Ethical Programming & Design

We want our students to not only be able to build digital projects but also be aware (critical and reflexive) of how and why they create in the ways they do. We want them to apply such critical thinking to the larger world: Why does the Google website look the way it does? What is this website trying to get me to do?

“There is no such thing as digital information without filters,” Steven Johnson writes. Interfaces are everywhere, and they matter.

Programming and design are enacted by humans in languages, and with machines, developed by humans; these activities are thus embedded with biases and purposes. We want students to build with a mindset beyond “do no harm”; instead, “do good.”




Batya Friedman and David Hendry, Value Sensitive Design: Shaping Technology with Moral Imagination ( MIT Press, 2019): Using our moral and technical imaginations to create responsible innovations: theory, method, and applications for value sensitive design.

Value Sensitive Design

Steven Johnson, Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate (Basic Books, 1997). One of the first books to take seriously the computer interface as a medium whose design matters, ideologically and aesthetically. It is an easy, accessible read, written for a popular audience, that illuminates how interfaces mean and matter.

Interface Culture Design

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