Robert N. Barger.
Computer Ethics: A Case-based Approach.
Cambridge University Press, 2008 (required text, referred to as [B]).
Supplementary materials from the publisher
are available online.
The departmental syllabus for CSCE 390 is
here. (Note that the syllabus is incorrect: there are currently no
course prerequisites for CSCE 390.)
CSCE 390 is an approved foundational course for the
Carolina Core VSR (Values and Ethics) learning outcome.
Specific objectives of this course are:
- How computing, philosophical systems, and ethics relate to each other
- How to solve ethical dilemmas in the field of computing
- Apply professional codes of conduct to realistic situations
- Demonstrate familiarity with current social and ethical issues related to
- Investigate different professional options
- Participate in professional activities
Computer Ethics? A Review of Definitions. Notes used on
by Ms. Jennifer Whetstone-Jackson of the CEC Satellite Office of the USC
Career Center, used on 2014-09-4.
Philosophical Belief Systems, Part I:
Idealism and Realism
Philosophical Belief Systems, Part II:
Pragmatism and Existentialism
Three Simple Ethical Cases:
Absolutist and Relativist Positions
The Ethical Decision-Making Process
Psychology and Computer Ethics
The Computing Field as a Profession
Computer-Related Codes of Ethics
Quizzes (In-Class Exercises)
Here is a writing rubric written by
Dr. Heidi Cooley in the Media Arts program. (Thanks to Prof. Buell for passing
it on.) I am not bound by this rubric, but it may be useful for you to
consider when writing your essays.
Points per assignment.
See lecture log for a more complete list, which includes assignments for
which no handout was given.
- (HW1) Do the exercises at the end of chapters 1 and 2 of [B].
Due date: Thursday, August 28, 2014.
- Your homework essay must be typed, double-spaced, in 12-point font.
The essay, in total, must be no longer than two pages. Please type the
questions as well as your answers.
- Please turn in hard copy, but save the source file,
because you may be asked to
submit an electronic version later.
- For question 1 on p.15, provide only one occurrence and
why you think it should have been included.
- For question 2 on p.15,
provide only one example of each of the two kinds and
explain why they meet the conditions of the question.
- For question 3 on p.15, provide only one kind of problem and explain why the
computer has raised a unique dilemma.
(HW2, due Thursday, September 25, 2014; this assignment will satisfy
the professional activities requirement mentioned in the grading policy)
Choose a company where you would like to apply for a position. Write:
- A one-page overview of the company
- A one-page overview of the position that you would apply for
- A one-page resume geared towards that position
- A half-page essay on what you need to learn or do to be competitive for the position
- Attend the SET Career Fair on Tuesday, September 16, and
write a half-page essay describing your experience
- Register on Jobmate at the USC Career Center. Write a statement that you registered on the first page of your homework submission document.
The whole submission consists of four pages.
- (HW3) Do the exercises at the end of chapter 3 and 4 of [B].
Due date: Thursday, October 2, 2014.
A two-page paper (roughly half a page per question) is expected.
- (HW4) Do the exercise at the end of chapter 6 of [B].
Due date: Thursday, October 16, 2014.
I expect at least one page.
- (HW5) Do the exercise at the end of chapter 7 of [B].
Due date: Thursday, November 6, 2014.
I expect at least one page.
- (HW6) Do exercises 1 and 4 at the end of chapter 9 of [B]. Due date:
Thursday, October 13, 2014.
- (HW7) Choose a topic of professional interest that includes a
non-trivial ethical issue from
ACM TechNews archives.
Prepare a 5-slide PowerPoint presentation in which
(1) you summarize the topic (with appropriate
references), (2) you apply the 8-step ethical decision-making process
to the problem, (3) you apply the ACM Code or the ACM/IEEE-CS Code.
The PowerPoint presentation is due by 11:55pm on November 12, 2014.
It must be submitted using the departmental dropbox.
All students should be prepared to present on November 20, 2014.
Some students will be asked to present in class on November 20; others on
December 4, the last day of class.
The USC Blackboard
has a site for this course.
Some useful links:
- Career-related links
- Career Center at CEC
Career Fair Information, including a list of companies.
- Career Center at USC (main site)
- ACM Career and
- ACM CareerNews
- ACM Computing Degrees and
James H. Moor. "What is Computer Ethics?"
Metaphilosopthy, 16, 4 (October 1985), 266-275
James, H. Moor. "Reason, Relativity, and Responsibility in
Terrell Ward Bynum and Simon Rogerson (eds.).
Computer Ethics and Professional Responsibility.
ISBN 1-85554-844-5. Blackwell Publishing, 2004
In addition to Moor's article, the paper also contains historical and
introductory material on the topic of Computer Ethics.
James H. Moor.
"Just Consequentialism and Computing."
Ethics and Information Technology 1: 65-69, 1999.
- Society of Women
Engineers at USC Website
"Kant's Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals: A Very Brief
Selective Summary of Sections I and II"
W. Russ Payne's summary: "Aristotle on Virtue"
(linked on 2013-09-12).
A paper by Shannon Bowen on an using Kant's Ethics to
Manage Ethical Issues.
An article by Shannon Bowen on the role of ethical paradigms in
- "Without Test Tubes, 3 Win Nobel in
Chemistry," an article by Kenneth Chang, New York Times, October 10, 2013
"Internet Access is Not a Human Right,"
an article by Vinton G. Cerf, New York Times, January 4, 2012
"What is Artificial Intelligence?"
An article by Richard Powers, New York Times, February 5, 2011, about the IBM
Jeopardy-playing Watson program (local copy)
The PBS NOVA Show "Smartest Machine on Earth" describes the IBM
Jeopardy-playing program Watson
The IBM Watson web site
(also can be reached this way).
Some comments by Carnegie Mellon professor Eric Nyberg and graduate students
Nico Schlaefer and Hideki Shima, who worked
on the IBM Watson project.
Building Watson: An Overview of the DeepQA Project
David Ferrucci, Eric Brown, Jennifer Chu-Carroll, James Fan, David Gondek, Aditya A. Kalyanpur, Adam Lally, J. William Murdock, Eric Nyberg, John Prager, Nico Schlaefer, Chris Welty. _AI Magazine, vol.31, no.3 (Fall 2010).
(full text available only to AAAI members).
J. Denning. "The Computing Field: Structure." April 2008 (rev. 9/14/08).
Typescript. Naval Postgraduate School.
Chi, R. Glaser, and E. Rees. "Expertise in Problem Solving." In:
R.J. Sternberg (Ed.), Advances in the Psychology of Human Intelligence
(vol. 1). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1982
The ACM Code of Ethics and
Professional Conduct (html)
The Software Engineering Code of
Ethics and Professional Practice (Version 5.2) as recommended by the
ACM/IEEE-CS Joint Task Force on Software Engineering Ethics and Professional
Practices and jointly approved by the ACM and the IEEE-CS as the standard for
teaching and practicing software engineering (html)
Gotterbarn, D. and Miller, K. W. 2004. "Computer ethics in the undergraduate
curriculum: case studies and the joint software engineer's code." J. Comput.
Small Coll. 20, 2 (Dec. 2004), 156-167 (local copy, pdf).
- Links concerning professional codes of ethics
- The ACM Code of Ethics
and Professional Conduct
- The ACM Code of
Ethics: Flyer with Abridged Version
- The Software Engineering Code of
Ethics and Professional Practice
- The Ten Commandments of
Computer Ethics (from the site of Computer Professional for Social
- Gotterbarn, D. and
Miller, K. W. 2004. Computer ethics in the undergraduate curriculum: case
studies and the joint software engineer's code. J. Comput. Small Coll. 20, 2
(Dec. 2004), 156-167.
- Local copy of the above.
- Peter Aiken, Robert M. Stanley, Juanita
Billings, and Luke Anderson.
"Using Codes of Conduct to Resolve Legal Disputes."
Computer, 43, 4 (April 2010), pp.29-34 (local copy, pdf).
- "Codes of
Ethics in English" Online Ethics Center for Engineering 10/13/2009 National
Academy of Engineering Accessed: Monday, April 12, 2010
(Note that the
ACM/IEEE-CS Software Engineering and Professional Practice was not on this page
- Links related to current events
New York Times article of 2011-02-16 about how Egypt was disconnected
from the internet on January 28, 2011:
original article (notice comments link)
Bloomberg News article on
Internet "Kill Switch" Authority:
- Links related to career planning
Careers (TM) article by Randall Hanssen
Career Planning Guide for