CS371 Computer Ethics and Technical Communication

3 + 0
  • COJO131 or COJO141
  • CS202
  • WRTG211 or WRTG212 or WRTG213 or WRTG214
John Quan
Duckering 529
Office Hours
By Appointment
Meeting Time
Duckering 535
Course Website
Required Texts
Ethics and Technology: Controversies, Questions, and Strategies for Ethical Computing, Ed. 5, ISBN: 9781119355311 RECOMMENDED: Publication Man. of the APA, Ed. 6, VitalSource (eBook), ISBN:9781433813757

Course Description

This course explores moral responsibilities and ethical decision-making by applying ethical theories, professional ethics and codes of conduct, and cyber-related law to cyber-ethical issues, such as privacy, security, and cybercrime. In addition, this course uses human-computer interaction development and other industry standards, such as white papers and user manuals, to reinforce technical writing concepts.

Tentative Schedule

    • Introduction & Course Mechanics
    • American Psychological Association Style; APA Lab
      • Assignment 1 Essay; Read CA
    • The Classical Argument; The Classical Argument Lab
      • Read Chapter 1
    • LABOR DAY (offices closed — no classes, registration or fee payment)
    • Chapter 1 Introduction to Cyberethics: Concepts, Perspectives, and Methodological Frameworks
      • Read Chapter 2
    • Last day for student- and faculty-initiated drops with refund (course does not appear on academic record)
    • Chapter 2 Ethical Concepts and Ethical Theories: Establishing and Justifying a Moral System
      • Assignment 2 Essay
    • Chapter 2 continued
      • Assignment 1 Essay Due; Explore COS website: Resumes + Interviews
    • Creating an Effective Resume for Technical Professions; Resume Lab
      • Assignment 3 Resume; Read Chapter 3
    • Chapter 3 Critical Reasoning Skills for Evaluating Disputes in Cyberethics
      • Assignment 2 Essay Due
    • Group Project Examples; Brainstorming Techniques
      • Read Chapter 4
    • Brainstorming Lab
      • Assignment 3 Resume Due; Read IEET & IECO
    • Brainstorming Lab continued
      • Assignment 4 Brainstorming; Read SEC
    • Chapter 4 Professional Ethics, Codes of Conduct, and Moral Responsibility
    • Chapter 4 continued
    • ACM, IEEE-CS, and SECEPP Codes of Ethics Lab
      • Read HCI
    • EXAM 1
      • Read Chapter 5
    • Human Computer Interaction
      • Read USE; Read CDE
    • Chapter 5 Privacy and Cyberspace
      • Assignment 4 Brainstorming Due
    • Chapter 5 Continued
      • Read Chapter 6
    • Usability and Contextual Design
      • Assignment 5 Usability; Read VDE
    • Contextual Design Lab
    • Chapter 6 Security in Cyberspace
      • Read Chapter 7; Skim TA
    • Explore Local and Global Impacts of Computing Using Value Sensitive Design
      • Assignment 6 Value Sensitive Design
    • Value Sensitive Design Lab
    • Chapter 7 Cybercrime and Cyber-related Crimes
      • Read Chapter 8
    • Task Analysis using Activity Theory
      • Assignment 5 Usability Due
    • Storyboarding
      • Assignment 7 Task Analysis
    • Chapter 8 Intellectual Property Disputes in Cyberspace
    • Chapter 8 Continued
      • Assignment 6 Value Sensitive Design Due; Read Chapter 9
    • Last day for student- and faculty-initiated withdrawals (W grade appears on academic transcript)
    • Copyleft Licenses; White Papers: Types and Uses
      • Assignment 8 White Papers
    • Software Licensing Issues
    • User Guides; Prototyping
      • Assignment 7 Task Analysis Due; Assignment 9 User Guides
    • Prototyping Lab
      • Project Assignment: Video Prototyping and Digital Interactive Prototyping (DIP)
    • Chapter 9 Regulating Commerce and Speech in Cyberspace
    • EXAM 2
      • Read Chapter 10
    • Group Project PRESENTATION 1: Current Status, DIP demo, and Next Steps
    • Chapter 10 The Digital Divide, Democracy, and Work
    • Cyberlaw: An Introduction
      • Assignment 8 White Papers Due; Assignment 10 Case Markup
    • Cyberlaw: Tort Law and the Civil Justice System
    • Cyberlaw: Legislative Initiatives
      • Assignment 9 User Guides Due
    • THANKSGIVING (no classes, most offices closed) Wednesday-Sunday, Nov 27-Dec 1
    • THANKSGIVING (no classes, most offices closed) Wednesday-Sunday, Nov 27-Dec 1
    • Cyberlaw: Copyrights, Patents, and Trademarks
      • Assignment 10 Case Markup Due; Assignment 11 IRAC Analysis
    • Cyberlaw: Trade Secrets, eCommerce, and Contract Law
    • Last day of instruction

Grading Policies

Weight Description
10% Quizzes
30% Assignments
30% Exams
30% Group Projects

Grades will be assigned based on the following percentage intervals:

[95%, 100%)

[90%, 95%)
[85%, 90%)
[80%, 85%)

[75%, 80%)
[70%, 75%)
[65%, 70%)

[60%, 65%)
[55%, 60%)
[50%, 55%)

[45%, 50%)
[40%, 45%)
[0%, 40%)

Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity

The University of Alaska Board of Regents have clearly stated in BOR policy that discrimination, harassment and violence will not be tolerated on any campus of the University of Alaska. If you believe you are experiencing discrimination or any form of harassment, including sexual harassment/misconduct/assault, you are encouraged to report that behavior. If you disclose sexual harassment or sexual violence to faculty members or university employees, they must notify the UAF Title IX coordinator about the basic facts of the incident. Your choices for disclosure include:

  1. You may confidentially disclose and access confidential counseling by contacting the UAF Health and Counseling Center at 474-7043.
  2. You can get support and file a Title IX report by contacting the UAF Title IX coordinator at 474-7599.
  3. You may file a criminal complaint by contacting the UAF Police Department at 474-7721.

From Disability Services: UAF is obligated to provide accommodation only to the known limitations of an otherwise qualified student who has a disability. Please identify yourself to UAF Disability Services by applying for accommodations. To be considered for UAF Disability Services accommodations, individuals must be enrolled for at least one credit as a UAF student. For more information contact Disability Services at uaf-disabilityservices@alaska.edu, 474-5655 or by TTY at 474-1827.


Assignments will reinforce lecture concepts and demonstrate application of critical thinking skills. Unless otherwise specified, all assignments must be done on an individual basis. I will deduct 10% per day for up to three days for late assignments. In addition, I will deduct the following percentages for each error in your assignments:

    • 2%     Formatting and layout
    • 2%     Spelling and grammar
    • 6%     Technical content

You may discuss homework assignments with others, but everything you turn in must be your own work.


Examinations MUST be taken at the scheduled time. In particular, I will not allow early final exams.


I will drop your one lowest quiz grade.

Reference Texts

We will use excerpts from most of these texts throughout the semester.

Title                                             Location                         Code         
The Classical Argument Adapted from Walter Beale, 1986 CA
How to Identify Inartistic Proofs WikiHow HIIP
Career One Stop Department of Labor COS
ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct ACM.org ACM
Software Engineering Code of Ethics and Professional Practice ACM.org SEC
IEEE Code of Ethics IEEE.org IEET
IEEE Code of Conduct IEEE.org IECO
Human-Computer Interaction Wikipedia.org HCI
Usability Wikipedia.org USE
Contextual Design Wikipedia.org CDE
Value Sensitive Design and Information Systems VDesign.org VDE
Task Analysis Dr. Matthias Rauterberg, TU/e TA
Sketching User Experiences Rasmuson Library [electronic resource] SKE
The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr Gutenberg.org ES


Students are expected to be at every class meeting on time, and are responsible for all class content, whether present or not. If absence from class is necessary, in-class work (other than quizzes) and homework may be made up only if the instructor is notified as soon as possible; in particular, absences due to scheduled events must be arranged ahead of time. Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated, and will be dealt with according to UAF procedures. Students in this class must pay the CS lab fee.

UAF academic policies http://www.uaf.edu/catalog/current/academics

CS Department policies http://www.cs.uaf.edu/departmental-policies/

Disabilities Services:

The UAF Office of Disability Services implements the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and ensures that UAF students have equal access to the campus and course materials. I will work with the UAF Office of Disability Services (208 WHITAKER BLDG, 474-5655) to provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities.