Funded by the Mozilla Responsible Computer Science Challenge:
Embedding Ethics in CS Classes Through Role Play
Overview
Problem: Institutions of higher education are increasingly recognizing the importance of embedding ethics in undergraduate CS curricula. The effectiveness of active learning in instilling real-world social and ethical competencies highlights the need for interactive, non-traditional classroom activities.
Hypothesis: By requiring the exploration of problem spaces through different lenses, we believe role play can broaden student perspectives and meaningfully integrate ethics into CS classes.
Intervention: Our team is currently designing, piloting, and evaluating multiple scalable role play activities for in-person and online classes.
My Role: Researcher + Interaction Designer
Time Frame: August 2019 - Present
  
  
Process
My Contributions
Research: Reviewed literature on role play activity design and socio-ethical issues related to autonomous vehicles (the subject matter of Activity 1), affinity mapped summer pilot feedback, and observed a similar role play activity on the Georgia Tech campus.
Design & Pilot: Developed a final prototype of Activity 1 and co-facilitated the pilot across three sections of a first-year CS seminar (150+ students per section). I'm currently developing a prototype for online courses, which I will pilot and evaluate in the coming months.
Evaluation: Iteratively developed pre- and post-activity surveys for assessing the Activity 1 pilot and conducted quantitative and qualitative analysis on the survey data.
Research Highlights
Affinity Map of Summer Pilot Feedback
Observation of a Similar Activity (segments of my digitized notes)
Activity 1 Pilot
450+ students participated in our pilot. We split the sample into two groups: Treatment A and Treatment B. All participants received a voluntary pre-activity survey two weeks prior to the pilot as well as a voluntary post-activity survey one week following the pilot.
Activity 1 Evaluation
The pre- and post-activity surveys contained a subset of identical questions that were designed to measure participant mindsets before and after the activity, and thus measure change.
​​​​​​​Sample Survey Questions
Quantitative Data:
* I am currently conducting the quantitative analysis, which may reveal insights into how students were impacted by the role play activity.​​​​​​​
Qualitative Data: The responses from two open-ended questions in the post-activity survey provided us with insights that will inform future iterations of Activity 1 as well as our subsequent role play activities.
Many participants found the activity to be thought-provoking, relevant to their degree, and refreshingly engaging compared to more traditional class sessions. They especially liked exploring a real-world scenario through multiple perspectives.
Insights:
- Provide time to prepare before the discussion
- Have more roles to allow for more perspectives
- Have a clearer end goal/deliverable
Next Steps
- Develop, Pilot, and Evaluate Activity 2
- Develop, Pilot, and Evaluate an online version of Activity 1