Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Professional Issues in Computer Engineering and ICT

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Faculty of Information & Communication Technology

DESCRIPTION This study-unit exposes students to professional issues they will encounter whilst working in the fields of computer engineering and ICT.

The Profession - The various aspects of the profession are discussed including: qualifications and international recognition, professional development, warrants, chartered scientists, professional indemnity, titles and functions.

Local, foreign and international professional bodies are also discussed.

The Professional Setting - Students are introduced to organisational structures, the public service, the public sector, the private sector and voluntary organisations. The particular characteristics of software houses and engineering companies are also delved into. Organisational models, centralisation and decentralisation are also discussed.

Human Resources - The study-unit introduces various aspects of human resources including employment relations, employment contracts, remuneration policies, appraisal schemes, training schemes, redundancy, dismissal and grievance procedures, human resource planning, discrimination and resolving conflict. Various case studies are examined and discussed.

Industrial Relations - Students are exposed to trade union development and function, the labour market, collective bargaining, management of pay, employee representation, industrial action, conciliation and arbitration and negotiation. Various case studies are examined and discussed.

Occupational Health and Safety - Occupational health and safety at work is discussed including human factors, financial considerations, corporate liability, emergency procedures, risk assessment, insurance provisions, health surveillance, special employee requirements and dealing with accidents.

Data Protection - Various issues about data protection are discussed including privacy, cyberspace, regulation of data processing, fair use guidelines, freedom of information, security issues, cyber identities and the right to be forgotten. Various case studies are examined and discussed.

Internet Issues and e-commerce - Internet issues are examined including the law across national boundaries, defamation, e-commerce regulations and regulating internet content.

Computer Misuse - Computer misuse is highlighted including insights to fraud, computer hacking, piracy and computer crime. Various case studies are examined and discussed.

Contracts - The study-unit includes discussions about license agreements, outsourcing, bespoke software contracts and consultancy contracts.

Accessibility Issues - The various issues related to accessibility and persons with special needs are discussed.

Professionalism - Professionalism is discussed including the importance of attitude, time management, stress management, organisation skills, etiquette/dress, accountability, workplace relations, job search skills, CVs, interview techniques, reporting to higher management, dealing with subordinates, personal courses of action, career changes and emotional intelligence. Authentic exercises are used to highlight the discussions.

Ethical Issues and Social Questions
The codes of ethics for the engineering profession is discussed in detail including the duties towards society, the duties towards the profession, the duties towards colleagues and the duties towards employers and clients. A number of ethical issues are discussed through case studies. The code of conduct is also discussed in detail. Moral reasoning, moral problems, moral dilemmas, conflicts of interest and confidentiality are also discussed. Whistleblowing and business ethics are also covered. A number of social questions are discussed including multinationals, globalisation, environmental ethics, weapons development and corporate governance. A number of case studies are examined and discussed.

Sustainable Development
The study unit covers aspects of sustainability vs competition, the environment and developing economies. Students are exposed to these concepts through authentic exercises.

Corporate Social Responsibility
Various aspects of CSR are explored including discerning stakeholders, CSR management, CSR investment, CSR in SMEs, impact, criticisms and the future of CSR. Case studies are used to highlight different aspects.

ISO Standards
The study unit gives an introduction to the most common ISO standards found in the computer engineering, ICT and SMEs. Students are exposed to these concepts through authentic exercises.

Authorities and Regulators
The roles of International and local regulators are discussed and case studies are used to demonstrate their importance.

Study-unit Aims:

The aim of this study-unit is to expose students to various professional issues they will encounter in their future professional careers in the fields of computer engineering and ICT.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

• Define the profession, identify its setting and value professional demeanour;
• Assess human resources and industrial relational issues;
• Integrate basic health and safety aspects in the professional setting;
• Recognise various data protection, internet, e-commerce and computer misuse issues they will encounter in their career;
• Employ various accessibility aspects in the professional setting;
• Value the ethical and social dimension in the workplace;
• Integrate sustainability in their decision process;
• Value the importance of corporate social responsibility;
• Examine various ISO standards and the methods of how to implement them;
• Recognise various authorities and regulators they will encounter in the professional setting.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

• Examine situations as a professional with the highest standards;
• Create a culture of professionalism in their workplace;
• Employ a professional approach when confronted with challenging and conflicting situations.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

1. Frank Bott, “Professional Issues in Information Technology”, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, 2nd Edition, (2014), ISBN-13: 978-1780171807
2. Penny Duquenoy, Simon Jones, Barry Blundell, “Ethical, Legal and Professional Issues in Computing”, Cengage Learning EMEA, 1st Edition, (2007), ISBN-13: 978-1844807499

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Blended Learning

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 50%
Examination (1 Hour) SEM2 Yes 50%

LECTURER/S Nicholas Joseph Sammut

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.