University of Technology Sydney

32563 IT Professional and Society

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Information Technology: Information, Systems and Modelling
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject covers the body of ideas and commonly held principles that apply to professional standards and ethical behaviour in the information technology industry. The intent is to expose students to standards of professional behaviour and legal responsibility through case studies and current media-related articles featuring potential ethical and/or legal situations/dilemmas. It considers the history of information technology, the impact of information technology on society, the IT profession's codes of ethics and codes of conduct and the legal requirements pertaining to the information technology industry.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. explain the social impact of information technology and the social responsibility of IT professionals;
2. critically review the IT profession’s Codes of Ethics and Codes of Conduct, and develop a personal ethical framework;
3. describe the role of the IT professional and the legal and moral responsibility they have to that profession and society;
4. demonstrate improved presentation skills;
5. demonstrate improved writing skills.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the development of the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs):

  • Socially Responsible: FEIT graduates identify, engage, and influence stakeholders, and apply expert judgment establishing and managing constraints, conflicts and uncertainties within a hazards and risk framework to define system requirements and interactivity. (B.1)
  • Design Oriented: FEIT graduates apply problem solving, design thinking and decision-making methodologies in new contexts or to novel problems, to explore, test, analyse and synthesise complex ideas, theories or concepts. (C.1)
  • Collaborative and Communicative: FEIT graduates work as an effective member or leader of diverse teams, communicating effectively and operating autonomously within cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural contexts in the workplace. (E.1)
  • Reflective: FEIT graduates critically self-review their own and others’ performance with a high level of responsibility to improve and practice competently for the benefit of professional practice and society. (F.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject will be a combination of:

Lectures:11/2 hours per week
Lectures will include:

  • Lectures on IT Professional Society and IT ethics fundamentals
  • Project Evaluations

Tutorials:11/2 hours per week
Tutorials will consist of:

  • Discussions of IT professional issues, ethical issues
  • Student topical news

Content (topics)

  1. Social Responsibilities of IT Professionals
    The history of information technology; the impact of information technology on society and the environment; global and Indigenous perspectives on IT; reliability and safety in software systems; the role of the IT professional in society.
  2. Professional Practice
    Ethical responsibilities of IT professionals in relation to their employer, to fellow practitioners, and to the general public; registration and certification of IT professionals; the legal and moral responsibility they have to that profession; the IT profession’s Codes of Ethics and Codes of Conduct
  3. Information Technology and the Law
    Freedom of information versus security of information; data protection legislation; control of information (and power); information technology and civil liberties; computer crime and legal remedies.
  4. Organizational Responsibilities of IT Professionals
    The extent to which IT professionals are responsible for the systems that they implement and the ways in which they may exercise control over that process in a responsible manner; their responsibilities to their employer, colleagues and clients.


Assessment task 1: Participation in online discussion


This assessment task addresses the following subject learning objectives (SLOs):

1, 2 and 3

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes (CILOs):

B.1, C.1, E.1 and F.1

Type: Demonstration
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 25%

Assessment task 2: Project presentation

Type: Presentation
Groupwork: Group, individually assessed
Weight: 20%

Assessment task 3: Group Project

Type: Project
Groupwork: Group, individually assessed
Weight: 35%

Group report: 30 pages or more excluding title pages, TOC and references and appendix.

Assessment task 4: Reflective Essay

Type: Reflection
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%

In assignment 4, you will need to produce a reflection on what you have learned during the semester..

Write your learning experiences from all lectures, tutorials and assessments.

When reflecting on what you have learned you should consider questions below:
what you already knew: what was position on ethics at the start.
what you expected to learn?
what you learnt from lectures, tutorials, other students’ assignment 2 project presentations and Online Discussion
what difference do you imagine it will make to your future life, if any speculate on what IT ethics
may be in the future?

The reflection must form a coherent, structured work, and approximately 10-15 pages Times New Roman 11 Font 1.5 spacing, number all pages (excluding the title, table of contents and appendix pages). You may show references (Harvard style) to web site, books and journals but it is your ability to discuss the subject matter and how you have developed that knowledge which matters.

Details will be available in subject site.

Minimum requirements

In order to pass the subject, a student must achieve an overall mark of 50% or more.


There is no prescribed text for this subject. Relevant readings will be provided through the session.

For writing reports, a helpful reference is Guide to Writing Assignments Faculty of Business, UTS (available at Co-op Bookshop for approximately $6).

Some general references that you may find useful are:
Bowyer, Kevin W. (2000) (ed) Ethics and computing : living responsibly in a computerized world / edited by Kevin W. Bowyer IEEE Press, New York

Bynum, Terrell Ward & Rogerson, Simon (2004) (eds) Computer ethics and professional responsibility Blackwell, Malden MA

Reynolds, George (2003) Ethics in information technology Thomson Course Technology, Boston

Spinello, Richard (2003a) (ed) Case studies in information technology ethics and policy Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ

Spinello, Richard (2003b) CyberEthics : morality and law in cyberspace Jones and Bartlett, Boston

Spinello, Richard et al (2005) Intellectual property rights in a networked world : theory and practice Information Science Publications, Hersey PA

Other resources

You should always monitor the general Faculty announcements on: you should also check your UTS email regularly for class announcements.

The majority of online support will be via UTSOnline at:

To access UTSOnline you need your UTS userid and password.

To obtain this id and set your UTS password (not FIT) go to: and click on Account Activation. If you can log on to UTSOnline, but cannot see the link for thissubject, contact the subject co-ordinator.