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ICS 381 Societal Issues in Computing

This course is a writing intensive, research-oriented, in-depth study of the uses of and issues related to computers and information systems in society. Topics include the benefits and social impact of computer technology with respect to social, political and legal issues. Controversies and alternative points of view are evaluated on issues such as privacy vs. access to information; freedom of speech vs. control of content on the Internet; reliability and safety; the changing nature of work; and market-based vs. regulatory solutions. Students research and write extensively on course topics.

Special information

Prerequisite: Fulfill university general education writing requirements. Note: Students are responsible to both be aware of and abide by prerequisites for ICS courses for which they enroll, and will be administratively dropped from a course if they have not met prerequisites.First day attendance is mandatory.
3 Undergraduate credits

Effective August 1, 1998 to present

Meets graduation requirements for

Learning outcomes


  • Analyze critical issues in computer reliability, safety, and the social effects of computing.
  • Explain the influence of computers on the workplace.
  • Think critically about emerging technologies and business usage.
  • Write research papers.
  • Apply concepts taught in the course to lived experience in the community or workplace.
  • Apply information learned for making career choices and for deciding on ethical issues, data privacy issues, constitutional issues, and computer crime issues.