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Title: Understanding “Dark” Design Roles in Computing Education
In conjunction with the increasing ubiquity of technology, computing educators have identified the need for pedagogical engagement with ethical awareness and moral reasoning. Typical approaches to incorporating ethics in computing curricula have focused primarily on abstract methods, principles, or paradigms of ethical reasoning, with relatively little focus on examining and developing students’ pragmatic awareness of ethics as grounded in their everyday work practices. In this paper, we identify and describe computing students’ negotiation of values as they engage in authentic design problems through a lab protocol study. We collected data from four groups of three students each, with each group including participants from either undergraduate User Experience Design students, Industrial Engineering students, or a mix of both. We used a thematic analysis approach to identify the roles that students took on to address the design prompt. Through our analysis, we found that the students took on a variety of “dark” roles that resulted in manipulation of the user and prioritization of stakeholder needs over user needs, with a focus either on building solutions or building rationale for design decisions. We found these roles to actively propagate through design discourses, impacting other designers in ways that frequently reinforced unethical decision making. Even when students were aware of ethical concerns based on their educational training, this awareness did not consistently result in ethically-sound decisions. These findings indicate the need for additional ethical supports to inform everyday computing practice, including means of actively identifying and balancing negative societal impacts of design decisions. The roles we have identified may productively support the development of pragmatically-focused ethical training in computing education, while adding more precision to future analysis of computing student discourses and outputs.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1657310 1909714
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
ICER 2021: Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on International Computing Education Research
Page Range / eLocation ID:
225 to 238
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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