While my last post was well received, I did have a few conversations where people asked why I did this with such a seemingly minor ethical issue. They wondered that with issues the Facebook algorithm, bail and sentencing algorithms, gerrymandering and other issues dominating the ethical conversation, why focus this topic around something that seems to affect far fewer people and might not even be such a big deal. After all, when it does come up, flight crews can probably ask a few people to shuffle seats and voila, problem solved.
I've held off on sharing any details on my Ethics in CS class because I wanted to wait until some of it ran. I didn't want to talk about a topic and then find out that after we covered it I was all wrong.
Now that we're well into the semester, I think it's time to share a few things.
One of my premises when I designed the course was that most ethics courses are taken by either people who already have religion or people who see it as the "easy course" without programming.
So I'm teaching my Ethics and CS class for the first time. I originally designed the course but didn't teach it the first time around. That honor went to my friend, Master Teacher Topher Mykolyk. He of course did an amazing job - impossible to follow. Fortunately, this is a different cohort so they don't know how great Topher was for the course :-).
Even though I have the syllabus and Topher's notes from last time around, first time through is very week to week but I think I'm starting to get my legs under me.
I think it's time for me to start developing a CS Ethics class.
An ethics course isn't a replacement for having teachers that live and model good behavior and weave ethical issues throughout the curriculum but still, adding a separate course on top of that has its merits.
I'm not in a rush to create this course. I might be done in a month or it might take a couple of years.