image by Kevin Ku via Pexels

This post touches in part on two papers out of my research lab being presented this week at SIGCSE 2021: “Integrating Ethics into Introductory Programming Classes” and “‘You don’t do your hobby as a job’: Stereotypes of Computational Labor and their Implications for CS Education.” Post hoc, I realize that something at the heart of both of these projects is the potential benefits of expanding our notion of what “counts” as computer science.

As reported by Dianne Martin in a 1997 paper, a computer science department chair wrote a letter to the editor of Communications of the ACM in response…


As someone who cares a lot about broadening participation in computing, and also happens to read a lot of young adult and middle grade novels, I adore books that heavily feature technology and/or kids coding. Just in time for Computer Science Education Week and holiday gift-buying, here are recommendations for some of my favorites! The order below is youngest-to-oldest target audience, and I’ve noted official age/grade ranges. I’m including Amazon links simply because they’re all easily available there, though please consider purchasing books from your local bookstore or from independent online booksellers!

Ada Lovelace Cracks the Code by Rebel Girls…


image (free to use) by Julia M. Cameron, via Pexels

I wrote this short story in 2006, shortly after both my graduation from an MS degree in HCI (where some of my work was on educational technology and online communities) and from the Clarion Writers’ Workshop. It was never published, following a number of kind, close-but-no rejections. The idea behind it was that a world built on code (inspired by Amy Bruckman’s MOOSE Crossing of the late 90s) would create very different social hierarchies for middle school. Suddenly this kind of thought experiment seems more relevant than ever…

POPULAR

Thanks to the eighteen wheelers that drive past my house, I never…


Image (CC-0) by Pixabay, via Pexels

There a lot of reasons why you might not be able to use technology the way you want to use it. In human-computer interaction (HCI) research, for example, we think a lot about design and usability. However, another reason might be: the law says you can’t. So what do we do when aspects of interaction with technology are outside the control of both the user and the designer? This post summarizes a paper (“Lawful Users: Copyright Circumvention and Legal Constraints on Technology Use” published at CHI 2020) that examines one example of this: copyright anti-circumvention.

DRM Digital rights management (DRM)…


a “data spider” crawling its way across data scraping provisions from a number of websites

Last week, a federal court ruled that researchers violating a website’s terms of service (TOS) in order to conduct research aimed at uncovering discriminatory algorithms does not violate the U.S.’s Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Coincidentally, last week I also finalized the publication of a paper forthcoming at ICWSM 2020* (an AAAI social computing conference), based on a study conducted with my collaborators Nathan Beard (now a PhD student at UMD) and Brian Keegan: “No Robots, Spiders, or Scrapers: Legal and Ethical Regulation of Data Collection Methods in Social Media Terms of Service.”

My research as part of the…


Image: justice & code (source: iStockPhoto, licensed)

A little over two years ago, I crowdsourced a collection of syllabi for tech ethic courses. Today, there are over 250 courses listed, representing a variety of universities and disciplines. Over time I’ve heard from a lot of people about how useful they’ve found it to poke around and see what other people are teaching, and to get ideas. With this in mind, my students and I decided to conduct some research to uncover patterns. Ethics in the context of technology (particularly emerging areas like data science and AI) is such an important topic, and curriculum coverage is increasing at…


This piece appears as the foreword to the book Writers in the Secret Garden: Fanfiction, Youth, and New Forms of Mentoring by Cecilia Aragon and Katie Davis, out now from MIT Press.

It’s easy to focus on all the terrible things that networked technologies have brought into our lives — misinformation, harassment, polarization, automated inequality. These are all things that pull us farther apart rather than bring us together, but it doesn’t have to be that way. …


photo of a long road (credit: Pixaby via Pexels)

Update: I have started a YouTube channel, and the first video is based on this post!

Video link with caption “5 Tips for New PhD Students”

Starting a PhD program really is embarking on a journey — and this is an exciting time of year, when there are so many people tying their shoes tight and getting ready to run. …


Anything “public” on social media may be fair game, but researchers should be more ethical about using that data

Who do you think reads your social media posts? You might assume that only your followers see your tweets and status updates — but someone else might be taking a close look. Scientists are increasingly using public social media data for research, and they’re not just examining tweets — they also delve into your online dating profiles, your Yelp reviews, your Instagram posts, your YouTube videos, and even your comments on articles like this one. The internet, especially social media, has provided researchers with access to a trove of information about human behavior that is just there for the taking…


Image: a typewriter with paper reading “blog” (courtesy of Pexels)

In the scheme of things, not a lot of people read academic articles. And even though a lot of what academics do may not be very interesting to the general public, there is often at least nugget of something, what you might tell someone at a cocktail party when they ask what kind of work you do. In my discipline, where we study the way that humans interact with technology or use technology to interact with each other, those nuggets can often be really interesting and relevant. …

Casey Fiesler

Faculty in Information Science at CU Boulder. Social computing, copyright, ethics, women in tech, fan communities, geekery. www.caseyfiesler.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store