Syllabus

Logistics

Lecture: T/R 11:00 AM - 12:15

Location: DeBartolo Hall 225

Instructor: Megan Levis

Email: mlevis@nd.edu

Office Hours: Tue 3:30-4:30 PM and Fridays (by appointment)

Office Location: Fitzpatrick Hall of Engineering Room 182 (Left Cubicle)

The course requirements:

For the student:

  1. Students are required to be present, on time, and prepared for all class meetings. 
  2. One final paper of 10 pages will be required for this course. This paper will be in the style of a ‘white paper’ on a tech ethics topic of the student’s choice. The paper will require independent research into an ethical question in their field that was not covered in the class reading. The final paper will include two revision cycles, one with peer feedback and one with instructor feedback. This should be formatted professionally and follow the claim-reason-evidence model of writing. 
  3. Six 2 page writing assignments are required for this course. Students will reflect on the ethical scenarios discussed in each module of the course. Reflections will draw on peer-discussion of topics and will build on each other.
  4. Students are required to attend office hours once within the first month of class to meet with the instructor. Office hours are encouraged to receive feedback on all writing assignments. 

For the instructor: 

  1. The instructor will be present on time and prepared for all class meetings. 
  2. The instructor will be available during office hours and outside of office hours when necessary
  3. The instructor will grade and provide timely feedback on all assignments. 
  4. The instructor will work with the student to achieve the highest possible grade in this course. 

Spring 2022 Class Norms:

Good Practices:

  • Discuss ideas not people.

  • Give speaker attention 
    • It’s ok to turn around in your seat
    • Try to wait to raise your hand
  • Learn each other’s names

Try to Avoid: 

  • Interrupting
  • Dominating the conversation
    • Be courteous
    • Keep it brief

Grading

Component:

Points:

Participation

20

Group Projects

30

Short Reflections

25 x 6

Final Paper (Draft x2, Final version)

100 

Total Possible Points

300

Scale:

A

>280

B

>250

C

>220

D

>195

Assignments

Group projects:

A podcast and explainer video will be submitted in the first and second halves of the course, respectively. These projects are to be completed in groups and will build off of weekly peer dialogue discussions. 

Short reflection writing assignments: 

Each student is required to submit six writing assignments of 2 pages. Each assignment builds upon the previous essay as well as the in-class discussions. Assignments should include at least two citations (in-class materials or others). A good reflection includes diligent, thoughtful, and creative engagement with the material and contains counterarguments. The writing assignments are designed to show your worldview through the lens of another thinker rather than summaries of the readings. The prompts for the assignments may be found below: 

  1. Unit 1: Ethics. Choose one of the ethical frameworks discussed by the theorists in this section and use that to evaluate how technology might make us more or less ethical.
  2. Unit 2: Philosophy of technology. Cite 3+ readings from class, Propose your final paper topic and why you are choosing it. If space allows, provide a brief overview of your position/argument. 
  3. Unit 3: Big data and biotechnology. Open-source data sets can and are used for both good and nefarious purposes, What strategies might support the good?
  4. Unit 4: Artificial intelligence. Should we trust algorithms to be more ethical than humans? Discuss what circumstances should be evaluated to determine algorithmic ethics.
  5. Unit 5: Tech work. What values are you considering during your job search? Why are those values important?
  6. Unit 6: Technology and the future. Drawing on course material and discussions, write about the feedback loops between technology, ethics, self, and society. 

Final paper:

One final paper of 10 pages will be required for this course. This paper will be in the style of a ‘white paper’ on a tech ethics topic of the student’s choice. The paper will require independent research into an ethical question in their field that was not covered in the class reading. The final paper will include two revision cycles, one with peer feedback and one with instructor feedback. This should be formatted professionally and follow the claim-reason-evidence model of writing. 

Writing resources are linked here.

Students with Disabilities

Any student who has a documented disability and is registered with Disability Services should speak with the professor as soon as possible regarding accommodations. Students who are not registered should contact the Office of Disabilities.

Academic Honesty

Any academic misconduct in this course is considered a serious offense, and the strongest possible academic penalties will be pursued for such behavior. Students may discuss high-level ideas with other students, but at the time of implementation (i.e., programming), each person must do his/her own work. Use of the Internet as a reference is allowed but directly copying code or other information is cheating. It is cheating to copy, to allow another person to copy, all or part of an exam or a assignment, or to fake program output. It is also a violation of the Undergraduate Academic Code of Honor to observe and then fail to report academic dishonesty. You are responsible for the security and integrity of your own work.

Late Work

In the case of a serious illness or other excused absence, as defined by university policies, coursework submissions will be accepted late by the same number of days as the excused absence.

Otherwise, a late penalty, as determined by the instructor, will be assessed to any late submission of an assignment. In general, the late penalty is 25% off for less than a week and 50% off for more than a week. The instructor reserves the right to refuse any unexcused late work.