Social Implications of Computer Technology

CS 195, Fall 2023


Course Descriptions and Enrollment #

CS 195 is a discussion-intensive course about the social implications of computer technology. The purpose of this course is to help students make informed and thoughtful choices about their careers, participation in society, and future development activities. Readings and lecture topics are drawn from a range of fields that together seek to describe our contemporary global society: sociology, philosophy, economics, public policy, etc.

  • Course Catalog
  • If you are looking to enroll in this course but do not meet EECS department enrollment categories, please make a private post on Ed.

CS H195 discussions complement and supplement the topics presented in CS 195 lecture series. Students are expected to engage at a deeper level with the assigned weekly readings and be prepared to engage in thoughtful and constructive discussions around the course material. Where applicable, we will invite guest speakers from industry and academia to present their work and to participate in discussions alongside students. CS H195 will encourage students to go beyond thinking about computer technology as solely an engineering problem but instead viewing it holistically from the perspective of social sciences, legal studies, policymaking, equity, and inclusion.

CS H195 is a 3-unit class with the following expectations:

  • In addition to CS 195 lecture, you attend 90-minute in-person discussion sections led by a GSI, once weekly.
  • You will actively discuss each CS 195 topic in more depth.
  • You will work on interesting projects / papers that replace the usual CS 195 assignments.
  • If interested, please fill out the interest form listed on the Course Catalog.
  • Course applications for H195 are due Friday 9/1 11:59pm PT.
  • The discussion page has the discussion schedule and syllabus.

Staff Contact #

The best (and fastest) way to contact the staff is through the Ed discussion board. Additionally, feel free to drop by or schedule a meeting for our office hours. More information about the office hours is available in the left navigation panel.

If you need to contact the course staff for personal reasons, we can be reached at email addresses in the sidebar. All emails end with

Course Components and Grading #

CS 195 is graded P/NP. The reason for this policy is to ensure that you can feel free to express opinions that are different from those of the instructors, both in class meetings and in written work.

In order to receive a passing grade in CS 195, you must complete the following:

Course Component   Overview
Update 10/11 Lectures link Attend at least 9 out of 12 lectures (excludes Lecture 01 and 08).
Surveys link Complete all course surveys (~3 in the semester).
Readings / QQCR link Submit a QQCR on each set of 13 lecture readings (excludes Lecture 01).
Update 9/28 Podcasts link Submit two Computing in the News podcasts that receive passing peer review grades. Also, provide 2 peer reviews for each podcast.

Lectures #

Lecture will be each Wednesday 5:00-6:30PM hybrid in Evans 10 with a Zoom simulcast. Participation will be expected for both in-person and Zoom students.

Lecture is going to be a mix of presentations, students asking questions, small group discussion, and class-wide debriefing. Participation will be expected.

Attendance will be taken in class and is required either online or in-person. You cannot have a time conflict. The lecture is the vast majority of the experience of the class. There will not be after-the-fact recordings posted.

Surveys #

There will be periodic surveys throughout the semester, announced during class and on Ed. Please submit the survey on time by the date listed on the homepage.

  • Pre-semester survey: Lecture 01
  • Technology and identity survey: Lecture 06
  • End-of-semester survey: Lecture 15 (note: this is separate from campus course evaluations)

Readings / QQCR #

Readings for each week will be released the Friday before each next class (or thereabouts). Please finish the readings before class!

QQCR, or Question, Quote, Comment, and Reply, is a short weekly assignment on the readings to help you reflect on the readings and contribute to an ongoing class discussion. (Updated 8/30 to reduce workload.)

To complete a QQCR,

  • Post a question, quote, comment, or reply on the associated Ed megapost for a reading.
    • Question: Make a new thread under the megapost with a question about the reading and any needed context for others to follow up. You should include the text [Question] at the beginning of your post.
    • Quote: Make a new thread under the megapost with a quote from the reading, and your comment/reaction to that quote. You should include the text [Quote] at the beginning of your post.
    • Comment: Make a new thread under the megapost with a comment about the reading. You should include the text [Comment] at the beginning of your post.
    • Reply: Make a response on someone else’s thread in the associated Ed megapost for a reading.
  • It is OK for you to post anonymously, meaning your name will be anonymous to fellow classmates but visible to course staff (who will use it for tracking assignment credit).
  • See below for grading and community guidelines.

To receive full credit for each set of lecture readings, you must do two things:

  • (1) You must make four two of a Question, Quote, Comment, Reply on the associated Ed megapost(s) for the required or recommended readings.
  • (2) You must also make a Reply on someone else’s thread on one of the associated Ed megapost(s) for one of the required or recommended readings
  • Restated, you must make five three QQCRs total on any of the required/recommended readings, where one of your QQCRs needs to be a reply.
  • (1) and (2) not need to be on the same reading. However, they should be made on readings listed as “Required” or “Recommended” for that week. QQCRs made for “Extra” or “Optional” readings do not count for course credit. For example:
    • A QQCR could consist of a mix of three two Questions on one required reading, and two Replies one Reply on a different recommended reading.
    • Or, a QQCR could consist of five three Replies on the same recommended reading. These Replies can be in the same thread.
  • See this Ed post for clarifications.

QQCR Grading:

  • Again, the main goal of this assignment is to give you a chance to reflect on readings and contribute to discussion. We expect there to be a range of opinions in this classroom. As a result, one-word posts will not receive credit. Most other posts will.
  • You should post in the Ed megapost that course staff create for each reading.
  • You should not make private or separate public Ed posts. Doing so will not earn credit. Early on, we might make an effort to merge your posts to the respective Ed megapost, but ultimately you are responsible for moving your posts to the megapost.
  • “Heart”s on other student posts are encouraged but unfortunately do not count for credit (we have no way of tracking hearts).
  • Deadline: You should complete the QQCR for a lecture prior to the lecture itself. See the Accommodations and Late Policy section below for more details.

We’ll do our best to release grades for the first set of QQCRs early, so that you can understand the grading scheme and update and/or correct your QQCR submissions.

Community guidelines #

Our classroom environment extends to online spaces like Ed. Be civil and respect others, even those that are not in this course. There are 3 ways for you to address hateful comments and prevent harassment, in order of decreasing emotional labor (the last two do not count towards QQCR):

Course staff reserve the right to delete and/or not award credit or dismiss students from seminar for remarks that promote hate speech, trolling, harrassment, discrimination, or defamation. Serious offenders will be reported directly to both the CS Department Grievances faculty member (link) and the University Center for Student Conduct.

Podcasts #

Update 9/28 In lieu of the typical essays for this course, this semester you will submit two podcasts of varying format in relation to issues discussed in class. Please see the home page for more details.

Podcasts are peer reviewed, which means you will review two podcasts per peer review window, and have each of your podcasts reviewed by two of your peers.

There will be no essays this semester; furthermore we expect the podcasts to actually take up less time than formulating your thoughts on paper. Please do contact us if this is not the case.

Accommodations and Late Policy #

We understand that situations come up during the semester. While we will make an effort to contact students about missing work throughout the semester, it is ultimately your responsibility to follow up with us to request additional accommodations as needed.

Lecture attendance: Please use your built-in absences first before contacting staff about additional makeups. You may make up lecture attendance by attending the H195 discussion section (discussion meeting times in sidebar). Note that sections often require prework, so please do make a private post on Ed in advance so we can provide you with details.

Surveys: You are expected to complete all surveys by their listed deadlines on the homepage. These will be reopened for completion as needed. To request a reopening, please make a private post on Ed.

Readings/QQCR: We prefer that you complete each QQCR by the listed lecture date to ensure a rich discussion during class. However, if you cannot make this date, you will have until the last day of classes to submit all outstanding QQCRs. Please submit regrades via the form below.

Podcasts: As of now there are no plans to offer makeup podcasts. While we do not want this 1-unit seminar to stress you out, please also understand that because of our grading timelines, podcasts must be submitted by the posted deadline. If you have extenuating circumstances or anticipate an overlap with your commitments (personal emergencies, exams, etc.), please make a private Ed post as soon as possible or see the form below so we can provide a short extension or another accommodation. We will review each extension request on an individual basis.

DSP: If you have a DSP-approved accommodation, we will contact you by the end of Week 2 with this semester’s DSP policies. Requesting assignment extensions according to your letter will involve you making a private post on Ed prior to the assignment deadline.

If you need an extension or regrade request, please fill out this semester’s Extension/Regrade Request form.

Academic Integrity #

The student community at UC Berkeley has adopted the following Honor Code: “As a member of the UC Berkeley community, I act with honesty, integrity, and respect for others.” The expectation is that you will adhere to this code.

Plagiarism/Self-plagiarism: You must be original in composing the writing assignments in this class. To copy text or ideas from another source (including your own previously, or concurrently, submitted course work) without appropriate reference is plagiarism and will result in a failing grade for your assignment and usually further disciplinary action. Anyone found to have submitted assignments completed by another person (student or non-student) will likewise receive a failing grade in the course and be reported to the Center for Student Conduct. For additional information on plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and how to avoid it, see this GSI Guide for Preventing Plagiarism.