The text below is part of a message shown to those enrolled in CS492 on April 12, 2022.
The value-added of CS492 is: a) a considerable opportunity to learn how to write (assignments on varied topics with very detailed feedback provided) b) a rarely-offered opportunity to think on your feet, to provide creative ideas (not only during discussions but also as a specific component of some of the written essays) c) perhaps most importantly an opportunity to learn about and to reflect upon the crucial topic of the social implications of computing, which all computer scientists should find essential to experience.
Teaching assistants in CS492 form an integral part of the delivery of the course, while the instructor assumes a very large portion of the overall grading in the course. We form a partnership to help to provide you with a valuable learning experience. A vast majority of the effort of the instructor goes into creating the course content: designing the assignments and additional exercises, selecting relevant and enlightening subtopics to include in our study this term, outlining how students are to be assessed and providing oversight on any of the grading done by TAs. During class, your instructional team does not really lecture but instead is more invested in directing discussion of the topic of the week, making parenthetical remarks to assist in your education.
Fortunately, this is a course where there will be considerable latitude for the instructor to handle special Covid circumstances of any given student. Communicate with us; we do care. As the term progresses, you will learn the first names of your fellow students and in this way begin to feel a part of a small community. This will be another value-added of the course as well.
The text below is on the CS492 Description page maintained by Computer Science.
At the end of the course, students should be able to: a) identify important social implications of computerization b) describe how to behave ethically as a computer scientist c) propose technological and social solutions to current challenges presented by computerization (recommended actions) d) combine their opinions with information from existing research in both written and oral formats e) collaborate with peers on open-ended topics where there is often no clear definitive response f) formulate clear, constructive feedback on arguments of their peers g) identify where their knowledge of computer science provides a valuable contribution to the overall dialogue about the social implications of computing.
The paragraph below provides more detail on how these learning outcomes may be achieved this term.
The course has been designed with considerable effort to support these learning outcomes through: the selection of readings and topics of the week; the opportunities to write and to receive detailed feedback on a valuable set of subtopics, with assignments; the creative exercises and orchestrated open discussion during classes to foster the skill of thinking on your feet on valued subtopics; the groupwork offered by role playing exercises and assignment 4; one assignment, guest speaker and one week of workshop to focus on the topic of ethics; the sense of community generated through the use of first names in all classes and various opportunities to reflect on disadvantaged people within society; inclusion of student-designed recommendations for the future, drawing on technical expertise in computer science (challenging students to comment on how to "change the world").