Curricular Ethics

Training students in building a healthier internet for all is essential if we want to create a shift in the tech industry where the software is being developed with ethical considerations in mind. We believe that investigating and articulating relevant ethical challenges in our college’s application courses such as Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Robotic Agents, Bioinformatics, Web Development and Database Systems, our students’ educational foundations will be enhanced to grant many meaningful pathways to responsibly design and develop applications in computer technology. Our work includes a curricular roadmap of application courses that include assignments that integrate ethical thinking, structure of relevant readings and class discussions, as well as, the evaluation of student technical and reflective work throughout the process of designing and developing responsible technological systems.

Our goal is to enhance the sense of responsibility in the computer science curriculum where each computer science major at Allegheny has space and time to study and examine the ethical and societal challenges in an applicable area. Incorporating these topics in the application computer science courses will enable students to be exposed to and to explore direct connections to real-world examples and problems in each application area. We believe our concept fills the gap in the current strategies in ensuring that the students are engaged and interested in learning about the issues related to internet health by getting first-hand experience of how to explore and tackle these issues through the technical aspects of the course. In addition to exploring some of these issues in the class activities and labs, our students are required to connect and reflect on the ethical and societal implications of the technologies they create for each final project in these courses.

Additionally, we believe that in order to become an ethical computer scientist, students need to be taught in an ethical environment with an appropriate classroom climate. Our work in this direction involves the creation and distribution of surveys on the class environment following R. Talbert survey format for computer science and class activities where students develop a code of conduct and team working guidelines as a group.