CS 306 Synthesis of Ethics and Law for the Computing Professional, 3 units
Department of Computer Science
Course Description -- Spring, 2015

Sec. -001 Tue/Thu  9-10:15 a.m.  Nguyen Engineering Building, Room 2608
Class Dates: 1/20-4/30; Final Exam: Thurs. 5/7/15 from 7:30-10:15 a.m.

Sec. -002 Tue/Thu  10:30-11:45 a.m.  Planetary Hall, Room 126
Class Dates: 1/20-4/30; Final Exam: Tues. 5/12/15, from 10:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

Sec. -003 Tue/Thu  1:30 a.m.-2:45 p.m.  Nguyen Engineering Building, Room 1107
Class Dates: 1/20-4/30; Final Exam: Tues. 5/12/15, from 1:30 - 4:15 p.m.

Instructor: Tamara A. Maddox  Email: tmaddox@cs.gmu.edu   Office: ENGR 5347
Telephone: (703) 993-1525  Office Hours: Mon. 4:30-6 PM; Tues. 3-4 PM and by appt.

Sec. -004 Wednesday  4:30 p.m.-7:10 p.m. , West Building, Room 1004
Class Dates: 1/21- 4/29; Final Exam: Wed., 5/6/15, from 4:30-7:15 p.m.

Instructor: Michael P. Maddox  Email: mmaddox@gmu.edu   
Telephone: (703) 250-1121  Office Hours: Before and after class, and by appointment

Online Class Syllabus: http://cs.gmu.edu/syllabus/syllabi-spring15/CS306All Instructors.html
Class Schedule:
Link: http://mymasonportal.gmu.edu

GTA:  Megan Sipos (msipos2@masonlive.gmu.edu)
UTAs: Sec. 1:  David Pearson (dpearso7@gmu.edu)
           Sec. 2:  Chris Reffett (creffett@gmu.edu)
           Sec. 3:  John Miller (jmille40@gmu.edu)
           Sec. 4:  Nathan LaPierre (nlapier2@gmu.edu)

Course Prerequisites: CS 105; Completion of at least 60 credit hours; Concurrent enrollment or completion of all other general education requirements.
Req'd Textbooks:
Herman T. Tavani, "Ethics & Technology," 3rd Ed,. 2011; Maddox, Tompkins, Maddox, "Supplementary Cases and Materials," Spring, 2015.

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, 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.

Throughout the course, students will be expected to apply critical thinking skills in individual and group settings to evaluate various issues related to computer law and ethics. Students will connect issues of technology to wider societal concerns through class discussion, a mock trial, and in-class activities. Students will use critical thinking skills to evaluate and prepare formal arguments concerning their assigned mock trial topics, which they will present to their classmates. Students should be prepared to participate during class activities, to interact with their classmates, and to reflect upon and refine their personal points of view on various ethical issues.

Course Outcomes:

  1. Be able to idenitfy, describe, discuss and critique traditional theories of philosophical ethics, and to apply those theories to various types of problems and situations in a systematic manner, in order to evaluate their relative merits and compare their resulting conclusions.
  2. Be able to connect issues of computer technology to wider community and societal concerns using perspectives of law, ethics and computer science.
  3. Be able to recall and discuss specific issues and technologies in various substantive areas of computer law and ethics as presented in class or in assigned readings, particularly intellectual property rights generally and copyright law specifically.
  4. Be able to communicate effectively in oral form.
  5. Be able to communicate effectively in written form.
  6. Be able to work with a partner and/or group to satisfy a complex task.
  7. Be able to apply critical thinking skills to evaluate the quality, credibility and limitations of an argument or a solution using appropriate evidence or resources.

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 Program. 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 in part by preparing an individual analysis of case law related to their Mock Trial legal elements, which will be returned with feedback.  Students will be permitted to be revise and resubmit this assignment after receiving feedback.  Students will also write several short essays reflecting on certain aspects of issues related to the class.  In addition, students will work with partners to research and write materials in preparation for their Mock Trials.  (Students should consider contacting the Writing Center in Robinson Hall, Room A114 at (703) 993-1200 or http://writingcenter.gmu.edu for assistance with writing.)

Add'l Classes:  Students may be asked to remain for extended class time or attend additional sessions to complete mock trial prep and presentations.  

Grading Policy:
    1. Essays on topics of law/ethics (10% total) 
    2. Group Creative Case Outline & Presentation (10%)
    3. Mock Trial preparatory assignments (25% total)
    4. In-Class Mock Trial {tentatively scheduled for weeks of: 3/31, 4/7, 4/14} (15%)
    5. Midterm Exam (Tentative exam dates: Secs 1-3: Thu. 3/5; Sec. 4: Wed. 3/4 (10%))
    6. Class Participation (incl. fairy tale trial, in-class exercises & instructor evaluation) (10%)
    7. Final Exam (20%)

Students should plan to attend class regularly, prepared to participate. Failure to do so will be reflected in your class participation grade. Group project grading may include a confidential review of participating group members by each student. The major individual paper requires inclusion of the Class Honor Code Pledge found here, or it will not be accepted.

Honor Code:
The Individual Mock Trial paper and the Reflective Essay Assignments are to be individual efforts. Certain homework and portions of group or team assignments may require individual effort as well. Failure to give proper credit by using quotes and cites constitutes plagiarism. See here for an explanation of quotes and cites for this class. If you have any questions about proper citation method, contact your instructor. Plagiarism is governed by the GMU Honor Code and will not be tolerated. Suspected honor code violations will be referred to the Honor Committee.

Special Accommodations:
If you are a student with a disability, please see your instructor and contact the Office of Disability Services (ORS) at (703) 993-2474. All academic accomodations must be arranged through the ODS: http://ods.gmu.edu.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS):  Contact CAPS at (703) 993-2380 or http://caps.gmu.edu.
Writing Center: Robinson Hall, Room A114, (703) 993-1200 or http://writingcenter.gmu.edu.

General Education:
This course is approved to satisfy the GMU Synthesis Gen. Ed. requirement.

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.