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Exciting times: ACM’s ethics committee is on the move!

If you are teaching computer ethics, you have a great opportunity over the next two years to engage your students with the ACM's Code of Ethics and Professional Practice. The ACM's Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE) has been tasked with updating the Code, which was last revised in 1992.

They have created a new web site ( At that site you and your students will be able to find the draft updates of the code and submit feedback (see

One great way to use this in class (inspired by Marty Wolf at Bemidji State):

  1. Print copies of the current draft of the Code before class, enough for 1 per 2 students.
  2. Pair up your students.
  3. Ask them to read the Code with an eye towards submitting questions/concerns/suggestions to the committee revising the Code.
  4. Have small group discussions (pair the pairs, for groups of 4)
  5. Afterwards, have a large group discussion, with the instructor serving as a scribe. Call on each group asking them to express any concern they talked about. Discuss the concern. If the class comes to consensus around the concern, write it down.
  6. After class you can submit your class' list of concerns to the committee.

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