Evaluated December 2021
This module is a discussion guide to accompany Ruha Benjamin’s book, Race After Technology. The reading and discussion of the book is a multi-class period activity that would need to be accounted for in the course syllabus. It will take advance planning to use this module.
It addresses the knowledge area Social Issues and Professional Practice/Privacy and Civil Liberties.
The series of prompts opens the door to potentially rich discussion. To effectively lead those discussions an instructor ought to have background and comfort in multiple disciplines. This module lends itself well to effective cross-over study and collaboration with faculty in philosophy, sociology or cultural studies. Such collaboration will provide for a deep analysis of caste systems, issues of institutional discrimination versus individual prejudice, intersectional forms of bias and issues of objectivity. There are references for videos and background reading that could extend this module considerably.
To be most impactful, students will need to understand ethical frames, interpretations of discrimination and the historical trajectory of practices and policies associated with political-economic development to effectively respond to many of the questions posed. The questions assume either some familiarity with multiple terms, their socially constructed nature and use (e.g., color blind) and a sense of the issues around binaries and subjective/objective concerns in method and application. The guide points to issues that students might encounter in their future education and work life. Underrepresented students and students from areas where there is significant diversity will be able to relate to the underlying thrust of the questions. Students from areas where there is limited diversity may struggle to appropriately interpret the directionality of some of the questions presented.
An instructor adopting this module will need to develop learning objectives and assessment tools suitable for the course in which this is used. A careful study of the questions gives a sense of suitable learning outcomes.
The evaluation of this module was led by Colleen Greer and Darakhshan Mir as part of the Mozilla Foundation Responsible Computer Science Challenge. Patrick Anderson, Emanuelle Burton, Judy Goldsmith, Jaye Nias, Evan Peck and Marty J. Wolf also made contributions. These works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.