AI, Ethics, and Geoethics (CS 5970)

Module 1: Designing the Syllabus


This assignment will take 35-65 minutes to complete.

  • Read the webpage itself (10-20 min)
  • Carefully read the syllabus (10-20 min)
  • Make thoughtful comments on the syllabus (10-20 min)
  • Complete the declaration in canvas (5 min)

Designing your own syllabus

What is a syllabus?  You might initially see it as the boring document that most faculty present on day one of class.  However, it is really a living document that specifies a contract between you (the student) and me (the professor).  Yes, it specifies required university rules but it also specifies how we interact, how you control your grades, and many other things!

This semester we are going to allow you to have a say in the syllabus itself.  There are required parts that we cannot change (these are required by the university) but there are parts we can engage in a conversation about.  

Step 1: please watch my short video about why we are grading the way we are and why we are discussing the syllabus


Read the syllabus

Now that you have the idea of what we are doing, I want you to engage in a thoughtful reading of the syllabus. 

  • For OU students: Read and comment on the syllabus in the assignment link inside hypothesis
  • For participants outside OU, the initial syllabus (with my starting questions and comments) is here.  

As you read it, think about the parts that you might want to change or comment on.  Here are some though questions to get you started:

  • Are there additional learning objectives that you seek? 
  • Do you want to specify how the completion points are allocated between the project and the participation and readings?
  • Do you want to change any other language of the evaluations?
  • Do we need additional flexibility beyond what we are already doing given the ongoing pandemic? 
  • Do we need to adjust the language on misconduct for this specific class, with the idea that there will be a class-wide group project and lots of discussion? 
  • What do you think of the classroom conduct contract?  Are there changes to the contract that you might suggest based on your lived experience and perhaps other experience with online classes?

The commenting system in canvas (hypothesis) should allow you to see everyone else’s comments.  The idea is that this is a group task and you can engage in a dialog with your fellow students as well as me.  If you want to make comments outside of the document itself, feel free to start a discussion on slack.   

At 11:59pm on Sunday, the comments will close and I will post a final syllabus to the main course page as well as here.

The final version (for Spring 2021) is here.

Do your declaration

Once you have finished commenting and have responded to other comments from the other students, go to canvas and complete your declaration for this assignment.  It is titled “designing the syllabus.”