The         Lab

Examining Technology, Race, Equity, and Ethics in Education

The TREE Lab

Projects // Computing, Ethics, and Society Course

Societies are being rapidly shaped by computer-mediated systems. These systems provide tremendous benefits (e.g. online shopping, convenient access to information, connection to friends and family) and risks (e.g. biased decision-making, surveillance, disinformation, and exclusion from critical material opportunities) that are important to examine and understand.

As part of a broader, interdisciplinary initiative between the Department of Computer Science and the School of Education and Social Policy, and supported by an Alumnae Curriculum Innovation Grant, we are designing a course to explore the ethical dimensions of these “everyday” and emerging computing technologies — social media platforms, search engines, internet infrastructure, recommendation systems, ML/AI, and so forth — by looking at their histories, assumptions, and impacts.

This includes examining how computing infrastructures reify / disrupt individual, social, and cultural practices; how they interact with important social values; and how they can be understood vis-a-vis various ethical frameworks.

The course is open to all students. For CS majors and minors, the course aims to help students to consider and grapple with ethical dimensions of their work, in order to inform a more critical technical practice. For students pursuing non-computing disciplines (i.e. “non-majors”), the course aims to provide a solid foundation for thinking about the possibilities, risks, and impacts of computer-mediated infrastructures on society.

Team Members


Natalie Melo Olivia Gallager Caryl Henry Bijal Mehta Sarah Van Wart Sepehr Vakil