University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Social, Ethical and Professional Issues

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Computer Information Systems

DESCRIPTION Computing can have a significant impact on the quality of life of individuals. However, computing technology usually evolves faster than the legislation to regulate its use. Instilling a sense of ethical and moral values, and demonstrating the effects of computer misuse will enable students to make decisions about how to collect and process information ethically, and whether, and to determine, from an ethical viewpoint, whether the software they are tasked with designing or implementing is justifiable.

Study-unit Aims:

- Introduction to general ethical frameworks/theories (Utilitarianism, Consequentialism, Deontology);
- How to perform an ethical analysis;
- General Principles: Privacy and Data Protection, Professional Ethics, Property Rights;
- Coverage of several case studies.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

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

- Use several different ethical theories;
- Identify the crucial differences between ethical theories;
- Describe privacy, data protection, professional ethics, and property rights;
- Describe what it means to be an ICT professional, and how unethical behaviour can impact on society, the environment, and society at large;
- Recognise that guidelines/policy/etc. on ethical use or behaviour need to be reviewed to ensure that the guidelines/etc. are having the desired effect.

2. Skills:

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

- Identify ethical issues;
- Identify stakeholders;
- Objectively explain how they reached their decisions or recommendations.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Reynolds, G. W. Ethics in Information Technology. 4th Edition. CENGAGE Learning. 2012.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (1 Hour and 30 Minutes) Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Peter Albert Xuereb

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 study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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