CS 306 Synthesis of Ethics and Law for the Computing
Professional, 3 units
GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
Department of Computer Science
Course Description -- Fall, 2019
Sec. -001 Mon/Wed Noon-1:15 p.m. Planetary Hall 122 Maddox
Class Dates: 8/26 - 12/4; Final Exam: Mon. 12/16/19 from 10:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m.
Sec. -002 Mon/Wed 1:30-2:45 p.m. Nguyen ENGR 1110 Maddox
Class Dates: 8/26-12/4; Final Exam: Wed. 12/11/19 from 1:30 - 4:15 p.m.
Sec. -003 Mon/Wed 9-10:15 a.m. Nguyen ENGR 1110 Maddox
Class Dates: 8/26-12/4; Final Exam: Mon 12/16/19 from 7:30-10:15 a.m.
Sec. -004 Friday 10:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Nguyen ENGR 1110 Maddox
Class Dates: 8/26-12/6; Final Exam: Fri 12/13/19 from 10:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m.
Instructor: Tamara A. Maddox Email:
Telephone: (703) 993-1525 Office Hours: Mon 3:30-5:30 p.m. and by appt.
Online Class Syllabus: http://cs.gmu.edu/syllabus/syllabi-fall19/CS306.html
Class Schedule: http://www.cs.gmu.edu/~tmaddox/cs306/Class_Schedule.html
Blackboard Link: http://mymasonportal.gmu.edu
GTA's: Sec. 2 & 4: John Walter; Sec. 1,3: TBA
UTA's: Sec. 1: (MW, Noon-1:15): Kevin Andrews
Sec. 2: (MW, 1:30-2:45): Ahmed Ali
Sec. 3 (MW, 9-10:15): Paul Doody
Sec. 4 (Fri, 10:30-1:15): Benjamin Grimes
Course Description: This course is intended to help students become effective professionals in the field of computer science by examining many of the challenging legal and ethical issues surrounding computer technology and its use, and building a foundation for dealing with those challenges. Students will examine the philosophical bases for ethical decision-making and how to apply them to issues raised by computers and technology. Specific topics covered in CS 105/110, such as intellectual property concerns, will be addressed by this course in a more intensive manner. Emerging legal and ethical issues involved in the computer profession and e-commerce will also be addressed.
Why you should care: This is a course about law, ethics, and big ideas. We will spend much of our time reading, discussing, and writing about actual legal cases dealing with constitutional and computer-related issues. It is a chance for you to understand how the law really works, and how it may apply to your future career in computing. It is also an opportunity to consider the ethics of many computer-related issues that may actually affect you. We hope to provide you with new insights, and we may challenge what you think you know! We expect that you will bring me new insights as well. YOU are the most important component of this class, so please come prepared to think, discuss, and argue! At the same time, remember to treat others respectfully, even if you disagree with their positions.
Writing Intensive Component: CS 306 is a Writing Intensive (WI) Course that, together with CS 321, meets the GMU WI Requirements for the BS CS and BS ACS programs. Accordingly, each student in CS 306 is required to write a minimum of 1750 individual words, which will be graded and returned to the student with feedback. This requirement will be fulfilled by a series of short essays analyzing legal and ethical issues, the first three of which may be revised and resubmitted for an improved grade after receiving feedback. These first three essays must meet minimum wordcount requirements and earn a final grade of C or better in order to receive a C or better in the course. Some exams also include short essays. In addition, students will work with partners to research and write materials in preparation for their Mock Trials or Creative Research Projects.
1. Homework and Class Participation (10%)
2. Short quizzes on assigned reading and recent lecture material (10%)
3. "Quests" on specific cases or course topics (10%)
4. Essays on topics of law/ethics (15%)
5. Mock Trial or Legal Research Group Project and Presentation (30% total)
6. Final Exam (25%)
IMPORTANT NOTICE: None of the information presented
in this course should be considered specific legal advice. Each
situation is unique and requires individual attention. Students with
individual legal concerns should not rely on information obtained in
this course in making any legal decisions. Should you have a problem or
concern requiring legal attention, you should seek specific advice from
an attorney of your choosing.