University Courses and Ethics – Using Collaborative on the-Job Education

Chris R. Simpson


Many students entering computer science and engineering courses, in my experience, have only a limited idea of what they are embarking upon, what their chosen discipline entails day to day and, least of all, what social and ethical issues may commonly confront them in practice; and this outlook persists well into the course. My thesis is that injecting reality from the outset of a course – principally by means of work experience and a continuing, guided, first-hand exposure to workplace intangibles – will promote an infinitely keener sense of relevance, motivation and ethical purpose in students. Course retention rates, student results, industrial aptitude and sense of social responsibility should all improve significantly. Some strategies are offered for implementing such a scheme, based upon my own experience and observations currently being made of relevant activity at other universities.