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 CSC 385 Professional and Ethical Issues in Computer Science

Course Syllabus Summer 2016

CSC 385-001 and

CSC 385-002


 10:15am - 12:20pm 

CIS 1008

CSC 385-001


10:15am - 12:20pm

CIS 1006

CSC 385-002


12:30pm 2:35pm

CIS 1006

Schedule (Link Removed)


Curry Guinn
Office hours:  MTW 12:30pm-1:30pm and by appointment
Phone: (910) 962-7937


Societal and ethical issues and obligations of computer science and related disciplines. Topics include ethical issues and obligations of professional practice, electronic privacy and security, intellectual property, and whistleblowing. Students are given opportunity to craft research articles in an iterative piece-meal fashion that allows for instructor feedback and student updates in a manner typical of research paper development. Course includes student presentations and discussions of case studies relating to computer ethics.


Prerequisite: ENG 101 or equivalent and junior or senior standing in computer science.  Study of ethical and professional issues arising from the impact of computer science and related technologies on society.  Topics include ethical issues, obligations of professional practice, privacy and security, intellectual property, work and health issues, and the impact of emerging technologies.  Students will be required to give both oral and written presentations and participate in the discussion of case studies.




ENG 101 or equivalent and junior or senior standing in computer science.


No textbook is required.

However, some students may benefit from having a copy of

Recommended supplement: Strunk & White, The Elements of Style. 4th Edition. 1999, Pearson. ISBN 0-205-30902-X. There are some free versions of Strunk and White available online, but they are the 1918 version of the book. That 1918 edition is mostly still relevant, but the updated edition has some material more germane to modern usage.

All other readings will be from materials available online.


At the conclusion of the course the student will be able to:

1.      Identify ethical issues as they impact computer science and related disciplines; [WI2]

2.      Differentiate between the main ethical theories and be able to use the ethical theories in evaluating the ethical issues impacting computer science and related disciplines. [WI5] [WI2]

3.      Discuss ethical issues in writing, using appropriate reference to the established Code of Ethics of the professional society relevant to that student's field (ACM, IEEE, etc), and apply professional codes of ethics to analyze and resolve ethical questions. [WI5] [WI2]

4.      Write one or more research papers that demonstrate the students grasp of ethical issues, along with their economic, legal, political and social implications; display a clear understanding of how the ideas of other persons may be properly cited and used in written documents, and illustrate use of popular formats for presenting published papers in computer science. [WI3] [WI4]

5.      Prepare and present information on a technical topic, in a professional manner.

6.      Identify and locate appropriate sources of information to support decisions and written ideas. [WI1]

7.      Analyze and evaluate arguments using rules of logic and be able to formulate effective arguments based on sound premises. [WI2] [WI4] [WI5]

8.      Explore economic, legal, political and social issues surrounding the use and access of information.



90 - 100 A

80 - 89.5 B

70 - 79.5 C

60 - 69.5 D




Academic Integrity

University Policy on academic integrity will be followed for this course. Cheating will be taken very seriously, resulting in severe penalties.  The academic integrity policy for each class varies. Please follow the policies below:

Appropriate Collaboration

         Sharing class notes with another student.

         Discussing anything that was covered in class.

Inappropriate Collaboration

         Showing another student your quiz answers.

         Copying quizzes or writing assignments from another student.

         Verbally providing other students with the solution to the quizzes. (This would be along the lines of giving them the key to solving the problem when they need to think it through themselves.)

         Doing another student's work.

Any of these constitutes cheating and will be reported to the academic integrity council.



Students with Disabilities

 If you have a disability and need reasonable accommodation in this course, you should inform the instructor of this fact in writing within the first week of class or as soon as possible. If you have not already done so, you must register with the Office of Disability Services in Westside Hall (extension 3746) and obtain a copy of your Accommodation Letter. You should then meet with your instructor to make mutually agreeable arrangements based on the recommendations of the Accommodation Letter

Learning Strategies

You are expected to take an active role in your learning in this course. This includes regular attendance, paying attention in class, reading the required texts, and completing all course requirements. You are encouraged to study with your classmates outside of class.


UNCW practices a zero-tolerance policy for violence and harassment of any kind.  For emergencies contact UNCW CARE at 962-2273, Campus Police at 962-3184, or Wilmington Police at 911.