CS 105 Computer Ethics and Society
Spring 2018, 1 Credit - George Mason University

This is a 10-week course and the final exam will be in class on the 11th week.
(The 10 weeks of class do not count the week of spring break).





Class Dates

Final Exam



3:00-4:15 pm


1/23 - 4/10




3:00-4:15 pm


1/25 - 4/12


Instructor: Prof. Tamara Maddox   
Email: tmaddox@gmu.edu       Phone: (703) 993-1525    Office: ENGR 5347

Office hours: Mon. 9:30-10:30, Thurs. 12:15-1:15 p.m., and before/after class.

Undergraduate Teaching Assistant:  Sean Cannan    Email: scannan@gmu.edu

Textbook: Quinn, Michael J., "Ethics for the Information Age" 7th Ed., Addison-Wesley, 2017. The textbook is required and students are expected to keep up with readings.

Web: Blackboard at
mymasonportal.gmu.edu.   Look for CS 105 -- Maddox (Spring, 2018).  
We will use this site for assignment submission, weekly blackboard discussion postings, and additional materials.  Check it regularly.   

Course Description
Legal, social, and ethical issues surrounding use of computers and the internet. The course will stress ethical decision-making as well as legal and social responsibility in connection with technology-related concerns. Issues such as security, crime, privacy and intellectual property will be examined in the context of computer use. Students may be requested to conduct research on the internet in any of these areas and/or learn to use practical technological tools related to privacy and security.  

Prerequisites:  None.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will understand many of the key ethical, legal and social issues related to information technology and how to interpret and comply with ethical principles, laws, regulations and institutional policies.  
  2. Students will understand the essential issues related to information security, how to take precautions and use techniques and tools to defend against computer crimes.

Mason Core: This course satisfies the GMU Mason Core req't for one credit of IT Ethics.

Special Accommodations:  Students with disabilities who need academic accommodations must work through the Office of Disability Services (ODS).  Contact them at (703) 993-2474.

Course Requirements:  
The is a discussion based course that requires your regular attendance and preparation for class.  Please plan to attend all course meetings prepared to discuss the assigned readings. Class participation will include engagement in class discussions as well as weekly blackboard postings on the topic(s) presented that week.  Some outside research or short group presentations may also be required.  Students will complete two major out-of-class writing assignments, to be completed individually and submitted through blackboard's assignment tab.  Short unannounced quizzes will also be given based on recent readings or class lectures.  The Final Exam is cumulative and covers all course materials, readings and lectures.  

Grading/Evaluation is weighted as follows:  

2 Out-of-class assignments


In-class quizzes (usually not announced)


Final Exam


Class Participation (including  attendance, preparation, in-class activities, and weekly postings on Blackboard)


Unless otherwise specified, all papers and other written assignments are to be individual efforts. Certain portions of group assignments may require individual efforts as well.  Note that any use of the words of others (including those of the textbook) without proper quotation and citation is plagiarism.  Plagiarism is governed by the GMU Honor Code and will not be tolerated. Instances of cheating and/or plagiarism will be referred to the Honor Committee.

Absences and Participation Credit  
 If you miss class, please contact your instructor immediately.  Absences may be excused if you provide proof of illness or emergency.  However, in order to make-up quizzes or work due to excused absences, you must discuss the issue with the professor within 10 days of missing class, or no make-up work will be allowed.

Late Work may be accepted for a penalty (typically 5-10% per day) at the instructor's discretion.  If accepted, late work penalties are capped at 50%.  Please note that NO late work will be accepted after the final day of REGULAR class.

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.