Tuesday, May 27, 2008

NISOD 2008 - Integrating Ethics Into Your IT Courses

This session was presented by Dr. Peter Meggison of Massasoit Community College. The presentation was on his experience delivering a one credit (five week) course in compute ethics.

He recommends three possible ways to deliver ethics to IT students:
  1. A full course in computer ethics (3 credits, one semester)
  2. A short course (1 credit, five weeks - his method)
  3. Integrated into a computer applications course with an ethics component
Ethics falls into the area of "soft skills" which are in many ways more in demand by employers than technical skills (which they can provide themselves). This is also very true of employers in Halifax, so interesting to see that employers have the same concerns in the Boston area.

Dr. Meggison provide a series of resources that he uses in his course including his process of ethical decision making:
  1. get the facts
  2. identify all of the stakeholders
  3. consider the consequences of the decision
  4. weigh various guidelines and principles
  5. develop and evaluate options
  6. review decisions
  7. evaluate the results of the decision
This is very much a critical thinking course.

I believe that there is a definite need to include ethics education in all of the programmes we offer. It was good to see one instructor's approach to delivering this important subject area...

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