497-226: Innovating & Redesigning Web & Social Media Access to the Ethics Code Collection at Illinois Tech

Meeting Days/Time
Tuesdays from 1:50 to 4:30 pm
MacArthur Foundation
Kelly Laas (HUM) (laas@iit.edu), Elisabeth Hildt (HUM) (ehildt@iit.edu) and Dan Martin (HUM) (thedanmartin@gmail.com)
Appropriate Disciplines
Business, Communication, Computer Engineering, Computer Information Systems, Computer Science, Consumer Research, Humanities, Information Technology & Management, Political Science, Psychology
Technical Innovation

The Illinois Tech Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions (CSEP) is planning a comprehensive redesign, enrichment, and marketing strategy to elevate its Ethics Code Collection (ECC) to greater global prominence and usefulness. The ECC is a unique resource, comprising a curated collection of over 4,000 ethics codes and guidelines across a range of disciplines for over 40 years. It will serve as a more dynamic global resource for informing ethical decision making in professional, entrepreneurial, scientific, and technological fields, and inform critical research into the advancement of ethical practices in a rapidly changing world.

Educators have long recognized the importance of ethics codes in introducing students to concepts of professional responsibilities, and the ECC sees a large amount of use by professors and students from many different disciplines. Other users include entrepreneurs and practitioners looking for guidance in how to resolve professional ethical issues in their daily work, professional societies writing their own codes of ethics, and consumers interested in finding out more about the ethical guidelines of professionals. In the past 12 months, over 83,500 individuals passed through the ECC, with over 146,300 individual page views.

The current site faces a number of limitations. The existing keyword search is slow and cumbersome, and lacks the ability to sort search results. Users expect better performance from state-of-the-art digital collections. Users wishing to compare versions of ethics codes have to open up multiple browser windows, and do not have the ability to download site content in multiple formats.

We propose a comprehensive user-centered approach to improve the digital ECC for greater service to the academy and the general public. This work will also involve new research on the current and future roles of ethics codes within society, business, and technological innovation. The project will develop enriched educational resources, and extend those resources to a broader audience of professionals, emerging professionals, and citizens across the globe.

This IPRO project will focus continuing work of the Spring 2016 team in creating a prototype for the Ethics Codes Collection, enhancing the searching and browsing capacity of the site, and performing research using codes of ethics in order to develop the collection and enhance its usefulness to key stakeholders.

This IPRO project will focus on analyzing and designing a contemporary CSEP web site that will be the front-of-mind resource among a wide array of professionals, and easily accessible to them in their pursuit of greater understanding and practical guidance. The following types of questions and others will be identified in order to guide the effort:

  1. How do we best understand the user experience?
  2. How can we promulgate the archive as a resource that more fully benefits its existing users and a broader public?
  3. How do we solve the search functionality to incorporate proprietary and non-proprietary resources?
  4. How do we broaden the international accessibility of the resource with translation tools?

For fall 2016, this IPRO project will focus on:

  1. Using the user profiles, storyboard, and collection plan developed by the Spring 2016 to build a prototype for the new digital collection.
  2. Planning and executing a usability study of the prototype site with different audience profiles, including those with physical disabilities.
  3. Finalizing and testing workflow for adding new material to the site.
  4. Developing metadata schema for enhancing search/browsing capability of the site,
  5. Researching use of codes in professional areas of interest, writing short summaries of findings for inclusion on site blog.
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