Building Computing Ethics From the Ground Up

Building Computing Ethics From the Ground Up

Building Computing Ethics from the Ground Up Gail Kaiser Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Fall 2000 The Problem As [email protected] and Computer Security Incident Responses Coordinator, I am often the first point of contact when ethics violations occur either by our students or our students as victims.

Meeting with students often reveals little knowledge of cyber ethics. Since computing is incorporated into elementary school curricula, that is the time to begin introducing computing ethics. Most teachers warn about chat rooms to protect children from the Internet. We also need to protect our university resources. Some Examples Survey of 41 middle school students revealed little

regard for cyber ethics. They seemed to feel that what they had heard didnt apply to them. Napster is okay because the record companies and performers are already rich enough. Students know what plagiarism is but its ok because their teachers dont use computers. It is ok to copy computer games their friends bought because they werent going to sell the game to someone else. The Plan

Introduce computing ethics at a much younger age; i.e. in middle school. Guide teams of undergraduates in producing a video or game that will engage and appeal to young computer users to be distributed to middle school students. Our undergraduates will survey a larger number of local middle school students. Based on results, plan an appropriate multimedia project that will most appeal to this age group.

Present Status Difficulty in having our undergraduates adopt the project. No undergraduate team took on the project presented by the Project Director for the Capstone degree completion requirement for this term. Probably not a fun project to work on. Higher hopes for next term.

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