CSE 175 Homepage - Fall 2003
Social and Ethical Issues in Information Technology

News, Notices and Warnings

Instead of the university scheduled Final Exam on 10 December, we will have a second one hour exam on 3 December, the last class, and will give more weight to homework (40%) and less to exams (30% each), for the following reasons:

  1. There is a lot of homework, students are working hard on it, doing well, and it is being graded well, so it would be good if this effort were weighted more heavily, with correspondingly less emphasis on exams.
  2. The class material is more qualitative than CSE students are used to, and so may be difficult for some to answer quickly on a long qualitative questions on a final exam.
  3. The loss of class time will make it more difficult to study for long questions on a final exam.

The optional makeup homework assignment is online.

Steve Jackson's comments on all 9 homework problem sets are on our website.

Steve Jackson's office hours are on Mondays, 1 to 3 pm, in Cafe Roma. He will have extra office hours, on Wednesday 3 December, 1 to 3 pm, again in Cafe Roma.

Joseph Goguen will have an extra office hour, Wednesday 3 December, 10 to 11 am.

The Midterm Exam of 5 November is online. The average grade was 71%.

An option of replacing 1/3 of your midterm grade by a make-up written assignment was offered; click here for details. The due date was 17 November.

Be sure to check this website frequently; important notices will be posted near the top of the homepage; homework and readings will be posted on their respective webpages, not given in class. You should reload pages frequently, because I may well be editing the same page that you are reading! All webpages are subject to frequent unannounced updates.

The lecture notes are an important part of the course, and are linked to the outline page; they will evolve as the course develops. However, the class notes are not a substitute for attending class or doing the readings - much more information is given on some topics in lectures and readings, and there will also be hardcopy handouts, guest speakers, diagrams drawn on the board, interactive discussions, and more in class. Also, the emphasis on topics in the notes may not reflect the importance of material. In short, all of lectures, notes, text, and other readings are necessary for this course.

Past classes have seen homework answers with strongly overlapping content. In this class, a grade of zero will be assigned for such answers, and there will be more drastic consequences for repeat offenders. You can talk with other students about how to approach homework problems, but you are not allowed to work together on solutions. See the Integrity of Scholarship Agreement (from Scott Baden) and UCSD's official policies on Plagariasm; see also the most recent amended policy (sorry, it's in MS Word). You are expected to abide by these rules; failure to do so can have very serious consequences.


This course explores issues on the interface between information technology and society, with a special focus on ethical issues. Topics include ethical theory, privacy and security, spam, electronic commerce, the digital divide, open source software, medical informatics, bioinformatics, actor-network theory, ethnomethodology, and some neo-classical economics.

See the course outline for more detail, but note that the outline is subject to change as the course progresses. Prerequesites are CSE 9, 10 or 11, the ability to read basic works in the humanities, especially sociology, and the ability to write reasonable English. You will have to write short homework essays. There will be midterm and final exams.

Monday, Wednesday, 17:00-18:20, Center Hall 216
Section A00, ID 483427
The Discussion Section is 16:00-16:50 Wednesdays, Center Hall 216
The TA is Steven Jackson
His office hours are Monday, 13:00-15:00, in Cafe Roma
his email address is sjjackso@weber.ucsd.edu
Instructor Office Hours: Monday, 10 - 11 am, in 3131 APM
The Midterm Exam on 5 November.
A second one hour exam is scheduled for 3 December.

Required Book
Recommended BooksAll these books should be on reserve at the Science and Engineering Library, and the required book should be available from the UCSD Bookstore (but you can probably get it cheaper and more quickly from an online bookseller).
Additional Information

Grades will be based on the last three items below; the extent to which answers in your exams and homework reflect your familiarity with the course notes and readings will be important in their evaluation; 40% of the grade will be from the homework, and 30% each one in-class test. Optional homework questions count half as much as required questions.

  1. Course notes
  2. Reading assignments
  3. Homework assignments
  4. Midterm Exam, on 5 November.
  5. A second one hour exam is scheduled for 3 December.
Both exams will test on vocabulary introduced during the course; there will be essay questions.

Other Resources
This is not a technical course in the usual sense, but it is intellectually rigorous; it will carefully explore significant issues on the interfaces among technology, society and ethics, drawing on a variety of rigorous theories. It is expected that you will learn to think clearly about how technical and non-technical aspects interact in the real world, especially regarding ethical issues, and that this will be helpful to you in your work and in your life after graduation.
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To the homepage of the previous CSE 175
Maintained by Joseph Goguen
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Last modified: Thu Dec 2 10:01:10 PST 2004