April 4, 2018

Berkeley’s undergraduate Data Science programs include a requirement for students to learn about the human, social, and ethical contexts in which data analytics and computational inference play a central role.

Human Contexts and Ethics (HCE) classes can be taught by instructors in different areas:

  • Instructors who address contextual and ethical issues directly in the many domain areas where data science is put to work

  • Instructors who offer courses aimed at data science practice more broadly.

With this 2-day workshop we aim to encourage and support instructors across the disciplines to develop new courses and transform existing ones to become HCE options. The workshop will discuss the framing of the HCE requirement, review experience so far, and give support in developing new modes of pedagogy. We’ll cover approaches such as case studies, historical examples, data sources, and exercises.

HCE Background

The aim of the HCE requirement is to equip students with an understanding of the human and social structures, formations, and practices that shape data science activity (such as data collection and analysis, data stewardship and governance, work to ensure privacy and security, deployment of data in societal or organizational settings, decision-making with data, engagements of data with justice, practices of data ethics) and to allow them to gain experience and practice with modes of critical thinking, reflection, and engagement with these experiences and the choices involved.

In order to be included on the list of courses that satisfy the HCE requirement, a course syllabus needs to give significant attention to data analytics (as at least one among several foci); to provide students access to structured forms of academic inquiry in the humanities, social sciences, or related professional fields; and to engage them in some form of reflective inquiry, writing, analysis, project work, or practice that surfaces questions of individual or societal choices and supports making reasoned ethical choices in complex situations.

Contact: Cathryn Carson clcarson@berkeley.edu