starts October 24!


Human Approaches to Technology Problems

Register now for Fall Seminar on Technology, Design and Ethics


Fall 2018: Seminar on Technology, Design, and Ethics

How do we, as a society, decide what is right, what is fair, and what is just? Who gets to decide these things, for whom else, and how? With the rapid growth of computing technology over the past century, we’re constantly faced with new problems, and new questions, at these intersections.

In this six-week course, designed for developers, designers, managers, and other grownups with jobs, we will read key works of ethical thought and apply what we’ve learned in case studies and individual projects. We’ll work together in order to explore ethics and morality in contemporary life, at the scale of contemporary technology.

Starts October 24, 2018!

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This is a totally online class, with weekly seminar meetings each week conducted live via Zoom Meeting. We’ll meet once a week, for two hours. This allows us to build community and be accountable to each other as we learn!

However, this is a course designed for grownups with lives and jobs. If you can’t make the meeting, you’ll be able to access the course video afterward. Amelia is also recording a weekly introduction presentation We’ll be using the (gorgeous!) Pathwright Course Platform to share readings and other course materials


Thursdays, 6-8 PM (PST)

  • November 1

  • November 8

  • November 15

  • November 29

  • December 6

  • December 13


Weekly readings will average about 100 pages, and will be provided in PDF format a week before the course begins. All readings will be provided via the course tool, Pathwright.

Again, we are adults, and it’s okay to join the group if you haven’t done all the reading. You’ll have plenty of options to do the course at your own pace, too.

Along with the week’s readings, students will be asked to evaluate case studies and share their own experiences from work and/or life, with optional design and writing prompts for your own creative practice.

Registration is limited!



This is a seminar-style course, meaning we will explore ethical and moral concepts through reading, case studies, and discussion, with optional writing and design prompts.

We’ll explore the possibilities and consequences of technology, developing ideas and frameworks for building a more just future for all humans.

We will do this by reading, discussing, and reflecting on some of the major works of ethical and moral philosophy. We’ll consider ancient philosophy alongside feminist and post-colonial perspectives. This will give us all an understanding the history of ideas that are present in contemporary ideas of social justice and ethics.

Readings will include works by Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, Hannah Arendt, Theodor Adorno, Nel Noddings and Frantz Fanon, and course meeting time will include short lectures on the broader ethical questions in that week’s themes alongside seminar style discussion.


Course OUtline + Readings (Updated!)

This new course is 100 percent online, and features live weekly seminar meetings plus lifetime access to readings, video presentations, and other materials on the course platform.

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Week 1, November 1: Justice and Care - What is Ethics?

What does it mean when someone talks about “ethics”? 

In this first week, we’ll learn (and use) the Framework for Ethical Decision Making and kick off our journey!

We’ll start in 350 BCE with Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Then, we’ll fast forward to the 1990’s with feminist care ethics from Nel Noddings and meditations on justice and poetics in Martha Nussbaum’s “Poets as Judges” (1995).

+ Case Study

+ Journal Prompt

Week 2, NOVEMBER 8: Utilitarianism, Empiricism and Computing

This week, we’ll explore the contemporary history of computing, starting in 1954 with Norbert Weiner, who coined the terms “Cybernetics” and “Information Ethics”.  We’ll then go on to see “Glitch Racism” with Lisa Nakamura (2013), and finally Steve Omohundro’s Autonomous technology and the greater human good from 2014.

+ Case Study

+ Design Prompt

Week 3, November 15: Tragedy

If we are going to talk about goodness, eventually we’ll have to talk about evil.

In this seminar, we’ll talk about modern tragedies, highlighting the work of the Frankfurt School during the World Wars.

+ Case Study

+ Guest Interview


Week 4, November 29: Inequality

How do we begin to confront inequality? How do we design solutions to dismantle systematic injustice? We will look at post-colonial perspectives from Frantz Fanon, and explore the ethics of economics with Amartya Sen.

+ Case Study

Week 5, December 6: Private Life

This week, we’ll take a look at how different ethical frameworks distinguish between public and private life. We’ll read Brandeis’ “The Right to Privacy” (1890), and explore queer art and activism in response to the AIDS epidemic.

+Case Study

+ Guest Interview

Week 6, December 13: Solutions

How can we use technology to build a better, more just future? In our final seminar meeting, we’ll explore futurist design, automation, and Utopian ideals.

Join us THIS FALL!

Who is this Course For? WHAT CAN I EXPECT?

This course is open to folks from all backgrounds with interests in design, technology, and ethics. UX Night School’s workshops usually attract folks from a mix of backgrounds and experience, ranging from those early in their careers, to career-switchers, to managers and founders. Our diversity is our strength!

Weekly readings will average about 100 pages, and will be provided in PDF format a week before the course begins. Along with the week’s readings, students will be asked to bring in case studies from their own experiences in work and/or life.


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In challenging times, it is often helpful to look back at history to help us understand horror and humanity. And, in order to build a better world, it’s necessary to understand what exactly we stand for. It’s the instructor’s sincere wish that the community of participants will help create ideas and action for a more just and peaceful future, empowered by design and technology.

After taking the course, you will be able to apply critical perspectives to questions of design, technology, and ethics, better appreciate different perspectives, and be able to shut down any philosophy-major bullshit that you may encounter in the process.

Certificate of Completion + Continuing Education Credits

We’re grownups, so there are no grades or assignments in this course, outside of reading and seminar participation.

Participants who complete a majority of the course activities will receive a certificate of completion. This course earns 2 CEUs or 20 PDH, or the equivalent of 2 quarter credit hours. Students with specific credit requirements (e.g. enrolled in degree programs) can contact the instructor for documentation to support transfer of credit.


Will this course help me to become a UX Designer / Researcher / Developer?

While this is a different type of course than our hands-on workshops, it’s our belief that understanding professional ethics is a key part of becoming a successful professional. Moreover, this course will connect you with a community of folks working in design and technology, which we believe will prove invaluable to career development.

How do I convince my boss to pay for this?

Here’s a letter to your boss. Tell her we said hi!

What if I miss a class?

Recordings of the online seminar discussion and instructor presentation will be shared with students who cannot attend course meetings.

How is UX Night School different from other UX classes and trainings?

I founded UX Night School because I realized that the landscape of professional development and learning for design and tech (both in my city, Portland, Oregon, and globally) was missing a few things.

First, we have an enforced Code of Conduct, and prioritize accessibility, inclusion and social relevance. We know that the next generation of designers and developers is more diverse, more global, and more agile - and that this is our strength!

Second, we operate as a community-based participatory design workshop - meaning that we purposefully engage with both local and online communities to create solutions for positive change and innovation. Our first offering was the IRL version of this course at the XOXO Outpost. We teach the workshops quarterly, and each time we offer them, we integrate what we learned from our students and participants in the next round. Our students are  our partners, and we aim to learn from you and iterate - we practice what we teach!

Last, we’re small on purpose, so that we can work closely with you. We’re not a venture-backed startup, and we’re not a bootcamp promising to change your whole life in six weeks. Things like pivoting in your career or advocating for change in your organization take time. We want to support you in the short term (with courses like this one), and in the long term (with coaching and future offerings).