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Social responsibility attitudes among undergraduate computer science students: an empirical analysis

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Conference

2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Engineering Ethics Division: Computing, Technology, and AI

Page Count

24

DOI

10.18260/1-2--41369

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/41369

Download Count

437

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Paper Authors

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Quintin Kreth Georgia Institute of Technology

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I am a doctoral student in the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy. My research is primarily on the factors influencing faculty research productivity at mid-major research universities.

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Daniel Schiff Georgia Institute of Technology

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PhD Candidate, Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Public Policy

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Jeonghyun Lee Georgia Institute of Technology

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Jason Borenstein Georgia Institute of Technology

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Ellen Zegura Georgia Institute of Technology

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Abstract

Scholars and public figures have called for improved ethics and social responsibility education in computer science degree programs in order to better address consequential technological issues in society. Indeed, rising public concern about computing technologies arguably represents an existential threat to the credibility of the computing profession itself. Despite these increasing calls, relatively little is known about the ethical development and beliefs of computer science students, especially compared to other science and engineering students. Gaps in scholarly research make it difficult to effectively design and evaluate ethics education interventions in computer science. Therefore, there is a pressing need for additional empirical study regarding the development of ethical attitudes in computer science students. Influenced by the Professional Social Responsibility Development Model, this study explores personal and professional social responsibility attitudes among undergraduate computing students. Using survey results from a sample of 982 students (including 184 computing majors) who graduated from a large engineering institution between 2017 and 2021, we compare social responsibility attitudes cross-sectionally among computer science students, engineering students, other STEM students, and non-STEM students. Study findings indicate computer science students have statistically significantly lower social responsibility attitudes than their peers in other science and engineering disciplines. In light of growing ethical concerns about the computing profession, this study provides evidence about extant challenges in computing education and buttresses calls for more effective development of social responsibility in computing students. We discuss implications for undergraduate computing programs, ethics education, and opportunities for future research.

Kreth, Q., & Schiff, D., & Lee, J., & Borenstein, J., & Zegura, E. (2022, August), Social responsibility attitudes among undergraduate computer science students: an empirical analysis Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--41369

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