AI, Ethics, and Geoethics (CS 5970)

Module 1: Designing your own course


This assignment will take 45-75 minutes to complete.

  • Read the webpage itself (10-20 min)
  • Read the materials linked for grading/ungrading (20-40 min)
  • Submit your plan via the google form (10 min)
  • Complete the declaration in canvas (5 min)

You are in the driver’s seat

Your first assignment this semester is to read about how the course will be structured and realize just how much of the course is under your control.  You will choose how much you interact on slack, how much reading you complete, how many videos you watch, and how many outside sources you bring into the discussion and into your learning.  You are choosing your own grade as well.  I know this sounds different than how many of your classes have worked in the past but it acknowledges that you are the adult learner here.  What you get out of the class really does depend on what you put into it!

Choosing your own schedule

Schedule: Although I have a suggested schedule based on interacting with the course materials at least 3 days a week (and in canvas, I further suggest that those are Monday/Wednesday/Friday), because it is an online course, your actual schedule is highly flexible.  Given that the course is a seminar-style course with a heavy emphasis on discussion, it is best if you interact regularly with your fellow students.  This means that saving up all of the work until the weekend is unlikely to lead to a good experience for your or your fellow students!  But if you prefer Tuesday/Thursday over Monday/Wednesday/Friday, you can easily make that work!

Assignments: Each week will have a similar pattern to it.  You will have a set of readings and potentially some videos to watch.  The readings will come primarily from books with some papers drawn from scientific conferences on AI & Ethics.  The videos will mostly be movies or public talks about about AI & ethics.  Each reading or video will have corresponding discussion in slack.  Later in the semester, you will also be working on a project together and both helping each other with that and doing peer review of each other’s work.

Dinosaurs missed the deadline

Due dates: All of the canvas grading declarations (see below) will be due by Sunday 11:59pm CT.  As I said above, the best experience is for you to spread your interaction and reading throughout the week so please do not wait until Sunday night!

Grading (and ungrading)

Grading philosophy: Grades should not be the focus of class.  The focus should be on learning!  In fact, grades can really hinder learning by shifting the focus from enjoying the material and being curious about learning more to focusing only on “what do I need to do to get an A?” 

Ungrading: What will we do instead of traditional grades?  We are going to follow a philosophy known as Ungrading (you do NOT need to purchase or read the book, I’m just linking to it in case you want to learn more than you do from the quick reading below). 


Honor Code. This class is governed by an Honor Code. So, make sure you read the all grading declarations carefully before you answer “true” and take the points; this grading system depends on your Declarations being honest and accurate. For more information about the Academic Integrity Council at OU, see the OU Guide to Academic Integrity.

Happy Students

How we will grade

  • OU students: All assignments will have corresponding completion declarations in canvas
  • You will also complete a mid-semester evaluation twice (weeks 5 and 10) and a final evaluation (week 15).  We will also chat about this either via zoom or via slack, whichever you prefer.  Your first mid-semester evaluation will be very similar to this (I reserve the right to add additional questions or adjust based any schedule changes we make).

Make a plan

Now that you have read more about how the class will work, make a plan for yourself.  Figure out how you will structure your time and how you intend to keep up with the course work.  Submit your plan via this google form and I’ll send you feedback!  This is also a place to express concerns about the grading flexibility (for example, does too much flexibility make it hard for you to structure your time?)

Submit your grading declaration

You have completed your first assignment!  OU students should log onto canvas and complete your first grading declaration titled “Module 1: Designing your own course.”