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HCIL BBL: Teaching JavaScript as Social Justice: Interrogating Culture, Bias and Equity in an Introductory Programming Course

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HCIL (2105 Hornbake, South Wing)


When learning skills like computer programming, students need to develop an understanding of issues of culture, bias and equity at the same time that they learn the technical elements. As information professionals they will need to understand and navigate these issues. This presentation describes a course that integrates both social justice and technical elements, instead of separating them into different courses as is typical practice. I will describe the approach and structure and reflect on the experience and student feedback. I will invite all of us to discuss the creative tension in teaching both technical and ethical skills, and how we can embed these across the curriculum.


Dr. Bill Kules is Visiting Associate Professor at the iSchool. Prior to joining the iSchool, he was Chair of the Department of Library and Information Science (LIS) at The Catholic University of America. Dr. Kules seeks to improve educational practice and outcomes in LIS education through teaching, research and advocacy, with a particular interest in helping students understand how information technology is situated in and reflects broader social structures, constructs and issues such as race, class and gender. He has experience in blended curriculum development, faculty development and mentoring, and continuous program improvement through systematic planning and outcomes assessment.

Before joining academia, Dr. Kules spent 20 years designing and implementing information systems for a variety of applications, including wireless telephony, customer service, banking, and a multimedia web sites. He earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Maryland in 2006.