Conference Papers  |    |  October 1, 2019

What Do We Teach When We Teach Tech Ethics? A Syllabi Analysis

Conference paper by Casey Fiesler, Natalie Garrett and Nathan Beard.
Presented at 2020 ACM SIGCSE Conference on Computer Science Education.


As issues of technology ethics become more pervasive in the media and public discussions, there is increasing interest in what role ethics should play in computing education. Not only are there more standalone ethics classes being offered at universities, but calls for greater integration of ethics across computer science curriculum mean that a growing number of CS instructors may be including ethics as part of their courses. To both describe current trends in computing ethics coursework and to provide guidance for further ethics inclusion in computing, we present an in-depth qualitative analysis of 115 syllabi from university technology ethics courses. Our analysis contributes a snapshot of the content and goals of tech ethics classes, and recommendations for how these might be integrated across a computing curriculum.