Alex Lemaigned and I worked together to create a Code of Ethics. It begins with a preamble stating the importance of having a code of ethics and holding ourselves to a higher standard being at Our Lady’s University. This creates for the reader a mindset to enter into when reading the code. It is a sort of “commander’s intent” as the United States Navy likes to put it. For someone reading the code, it will be clear what the intent of each enumerated point is. They may be able to play around with the wording, but because of the clearly stated intent, the spirit of each point will remain.
The enumerated code is centered around software technology and attempts to address the potential ethical problems that could arise as a result of working in such a field. Firstly that the common good should be the goal of any project. These skills are not for taking advantage of those without this knowledge. Secondly, that honestly in all the work we do is imperative. Stealing or non-accreditation cannot be tolerated. Thirdly, and possibly the most controversial, privacy must be respected, even when private information is available to us. This need is ever growing in today’s world of digital storage of sensitive or private materials. Finally, to be great examples to society of high ethical behavior coming from Our Lady’s University. We not only will be able to encourage higher standards, but the institution will be trusted more as a whole and will attract the best in the world to its gates.
The weaknesses in this document include the broad and sometimes vague language. While the intent is very clear, there are some situation in which it will be much more difficult to decide based on intent, especially if both options are seemingly in or out of touch with the intent. There are also some people who would rather not grasp the intent of the code and only focus on the exact wording. These are the kind of people that will argue word meanings in themselves endlessly, without taking them in context. We contemplated this balance and decided that the vast majority of the students here would have the full capacity to grasp the intent of the code through the preamble. And if there happened to be one of those exceptions, the rest of the students would be able to thoughtfully argue intent and issue a decision in line with that intent.
I believe a Code Of Ethics is very useful. It allows students to enter into a frame of mind when going into their work and creating new things. There is a higher purpose in which they strive. Excellence takes on a new meaning. There are much fewer risky situations to be run into when a project is started with ethical decisions in mind.
I personally enjoyed the enumeration of these principles because they helped bring them back to the forefront. All of these things are generally basic to each of us, but it is easy to forget sometimes. Having them in the forefront again as a more mature adult, gives them new meaning, new importance. It also prepares me a bit for the much larger code of ethics that will be presented to me as an officer in the Navy. We are also held to a very high standard and it is a highly effective exercise to begin that mindset now.