Skip to main content

“I believe this course design helped first generation college students because my interactive approach engaged all students on an inclusive and equal basis.”

Course: FYS Data Ethics

Department: Computer Science


Overall, the course worked remarkably well for a new course.

I noticed that students seemed to lose steam toward the end of the semester. I’d like to think of ways to further energize the students in the last 5 weeks of the course.

Interestingly, the course required a lot more prep time over the summer, significant grading time, and one-on-one meetings, but not that much prep time before each course. For each individual class, I took on a moderating, observing, and coaching role.

I believe this course design helped first generation collect students because my approach engaged all students on an inclusive and equal basis. I also engaged students routinely, on a regular, week-by-week basis.

Course Description

This course provides students an active learning environment so they can better understand and navigate the moral and ethical issues and implications of the collection and use of data. The course also provides a lens on how students can use data to better understand complex and important ethical issues.

We will study the topic of data ethics in the following contexts: research and education, government, and for-profit companies. Drawing on the case-based method, our time in class will be spent primarily on the discussion and debate of real-world events reflecting the various ethical dilemmas surrounding the collection and use of data.

Time outside of class will be spent reading seminal articles on ethics and moral philosophy, reading topical articles highlighting current issues, reviewing and analyzing cases based on real-world events, and on completing written assignments.

In addition to completing individual written assignments, students will also form a team to complete a final, larger written assignment and deliver a presentation.

Projected Design Elements

-Flipped classroom, with structured activities to maximize learning experience
-Incorporate students’ work outside of the classroom inside the classroom
-Incorporate real-world cases to maximize relevance and interest

I’m using a flipped classroom approach and the students engage in considerable group/team work. That said, I’m quite certain I could improve the implementation of both.

At the end of the process, I now envision the following improvements:

-I would like to introduce more variation in the weekly format to keep students engaged at the same level throughout the semester;
-I would like to find ways to reduce the workload of the course without sacrificing the students’ overall learning experience;
-I would like to further focus the course on fewer topics and domains;
-I would like to find better ways to monitor and assess the students “outside of the classroom” activities to better understand the learning that is taking place;
-I would like to find ways to better involve outside speakers to engage the students with a diversity of perspectives. I am sure there are other improvements I could make and look forward to learning from others as part of this process.

Incorporated Design Elements

This was a new course for me, so I used it as an opportunity to teach a course in a fundamentally different way, by embracing the active learning concept.

I tried several debate formats, which worked well overall. The students did feel overwhelmed with the amount of outside of the classroom preparation, and this is something I’d look to improve for the next time I teach my course. In addition, the students wanted the debate performances to be more clearly incorporated into the grading scheme for the course. I’ll need to think through how I might do this in future iterations of the course.

Speaking of grading, the course included a significant number of deliverables, which resulted in a lot of grading. I’d like to see if I can reduce the number of deliverables somewhat and achieve the same or better outcomes.

Program: Finish Line Project

Return to the Faculty Portfolio Catalog