Current Catalog Description

An interactive exploration of the current and future role of computers, the Internet, and related technologies in changing the standard of living, work environments, society and its ethical values. Privacy, security, depersonalization, responsibility, and professional ethics; the role of computer and Internet technologies in changing education, business modalities, collaboration mechanisms, and everyday life. (SS)

Instructor: George Witmer (Fall 2022)




Student will have

1. To stimulate the thinking of participants on how computers, information and network technology are changing the way we work, live and interact.

2. To raise the awareness of students of the ethical responsibilities of Computer Science professionals with respect to the evolving issues of privacy, security, social computing platforms, and intellectual property.

3. To think and write about the ethical challenges posed by evolution of computer and networked based tools in their chosen profession.

4. Use Write-to-Learn techniques to better understand the positivity and negative aspects of using computers and the internet in today's society.

5. To cause students to explicitly examine their thoughts, the role and limitations of government on many of these moral and ethical issues.

6. To examine the cultural shifts moving us to a globally linked economy.

7. To have students rethink their own ethical views and choices based on the emerging technologically linked world we now live in.

Relationship between Course Outcomes and Student Outcomes where CSE 252 substantially supported the Student Outcome #4:

SO 4: Recognize professional responsibilities and make informed judgements in computing practice based on legal and ethical principles.

Major Topics Covered in the Course

  1. General overview/History of Ethics
  2. Professional Ethics, Codes of Conduct why we need them, what they accomplish, and how personal ethics are effected
  3. Digital Divide - How has/will the dramatic growth in networking and computer technologies effect all levels of society and the students ideas on how the disparity can be narrowed and the effects it has/will cause
  4. Privacy, Intellectual Property, Social Media, Big Data, Crowd Sourcing, Artificial Intelligence, non-Mainstream Social Media, Robotics, Image Recognition, etc.
  5. Laws, Censorship
  6. Positive and negative effects on society
  7. How businesses use Social Media
  8. Internally for knowledge management, employee collaboration, etc.
  9. Externally for marketing, intercompany relationships, collaboration, etc.
  10. Work on a team to research and present the results to the class on current relevant topics
  11. Use Social medial tool (Wiki, Blog, Forums, etc.) to collaborate with other students in the class, discuss current topics on how computers and the internet effect society
  12. Brief history of computing and network technology and emerging technologies


Assessment Plan for the Course

a. The students are weekly reading and writing assignments to stimulate their thinking on the major topics of the course. This homework is 30% of the grade

b. Students are assigned to work in teams and do background research to lead our class for 45 minutes on topics as they appear in one of the three text books. They dig deeper and expand the material from the book as all student read the books before the presentation. This is 10% of the students grade.

c. Students write a deep dive essay on a topic they found personally motivating as related to the course and amplified by reading an additional book chosen form a preapproved list. Each essay must identify up front five goals of the writer in taking the deep dive, one goal must reflect the ethical challenges posed to computer scientists by the material in the deep dive, and at least one other goal must reflect on an ethical issue such as privacy or security. This is 25% of the grade.

d. The take home final consists of a series of questions designed to measure the six course outcomes. The questions measure the effectiveness of each course outcome and relate them to the books, in class discussions, and current news articles used during the semester. This is 25% of the grade.