Soctech:Meeting of 2004-07-21

From PublicWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Notes of the society and technology interest group meeting of 2004-07-21...

Executive summary

  • In order to get a course started, we need sustainable faculty buy-in.
  • There are a lot of other courses offered by other depts. that touch in some way on technology and society.
  • There are many models for how to start up such a course
  • Action items:
    • talk to our advisors as first step in measuring faculty enthusiasm
    • gather more detailed list of possible topics and objectives
    • contact people at other departments to gather information about existing courses
    • talk with Caroline tomorrow

detailed notes follow.

What should we do?

  • Foster communication about existing stuff (course offerings, talks, etc.) on social impacts of computing.
  • Lecture series/reading group/lunch?
  • Start up an interdisciplinary course:
    • Q: run as one course with everything, or a series of courses "technology and X", for various X? Possibly:
      • Education
      • Disabilities
      • Law and politics
      • Technology and business (already exists)
    • Q: audiences?
      • Tap mentioned that it's often hard to get people to perceive taking a course or a lecture series as in their interest --- you need to position it so that people feel it credibly advances their career/education/etc. This is one reason that, for example, CSE majors don't take many i-school courses, and that attendance was sparse at a lecture series that Tap attended.
    • Models for this:
      • Kate's undergrad (Butler) had undergrad CS ethics course, once a week meeting, with moderator
      • Charlie's undergrad (Rice) had undergrad course run by anthropology (!) Syllabus is available online.
    • What is the need for this course?
      • Kate: people in education have spoken of wanting more knowledge re: technology issues

Forms this course could take

Option 1: use course as cross-listing alias for plethora of existing courses, in other depts. (Note, Pim Lustig is the person to see about course listing administration.)

Option 2: Start with a cross-dept. 590

Option 3: something bigger...

These options are non-exclusive.

Major challenge to larger-scale course: making teaching load sustainable. Need more than one prof. to continue to teach it.

Existing courses


  • CSE 100: basic fluency; lectures
  • CSE 490c, a.k.a. CSE 303: roughly 1/3 of lectures spent on social issues
  • CSE 490xx: PMP public policy course (taught by Ed this fall)
  • CSE 500: computing and society, not recently taught


List of UW courses on society and technology

Existing undergrad interest groups?

  • Vibha started course to encourage women to get interested in computer science; not much explicit discussion of social impacts, but...?

ACM recommendations for teaching "ethics" in curriculum

Various ways:

  1. Dedicated course on ethics
  2. Explicit ethics modules in upper-level course
  3. Explicit ethics module in intro course

Action items

  • Keunwoo: get in touch with depts., profs for other technology and society courses, get in touch with i-school people
  • Kate: talk to education school people

Notes for Caroline

  • There's a lot of "non-traditional" computer science (e.g., HCI, Tap's work) that would be nice to bring to the attention of non-CS people (or CS people)