Here's the catalog description:
Computer and network security measures; encryption protocols. Ethical
theory and applications in computing. Seminar discussion on value
systems, social impact, and human factors, and about use and misuse of
computers. Four hours lecture. Offered Fall 2004.
Huh? So what does this mean?
At the highest level, this course is about the way in which computers
affect and impact our lives and society. It's less about how to make
computers perform a set of tasks than about the implications of
computers performing tasks.
There are really three aspects to the course:
- Security and encryption: This is the most technical/traditional
portion of the course. We'll talk about the details of modern
encryption techniques, such as RSA, as well as the computational
infrastructure needed to make such a system work. If you want to know
why it's OK to use your credit card over the web, this will answer it
- Ethics and Society. We'll spend a lot of time discussing (I'll
expect you to be an active participant) the ways in which computers
and modern technology affect our society, and the issues they
raise. This will include ethical problems (essentially, what's the
right thing to do and why), societal issues, health issues, and
- Service. This course also has a service learning component. You
will be spending time volunteering your computer skills at a local
nonprofit agency, and also reflecting on your service. Notice that
'service learning' is two separate words; youre exptected not only to
perform a service to the community, but also to get something out of
it yourself (the 'learning' component).
What's the class like?
The class will be a mix of lectures (mostly for the technical topics),
guest speakers, guided discussion, and student presentations. This
will definitely be an 'active learning' class; rather than sitting and
listening, learning will come through discussion and debate. I hope to
also learn a lot from you!