CS 301: Social Implications of Computer Technology

Course Syllabus (tentative @ 8/26/19)

Fall, 2019

Section 1001: 1-1:50 Mon; TBE B-176

Section 1002: 10-10:50 Tues; TBE B-176

Section 1003: 2:30-3:20 Weds; TBE B-174

Prof. Hal Berghel; office: TBE B-378A; phone: 702-895-3681;

hlb \\ acm // *rg

office hours: M-F 8:30-10:00 and by appointment

Graduate Assistant: Piyush Puranik

ofc hrs: t.b.a.


General notes:

  1. the Syllabus for this course will be maintained on the instructor's website at www.berghel.net.
  2. Some assigned readings will come from online resources.  URLs for the readings will be listed in the syllabus under "reading assignments." Note that reading assignments are for the current syllabus entry (i.e., read the assignment for the next class ahead of class)
  3. Tests and presentations will be posted on this online syllabus at least 10 days before the date. Homework may be periodically assigned, the value of which will be clearly indicated on the assignment.
  4. The current UNLV policies that govern instruction are posted on the website of the The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost at http://provost.unlv.edu/policies.html. Pay special attention to the memo for current semesters..
  5. In addition, please familiarize yourself with the following:
    1. Selected UNLV Policies from the Provost's Office
    2. Writing Center Statement
    3. Tutoring Availability
    4. UNLV Rebel email account (note: UNLV recommends that you use this in all UNLV email communication!)
    5. Most recent UNLV campus police report
    6. UNLV OIT's Policies and Standards
  6. UNLV Institutional Metrics @ December, 2016
  7. For homework purposes, relevant published online or offline resources are acceptable references. Quotation according to the principles of "fair use" under the U.S. Copyright laws apply. i.e., quoting and identifying a source is acceptable, plagiarizing a source is not. Any student found to have plagiarized will receive an "F" for the assignment in the first occurrence, and will receive an "F" in the course on the second occurrence. If you have any questions about this policy, consult with the instructor.
  8. I change the syllabus frequently (sometimes daily) based on the feedback on, and pace of, the lectures. As a result, the syllabus will typically lead the lectures by at most 2-3 class periods. An exception to this will be the three class periods prior to an exam. In this case, the class content will be fixed well in advance so that you know what material will be covered by the test before you take it..
  9. GRADING SCALE: Grading will be on a standard "university scale," i.e., 90-100=A; 80-89=B; etc. The contribution of exams, homework, projects, etc. will vary but will be explained in the syllabus at the time of assignment.
  10. WHAT WILL BE GRADED: There will be two in-class exams and a final report that constitutes a "take home final" or an in-class presentation and slide set depending upon semester and size of class. Your grade will be based on (a) these two exams and either the presentation/slide set or the final report. The contribution of each will be determined by the number of points assigned. As a rule of thumb, the exams will contribute approximately 50% of your grade, and the presentations and presentation slides or final report will contribute the remaining 50%. NOTE: due to the large class size, there are limited slots for student presentations which will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. If you wish to prefer to make a presentation rather than a report, please inform the instructor or TA quickly. (n.b., talks will be scheduled alphabetically based on last name.)

    The written report should be at least 2,500 words and the presentation at least 25 slides. The slides and the presentation must be on the same topic and the references linked together. The slides must be submitted on paper, 4 or 6 to a page (aka "handout style" in Powerpointese), duplex style (both sides of paper) immediately prior to your presentation. The day/date of all presentations will be listed on the syllabus after the drop date. The final report is considered a "take home final" and must be submitted on or before the regularly scheduled date and time for the final exam. The final report is to be printed duplex style (printing on front and back) as well. Any style format used acceptable to UNLV may be used.

  11. All Exams will be "closed everything": e.g., "closed book," "closed notes," PDAs and computers turned off, cell phones off, etc. Any student caught with an active mobile device during an exam will receive a grade of F for the exam. Any student caught with an active mobile device during an exam for a second time will receive a grade of F for the course. A link to a study guide will be provided in this syllabus. All questions that might appear on exams will be listed on this study guide (see below).
  12. Attendance may be taken. More than three unexcused absences may result in a 5% penalty on your final grade)

  13. A few times each semester the University will cancel classes for holidays. You are responsible for the material covered that week as described in the online syllabus, so plan to attend one of the other sections if your class is cancelled; else contact instructor or GA for other arrangements.

  14. NOTE: UNLV experiences several power outages each year (many unannounced or announced on short notice) that crash HRHCE computer systems, so plan ahead and download the content you need well in advance of exams.

Course Description:

An in-depth examination of moral and ethical issues created by advancing computer technology. Review of ethical theories and examination of issues in malfunction liability, privacy, power, ownership and intellectual property. Discussion of social trends and their possible effects. Extensive reading, classroom discussion, and class presentations required.

Required Readings:

Required readings fall into three categories.
  1. Textbook: Richard Spinello: CyberEthics: Morality and Law in Cyberspace (6th ed.) . (In the bookstores and Amazon). There is a study guide for this textbook. All exam questions relating to the assigned readings will come from this study guide.
  2. Assigned Readings ( linked to this syllabus). There is an study guide for these readings. All exam questions relating to the assigned readings will come from this study guide.
  3. ACM Code of ethics: Students must also agree to abide by the Association for Computing Machinery Ethics and Professional Conduct” for computing professionals (http://www.acm.org/about/code-of-ethics).
  4. The reading assignment for each class period will be clearly marked in this syllabus. The class lecture notes will cover the more technical material while the textbook will provide the perspective. Your exams will cover both sources.

Interesting Resources by Topic:

What you will need for your presentation:

  1. A small USB memory stick formatted in either NTFS or FAT32 (preferred) for your presentation slides (100 meg is more than enough if you have an old one laying around). You may if you wish use the cloud. However, understand that your presentation will be limited to 10 minutes including any time spent downloading your slides.
  2. Access to a Windows computer with Powerpoint 2004 or later (The UNLV Office of IT has Windows labs for students on campus)

Course Outcomes:

note: The UNLV IEEE Xplore digital library institional license (ieeexplore.ieee.org from any UNLV IP address) and UNLV ACM digital library institutional subscription (dl.acm.org from any UNLV IP address) may be used to access IEEE and ACM assigned readings. In both cases use the title as the search term. Whenever possible, I will provide alternative convenient links consistent with copyright, but I cannot guarantee the persistance of the links. If the links are broken, you may acccess the same information through the digital library portals.



(reminder: When UNLV closes during the classweek, students are advised to attend other sections. You are still responsible for the material covered.)

Week of August 26

Week of September 2

Week of September 9

Week of September 16

Week of September 23

Week of September 30 - EXAM I

All Exams will be "closed everything": e.g., "closed book," "closed notes," PDAs and computers turned off, cell phones off, etc. Exam will cover all assigned reading materials up through last week.

Week of October 7

Week of October 14

Week of October 21

Week of October 28- EXAM II

All Exams will be "closed everything": e.g., "closed book," "closed notes," PDAs and computers turned off, cell phones off, etc. Exam will cover the assigned readings since Exam I.

Week of November 4- Student Presentations : no class. use time to work on presentation and slide preparation or final report.

  1. section 1001
  2. section 1002
  3. section 1003

Week of November 11 - Student Presentations

  1. section 1001 - no class - holiday
    1. -
    2. -
    3. -
  2. section 1002
  3. section 1003

Week of November 18 - Student Presentations

  1. section 1001 -
  2. section 1002 -
  3. section 1003 -

Week of November 25- Student Presentations

  1. section 1001 -
  2. section 1002 -
  3. section 1003 -

Week of December 2 - Student Outcome Assessment, review of ACM Code of Ethics, and course review

Final Exam Schedule: (please confirm through MYUNLV): You must turn in semester reports on or before the scheduled time in the classroom. Your report is the 'take home' final.