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Computer Ethics Curriculum

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Learning Objectives. (Hughes Goodearl)

Comments on Developmental Goals

Make students aware of ethical issues. Certainly this exercise can make students aware of some the ethical issues that surround design and manufacture. But it is primarily focused on the issue of whistleblowing.

Give students practice in evaluation and decision making. Students get a great deal of practice in evaluating ethical decisions here.

Lead students to actual responsible action. This exercise does not go this far, but it might be extended by asking students, after this exercise, what they would do about a case of software piracy they knew about at their school.

ImpactCS Elements and Skills

ES2.1 Ethical claims can and should be discussed rationally.

ES2.2 Ethical choices cannot be avoided.

ES2.3 Some easy ethical approaches are questionable:

ES3.2 Identifying stakeholders in concrete situations.

ES3.2 Identifying ethical issues in concrete situations.

ES3.4 Applying ethical codes to concrete situations.

ES3.5 Identifying and evaluating possible courses of action.

ES4.2 Power relations are central in all social interaction.

ImpactCS grid


Ethical Issues

Quality of Life

Use of Power

Risk and Reliability

Property Rights


Equity and Access

Honesty and Deception

Levels of Social Analysis










CC 2002 Social, Ethical, and Professional Issues

SP 2 Social context of computing

  • Gender-related issues

SP 3 Methods and tools of analysis

  • Making and evaluating ethical arguments
  • Identifying and evaluating ethical choices

SP 4 Professional and ethical responsibilities

  • Community values and the laws by which we live
  • The nature of professionalism
  • The role of the professional in public policy
  • Maintaining awareness of consequences
  • Ethical dissent and whistle-blowing
  • Codes of ethics, conduct, and practice (IEEE, ACM, SE, AITP, and so forth)
  • Dealing with harassment and discrimination