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Lecture 03, Mon 04/05
Mon Lecture: Extra Credit Opportunity (Survey), Informed Consent
Three items of business
- Before Lecture on Wednesday: Read over your fellow students answers to H01 in your NOTES repo (link below)
- Today: Going over a Spring Application (jpa02, and then a pure backend application)
- Extra Credit Opportunity (link in Announcements channel in Slack)
- If extra time: Help with jpa01, jpa02
- Today we’ll talk about an extra credit opportunity
- There’s a pre-survey and a post-survey. If you fill them both out, you can get 1% extra credit added to your final course grade.
- As part of the survey, there is also an “informed consent briefing”, asking whether a research study that Prof. Conrad is a part of may use your survey results and course data (de-identified) for research purposes.
- Today, we’ll talk about what you need to do if you want to:
- get the extra credit or skip the extra credit
- say yes to the research, or decline to participate
- We’ll also talk about “informed consent” as an ethical topic that comes up when working with applications that collect data about people.
After today’s lecture, if you decide you want the extra credit and/or to particpate in the research:
- Read the informed consent briefing and make sure any questions you have about it are answered: informed_consent_briefing
- Login to Gauchospace and find your RPID (the capital letter
Wfollowed by a five digit number, e.g.
- It’s in the “feedback” beside your “grade” for the item RPID
- If you see a “zero” or an “F” next to this grade item, please ignore it.
- If you complete the survey, this zero will turn into a 33%, but only after a delay of several days; it won’t happen until the survey closes, and I get the data from WSU about who participated.
- The data provided to me does not include who said “YES” or “NO” to the question about participating in the research; it only indicates whether you participated in the survey.
- This number will turn into 100% if/when you complete the post- survey at the end of the quarter also.
- Visit the link to the survey (found on the Announcements channel on the course slack), and fill it out.
Extra Credit Opportunity (Survey)
- I’m part of a team of four faculty (me, plus two professors at Washington State University, and one at Humboldt State University) that are studying ways to improve how we prepare CS/CE students for work as professional software developers. This is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
- As part of that research, I’d like to ask your permission to collect some data; this data is used to see whether what we are doing in this course (and with the NSF’s money) is effective or not. That is: does it make the course better, worse, or make no difference?
- Each student is free to say yes or no, and it will not affect your grade.
- Wait, I thought you said there was extra credit?
- Yes: you can get the extra credit regardless of whether you say yes or no to participating in the research.
- Stay tuned: there’s more explanation to come.
- As we’ll explore today, there are ethical safeguards in place to protect you as students, and as individuals whenever someone is collecting data for research purposes.
- Part of these ethical safeguards is something called an informed consent briefing.
Informed Consent as a topic
On one level, today’s activity is about collecting data for the research.
But, I also want to explore the idea of “informed consent” as a topic in the course.
- Many tech companies have access to a lot of data about you.
- They have the opportunity to do a lot of “research” with that data
- Should they have to get your informed consent before they do?
This questions has ethical, moral, and legal dimensions. (What’s the difference?)
While we aren’t necessarily going to explore those questions today, I hope that this helps frame talking about the “informed consent” process as something relevant to anyone building applications.
What is an Informed Consent Briefing
The form that I’m inviting you to fill out contains an “informed consent briefing”.
- Whenever university employees conduct research that involves people, this is considered “Human Subject Research”.
- At various times in history, research involving humans has gone very wrong, resulting in great harm. As such, there are strict rules regarding “Human Subject Research”.
- Any time humans are involved, whether it’s something as mundane as “giving them a survey” or as extreme as injecting them with an experimental drug, or performing a new surgical procedure, it still falls under the same set of rules
- The rules for educational research have been very streamlined: as the work in this study has been judged as “exempt” from most of them.
- However, while this research is “exempt” from some of the more detailed record keeping, I’m still responsible for following the basic principles that govern human subject research. One of the most important is the principle of “informed consent”.
Informed consent is a legal term, and I am not a lawyer. But the essence is this: I’m not allowed to include you in a study, or collect data about you unless/until you are
- informed about the study
- you agree to participate in the study
Part of the reason the informed consent briefing is so long is because there are elements that it must contain, by law.
One of those is that if you are under 18, you are not legally permitted to give consent with your parents/legal-guardian also consenting. This doesn’t come up very often, but it does sometimes come up.
So, let’s walk through the text of the informed consent briefing:
Questions on Informed Consent Briefing
If you have questions on the informed consent briefing, please let me know.
You may also submit questions anonymously via any of them TAs or LAs, whom I’ve asked to keep your identity confidential.