From Awareness to Action - Page 16 of 20

4.0 Commitment to Teach Ethics and Social Responsibility

In the second Impact CS report[19], the Steering Committee made a strong recommendation that a minimum of 15 lecture hours out of 283 hours of the core curriculum and 25 laboratory hours should be devoted to this material in order for students to gain an in-depth understanding of the basic elements and skills. In addition, it was recommended that another 10-15 lecture hours be spent on an in-depth coverage of topics such as computer crime and fraud, freedom of speech, hacking and computer security, intellectual property, privacy, equity, safety critical systems, and workplace issues to enable the students to apply the basic elements and skills to real issues[4]. If we assume that 1 or 2 hours of each computer science course would be dedicated to ethics and social responsibility using the progressive, integrated approach proposed by this report, this component could be implemented across the curriculum within the recommended amount of time. At a minimum it means the addition of another 3-credit required course in the curriculum [17, also see Appendix A].

Another critical aspect in integrating ethics and social responsibility across the CS curriculum is to make sure that sufficient assessment of the proposed learning objectives is included. Students take material seriously if they know that they will be tested or receive grades for their mastery of it. Thus, it is essential that exam questions and graded assignments be provided to assess the learning objectives prescribed in this report. This sends a strong message to students that the social and ethical issues cannot be separated from the technical ones.

1. Faculty Enhancement Programs

An important assumption underlying the release of this final report is that CS faculty will "step up to the plate" to learn about and incorporate the new modules into their courses. For this to happen, faculty enhancement workshops must be developed and provided at regional workshops, national conferences and eventually online in a distance learning mode. A number of successful summer workshops funded by the NSF have been presented to help faculty develop ethics modules in undergraduate computing and engineering, but there needs to be more training based upon the framework, learning objectives, and curriculum goals developed by the ImpactCS Project. This work has already begun through the development of the ImpactCS web site[27], but the presentation of formal training sessions should be supported by the NSF and the professional societies to provide further incentive to CS faculty to take the time to undergo the training.

To help CS faculty we have provided a set of appendices with this report. In the appendices we present examples of a sample 3-credit course (Appendix A), specific modules that can be incorporated into CS courses (Appendix B), examples of modules that focus specifically on the five knowledge units (Appendix C), ideas for integrating a social impact study as part of the capstone course, and a list of new textbooks available in this area (Appendix E). In addition, the three ImpactCS reports and links to many curriculum resources can be found at the ImpactCS web site[27].