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The Mozilla Responsible Computing Stakeholder Forum

 

Over the years, computer science studies have advanced significantly. However, there appears to be a significant void in the inclusivity of responsible computing principles in modern-day courses. Today, most computer science courses do not consider ethics or responsible computing concerns when teaching students. But, like other disciplines, computer science students ought to learn and adhere to the fundamental ethical and responsible computing principles for a better computing community. Thus, we must find a pathway to integrate responsible computing from our lecture halls into society.

 

To address the above challenge, Mozilla Foundation, through the Responsible Computing Challenge, announced a call to award ten grants from a pool of $250,000 to innovation hubs and accredited Universities in Kenya that integrate ethics into their computer science curricula. The challenge promotes the conception, development, and piloting of computer science curricula content that enables lecturers and students to consider the impact of responsible computing in society.

 

The School of Computer Science and Information Technology in DeKUT submitted and competitively won a grant proposal titled: “Mainstreaming Ethics Risk in Computer Programming,” which sought to integrate ethics and responsible computing in teaching Object-Oriented Programming among second-year computing students, with students implementing the ethical principles in an end-of-course project.” The project aims to provide an opportunity for computer science students to learn and adhere to the fundamental principles of ethical and responsible computing to contribute towards a responsible computing community.

 

The team seeks to achieve the following: Conduct research and contribute towards the Mozilla Foundation objective of mainstreaming responsible computing in teaching computer science courses; Develop an Ethics Assessment Tool that can be used to assess the extent of ethics and responsible computing integration in computing curricula; Mainstream ethics teaching in one of the Computer Science course in the current curriculum, i.e., CCS 2211: Object Oriented Programming unit and finally; To develop a Software Projects’ Ethics Assessment Tool, that can be used to evaluate if a program designed by students meets the responsible computing threshold. It provides an opportunity for computer science students to learn and adhere to the fundamental ethical and responsible computing principles and consider the social impacts for a better computing community.

 

The  team takes pride in advancing the DeKUT University motto, “Better Life through Technology,” as premised on this project. 

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