UB partners with Mozilla to further embed ethics in computer science curricula – UB Now: News and insights for UB faculty and staff


UB is one of 22 colleges and universities to create a guide on how schools can update curricula to put more emphasis on ethics when designing technology products.

the Responsible Informatics Education Manual has collected contributions from over 30 authors from a range of institutions – liberal, private and public arts, community college, Ivy League, Jesuit, Quaker and more.

Each institution has created undergraduate computer science study programs that address the social impact of computer science. Ultimately, the goal is to help higher education institutions integrate responsibility and ethics into their computer programs and drive a cultural shift in the tech industry to help build a healthier internet.

“My main feeling about the playbook is a sense of wonder at what we’ve been able to accomplish as a band,” says Atri Rudra, co-editor of Playbook, professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE ) of the UB.

“Earlier this year, I was chatting with a new colleague who is interested in responsible computing in education, and they listed five or six things they felt were important to consider,” he adds. . “I realized we had a section for each of these topics. Until then, I had been in the logistical weeds of the Playbook. But that moment made me realize that we have created something that could potentially be great. “

Computer scientist Kathy Pham, a Mozilla member and co-editor of the Playbook, says the Playbook has enormous potential to reach computer science and engineering students.

“The code they write can be used by billions of people, influencing everything from the news stories we read, to the type of personal data businesses collect, who is eligible for parole, to insurance or home loans – and who isn’t, “Pham said. “In other words, these students have the power to shape society. When this power is not combined with responsibility, the results can have unintended consequences, negatively impact the autonomy, privacy, security or well-being of users, as well as harm the society in its own right. together.

Each section contains an overview, key questions for educators, step-by-step checklists, case studies of how participating institutions have incorporated these checklists into their programs, and links to additional resources.

Matthew Hertz, associate professor of teaching at CSE, is co-author of the section “Accreditation and ethics»(With Rudra). Kenneth Joseph, Assistant Professor, and Jennifer Winikus, Assistant Teaching Professor, both at CSE, also contributed, as this list of authors and contributors shows. Rudra also wrote two other sections on “Choose computer courses“and”Access to technology. “

Mozilla and schools encourage faculty from other institutions, especially those outside the United States, to complete the work through the Playbook Submission Form.

The Playbook is a collection of learning and best practices gleaned over the first two years of a three-year Responsible Computer Science Challenge initiative led by the Mozilla Foundation, the Omidyar Network, Schmidt Futures and Craig Newmark Philanthropies. The initiative provided $ 3.5 million in grants to 19 colleges and universities to conceptualize, develop and pilot study programs that integrate ethics with undergraduate computer training.


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