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In this course, students will discuss the models and systems that provide access to information, control our cars, create policy, and wage war. Students will analyze arguments for and against systems with remarkable consequences in freedom of expression, privacy, intellectual property, contracts, and cybercrime. Through reading, in-class discussion, debate, and research, students will learn to develop arguments in support or against the legal and ethical aspects of consequential data science systems. No prior technical experience with data science or computing is necessary.

Learning Objectives:

In this course, you will develop the following skills and knowledge:

  • Students will be able to identify and employ the genres of a discipline.
  • Students will be able to interpret the information and research of a discipline in order to find, evaluate, and contextualize credible and appropriate sources and information.
  • Students will be able to take a writing project through multiple drafts and revision based on reflection and interactive feedback in order to develop ideas or arguments.
  • Students will build on their ability to write clearly, concisely, and accurately (as learned in W1), in order to demonstrate the style, attribution, and correctness of a discipline.

What makes this course a W2?

Students will be exposed in early classes to the genres of writing in computing and data science, with a particular focus on rhetoric, science writing, and legal briefs. In-class discussion and writing analysis consists of deconstruction of examples of popular writing in these genres and discussion of their differences.

Using case studies and research into theories and practice of decision-making, students will be able to formulate their own methods for the four steps of considering, analyzing, reviewing, and evaluating legal and ethical dilemmas. In-class discussion will focus on argument analysis, reference use, citation, and authority in rhetoric, science writing, and legal briefs. The class will be visited by a Science Librarian to discuss computing resources and how to find sources in computing and data science.

The Writing Arguments text describes in detail the process of revising a draft. The text, and in-class sessions, detail the process of also revising an existing argument in order to better appeal to a different audience. In-class time is also devoted to discussion and peer feedback for the Term paper topic, outline, and initial draft.

In-class time will be devoted early in the semester to discussing paragraph and argument structure towards the development and defense of a thesis. Students will receive opportunities to develop theses quickly and outline an argument quickly during early group activities.