CS 306 Synthesis of Ethics and Law for the Computing Professional, 3 units
Department of Computer Science
Course Description -- Spring, 2020

Sec. -001 Tue/Thu  9-10:15 a.m.  Robinson Hall B108   Maddox
Class Dates: 1/21 - 4/30; Final Exam:  Thu. 5/7/20 from 7:30-10:15 a.m.

Sec. -002 Tue/Thu  10:30-11:45 a.m.  Robinson Hall B108   Maddox
Class Dates: 1/21-4/30; Final Exam: Tue 5/12/20 from 10:30 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Sec. -003 Mon/Wed  1:30-2:45 p.m.  Robinson Hall B106    Maddox
Class Dates: 1/22-5/4; Final Exam: Wed 5/6/20 from 1:30-4:15 p.m. 

Sec. -004 Mon/Wed  3:00-4:15 p.m.  Robinson Hall B106    Maddox
Class Dates: 1/22-5/4; Final Exam: Mon 5/11/20 from 1:30-4:15 p.m. 

Instructor: Tamara A. Maddox  Email: tmaddox@gmu.edu   Office: ENGR 5347
Telephone: (703) 993-1525  Office Hours: Mon 4:30-5:30 p.m. & Thurs Noon-1 p.m.

Sec. -005 Wed  4:30-7:10 p.m.  Robinson Hall B106    Geldon
Class Dates: 1/22-4/29; Final Exam: Wed. 5/6/19, from 4:30-7:15 p.m. 

Instructor: Fred Geldon  Email: fgeldon@gmu.edu   
Telephone: (301) 424-4554  Office Hours: Wed. 3:30-4:15, location TBA, or by appt.

Sec. -006 Mon/Wed  9:00-10:15 a.m.  Innovation Hall 131    Otten
Class Dates: 1/22-5/4; Final Exam: Mon. 5/11/19, from 7:30-10:15 a.m. 

Instructor: John Otten  Email: jotten2@gmu.edu    Office: ENGR 5335
Telephone: (703) 993-1669  Office Hours: Mon. 10:30-11:30 and Thurs Noon-1

Online Class Syllabus: http://cs.gmu.edu/syllabus/syllabi-spring20/CS306.html
Class Schedule:
Link: http://mymasonportal.gmu.edu

GTA's:  Sec. 1-2: Katie Zurowski;  Sec. 3-4: Caroline Stimpson;  Sec. 5-6: John Walter
UTA's: Sec. 1: (TR, 9-10:15 a.m.)  Matthew Kennedy
            Sec. 2: (TR, 10:30-11:45 a.m.)  Vandana Keshavamurthy
            Sec. 3 (MW, 1:30-2:45 p.m.)  Justin Maddox
            Sec. 4 (MW, 3:00-4:15 p.m.)  Andrea Solis
            Sec. 5 (Wed, 4:30-7:10 p.m.)  Minar Islam
            Sec. 6: (MW, 9-10:15 a.m.)  Isabel Bennett

Course Prerequisites: CS 105/110, COMM 100/101, ENGH 302; Completion of at least 60 credit hours
Req'd Textbooks:
Herman T. Tavani, "Ethics & Technology," 2nd or later ed.; Maddox, Tompkins, Maddox, "Supplementary Cases and Materials," Spring, 2020.

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 us 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.

Course Outcomes:

  1. Recognize professional responsibilities and make informed judgments in computing practice based on legal and ethical principles.
  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 communicate effectively in oral form.
  4. Be able to communicate effectively in written form.
  5. Be able to work with a partner and/or group to satisfy a complex task.
  6. 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 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. Students will also be writing in-class essays for short exams.  In addition, students will work with partners to research and write materials in preparation for their Mock Trials or Creative Projects. 

Grading Policy:
    1. Class Participation (incl. hw & in-class exercises) (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 Group Project and Presentation (30% total)
    6. Final Exam (25%)

Late Work:  You are expected to submit all work by the due date.  Late work may be accepted at the discretion of the instructor, but  will be subject to a late penalty, typically 5-10% per day (incl. weekends and holidays).  The group project is divided into five parts, and no late work will be accepted after the due date for the next sequential part.  NO late work of any kind will be accepted after the final regular day of class (April 29 for Section 5, April 30 for Sections 1-2, May 4 for Sections 3, 4, and 6).  

 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. If an assignment requires inclusion of the Class Honor Code Pledge, it may be found here.

Honor Code:
Certain assignments, such as the series of analysis essays, 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 accommodations 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 Core (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.