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This module is based on a hypothetical case with some very real implications. Students are placed in the perspective of decision-makers charged with implementing a project to give public school students in Puerto Rico laptop computers to facilitate their education. Then they are provided with a socio-technical system methodology to help them identify potential problems embedded in laptop technology. Using these tools, they identify and solve ethical and social problems that are likely to arise when public officials work to implement laptop computer technology into the Puerto Rican public school socio-technical system. This module is being developed as a part of an NSF-funded project, "Collaborative Development of Ethics Across the Curriculum Resources and Sharing of Best Practices," NSF SES 0551779.


While social responsibility has been recognized as one of the key areas of business ethics, much more needs to be done to develop frameworks and tools to clarify the concept itself and to implement it in business and professional practice on a day-to-day basis. This module will give students the opportunity to practice using frameworks and techniques that address these two needs.

Developing socio-technical system analyses provides an effective means to highlight issues of social responsibility. Since socio-technical systems embody values, building their descriptions allows us to read off potential problems due to harmful impacts and value conflicts. To facilitate this, you will be building socio-technical system descriptions using a grid or matrix that provides the components of socio-technical systems, levels under which they can be analyzed, and the values that they tend to embody. Building socio-technical system descriptions also requires using methods of participatory observation. These include constructing surveys and questionnaires, developing interviews, and building day-in-the-life scenarios. This module will help you frame and respond to social responsibility issues by providing a framework for socio-technical analysis and a set of methodological tools taken from participatory observation.

Module m14025 (Social-Technical Systems in Professional Decision Making) provides background information on STSs, their construction and their uses. Links to this module and to the website, Computing Cases, can be found in the upper left hand corner of this module. They provide useful background information. This module makes use of a case, Texas Laptops, that was developed by Chuck Huff and C. Nathan DeWall for NSF projects, DUE-9972280 and DUE-9980768.

Case narrative

    Texas laptop case

  1. In the late 1990's, the Texas State Board of Education proposed the ambitious plan of providing each of the state's four million public school students with their own laptop computer. This plan was devised to solve several problems confronting Texas public education.
  2. Laptop computers could make educational resources more accessable to students who were faced with special challenges like deafness or blindness. Computers offer software options (such as audio books) that promise to reach more students than traditional printed textbooks.
  3. Laptops also promised to solve the problem of obsolete textbooks. Texas purchased textbooks for their students at considerable costs. The purchasing cycle ran six years. By the end of this cycle, textbooks were out of date. For example, in the late 1990's when the laptop plan was proposed, history textbooks still referred to the Soviet Union and to the existence of the Berlin Wall. Laptops, on the other hand, would present textbook content in digital form which would eliminate printing and shipping costs and facilitate updates through online downloads.
  4. Texas business leaders were concerned about the computer literacy of the upcoming generation of students. By employing laptops in more and more teaching activities, students would learn how to interact with computers while taking advantage of the new and more effective modes of presentation offered.

Questions & Answers

what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Corporate governance. OpenStax CNX. Aug 20, 2007 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col10396/1.10
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