Course Information (english)

Computer Ethics for (CE) is a 3-CP variation of Ethics for Nerds (E4N) specifically for students in the LL.M. Information Technology and Law and Transform4Europe certificate programs.

What topics will be covered?

During the course you will get an introduction to the basics of ethics (Block E), Critical Thinking (in our case "Precise Thinking", Block PT), and current topics in computer ethics ("Current Topics", Block C).

What course materials are available to me?

The course materials consist of lecture videos and training exercises. The lecture videos teach new material that can be practiced in the exercises. The videos are more detailed than what actually needs to be mastered for the exam at the end. Also, some of the videos are optional. However, we feel it is important not to withhold any topics from you, so you will have access to all available material. For each block, you will be told which topics are particularly relevant to you and which are not.

The lecture videos were created for the Ethics for Nerds course when we were first pushed into an online format by Corona in 2020. While Ethics for Nerds is returning to a hybrid format this year, Computer Ethics will remain online because we know that most of you prefer to take the lecture online. So please forgive us that the lecture videos are from 2020 -- we assure you that they are still very much relevant. If you are in Saarbrücken, you can also come to the Ethics for Nerds lectures (Thu 8:30-10 in E2 2). This is optional though!

How fast should we get through the material?

Most of the skills you need for the exam are from Block E, so Block E gets the most time. The fewest skills are from PT, which is why this is the shortest block. Block C introduces you to current topics that are relevant to you, which is why Block C, especially C6 and C7 get a bit more attention. We recommend you proceed like this:

1. Block E: Week 1 to 7

  • Week 1: E1
  • Week 2 + 3: E2 + E3
  • Week 4 + 5: E4
  • Week 6: E5
  • Week 7: E6

2. Block PT: Week 8 to 10

  • Week 8: PT1 + PT2
  • Week 9: PT3 + PT4 + bonus + PT5.1 + PT5.2
  • Week 10: PT5.3 + PT6 + PT7 + PT8

3. Block C: Week 11 to 14

  • Week 11: C1 + C2 + C3
  • Week 12: C4 + C5
  • Week 13: C6
  • Week 14: C7

4. Repetition/buffer/exam preparation: Week 15.


What does our exam look like and what will be its focus?

The exam will be online. You will be informed about the exact exam format (written or oral) and the exam dates in time.

It is not advisable to learn a lot by heart. We test much more on understanding and skills than on facts. So you can save yourself the trouble of memorizing a lot of things. One tip: the more often something recurs in the materials, the more important it tends to be for the course. We usually won't ask you for details that were only once on a slide somewhere and then didn't come up again in the exercises, etc.

The most important thing for the exam is that you have understood Block E and Block C. You should be familiar enough with the consequentialist and deontological theories that we covered in E to be able to apply these theories to simple cases without looking them up. Contents from PT will only play a very superficial role. For this reason in particular, all the exercises for PT are not relevant for the exam.

Are there any requirements for taking the exam?

No, you may just take the exam as is.

When do I have to decide if I want to take an exam in CE or not?

Signing up in the dcms is not binding. You do not have to make a binding commitment until the exams get closer. Sometime near the end of the semester, an exam registration will pop up in the dcms for you to let us know if you want to take the exam. (This is of course without prejudice to other rules about when and how and whether you have to register for exams in your program).

Where can we ask questions, discuss things with you, and get to know you?

We offer plenty of office hours where we answer your questions. You will share these with the Ethics for Nerds course, though, so you may have to wait a short time for your turn to ask your question. You can find the dates for these on the timetable. Especially for LLM students (and all others who speak German), there is a tutorial in German. There you can ask questions or discuss assignments with us. Both the office hours and the tutorial are completely voluntary.

We have also set up a forum for you to ask your questions. If you have questions that you do not want to post in the forum, please send an email, preferably to Ursela.

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