CSE 40175 is one of the core classes in the Computer Science and Engineering program at the University of Notre Dame. The purpose of the course is to develop a solid foundation for reasoning about ethical, professional, and social issues that arise in the context of computer science and engineering. Emphasis is placed on identifying appropriate legal, professional and moral contexts and on applying sound critical thinking skills to a problem. Topics covered include professional codes of ethics, safety-critical systems, whistle blowing, privacy and surveillance, freedom of speech, intellectual property, and cross-cultural issues. This course relies heavily on case studies of real-world incidents.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Communicate effectively about a wide range of ethical, professional, and social issues regarding computer science and engineering in a variety of mediums and platforms.

  2. Analyze complex moral and technical issues by identifying stakeholders, exploring opposing positions, and considering short and long-term consequences.

  3. Discuss the impact of computing and technology in the past, the issues and obstacles facing society in the present, and the opportunities for the future.

  4. Evaluate different ethical, professional, and social issues in the context of computer science and engineering and in terms of Catholic social teaching.

Class Information

T/TH 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
126 DeBartolo Hall
Mailing List (Class)
Mailing List (Staff)
Planet RSS, Blog List


Peter Bui (pbui@nd.edu)
Office Hours
M/W/F 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM, and by appointment
Office Location
350 Fitzpatrick Hall

Teaching Assistants

Teaching Assistant
Joao Andrade (jandrad2@nd.edu)
Teaching Assistant
Abigail Happ (ahapp@nd.edu)
Teaching Assistant
Henry Hentges (hhentges@nd.edu)
Teaching Assistant
Katherine LaCosta (klacosta@nd.edu)
Teaching Assistant
Casey Martyak (cmartyak@nd.edu)
Teaching Assistant
Michael Perez (mperez19@nd.edu)

Help Protocol

  1. Think
  2. Slack
  3. Think
  4. Email
  5. Think
  6. Office
Unit Date Topics Assignment
Responsibility 08/21 Syllabus, Ethics, Code of Ethics Slides Slides Reading 00
08/23 Talents, Responsibility Slides
Identity 08/28 Computer Science, Hackers Slides Reading 01
08/30 Meritocracy, Philanthropy Slides
Employment 09/04 Hiring Slides Reading 02
09/06 Negotiation, Promotion, Mobility Slides Project 01
09/11 Immigration Slides Reading 03
Workplace 09/13 Work-Life Balance Slides
09/18 Diversity in Technology Slides Reading 04
09/20 Codes of Conduct Slides
Engineering Disasters 09/25 Mission Critical Systems Slides Reading 05
09/27 Whistleblowing Slides Project 02
Privacy vs Security 10/02 Snowden Slides Reading 06
10/04 Government Surveillance Slides
Pervasive Computing 10/07 Cloud Computing, Online Advertising Slides Reading 07
10/09 Internet of Things Slides
Fall Break
Corporate Conscience 10/23 IBM & Nazis, Muslim Registry, Project Maven Slides Reading 08
10/25 Sony Rootkit, Microsoft Antitrust, Google Antitrust Slides
Freedom of Speech 10/30 Network Neutrality Slides Reading 09
11/1 Online Censorship Slides Project 03
11/6 Fake News, Filter Bubble Slides Reading 10
11/8 Anonymity, Trolling, Cyberbullying
Artificial Intelligence 11/13 Intelligence Slides Reading 11
11/15 Automation Slides
11/20 Self-Driving Cars Slides Reading 12
11/22 Thanksgiving
Intellectual Property 11/27 Patents, Patent Trolls Slides Reading 13
11/29 Copyright, DMCA, Piracy Slides Project 04
Education 12/04 Computer Science Education Slides Reading 14
12/06 Band of Brothers
Final 12/13 None Project 05


Component Points
Readings Weekly reading assignments and corresponding writing prompts. 13 × 10
Projects Periodic group projects. 5 × 25
Participation Regular class attendation and contribution to course community. 45
Total 300


Grade Points Grade Points Grade Points
A 280-300 A- 270-279
B+ 260-269 B 250-259 B- 240-249
C+ 230-239 C 220-229 C- 210-219
D 195-209 F 0-194


All Readings are due at noon on the Monday before it is assigned in the schedule above (unless otherwise specified).

All Projects are due at noon on the Saturday after it is schedule above (unless otherwise specified).



Students are expected to attend and contribute regularly in class. This means answering questions in class, participating in discussions, and helping other students.

Foreseeable absences should be discussed with the instructor ahead of time.


All responses to the Readings should be posted to each student's individual blog. Choice of blog platform is up to each student, but the student must provide a valid RSS or ATOM feed to their blog at the beginning of the semester for easy syndication and monitoring.

Late Work

In the case of a serious illness or other excused absence, as defined by university policies, coursework submissions will be accepted late by the same number of days as the excused absence.

Otherwise, a late penalty, as determined by the instructor, will be assessed to any late submission of an assignment. In general, the late penality is 25% off for less than a week and 50% off for more than a week. The instructor reserves the right to refuse any unexcused late work.

Honor Code

All work that you submit must be your own. Collaboration is encouraged but must be disclosed by all parties. Print or online resources are allowed, but must be disclosed. However, you may not look at solutions from other current or past students, or any other source.

Students with Disabilities

Any student who has a documented disability and is registered with Disability Services should speak with the professor as soon as possible regarding accommodations. Students who are not registered should contact the Office of Disabilities.

Blogging Services

If you want something turn-key, you can consider one of the following hosted blogging services:

  1. Notre Dame Sites

  2. Wordpress

  3. Blogger

  4. Medium

  5. Weebly

Static Website Generators

If you are a little more adventurous, you can consider statically generating your blog and hosting the files on a web server (such as Github Pages.

  1. Jekyll

  2. Pelican

  3. Hexo

  4. Hugo

Cloud Providers

If you are really adventurous, you can consider managing and hosting your blog on a cloud platform:

  1. Amazon Web Services

  2. Google AppEngine

  3. DigitalOcean

  4. Microsoft Azure