.
Classroom & Time:
DeBartolo Hall 242; Tuesday & Thursday, 12:30 - 1:45 p.m.
Robert N. Barger, Ph.D., Assoc. Professor, University of Notre
Dame; Professor Emeritus, Eastern Illinois University; E-mail: rbarger@NOSPAMnd.edu Note:
When using any of the e-mail addresses in this syllabus, remove the word "NOSPAM" from the
address (it is included to prevent spam robots from collecting usable addresses over the
Web). Home phone: (574) 289-8939. Note: Dr. Barger is infrequently in the CAPP office and
works primarily at home, where he welcomes contact from students by phone or e-mail.
Course requirements, Grade weightings, & Grade scale:
- "Class Participation" (30% of grade):
Included in this
factor will be completion of in-class writing assignments and participation in class
- "Ethics Case Analyses" (20% of grade)
Each student will write three analyses of computer-related ethics cases from among those printed
in Chapters 13, 15, and 17.. Use the Ethics Worksheet as a format for completing the case analysis and include the
statement of the question (already supplied on the worksheet) followed by your typed answer. If your case contains additional questions, include the
answers to them after answering the questions on the Ethics Worksheet. AFTER YOU FINISH THE WORKSHEET, CUT AND PASTE ALL OF IT INTO AN EMAIL TO DR.
BARGER. DO NOT INCLUDE IT AS AN ATTACHMENT TO THE EMAIL. The case analyses are to be emailed to Dr. Barger as follows, the first by 7:00 am,
Mon, Mar 17, the second by 7:00 am, Mon, Mar 31, and the third by 7:00 am, Mon, Apr 14. Criteria which will be used by Dr. Barger in evaluating these
analyses are: correctness of analysis, completeness, quality of argument in answering the worksheet questions, and quality of the grammatical and
stylistic composition of the analysis.
- "Class Presentation" (10% of grade):
Each student will make a fifteen minute power-point presentation on a topic which concerns
computer ethics. Allow fifteen minutes for presentation and five minutes for answering questions. Send an e-mail to Dr. Barger with your choice
for date of presentation (Apr 22, 24, or 29). You may check the calendar here for a list of the dates and presenting orders
that have already been chosen. You can view the list of approved topics here: presentation-topics, or
request approval for a topic not on the list. Dr. Barger will send you a confirmation of the date and topic. Dr. Barger will assign dates and topics
to students who have not made a choice of a date and topic by April 5. Evaluation will be based on the quality of the presentation, the quality of
responses to questions from the class arising from the presentation (or, if there are no questions from the class, the quality of the question(s)
asked of the class by the speaker), and the observance of the time allotment. Note: A printed copy of the presentation is to be handed to Dr.
Barger before the presentation commences (this copy must include at least one question to be asked of the class).
AN EXAMPLE OF A POWERPOINT PRESENTATION BY TOM LAPP
(one of our NetPros)
- "Examinations" (20% x 2 = 40% of grade):
The midterm exam and final exam
will deal with Computer Ethics topics relating to the material covered in the course.
Preparation for the Final Exam:
Class members will each ask ten other Notre Dame students two questions:
1. Name a computer ETHICS dilemma, problem, or question that is of concern to YOU
2. Name a computer ETHICS dilemma, problem, or question that you consider the most
pressing for SOCIETY today.
Class members will also answer these two questions themselves. Then they will word-process the
eleven sets of answers in anonymous form (in the format: the first person's two answers,
the second person's two answers,...up through the eleventh person's two answers, without
identifying any of the people in the process) and e-mail these answers to Dr. Barger by
4:00 p.m., May 3. During the Final Exam they will be asked questions that call for their
reflection on the overall meanings, implications, and conclusions of these sets of
answers in the light of what we have studied in this course.
"Excuse Policy for Classes and Exams":
Students who are absent from a scheduled class will be permitted to make
up the in-class assignment, presentation, or exam within a week of the
absence only if they take the initiative of communicating to the professor
a sufficient reason for the absence (e.g., sickness, job interview, funeral).
- "Policy on extra work": Students should understand at the
beginning of the course that the above evaluation standards will be
strictly applied and that no extra work opportunities will be available.
- "Grade scale": A=100-96, A-=95-90, B+=89-87, B=86-84, B-=
83-80, C+=79-77, C=76-74, C-73-70, D=69-60, F=59-0
Tentative Calendar for the Course (subject to
change during the semester):
(Links appearing below, are required reading for the class. Links marked with an
asterisk (*) indicate that a printout of the reading will be passed out in class. New or
changed material will be marked with the symbol).
- Tues, Jan 15:
- Review of syllabus: overview of topics to be
covered; explanation of assignments and grading procedure
- Thurs, Jan 17:
- Viewing of videotape on Computer Ethics
- For future class meetings, read the chapter indicated for that date.
- Tues, Jan 22:
- Chapter 1 - Introduction
- Thurs, Jan 24:
- Chapter 2 - The computer as a humanizing agent
- Tues, Jan 29:
- Chapter 3 - Philosophical belief systems - 3.1 through 3.3
- Thurs, Jan 31:
- Chapter 3 - Philosophical Belief Systems - 3.4 through 3.5
- Tues, Feb 5:
- Visit by Father Edward "Monk" Malloy, President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame
- Thurs, Feb 7:
- Chapter 3 - Philosophical Belief Systems - 3.6 through 3.9
- John Paul II from FIDES ET RATIO
- Tues, Feb 12:
- Chapter 4 - A philosophic inventory
- Thurs, Feb 14:
- Chapter 5 - The possibility of a unified ethical theory
- Tues, Feb 19:
- Visit by Mike Kraus, Controller of Cooper Standard Co., Bremen, IN.
- Thurs Feb 21:
- Visit by John Bollman, Vice President of Whirlpool Corporation
- Tues Feb 26:
- Chapter 6 - The ethical decision making process
- Thurs, Feb 28:
- Review of ethics case analysis and class presentation assignments
- Group solution of False Images in Broadcasts case
- Tues, Mar 11:
- Mid-semester exam
- Thurs, Mar 13:
- Chapter 7 - Psychology and computer ethics
- Tues, Mar 18:
- Chapter 8 - The computing field as a profession
- Thurs, Mar 20:
- Chapter 9 - Computer-related codes of ethics 9.1 - 9.2
- ACM Code of Ethics and Professinal Conduct
- Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice
- Tues, Mar 25:
- Chapter 9 - Computer-related codes of ethics 9.3 - 9.5
- Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics
- Ben Fairweather's Commentary on the Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics
- Thurs, Mar 27:
- Chapter 10 - Computer Ethics and International Development
- ETHICS IN INTERNET
by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Social Communications
- Tues, Apr 1:
- Visit by Gordon Wishon, Assoc. Vice President and C.I.O. of the
University of Notre Dame
- Thurs, Apr 3:
- Chapter 11 - Roboethics
- Tues, Apr 8:
- Chapter 12 - Theft/Piracy concerns
- Thurs, Apr 10:
- Chapter 14 - Privacy concerns
- Tues, Apr 15:
- Chapter 16 - Power concerns
- Thurs, Apr 17:
- Chapter 19 - Parasitic computing case
- Tues, Apr 22:
- CLASS PRESENTATIONS
- Thurs, Apr 24:
- CLASS PRESENTATIONS
- Tues, Apr 29:
- CLASS PRESENTATIONS
- TCE ADMINISTRATION
- Final Exam, Thursday, May 8, 10:30-12:30, DeBartolo 242
No variations will be granted for the final exam date or time.
Some Useful Ethics Sites
- Lawrence Hinman, Ethics Updates, University of San Diego, ETHICS UPDATES
- Edward F. Gehringer, Ethics in Computing, North Carolina State
University, ETHICS IN
- The Ethics Connection at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, THE ETHICS CONNECTION
- The Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility (CCSR), CCSR SITE
- Computer Professionals for Social
(CPSR), CPSR SITE
Connect to Dr. Barger's