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The C.S.&E. Department at USF recently introduced a required course in Ethics and Professionalism. Professor Bowyer was responsible for developing this course at USF. Professor Bowyer will draw on this experience to teach the ethics and professionalism component of the REU short course. A basic outline of six extended discussions for the REU short course is as follows.
This discussion will begin with basic ideas and concepts underlying ethical theories and lead through a discussion of the ACM and IEEE codes of ethics.
This discussion will cover patent, copyright and trade secret as they apply to computer software and hardware, including discussion of ``look and feel" copyrights and software patents. (Various lawsuits from the recent past can be used as case studies.)
This discussion will outline the general process of publishing in conferences and journals, and will review the established ethical guidelines for the author, reviewer and editor. (Specific examples of ``dual publication", plagiarism and fabricated research will be used as case studies.)
This discussion will cover the basic concepts and issues involved in whistle-blowing. ``Standard" case studies in this area include the BART incident and the Challenger incident. In addition the federal False Claims Act and the Whistleblower Protection Act will be discussed.
This discussion will cover the importance of using proper methods of assuring safe operation of computer systems, especially those embedded in larger systems whose malfunction may be life threatening. (The Therac-25 incidents have become the classic case study in this area.)
This discussion will cover the issues involved in different forms of ``hacker" type behavior. (The internet worm incident is one standard case study in this area.)
In addition to the ethics and professionalism component in the summer short course, we will also distribute a reading and a short essay response sheet before the full group meeting in the Fall and Spring semesters. These will be ``imagine yourself in this position" readings, in which students are asked to identify and analyze possible actions for their ethical value. One topic for the group meeting will be participants' responses.