This semester’s Data Ethics course charged students with developing creative new proposals aimed at shaping the future of Georgetown’s policies on University use of student data. Each of the final projects aimed to impact the development of these policies in a different way — from raising student awareness of data safety issues to offering a concrete structure for authentic, democratic student involvement in University policymaking on this issue — and each was presented to University CIO Judd Nicholson and a panel of outside jurors as part of the course’s final “crit.”

Crits — or critiques — are formal events during which student teams present their work to an audience for evaluation, assessment, and feedback. During a juried crit, we bring guests and collaborators into Ethics Lab to serve as formal jurors, who critique the final products students deliver. Students were expected to deliver something that the jury deems valuable, and were asked to defend their work and collaborate on improving it.

Each team was also responsible for making their project public by setting it into context, inviting and engaging in critique, and providing an opportunity for public collaboration.

The following projects were presented at this semester’s final crit:

“Code of Ethics for the Use of Student Data at Georgetown University” – a project to design a proposal for a code of ethics for the Georgetown community. Students sought to create a classroom-wide collaborative consensus on the proposed principles. Full consensus was nearly achieved!

Student Advisory Group on Data Ethics – a group created to meet and communicate with University Information Services (UIS) regarding the student perspective on data ethics issues at Georgetown. The group is being created and hosted by UIS beginning in the fall semester.

Data Awareness Week – a guerilla marketing campaign that included buttons, coffee sleeves, flyering, and an informative website. They managed to get 150 unique visitors and 50 sign ups for a data ethics listserve. This may be a repeat occurrence next spring prior to the Kennedy Institute of Ethics’s Conversations in Bioethics event, which will focus on data ethics in 2018.

Meaningful Focus Groups – a new approach to managing and developing effective focus groups. This approach was designed specifically for UIS and in particular use for GU360, a new university-wide data management platform. It is being implemented as UIS moves forward with testing GU360.

Hoya Data – a game that generates unique insights about data ethics through gameplay. This team is being invited to incubate beyond this semester. The game is fun and engaging. Students 3D printed their gameplay pieces, and laser-cut the game token currency, in Georgetown’s Maker Hub.