We evaluated Activity One through a series of pilot studies with 600+ students across multiple in-person and online courses at Georgia Tech. We distributed pre- and post-activity surveys that included a set of identical questions designed to explore student mindsets and measure changes in student senses of professional social responsibility. In the post-activity survey, we also included questions for collecting student feedback. This qualitative data has informed our subsequent iterations of Activity One as well as our ongoing development of Activity Two. View survey questions…
Pictured below are groups of first-year students participating in our in-person pilot of Activity One.
Our quantitative and qualitative survey data revealed insights related to CS student mindsets as well as the use and impact of role play in various CS class settings (undergraduate and graduate, in-person and online). Among other interesting findings, we learned that the first-year students in our in-person pilot study generally view themselves (future computing professionals) as highly responsible for technology’s impacts compared to other actors, but ranked the CS skills involving social and ethical consideration as least important when asked to assign weights to a set of skills. We also learned that both our in-person role play activity and, to a lesser extent, a “traditional” lecture on ethics that we offered for comparison purposes, encouraged students to take a more nuanced/complex view of technology. This finding highlights both the general importance of embedding ethics in CS curricula (any method is better than nothing) as well as the effectiveness of role play as a method for doing so.