Social and ethical issues in computing

Write a paper (2-4 pages double-spaced) on social implications of a development in computing. Specifically:

  1. Pick a particular development in computing, such as online banking or use of laptops in school, or anything else that is related to computing. Describe it from the technical and historical standpoint (how long has it been around? what technologies made it possible?). Optionally, you might want to explain how this particular technology relates to your interests or background).
  2. Discuss positive and negative aspects of this technology. You don't have to give your opinion on whether this technology is more beneficial or more harmful, but you can if you would like. Make sure that your opinion is justified by the facts that you quote.
  3. Explain why this issue is important.
  4. Resources: you have to use at least two resources, more is better for a more balanced discussion. Online resources are OK. List your resources in a clearly identifiable way (author name, title, URL if it's an online resource). In addition you need to include a brief justification of why you consider each of the resources to be reliable. If your resources are somewhat less reliable, cross-checking your information is recommended (clearly mark the resources that are used for cross-checking).
  5. Short quotes from your resources are OK in the paper, but the rest must be your own words.
  6. Ch. 18 in the textbook might serve as a sample of discussion. It also has some suggestions for evaluating the quality of Internet sources.

Grading criteria

The paper will be graded based on the following:

  1. Choice of the topic (technologies with interesting tradeoffs, more unusual technologies, or something that really interests you are better choices)
  2. Quality of description of the technological aspects. Your target audience is other students in this class: you may refer to topics that we have covered, but other subjects need to explained.
  3. Justification of advantages and disadvantages. Reference your sources of information, clearly separate facts from opinions.
  4. Quality of your resources and explanation of why they are reliable
  5. Presentation of the material: well-chosen title, organization of your paper, writing style, spelling, and grammar.
  6. The length of the paper doesn't matter. The quality of the discussion is the main criteria.
  7. Participation in the in-class discussion: your knowledge of the subject, the ability to summarize your material, insights into different aspects of computing technology, and your justification of your conclusions and views.

CSci 1001 course web site.

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.