Professional Practice - Assignments

ENGR 401: 2021 Trimester 1

Schedule of Assessments

Item Weight Due Date CLOs Supported
Assignment 1 40% 18 April 1, 2, 3, 4
Assignment 2 25% 9 May 1, 2, 3, 4
Individual presentations 10% In-class, starting 17 May (weeks 11 and 12) 1, 2, 3, 4
Assignment 3 25% 13 June 1, 2, 3, 4

Assignment: Case Study

This assignment will be in the form of a case study on the creation of a code of ethics for AI. The assignment description and full marking schedule are now available: ENGR 401 Assignment 1 Brief (PDF) and simplified marking guide ENGR 401 Assignment 1 Marking Guide (simplified) (PDF).

We've received some excellent feedback and both Craig and I have composed the following plan:

  1. a blanket 1-week extension to midnight (24:00) on Tuesday 27 April, and
  2. Monday's lecture will be a workshop on Assignment 1.

The points below will be discussed in the lecture on Monday the 19th of April:

  • The length limit is all-inclusive.
  • The length limit has been extended to 3500 words maximum, to allow for some students' concerns regarding large reference lists leaving less room for the body of the case study.
  • Only references which inform and support the body of the case study should be included.
  • If you reference it you are stating that you have read (in full!) and understood it.
  • There is no correct approach, no correct structure and no right answer to the case study. This is where you use the open-ended nature of the assignment to structure your study to meet the marking criteria.

James, Craig and Neil are happy to receive your input as we value student-led design. In part, the open nature of this assessment is designed to allow you a certain level of freedom in the way you structure your case study. We are more interested in the content and substance of your engagement with the subject matter. We are quite flexible and are not looking to penalise students for structuring their case study in a variety of ways. The key aspect of this report is to analyse, design, implement, evaluate and communicate and this is reflected in the marking guide.

The simplified version of the marking guide (enclosed) is what we have chosen for this assignment. We will go through this on Monday. If you feel like bringing your work to the lecture, if time allows we will run through some issues in the pod groups.

Below is a discussion on some of these issues with one of the class reps. which we understand now was shared on ECS Discord but which not all of you may have seen:

The key idea, which I hope will help, is that this is an open-ended assessment. This means that there is no one correct structure and no one right answer. Just because there is no right answer doesn't mean that are very clear on what we are assessing: is the demonstration of a significant ability to analyse a complex problem, to design, implement and evaluate a solution, and to communicate the solution in professional manner.

To put is a slightly different way: there are many different structures & answers which range from unsatisfactory through good to excellent based on the assessment criteria.
On 9/04/21 3:03 PM, you wrote:
> My personal interpretation of the assignment brief is that, like the case studies we did in 201, we're supposed to find literature about the ethical issues surrounding the problem our chosen AI are trying to solve, and literature about potential solutions, and synthesize a cohesive code of ethics based on our readings and the course content.

That's a very good way to approach to this assignment.

> However, there are alternative interpretations that other students are weighing: specifically around what the case study is being on. Is the case study about the ethical issues surrounding the chosen AI, the issues about creating a code of ethics, existing proposed codes of ethics for related things and how they could be translated to this case, or about our entirely new code of ethics?

All of these are reasonable approaches to answering the assignment, while keeping in mind that the assignment asks "design and create a code of ethics for AI technology" which means that the five aspects mentioned above are expected to be represented: analyse, design, implement, evaluate and communicate." (Eagle-eyed students will note that these aspects are represented in the marking guides, both the complicated and [proposed] simplified versions).

> Is our code of ethics supposed to be the conclusion of the case study, or something the case study evaluates and discusses?

Either way would be a perfectly acceptable approach. The key point for assessment is how well the approach is executed. An approach one person finds intuitive to work with might be intractable for another person. Everyone should choose the approach that they feel will allow them to perform to their best abilities.

>> So im a bit confused. I thought a code of ethics was like a bullet point list of things sort of like this (

A code of ethics for people looks like that, but this case is for [an] AI technology. Students may find it helpful to keep in mind that the code of ethics created is intended to be implemented in software and hardware - the specificity required in this approach will, I think, help define the code of ethics and the explanations of the choices made.

>> Do we create our own code of ethics, then do a case study on that code of ethics?

Yes, the assignment asks everyone to design and create their own code of ethics for a specific case and to write about the analysis, design, etc. in the form of a case study.

>> Or do we do a case study to find out what is "ethical" in our chosen topic, so that a code of ethics could be written if one wanted to?

That would be the design part of the assignment, but everyone is being asked to write (broadly, "implement") the code of ethics.

>> in my engr201, I had the following statement This case study will explore the possible methods available in ensuring aerospace software is resilient to the effects of radiation in a proposed Mars colony ship. Does that mean in this case study i would write something like This case study will explore the the ethical considerations for _ so that a code of ethics can be developed

That's certainly a valid statement to write as part of this assignment.

As many will perceive at this point in our reply, this is 4th-year, we're expecting much more than was expected in 2nd-year in ENGR 201.

>>he part that catches me is "the creation of"
>> as in do we try see how others have done it: if so where do we even look to see how people go >about writing them
>> even if we do find how they did. that statement implies no form of reflection or assessing what >they might have overlooked or why they done it

An answer that doesn't reflect or evaluate is unlikely to perform well against the criteria in the brief that "This case study is expected to show a developed understanding of the issues at stake."

>> or is it exploring the aspects that should be considered in the creation of and why each aspect is important
>> or the groups of people that should be considered when creating and the effect it may have on the group and all others its applied for

Yes, this would be part of the "design considerations" analysis that's asked for in the brief.

> I think it would be helpful to reduce class anxieties if you were to provide a few examples about how a hypothetical student could structure their report,

This one is beyond our abilities on a Friday afternoon. We'll see what we can do next week (but no promises); this might be made irrelevant by the other answers provided, particularly the next answer?

> or to confirm that it's up to the student how they approach the brief and there isn't a set of prescribed correct ways (if that's the case).

We can confirm this, there are no prescribed correct ways to approach the problem. Different approaches can be equally excellent as measured by the assessment criteria.

With regard to feedback on Assignment 1 after Monday's (the 19th's) lecture, Student Learning can provide help with "unpacking assignment questions and clarifying your ideas" by appointment and also have very good academic writing resources available. I think they will be able to provide appropriate help for you in preparing your Code of Ethics for AI case study.

Assignment 2

This assignment will be composed primarily of short-answer questions, assessing course material to date. Some reading outside of the lecture slides will be required in completing this assignment.

Assignment 3

This assignment will be composed primarily of short-answer questions, assessing course material to date. Some reading outside of the lecture slides will be required in completing this assignment.

Individual Presentations

Short individual presentations, delivered in-class. Topics and formats to be advised after the mid-trimester break.