Professional Ethics and Communication in Computer Science
Spring 2014


During class there will be one or more discussions led by students, as chosen at the beginning of the semester. If you are not leading discussion on a given day, you will be graded on your written analysis and your participation in the discussion. To get a good grade for participation, it is not necessary to talk in every discussion, as long as you contribute significantly to most discussions (with insightful questions, content, or argument/analysis). You will not be graded on how closely your position agrees with my own or with the author's. One great way of participating is by citing a current news story, personal experience, or recent technological development, and showing how it is related to the discussion. Asking good questions at the end of presentations or during discussion contributes to your class participation score as well.

I intend to grade participation using the following general rubric.


A major part of this class is to prepare you to lead and participate effectively in meetings. To that end, you will be required to both participate in and lead meetings.

For each meeting, there will be a meeting leader assigned ahead of time. The meeting leader should distribute an agenda with the following items.

Meeting leaders will be judged on how well they keep the meeting on topic and moving along. Examples of things to avoid are spending all of the time on a single topic, and allowing the conversation to drift to a completely unrelated topic.

Each meeting also includes an arbiter. The arbiter must make a decision about what course of action to take for each of the questions in the meeting. After class, within 3 days the arbiter must write an ethical analysis explaining and arguing in favor of the position he or she took on each issue discussed in the meeting.

Everyone else in the meeting is a meeting participant. Meeting participants are assigned "yes" or "no" ahead of time, and at the meeting, each meeting participant will argue in favor of his or her assigned position. Meeting participants will be judged on how well they articulate their arguments during the meeting.