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 2022 is available in the Archives.

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

Subject level:

Postgraduate

Result type: Grade and marks

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

Description

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. Evaluate the social impact of information technology and the social responsibility of IT professionals;
2. Apply the IT profession’s Codes of Ethics and Codes of Conduct, and develop a personal ethical framework to use in professional settings;
3. Analyse the legal and moral responsibilities that IT Professionals have to their profession and society.

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 lectures in this subject are designed to introduce fundamental concepts and analytical methods on IT professional and Society topics. In several lecture sessions, invited guest lecturers from industry will share their expertise on the relevant topics. Some lectures and tutorials are devoted to student presentations of their group project, as per the program below.

The tutorials start from week 3. During the tutorials, students get the chance to critically discuss various case studies from different perspectives (e.g., ethical, moral, legal, social, etc.) using concepts and methods taught in the lectures.

Other online learning activities involved in this subject mainly include studying tutorial materials and other study notes before the sessions as well as participation in discussion boards as instructed.

Feedback and reflection is integral to activities and assessment tasks. Collaborative activities are specifically designed using case studies to develop understanding of specific concepts through discussions and justifications.

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

Assessment task 1: Contributions to Discussions

Intent:

Students to actively analyse and collaboratively discuss topics with supporting arguments (via Canvas online discussion boards)

Objective(s):

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 and E.1

Type: Case study
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%

Assessment task 2: Initial Research and Topic Selection

Intent:

Use relevant research to identify a topic for group project

Objective(s):

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

1

This assessment task contributes to the development of the following Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs):

B.1

Type: Project
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 10%

Assessment task 3: Reflection

Intent:

Students to reflect on their learning in the subject (lectures and reading resources) through the case studies discussed in the tutorials.

Objective(s):

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):

F.1

Type: Reflection
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%
Length:

Maximum 1500 words (excluding the title and reference pages).

Assessment task 4: Project presentation

Intent:

Students to present key finding of their analysis and recommendations for various issues and dilemmas related to a current Information Technology.

Objective(s):

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 and E.1

Type: Presentation
Groupwork: Group, group and individually assessed
Weight: 20%
Length:

15 minutes

Assessment task 5: Group Project

Intent:

Students to critically research, analyse and provide specific resolutions for various issues and dilemmas related to a current Information Technology in a written report.

Objective(s):

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 and E.1

Type: Project
Groupwork: Group, group and individually assessed
Weight: 30%
Length:

Group report: maximum 4500 words excluding title pages, TOC and references.

Minimum requirements

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

References

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

For writing reports, a helpful reference is the UTS Business School's Writing Guide.

Some general references that you may find useful are:

Reynolds, George (2019) (6th edition) Ethics in information technology, Cengage Learning

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

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