Challenge Launched to Bring Ethics to Computer Science Education

Challenge Launched to Bring Ethics to Computer Science Education

The Mozilla Foundation, in partnership with Omidyar Network (ON), Schmidt Futures, and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, has announced the launch of the Responsible Computer Science Challenge (RCSC), a $3.5 million competition designed to better integrate ethics and accountability into undergraduate computer science education.

Between December 2018 and July 2020, RCSC will support the conceptualization, development, and piloting of curricula as part of a two-stage competition. During its initial stage, the challenge will solicit ideas for deeply integrating ethics into existing curricula, either through changes in syllabi (e.g., readings on ethics in each class) or teaching methodologies (e.g., recruiting teaching assistants from ethics departments). Winners of the competition's first round will be announced in April 2019 and will receive up to $150,000 each to develop and pilot their ideas.

In the follow-up stage, a panel of judges will select their favorite stage-one ideas using evaluation criteria developed by ON and Mozilla and award the winners up to an additional $200,000 each. The winning teams will then have a year to work on their projects.

"If you graduate from a computer science program, you really value things like algorithms and data structures, and networking," Kathy Pham, a computer scientist and Mozilla Fellow who helped launch the initiative, told EdSurge. "Ethics should also be one of the core tenets of the computer science program."