Taught by A. Potasznik

4 Project: how to


Project presentations count for 25% of the final grade.


Projects should last between 9 and 12 minutes. If you have a group of 4 people, that means that each person should present for 3 minutes. It is almost impossible to time the presentation well without practicing beforehand; going over your allotted time will result in a deduction from the “preparation” portion of the rubric. Time taken by audience members answering discussion questions will not count against your time limit.


Research a current social or ethical issue with ties to technology. Note that the issue must be current, but the details of the topic are not required to be recently published. There is no recency requirement for sources for projects as there is for weekly write-ups. As a group, you should highlight all opposing viewpoints and relevant aspects. You must use applicable terminology as learned in class wherever appropriate.

You are not expected to be an expert on the topic, but rather to conduct in depth research that makes you well-versed by the end of your project.

Presentations should be devoid of profanity and obscene content. Focus on ethical issues and ramifications, do not share a “how to” guide or a general overview of a broad topic.

Topics do not have to be discussed with the professor ahead of time. For this reason, topics should be extremely specific in nature. Sending the project file to the professor in advance or after the presentation is accepted but not required. Outside sources should be cited on each slide, not at the end. For projects, citations can be just a URL – you don’t have to include full APA references. Be especially careful when using information or images taken from the internet – not citing these in-slide can lead to plagiarism issues.

Keep in mind that you are speaking to a group of mostly CS and IT majors. There is no need to dedicate large amounts of time to explaining, for example, how social media or encryption works in general, etc. You should also not re-explain class content without adding your own specific analysis of how those terms apply to your particular topic. Playing videos that have already been played in class is prohibited (Stuxnet, Snowden interview, etc.). You should also review upcoming class topics and slides to make sure we are not about to talk about your exact topic or show a video you plan to show. Videos are allowed, but may not take up more than 10% of the total presentation time. For example, in a 10 minute presentation, you can play a video up to one minute long, but not longer.

When it comes to choosing your topic, avoid the left side of this table. Of course, don’t copy the topic on the right side exactly either. Rather, use it as inspiration to choose your own topic.

Not good

(just make sure to come up with your own unique topic)
TOR A comparison of the use of TOR by specific federal agents in the Silk Road cases
Drones An analysis of drone use by the European Union targeting Yemen in 2013
The NSA or Government Surveillance An explanation of the court case Jewel vs. the NSA
AI Why our president should be a robot: a debate 
(one student argues for, the other against)
Censorship An in-depth explanation of Youtube takedown notices and the elements of Fair Use in specific videos
DeepFakes Comparative analysis of two specific DeepFake videos: purpose, methods, ethical issues, applicable laws, end result.
Bionic bodies Ramifications of military use of “super” prosthetics: specific cases in which soldiers benefit from or regret bionic limbs
Online Gambling Fantasy Sports vs. the stock market: a legal and ethical comparison
Privacy: How to protect yourself online Comparison of liability analysis for two or more specific privacy breaches in the private sector
Bitcoin Currency scandals: the effect of volatile markets on the dollar and Bitcoin between 2018 and 2021
Virtual Reality Using Oculus Rift in schools: why the benefits of full immersion in learning environments outweigh the drawbacks (or vice versa) – an analysis of the research literature
Self driving cars Exact arguments, details, and results of a lawsuit against Google in which a self-driven car struck another vehicle.
Net Neutrality A comparison of internet speeds, price, and legislation among specific countries… or a breakdown of SPECIFIC arguments for/against net neutrality with evidence supporting or disproving them 
Facial Recognition An in-depth analysis of the IBM/NYPD initiative that enabled skin color to be incorporated into facial recognition software used by officers to prevent crime.
Loot Boxes A comparison of how two different games with an audience that includes children implement gambling-like mechanisms. Be extra careful with this topic since the Gambling lecture comes relatively late in the semester, and you are not allowed to use terms from the list that we haven’t discussed in class yet.
AI taking jobs Could the UBI work in America? A comparison of various economic and social markers between the United States and Finland as they pertain to the UBI experiment there


Each student must engage the audience with a question. It should be well-framed, not yes/no, and lead to interesting discussion. Avoid generalities like “What do you think about XYZ?” Keep in mind that the audience will have just heard your presentation and may not have time to reflect deeply on answers. A good question can be achieved in multiple ways:

Each student separately engages audience with questions like “Who can remind me what law might apply in this situation?”*


The group prepares a single engaging question with multiple parts managed by various group members. 

*Careful! Having the answer to a question be your only class term means that you must then define, cite, and apply the term after a classmate answers your question. Otherwise, you will meet the question requirements but not the term requirements. See below.


EACH STUDENT in the group must correctly use a class term in their portion of the presentation. Each student is graded separately, and term usage is a significant part of the grade. As with weekly write-ups, the term used must have already been discussed in class, and it must be explicitly defined, cited, and applied to the topic. You can use a multi-part term across partners. For example, one person can use Fair Information Principles focusing on informing users about collecting information, and another person can use Fair Information Principles focusing on providing a way to opt out. The same part of the same definition of the same term, or a term with a short and basic definition, will not earn credit for anyone after the first person to use it.


The first and last names of the slide author should be visible on each slide. Students should introduce themselves before the presentation begins. If a question is split between multiple group members (see Question section above), all names of relevant members should be on the question slide.

Connectivity for Display

Your classroom has HDMI and VGA plug ins. I have an HDMI to USB-C adapter that I am happy to lend you. If your machine only has USB or other connectivity, you will need to bring your own adapter. Sound is less dependable – some rooms have sound that works every time and others don’t. I recommend using a device that has loud speakers in case you can’t depend on the aux or hdmi cables for sound.

Unhelpful partner?

Each student is graded based on their presentation element. The entire rubric is applied to each individual student. There is no “group grade” for this assignment. Still, the “preparation” element of the rubric addresses some group elements such as delegation of tasks and on-time submission.

Remember that all students agreed, via the BOS assignment, to

a) choose a very specific topic for this assignment and

b) notify the instructor as soon as possible if project members are not pulling their weight. 

screenshot of bos assignment

Here is the project rubric used for grading:

Examples of Covid-19 era projects:

During remote instruction from Spring 2020 to Summer 2021, students submitted their projects online, so we have a few easily accessible examples of good projects. Of course, if your course is NOT remote, you will present the project in front of the class during class time. No student may present online if the class is held in person.

A great project from Fall 2020: here. Note how specific the topic is: the students have identified a specific program in a specific location to analyze. The students share information that has not already been discussed extensively in class, but rather offer new details, insights, facts, and in-depth research that we would not get otherwise. Each student has a clear discussion question for which the answer is not simply yes or no (see rubric). Each student includes and explicitly defines at least one class term and applies it to their particular topic. Each slide includes the presenter’s first and last name, as well as any citations used for information on that slide.

Example of a project: here. Note how each student has a discussion question (either verbally or on their slide), each student uses a term, each slide has citations and the presenter’s name, the topic is specific, and the analysis is in-depth.

Another exemplary project: here. Note how each student has a discussion question (either verbally or on their slide), each student uses a term, each slide has citations and the presenter’s name, the topic is specific, and the analysis is in-depth.

  • I will not read entire projects in order to “check” them or proofread them before you present. I will however, be happy to provide answers to targeted questions.
    • No: “Can you see what I have so far and tell me what to fix?”
    • Yes: “At the end of my second slide, I’d like to make sure I applied my term correctly. Can you confirm that my application is accurate?”
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