Seminar in Computer Ethics

CS 200
Spring 2004

Thomas P. Kelliher
Hoffberger 140
Office phone: (410) 337-6189
Home phone: (410) 931-2946
Send e-mail to kelliher AT DOMAIN
Office hours: MWF 10:30--11:20am. Tu 12:30--1:20pm and 2:30--3:20pm. Other times by appointment.

Hoffberger 135
Tu 1:30--2:20pm


Computing is a field which is changing much more rapidly than society would seem to be able to handle. As a result, in many situations there are no legal guidelines. As persons or computer scientists, what are our obligations in such situations? Is there a set of ethical standards which we can apply? What laws do exist to guide our actions? Is computing a profession? As ``professionals,'' what is our obligation to society? What about the obligations of industry, the government, academe, and the legal establishment?

Our objective is to explore these and other questions this semester.

D. G. Johnson, Computer Ethics, 3rd ed., Prentice Hall, 2001. Required.

Grade Distribution

A = [92%--100%], A- = [90%--92%), B+ = [88%--90%), B = [82%--88%), B- = [80%--82%), etc. Grades are ``one point rounded.''

Course Point Distribution

There are approximately 420 total points for the course:

  1. Attendance and participation. 100 points. You will start at 75 points. Based on your participation, following each class I will do one of five things: raise your grade one or two points, keep your grade the same, drop your grade one or two points. You cannot receive more than 100 points in this category. You will receive electronic feedback on your participation. See below for the absence penalty.

  2. Written assignments. There will be about eight short, written assignments. Each will be worth 15 points, for a total of 120 points.

  3. Paper and Presentation. Five to 10 page research paper and a 15 to 20 minute class presentation. Each worth 100 points, for a total of 200 points.

Current grades (password protected) may be viewed on the class home page.

Course Handouts:

Course handouts will be made available once in class. After that, they may be obtained from the class home page. Some course handouts will only be distributed through the class home page.

Attendance of classes, and participation in classes, is expected and is a part of your grade. You will be penalized 10% of your participation grade for each unsatisfactorily-explained absence. It is your responsibility to catch up on missed class work.

Electronic Communication:

From time-to-time, I will need to send e-mail messages to the class. These messages will be addressed to your official Goucher e-mail addresses. You are responsible for checking your e-mail on a timely basis.

Cell phones must be turned off or set to ``silent'' during class. If you must enter late, do so as unobtrusively as possible. Likewise if you must leave early. Please use mental telepathy if you must hold a personal conference during class. I have ways of making you not talk!

Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. We are all bound by the Academic Honor Code.

Thomas P. Kelliher
Fri Jan 23 15:56:07 EST 2004
Tom Kelliher