School of Information and Library Science
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Syllabus / Schedule / Assignments / Sakai site
During the semester, each student will write one major paper, will lead the discussion in one class session, will write one scenario describing an ethical dilemma, will respond in writing to one such scenario developed by another member of the class or published as a case study, and will participate actively in class, leading at least one class session. Each of these expectations is described in more detail below.
The major assignment is a paper, due at the end of the semester (8:00am, December 17). It may be any one of the following, or a specific project/paper proposed by the student and approved by the instructor:
In each case, there will be intermediate deliverables that are due throughout the semester.
For literature reviews, the following deliverables will be handed in for comment:
For reviews of court cases, the following deliverables will be handed in for comment:
For book reviews, the following deliverables will be handed in for comment:
The major paper should be approximately 15-20 double-spaced pages. It will be evaluated, based on the following criteria: the quality (logic, depth, etc.) of the reasoning about ethical issues and the application of moral principles, clarity (including grammatical correctness), and completeness. It is expected to be of publishable quality, and students are encouraged to prepare their papers in anticipation of submission for publication. The paper is due by 8:00am on Thursday, December 17.
Each student will be expected to lead one or more class sessions of interest to him or her, either alone or with a partner. The session leader(s) will select appropriate class readings (in consultation with the instructor), present an overview of the issues to be discussed, and lead a discussion or in-class exercise that will enable the class members to wrestle with the issue.
Students will sign up on September 10 for the topic of the class discussion that they wish to lead. The instructor will then schedule the class sessions, September 29-December 3.
Leadership of a class session will be evaluated on the following criteria: the student's demonstration of an in-depth understanding of the issue being discussed (based on individual conversations with the instructor, as well as in-class leadership), and the student's ability to engage the class members in wrestling with that issue.
Each student will be asked to develop one scenario describing an ethical dilemma. Throughout the course, we will be working with a variety of such scenarios, varying in length from a paragraph to a collection of articles. Each dilemma presents a realistic (or real) situation in which issues related to information ethics are raised.
Writing a scenario describing an ethical dilemma is like writing a story. It should be realistic, vivid, and fairly detailed. For the purposes of this assignment, it should raise one or more ethical issues for each of three or more actors within the story. It should conclude with a set of questions, highlighting the ethical issues faced by each actor. It should be approximately 2 single-spaced pages in length.
It is anticipated that each student will choose to develop a scenario in his or her particular area of interest. Thus, the due dates will be associated with the scheduling of particular topics for discussion in the course. In general, the scenarios associated with a particular topic will be due one week after we have finished discussing the topic in class. Students may use the class discussion of a draft scenario, to get feedback concerning its clarity and effectiveness in raising ethical issues. All scenarios must be completed and turned in for grading by December 3, at the latest.
The scenarios written by students will be evaluated on the following criteria: realism, effectiveness in raising important ethical issues, clarity, and vividness.
Each student will respond to a scenario depicting an ethical dilemma. It may be a scenario developed by another member of the class, or one of the scenarios included on our reading lists. The response is due approximately one week after the issue raised by the scenario is discussed in class.
Responding to a scenario entails identifying and responding to the ethical issues faced by each actor in the scenario. For each actor, identify the ethical issues faced by that person. For each issue, state whether the person acted ethically and the basis for your judgment about the person's actions. If the scenario does not specify the actions taken (i.e., it specifies only the situation), then describe the possible actions that could be taken by each actor, state which are ethical, and why. The written response should be 2-3 single-spaced pages in length.
The responses will be evaluated on the following criteria: clear identification of the ethical issues raised, quality of reasoning about those issues, and application of moral theories in that reasoning.
Each student will be expected to participate actively in the class, both in in-class and online discussion. Class participation will be evaluated on the substance and quality of the student's comments, either in class or on the online discussion board.
Syllabus / Schedule / Assignments / Sakai site