Automated Healthcare App

Link to module

Evaluated December 2021

This module is a case study in the development of an automated health care application. It is discussion-based, and it exemplifies for students the complexity of developing widely deployed pieces of software. The module is designed to be interactive and incorporate multiple viewpoints, both those offered by students and those described in the case study. It also aims to consider the racial disparities in healthcare and the ameliorative or exacerbating effect that computing may have on those disparities. This module is suited for an upper-level course in Software Engineering.

It covers material in Software Engineering/Software Project Management, Software Engineering/Requirements Engineering

While the activity includes a fair amount of detail in terms of the case study scenario, an instructor with background or training in ethical theory and/or research ethics is best poised to enrich the discussion beyond the prompts in the document. An instructor using this case study will need to take a highly active role in moving the discussion to deeper levels of analysis beyond that of the discussion questions. Instructors choosing to use this module should be familiar with some of the technical or philosophical grounding of the assignment.

The level of expected student background knowledge is high, and students need to have a background that prepares them for the moral reasoning involved in the lesson. The instructor will need to help students understand the principles of research ethics and standard research procedures, especially IRB approval.

This module could be used in other computer science classes since it does not target any particular technical skill. In those courses, it would likely take additional course time. Such a choice, though, should be made to ensure that the technical and research background is accessible to students, and that students are offered more than a surface-level treatment of complex topics. This module could also be used in a professional ethics course, provided that the students are introduced to concepts in ethical theory and research ethics principles before studying the case. In any setting, at least one class period would be needed to cover the case study.

Instructors adopting this module will need to develop their own assessment materials, including learning objectives and rubrics.


The evaluation of this module was led by Evan Peck and Patrick Anderson as part of the Mozilla Foundation Responsible Computer Science Challenge. Emanuelle Burton, Judy Goldsmith, Colleen Greer, Darakhshan Mir, Jaye Nias, and Marty J. Wolf also made contributions. These works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.