CS-305: Social, Ethical, and Legal Implications of Computing

Syllabus - Spring 2010

Course Reference Number:
CS-305, Spring 2010: 60792 (section: 4)

Instructor: Professor Harry Porter
E-Mail: harry@cs.pdx.edu
Web Page: www.cs.pdx.edu/~harry
Short Bio: Click Here
Office space at PSU: Fourth Ave Bldg, room 115-06 (click here for map)
Office hours: Monday, Wednesday, 3:00-4:00 PM)

When and Where:
Wednesday, 4:40PM - 6:30PM
Clay Building 202 (at 6th Ave & Clay St)
First Class: Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Holiday: (none, but PSU is closed Monday, May 31, 2010)
Final Exam Time: Wednesday, June 9, 2010, 5:30PM - 7:20PM

Required Textbook:

Textbook Photo [photo from Amazon.com]

Ethics for the Information Age (fourth edition), Michael J. Quinn, Addison Wesley, 2011 (huh?), ISBN-10: 0-13-213387-3, ISBN-13: 978-0-13-213387-6.

The textbook will be available through the PSU Bookstore. Amazon carries this book for $55.52 (new). (Amazon Page)

Catalog Description:
History of computing, social context of computing, professional and ethical responsibilities, risks and liabilities of safety-critical systems, intellectual property, privacy and civil liberties, social implications of the Internet, computer crime, economic issues in computing.

Prerequisites: A course in computer science at the 300 or higher level. Sophomore inquiry or a course in public speaking and a course in writing a research paper.

The course has two goals: First, the usual goal of learning the material of the course as described in the catalog entry. A higher priority goal is to instill in you an inclination to use that knowledge. The use of the content of this course is optional in the real world and our primary goal is to motivate its use.

Upon the successful completion of this course students will be able to:

Course Outline:

Class 1 March 31 Overview / Syllabus
Lecture notes
History of Computing
Reading: Chapter 1
Lecture notes
Homework 1
Class 2 April 7 Ethical Theories
Reading: Chapter 2
Lecture notes
Homework 2
Class 3 April 14 Intellectual Property
Reading: Chapters 3 and 4
Lecture notes
Homework 3
Class 4 April 21 Privacy
Reading: Chapter 5
Lecture notes
Class 5 April 28 Paper and Presentation Requirements
Specifications and requirements
Lecture notes
Sample paper #1
Sample paper #2
Sample paper #3
Sample paper #4
Computer and Network Security
Reading: Chapter 6
Lecture notes
Homework 4
Class 6 May 5 Computer Reliability
Reading: Chapter 7
Lecture notes
Class 7 May 12 Professional Ethics
Reading: Chapter 8
Lecture notes
Work and Wealth
Reading: Chapter 9
Lecture notes
Technology and the Future: Issues and Ideas
"Warnings of a Dark Future: The Emergence of Machine Intelligence"
"Wikipedia: Singularity"
"Brave New World", Aldous Huxley
"Industrial Society and its Future ", Theodore Kaczynski
Lecture notes
Class 8 May 19 Student Presentations
Click here for full schedule
Click here for PDF files of slides
Class 9 May 26 Student Presentations
Class 10 June 2 Student Presentations
Finals Week Final Exam --- Wednesday, June 9, 2010 --- 5:30PM-7:20PM

The official course prerequisites are:
   A computer science course, 300-level or higher
   A course ins public speaking
   A course in writing a research paper
This course is for computer science majors so we will assume a certain familiarity with the basic concepts of computers and technology. There is not much technical material in this class.

There will be at least one paper and you'll do an in-class presentation. We assume you've written papers and done presentations; we'll view this as an opportunity to practice and improve these skills.

It is the student's responsibility to ensure that he/she has the appropriate background before attempting this class.

Your grade will be based approximately, as follows. These percentages are tentative and subject to change.
   15% - Homeworks
   15% - Class participation
   25% - Research Paper
   25% - Presentation
   15% - Final
   5%  - Attendance
Grades so far: PDF of point spreadsheet or PDF of bar chart
Final Grades: PDF of point spreadsheet or PDF of bar chart
Incompletes will not be given, except under extreme, exceptional circumstances.

Research Paper:
Every student is required to submit one written report of about 2,000 words. Every student must submit a draft version of the report. Both are graded.

In-Class Presentation:
Every student is required to give an 8-10 minute oral presentation to the class. Every student must submit a draft version of the slides for the speech. Both are graded.

Homework Assignments:
There will be approximately 5 homework assignments. Homeworks are due at the beginning of class. Late homeworks will not be accepted without prior approval.

Final Exam:
The final exam will be in-class, not take home. It will be closed book, closed notes.

The questions will have short answers, maybe some multiple choice. I will try to keep the answers down to a sentence or less, since I feel grading essay questions is too subjective.

My goal will be to ensure that you've read the textbook.

Attendance in class is mandatory. Successful students will arrive on-time, relaxed and full of curiosity. Attendance will be checked regularly and will count for part of your grade.

Regarding Due Date and Time:
Please bring your homework submissions to class. All assignments are due at the beginning of class, and not one second later! I will collect submissions before lecture and I will not accept submissions after I begin class.

The reason I am such a stickler about this is that I do not want students to miss lectures because they are trying to finish up a paper or homework. Plan ahead; all due times are "hard."

I will make extensions to deadlines in the case of medical emergencies and business travel if you contact me ahead of time.

MailMan Mailing List: PorterClassList
A "MailMan" email list will be maintained for this class. From time to time I may post notices about the class and comments about assignments. Students are encouraged to send mail to the list, too.

All students should subscribe to this list. Go to the following web page and enter your email address and a password and click "subscribe".
The MailMan program will email you a confirmation message. You must reply, but you can simply hit your email "reply" button. After being adding to the mailing list you will get a "welcome" message from me.

To post a message to all the list members, send email to:
For additional documentation, see
    staff.imsa.edu/~ckolar/mailman/mailman-userguide-0.1.pdf (pdf, 159 kb)
(By the way, if Internet Explorer does not work with MailMan on the Mac, use the "Safari" web browser instead.)

Working Together:
I encourage students to freely discuss the class material amongst each other. You may also use the class mailing list to post questions, comments, and opinions about social/ethical/legal matters.

However, you must compose and write all homework, research paper, and exam material individually. You may not copy or plagiarize. If you use copied material, you must quote it and reference it properly.

Hints on how to study effectively:
Here is a document I wrote, which you may find useful or interesting:

Professor Porter's Study Tips

Snow Closure: For inclement weather information, call the University switchboard, 725-3000, for a recorded message about university-wide class cancellation. Snow closure info is also available at: www.flashnews.net/pdx.html (click on "View Current Info").

Other Cancellations: If I should need to cancel class for any reason, I will email the class mailing list.

Grader: xxx
E-Mail: xxx@cat.pdx.edu
Office: ???
Office Hours: By appointment

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