IDSE201 Ethics in Design

Name Quarter 1 (8 weeks) Quarter 2 (8 weeks) Quarter 3 (8 weeks) Quarter 4 (8 weeks)
Methods IDSE101
Design Research and Synthesis
Ethics in Design
Designing Systems
Product Management
Theory IDSE102
Design, Society and the Public Sector
Service Design
Storytelling in Design
Portfolio Development
Application IDSE103
Studio Foundation
Studio Research and Synthesis
Studio Ideation and Development
Studio Pilot Launch and Completion

About this course

In Design Ethics, students will develop tactics and frameworks for navigating ethics in the context of technology and practice. This course provides space to engage with questions and ideas about the ethical considerations designers face across the broad spectrum of their work today, ranging from interface design to privacy to emergent technology. By examining the tensions that arise within and surrounding these issues, you will synthesize readings and facilitate discussion to articulate your position through a variety of artifacts. Simultaneously, you will take a tactical approach to defining and documenting your own ethical framework as a foundation for your work as a professional designer.

Outcomes and competencies

The following outcome statements articulate the competencies, abilities, and skills a student will have as a result of completing this class. Students will...

  • Verbalize and visualize ethical conflicts and contradictions in the context of design process and creation.
  • Create an ethical framework as a tool to approach design decisions in their career.
  • Engage in thoughtful, non-emotional debate and conversation around ethical design decisions and issues.


ClassTopicIn classFor next class
[1A] Personal Drivers exercise from Pivot (instructors will share prior to class)
Tue 10/22


Introduction to Ethics and Frameworks


Assignments & materials

Facilitation calendar + break

Complete personal drivers exercise [1A]

[1B] Bonde, Firenze, et. al

[1B] Acaroglu parts 1,2,3

[1B] Giridharadas (video or article)

[1B] Aye (video or article)

Thu 10/24Discussion of Frameworks and LensesDiscussion of readings [1B]

[2A] Ten Usability Heuristics (ok to skim)

[2A] What the Erroneous Hawaiian Missile Alert Can Teach Us About Error Prevention

[2A] WTF is Dark Pattern Design?

[2A] Review for examples of dark patterns:

[2A] How Deceptive is Your Persuasive Design?

Tue 10/29


Design Patterns

Usability and Delight ↔ Dark UI Patterns

Discussion of Readings [2A]

[2B] The Scientists Who Make Apps Addictive

[2B] Your Smartphone is Making You Stupid

[2B] Is Anything Worth Maximizing?

[2B] Design Ethics and the Limits of the Ethical Designer

[2B] Ok to skim:

Thu 10/31Usability and Dark Patterns at ScaleDiscussion of Readings [2B]
Tue 11/5Inclusion ↔ ExclusionDiscussion of Readings [2C]Complete Assignment
Thu 11/7Presentation of assignment [1]
Thu 11/12


Privacy and Identity

Privacy Foundations

Discussion of Readings [3A]
Thu 11/14Privacy & Consent in PracticeDiscussion of Readings [3B]
Tue 11/19Digital Identities of People & ThingsDiscussion of Readings [3C]Complete Assignment
Thu 11/21Presentation of assignment [2]
Tue 11/26


Emergent Technology

Machine Learning: Mistakes and Bias

Discussion of Readings [4A]
Thu 11/28Thanksgiving - no class
Tue 12/3Curation, Censorship, and Freedom of SpeechDiscussion of Readings [4B]Complete Assignment
Thu 12/5Presentation of assignment [4]
Tue 12/10


Wrap Up

Work SessionWork on Personal Framework
Thu 12/12Presentation of Personal Design Ethics frameworks [5]