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
131 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
Katherine La Costa (klacosta@nd.edu)
Teaching Assistant
Isabella Delgado-Castillo (idelgad1@nd.edu)
Teaching Assistant
Abigail Happ (ahapp@nd.edu)
Teaching Assistant
Henry Hentges (hhentges@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 Assignments
Responsibility Mon 08/26 Reading Quiz Reading 00
Tue 08/27 Syllabus, Ethics, Code of Ethics Slides Slides
Thu 08/29 Talents, Responsibility Slides
Sat 08/31 Writing Reflection Writing 00
Identity Mon 09/02 Reading Quiz Reading 01
Tue 09/03 Computer Science, Hackers Slides
Thu 09/05 Meritocracy, Philanthropy Slides
Sat 09/07 Writing Reflection Writing 01
Employment Mon 09/09 Reading Quiz Reading 02
Tue 09/10 Hiring Slides
Thu 09/12 Negotiation, Contracts, Promotion, Mobility Slides
Sat 09/14 Writing Reflection Writing 02
Mon 09/16 Reading Quiz Reading 03
Tue 09/17 Immigration Slides
Workplace Thu 09/19 Work-Life Balance Slides
Sat 09/21 Group Project Project 01
Mon 09/23 Reading Quiz Reading 04
Tue 09/24 Diversity Slides
Thu 09/26 Codes of Conduct Slides
Sat 09/28 Writing Reflection Writing 03
Engineering Disasters Mon 09/30 Reading Quiz Reading 05
Tue 10/01 Mission Critical Slides
Thu 10/03 Whistleblowing Slides
Sat 10/05 Writing Reflection Writing 04
Privacy vs Security Mon 10/07 Reading Quiz Reading 06
Tue 10/08 Government Surveillance Slides
Thu 10/10 Responsible Encryption Slides
Sat 10/12 Writing Reflection Writing 05
Pervasive Computing Mon 10/14 Reading Quiz Reading 07
Tue 10/15 Cloud Computing, Online Advertising Slides
Thu 10/17 Internet of Things Slides
Sat 10/19 Group Project Project 02
Fall Break
Corporate Conscience Mon 10/28 Reading Quiz Reading 08
Tue 10/29 Social Responsibility Slides
Thu 10/31 Antitrust Slides
Sat 11/02 Writing Reflection Writing 06
Freedom of Speech Mon 11/04 Reading Quiz Reading 09
Tue 11/05 Network Neutrality Slides
Thu 11/07 Online Censorship Slides
Sat 11/09 Writing Reflection Writing 07
Mon 11/11 Reading Quiz Reading 10
Tue 11/12 Fake News, Memes Slides
Thu 11/14 Anonymity, Trolling, Cyberbullying
Sat 11/16 Group Project Project 03
Artificial Intelligence Mon 11/18 Reading Quiz Reading 11
Tue 11/19 Face Recognition Slides
Thu 11/21 Automation Slides
Sat 11/23 Writing Reflection Writing 08
Mon 11/25 Reading Quiz Reading 12
Tue 11/26 Self-Driving Cars Slides
Thu 11/28 Thanksgiving
Intellectual Property Mon 12/02 Reading Quiz Reading 13
Tue 12/03 Patents, Patent Trolls Slides
Thu 12/05 Copyright, DMCA, Piracy Slides
Sat 12/06 Writing Reflection Writing 09
Education Mon 12/09 Reading Quiz Reading 14
Tue 12/10 Computer Science Education
Thu 12/12 Writing Reflection Writing 10
Reading Days
Final Mon 12/16 Group Project Project 04


Component Points
Readings Weekly reading quizzes. 14 × 5
Writings Weekly writing reflections. 10 × 5
Projects Periodic group projects. 4 × 30
Participation Regular class attendance and contribution to course community. 60
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

Due Dates

Unless specified otherwise:

  • All Reading Quizzes are due at noon on the Monday of each week.
  • All Writing Reflections are due at noon on the Saturday of each week.
  • All Group Projects are due at noon on the Saturday of each week.



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.

Reading Quizzes

All Reading Quizzes must be completed individually and submitted the the appropriate Google Form. Students may make multiple submissions (with the one with the highest score chosen as the final grade).

Writing Reflections

All Writing Reflections 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.

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.

Academic Honesty

Any academic misconduct in this course is considered a serious offense, and the strongest possible academic penalties will be pursued for such behavior. Students may discuss high-level ideas with other students, but at the time of implementation (i.e. writing), each person must do his/her own work. Use of the Internet as a reference is allowed but directly copying code or other information is cheating. It is cheating to copy, to allow another person to copy, all or part of an exam or a assignment, or to fake program output. It is also a violation of the Undergraduate Academic Code of Honor to observe and then fail to report academic dishonesty. You are responsible for the security and integrity of your own work.

CSE Guide to the Honor Code

For the assignments in this class, you may discuss with other students and consult printed and online resources. You may quote from books and online sources as long as you cite them properly. However, you may not look at another student's solution, and you may not look at solutions.

The following table summarizes how you may work with other students and use print/online sources:

Resources Solutions
Consulting Allowed Not Allowed
Copying Cite Not Allowed

See the CSE Guide to the Honor Code for definitions of the above terms.

If an instructor sees behavior that is, in his judgement, academically dishonest, he is required to file either an Honor Code Violation Report or a formal report to the College of Engineering Honesty Committee.

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