The Effectiveness of Embedded Values Analysis Modules in Computer Science Education: An Empirical Study

Big Data and Society 10 (1) (2023)
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Abstract

Embedding ethics modules within computer science courses has become a popular response to the growing recognition that CS programs need to better equip their students to navigate the ethical dimensions of computing technologies like AI, machine learning, and big data analytics. However, the popularity of this approach has outpaced the evidence of its positive outcomes. To help close that gap, this empirical study reports positive results from Northeastern’s program that embeds values analysis modules into CS courses. The resulting data suggest that such modules have a positive effect on students’ moral attitudes and that students leave the modules believing they are more prepared to navigate the ethical dimensions they’ll likely face in their eventual careers. Importantly, these gains were accomplished at an institution without a philosophy doctoral program, suggesting this strategy can be effectively employed by a wider range of institutions than many have thought.

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Author Profiles

Matthew Kopec
Harvard University
Meica Magnani
Harvard University
Vance Ricks
Guilford College
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