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2010/1 Module Catalogue
Module Provider: Computing Short Name: CSM04
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: GILLAM L Dr (Computing)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability

Autumn semester.

Assessment Pattern
Unit(s) of Assessment
Weighting Towards Module Mark( %)
Computing professionalism report, 2000-2500 words:

This is a critical evaluation of real-world situations from professional, ethical and legal perspectives. Includes analysis of a topical issue that has professional, ethical and legal dimensions

2 hour unseen exam (answer 2 questions out of 3)
Module Overview
IT professionals need to appreciate that technologies do not exist in isolation; they require a broad understanding of law and ethics and strong considerations for professionalism that will enable them to assess the potential risks of, rather than to, a project, from a variety of perspectives, in any technology-related undertaking.


Module Aims

The aim of the module is to equip masters level computing students with a rounded knowledge and systematic understanding of the professional, legal, and ethical issues involved in the use of computing in the real world.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module students will be able to:


·         identify and assess the major responsibilities of the computing professional

·         describe and account for a broader view of IT projects and associated risks

·         demonstrate a critical awareness of current problems in the subject and present new insights

·         demonstrate a systematic understanding of the legal requirements of computing in the real world

·         evaluate and critique the ethical requirements of computing in the real world

·         demonstrate a critical awareness of standards to the computing profession

demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of cultural and social dimensions in the computing profession


Module Content

This course will present issues of professionalism, ethics and the law in computing, drawing on the experience of computing professionals and legal experts. Topics include the following:

1. Overview of Module -

General examples of real world risks, issues and impacts


2. Sustainability of Computing and the Computing Profession

History of Computing; Future of Computing; Professional Ethics and Responsibilities; Ethics and Ethical theories; Codes of Ethics and Codes of Conduct; Whistleblowing

3. Plagiarism and Scientific Writing

Determining the basis for Intellectual Property; Academic Honesty and Copyright

4. Intellectual Property and Computer Systems

Copyright, design, and trademarks; Patents, creative commons and open source agreements

5. Data Mining and Privacy

Privacy, Personal Information, Identity and Identify theft; Confidentiality; Relationship to the Data Protection Act

6. Computer Misuse

Worms, viruses and hacking; encryption and interception of messages and the Computer Misuse Act

7. Interoperability and International Standards

Importance of standards and standardisation bodies in computing

8. Computer Reliability

Impacts of Computers on working and Reliability of systems; IT Contracts, terms and conditions

9. Case Studies and Reviews
10 Topics for further consideration
Overview and discussion in relation to recent technological developments.
Methods of Teaching/Learning

30 hours in weeks 1-10, consisting of:

·         lectures

seminars conducted by external speakers with expertise in a relevant topic
Selected Texts/Journals
Required Reading

Baase, Sara. 2009. A gift of fire: social, legal and ethical issues for computers and the internet. International Version, 3rd Edition. Prentice Hall.


Recommended Reading


Baase, Sara. 2003. A gift of fire: social, legal and ethical issues for computers and the internet. Prentice Hall.


Quinn, Michael. 2006. Ethics for the information age. Addison-Wesley.


Bainbridge, David I. 2000. Introduction to Computer Law 4th ed, Harlow (England): Longman.

Supplementary reading

Johnson, Deborah. 2001. Computer ethics. Prentice Hall.


Jewkes, Y. (Ed.) 2003. Dot.cons: Crime, deviance and identity on the internet. Willan.


Newton, J. and Holt, J. (Eds.). 2004. A Manager’s Guide to IT Law. British Computer Society.


Bott, Frank. 2005. Professional Issues in Information Technology.  British Computer Society.

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