Welcome to CS for Social Change! This studio course gives students the opportunity to iteratively design, build, and test technical projects in partnership with different social change organizations.

Course Information

CS1951I is taught by Professor Ugur Cetintemel and Professor Philip Klein. Class is held every Monday and Wednesday from 3:00 to 4:20 pm in CIT 477 (Lubrano).

In order to take CS 1951I, you should have taken CS 32, CS 33 or CS 132. You also need to complete and submit the course application by January 15th.

Students in the 2018-19 course are currently working on one of five projects. Students assigned to work with Uplift are working on building a web application that visualizes data from a research project to help make conventions safer and more inclusive. Separately, other students in the class are working with Baltimore Corps to build a web application for individuals and organizations to help them advance their impact in Baltimore’s social sector, while students working with Parvenu are using artificial intelligence to personalize check-out counter donations. Students collaborating with SWC are developing a platform to automate searches on Russian social network vk.com to help researchers track and monitor content that can be considered hateful in nature. Finally, students working with Mia Learning are aggregating book reviews from online sources to motivate children to read and learn to make powerful reading choices.

"Students will work in a studio environment to iteratively design, build, and test technical projects in partnership with different social change organizations. Students will be placed in small teams to collaboratively work on projects that will range from, for example, developing a chatbot to aid community engagement to conducting geospatial data analytics. Through the course, we will also reflect on our positionality and ethics in engaging in social impact work and what it practically means to leverage technology to create social change on an everyday basis."
– Course Announcement

Guides & Documents

Check out the following useful documents for questions you have about course organization, tools we use, and other helpful resources.

Inclusive Course Goals & Actions

CS1951I is committed to the full inclusion of students. Our course goals and actions for the semester are the following:

  1. Goal: Ensure that students of different religious backgrounds feel supported by the staff.
    Action: A Google form for students to request extensions or excused absences for a religious holiday that Brown does not officially observe.

  2. Goal: Allow students to voice their opinions about the course.
    Action: An anonymous feedback form for students to submit any concerns or questions they have about the course.



All reading responses are due Tuesdays at 6 pm.

WeekUnitReadingsResponse FormDue
1I: Professional Ethics You Are Not a Gadget (Lanier), chap. 1
What is Computer Ethics? (Moor)
ACM Code of Professional Ethics
Week 1 Response1/29
2II: Addictive Technology The Binge Breaker
Ethical Issues of Gamified ICT Tools for Higher Education
Week 2 Response2/5
3III: Accessibility Technology An Alphabet of Accessibility Issues
Disability, Human Rights, and Justice
Introduction to Web Accessibility

Accessibility Checklist
ARIA Web Dev Specifics
WAVE Testing Tool
AChecker Testing Tool
Week 3 Response2/12
4IV: Digital Media and Democracy Amusing Ourselves to Death ch. 1, 5, 6, 7 (Postman)
#Republic ch. 1 (Sunstein)
Week 4 Response2/19
5V: Postcolonial Computing Postcolonial Computing (Irani et. al)
M-PESA: Mobile Money for the "Unbanked" (Hughes & Lonie)
How We Built FB Lite
Week 5 Response2/26
6VI: Gatekeeping in Silicon Valley As Google Fights Fake News, Voices on the Margins Raise Alarm (Wakabayashi)
Report on Moderation (Caplan) pg. 3-7, 13-14
Algorithms of Oppression (Noble), ch. 1
Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley (Chang), pg. 1-14, 15-36
Week 6 Response3/5
7VII: Midpoint Presentations Rubric
Submit Slides3/11
9IX: Ethics of Online Surveillance Guest Lecture Assignment
10X: Algorithmic Bias in Machine Learning Weapons of Math Destruction ch. 0, 1, 3, 5 (O'Neil)
The ethics of algorithms: Mapping the debate (Mittelstadt et. al)
Week 10 Response4/9
11XI: Future of Labor, Job Automation, and The Sharing Economy Weapons of Math Destruction ch. 6, 7(O'Neil)
The Taking Economy: Uber, Information, and Power (Introduction and Part 3) (Calo & Rosenblat)
Automation, Jobs, and the Future of Work (McKinsey Report)
Week 11 Response4/16
12XII: Government Regulation & Grassroots Organizing Internet Giants Face New Political Resistance in Washington (Kang)
Tech Workers Versus the Pentagon (Tarnoff)
Google Workers Reject Silicon Valley Individualism in Walkout (Schieber)
Week 12 Response4/23
13XIII: Final Presentations Rubric
Submit Slides/Code5/1
14XIV: Final Reflection/Webpage See syllabus for details
Submit Final Reflection
Submit Static Webpage



Ugur Cetintemel

Philip Klein

HTAs (cs1951Iheadtas@lists.brown.edu)

Elaine Jiang

Heila Precel

UTAs (cs1951Itas@lists.brown.edu)

Uyen-Phuong (U.P.) Nguyen (unguyen)

Alexandra Paul

David Schurman