Ethics and Computer Science
CIS 4250
Syllabus — Spring 2017

Instructor: Randolph Langley

    Telephone: 645-1225
    Office: 103 MCH Building

Class time and place:

Lectures: 3:35-4:50 on Mondays and Wednesdays in room 2400 of the Health and Wellness Center.
Recitations: 12:20-1:10 in Love 301; section 1 meets on Mondays, section 2 meets on Wednesdays, and section 3 meets on Fridays.


Office hours:

If my office hours are not convenient, please speak with me to schedule an appointment at a mutually convenient time.

Class home page:

Course Description:

This is a theory and skills course intended for students with a basic knowledge of computer science principles and programming languages. The course introduces fundamental concepts and analytical methods in ethics, along with ethical, legal and social issues and questions in computer science that call for ethical analysis.

This course satisfies the university "Oral Communication Competency" requirement of the University, and is a required course for the bachelor's degree program in Computer Science.

Course Objectives

This course intends to introduce basic concepts in ethics, ethical issues and problems in the field of Computer Science, and practical skills in oral presentation.

The course will cover classic ethical theories and analysis frameworks along with principles of oral presentation and logical argument structure.

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:


A basic knowledge of computer science and programming concepts, such as would be acquired through an introductory course in computer programming, will be assumed.


A Gift of Fire fourth edition (2012) by Sara Baase, ISBN978-0-13-249267-6.


In order to fulfill Florida State University's Oral Competency Requirement, the student must earn a "C-" or better in the course, and in order to receive a "C-" or better in the course, the student must earn at least a "C-" on the oral communication competency component of the course. If the student does not earn a "C-" or better on the oral communication competency component of the course, the student will not earn an overall grade of "C-" or better in the course, regardless of how well the student performs in the remaining portion of the course.

This requirement means that you must earn at least 70% on your two oral presentations; (i.e., the sum of points for your two oral presentations must total at 21 out of the possible 30 points.)



Midterm (given on Wednesday, March 1, from 3:35 to 4:50 in HWC 2400)


Final (given on Friday, May 5, from 3:00 to 5:00 in HWC 2400)


Oral Presentation 1


Oral Presentation 2


Class participation


Written Presentation (due by midnight on Friday, April 7)



A 90% - 100%
B+ 88% - 89%
B 80% - 87%
C+ 78% - 79%
C 70% - 77%
D 60% - 69%
F 0% - 59%

Class Policies

Written presentations

Please turn in your written presentation on time. No late submissions will be accepted.

Your written presentation must be submitted in the manner indicated in the assignment on the appropriate day. If the submission is via Blackboard, the link will disappear immediately after the due time.

Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Do not turn in other people's work as your own; this includes, but is not limited to, unattributed copying from web pages, other students' work, books, journals, or broadcast media. Do not post on Internet websites soliciting help on your assignments or projects; if such solicitations are found, these will be be regarded as attempts at academic dishonesty. In your paper and in your oral presentations, citations and clear delineation of cited material from your own original work are mandatory. Student work will be checked for originality using various programs and databases.


This class does not have any joint assignments. You are expected to do all assigned coursework on your own.

The Florida State University academic honor policy is at

From the above academic honor policy:

The Florida State University Academic Honor Policy outlines the
University's expectations for the integrity of students'
academic work, the procedures for resolving alleged violations of
those expectations, and the rights and responsibilities of
students and faculty members throughout the process.  Students are
responsible for reading the Academic Honor Policy and for living
up to their pledge to "... be honest and truthful and
... [to] strive for personal and institutional integrity at
Florida State University."


Attendance at all class meetings is expected, and attendance may be taken each class session. Please extend courtesy in class by arriving on time and staying until dismissed. You are responsible for all information explained in class, some of which will not be available in written or electronic form.


Excused absences include documented illness, deaths in the immediate family and other documented crises, call to active military duty or jury duty, religious holy days, and official University activities. Accommodations for these excused absences will be made and will do so in a way that does not penalize students who have a valid excuse. Consideration will also be given to students whose dependent children experience serious illness.


You should check your email frequently for information about this course, as well as the class home page. You are also encouraged to use email to ask questions and report problems.

ADA compliance


Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should:

(1) register with and provide documentation to the Student
Disability Resource Center; and

(2) bring a letter to the instructor indicating the need for
accommodation and what type.  This should be done during the first
week of class.

This syllabus and other class materials are available in
alternative format upon request.

For more information about services available to FSU students with
disabilities, contact the:

Student Disability Resource Center
874 Traditions Way
108 Student Services Building
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4167
(850) 644-9566 (voice)
(850) 644-8504 (TDD)

Please advise me at your earliest convenience (within one week) if you have a disability that will require a reasonable accommodation for the successful completion of this course. Also, as indicated above, you should register with the Student Disability Resource Center, and provide me a letter indicating your need for accommodation.

If you are experiencing difficulties

If you are experiencing difficulty, either with the class or for reasons outside of the class, or are concerned about your progress, please speak with me immediately.

Except for changes that substantially affect implementation of the evaluation (grading) statement, this syllabus is a guide for the course and is subject to change with advance notice. In particular, the above schedule and procedures in this class are subject to change in the event of university schedule changes, calendar errors on my part, exigent circumstances, or if other reasons develop during the semester.