This was the third in-person meeting, following the July 2019 Summer Kick-Off in San Francisco and October 2019 MozFest Convening in London. The goal of that first kick-off event was for awardees to meet each other, share ideas, hear from industry leaders in responsibility, ethics and tech, and plan for next steps of the Challenge. The goal of this second convening was for awardees to share ideas and challenges with each other, collaborate with the global Responsible Computer Science community, and learn from others within the larger MozFest community. We achieved this with a small group convening on Thursday, a Lessons Showcase at the University College London on Friday, and attendance with the global MozFest community over the weekend. The goal of this third convening was to celebrate our year together, talk about the work ahead, discuss the challenges of teaching through a pandemic, acknowledge the importance of teaching race in the classroom, hear from industry, and share ideas in breakout groups.
We are at a very challenging and important time. It is more important now than ever to understand technology’s role in society, and build responsible technology as we navigate the pandemic and post-pandemic life.
Dr. Apryl Williams kicked off the day with Race and Technology in the Computer Science classroom. Dr. Williams shared the current research and information on computer science majors by race and gender, and the level of confidence different students had of their ability to stay in computer science. Dr. Williams discussed the need for faculty members to take the lead in talking about race in the classroom, and creating a safe space for students to do so. She touched on the importance of understanding structural and interpersonal context with Black and Latinx students, offered key approaches in Critical Pedagogies, and outlined methods for talking about Race in the classroom.
A few key ideas from Dr. Apryl Williams:
Help BIPOC students navigate university structures by:
Dr. Williams is an Assistant Professor of Communication and Media at the University of Michigan, Faculty Associate and Lead of the Race, Tech and Media Group at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center, and Affiliated Researcher at New York University’s Center for Critical Race and Digital Studies.
Following the Opening Keynote, all 19 colleges and universities had three minutes to share Wins, Challenges, and Updates or Top of Mind topics. Many updates were related to the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected research, ability to convene and collaborate, adjusting to a new normal of supporting students, and in some cases, prioritizing well being and basic education needs. The detailed updates can be found on the Individual Responsible Computer Science Updates Page.
Four senior leaders in industry joined us for discussion of ethics and social responsibility and the importance of this work to the tech industry:
We discussed the role of Responsible Computer Science curricula in industry. Donald, Emily, Kai, and Bo shared what their respective companies are doing in ethics, responsibility, trust, safety, and more. The topics of discussion included: how teams in their companies are supporting employees who raise ethical issues, case studies and examples in industry that may be useful to academia, community based system dynamics, the importance of interdisciplinary work in both academia and industry, ethics in the software development cycle, and how to effectively manage the “insider” vs. “outsider” mentality that sometimes exists in tech.
As part of the Responsible Computer Science Challenge, we launched the Global Responsible Computer Science Community of Practice. Those working towards integrating social responsibility and ethics into computing curricula around the world are invited to join. The goals of this community: Spark cross disciplinary insights, collaborate with a global cohort, provide a platform for sharing and scaling pedagogy ideas, and continue the work beyond the Responsible Computer Science Challenge.
We plan to host a public showcase of all methods and work. This has not been scheduled. Please join the Global Community of Practice for Updates.
Brown University | Providence, RI | Seny Kamara
Columbia University | New York, NY | Augustin Chaintreau
Haverford University | Haverford, PA | Sorelle Friedler
Northeastern University | Boston, MA | Christo Wilson
University of California, Berkeley | Berkeley, CA | Margo Boenig-Liptsin
University of Colorado, Boulder | Boulder, CO | Casey Fiesler
University of Utah | Salt Lake City, UT | Suresh Venkatasubramanian
Washington University | St. Louis, MO | Ron Cytron, Emily Cohen