CS 3604 - Professionalism in Computing

Formal education can rarely improve the character of a scoundrel.
- Derek Bok, President, Harvard University, 1982

but we're willing to try

A futurologist saw it another way:

Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right - Isaac Asimov.

but then:

Moral character is formed by habitual action - Aristotle.

This course studies the social impact, implications and effects of computers on society, and the responsibilities of computer professionals in directing the emerging technology. Includes studies of reliable, risk-free technologies, systems which provide user friendly processes. Specific topics include an overview of the history of computing, computer applications and their impact, the computing profession, career choices and challenges, and the legal and ethical responsibilities of professionals.

Table of Contents


Just in case you did not know, CS 3604 cannot be used in a CS minor as the required 3XXX course and cannot be used for potential internal transfer applicants as a "higher level" course as a substitute for CS 1044/1344 and 1104 in the transfer requirements.

Among the tasks that you will be undertaking will be the need to search the web for information. The following sites may be helpful:

Ethics, Computers, Technology - A Listing of Textbook Resources in association with Amazon.com and chapters.ca.

"Should IT Professionals Be in the Ethics Business?", by Marsha Heller, CIO Magazine, 15 July 2000.

Similar courses are taught in several other institutions. You may want to visit their home pages to get a different viewpoint on the topics covered herein.

(These links tend to change from semester to semester and from instructor to instructor. Please tell us about bad links, and if possible give the replacement URL.)

Corporate Ethical Concerns are Important Too:

There are also several organizations that support the concepts of professional ethics in computing:

The Student Pugwash USA organization is also worthy of a visit.

Where to find information locally:
Virginia Tech
Department of Computer Science
CS UGRAD WWW Connection

Reference: Bok, Derek, Beyond the Ivory Tower: Social Responsibilities of the Modern University, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., p. 123, 1982.

Comments on errors, suggested updates, changes, and evaluations should be sent by e-mail to J.A.N. Lee

Last Updated: 2002/10/15
© J.A.N. Lee, 1995-2002.