Module ICL-2003:
Ethical Computing

Module Facts

Run by School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr David Edward Perkins

Overall aims and purpose

This module will enable learners to develop an understanding and appreciation of the need to be professional in the computing industry and the social and ethical issues involved in the exploitation of computer technologies.

Course content

Indicative content includes:

● Being Professional: Definitions of Ethics, Environmental, Legal, Social and Professional Aspects.

● Introduction of the concept of professionalism. Protecting the IT Professional, Codes of Conduct/Practice. Codes of Ethics, Environmental considerations, established organisations. (eg. IEEE, BCS, IET)

● Software liability and reliability. Critical Systems, Health & Safety.

● IT and its Influence on Society. IT in the workplace, in the home, in education, in politics: its uses and abuses. The information revolution. Information Societies. Social obligations of IT professionals.

● The World Wide Web. Access to information. Information and Privacy. The use and misuse of data. DPA. Computer misuse. FOI. Copyright. Intellectual property.

● Responsibility and Recrimination. What can be done? Responsibilities for security and abuse of data. Potential methods of control. Differences between responsibility, accountability and liability.

● The Future of IT. What can we expect? Changes to society, home-life, education and work. Ethical and professional considerations.

Assessment Criteria


Equivalent to 40%. Uses key areas of theory or knowledge to meet the Learning Outcomes of the module. Is able to formulate an appropriate solution to accurately solve tasks and questions. Can identify individual aspects, but lacks an awareness of links between them and the wider contexts. Outputs can be understood, but lack structure and/or coherence.


Equivalent to the range 60%-69%. Is able to analyse a task or problem to decide which aspects of theory and knowledge to apply. Solutions are of a workable quality, demonstrating understanding of underlying principles. Major themes can be linked appropriately but may not be able to extend this to individual aspects. Outputs are readily understood, with an appropriate structure but may lack sophistication.


Equivalent to the range 70%+. Assemble critically evaluated, relevent areas of knowledge and theory to constuct professional-level solutions to tasks and questions presented. Is able to cross-link themes and aspects to draw considered conclusions. Presents outputs in a cohesive, accurate, and efficient manner.

Learning outcomes

  1. Present and communicate ideas, views and opinions on a technology based ethical issue.

  2. Demonstrate knowledge of ethical issues in computing.

  3. Research and analyse ethical technology based topics of interest and document evaluations, findings and conclusions in an appropriate manner.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
REPORT Ethics Report

Produce an individual report in demonstrating knowledge of ethical issues in computing.

REPORT Individual Topic Report

Produce an individual report through research and fully synthesised outcomes on a computing related topic to be agreed with the Module Leader. Report to be fully structured with evaluations, findings and conclusions. The research will be evidenced using the Harvard Referencing system.


Individual formal 10 minute presentation on a technology based idea showing appreciation for opinions and ideas for both parties equally.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


70 of the 100 notional learning hours - 70 hours of tutor directed student learning.

The tutor directed student learning will be supported by online learning materials hosted or signposted on the Grŵp VLE.


30 of the 100 hours of notional learning - 30 hours classroom based.

The classroom-based element will include student-centred learning methods such as interactive lectures, case studies, group discussions and practical workshops.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Knowledge and understanding of facts, concepts, principles & theories
  • Recognise legal, social, ethical & professional issues
  • Knowledge and understanding of commercial and economic issues
  • Knowledge of management techniques to achieve objectives
  • Recognise risk/safety for safe operation of computing equipment
  • Deploy tools effectively
  • Development of general transferable skills
  • Knowledge of systems architecture
  • Knowledge and/or understanding of appropriate scientific and engineering principles
  • Principles of appropriate supporting engineering and scientific disciplines


Reading list

Brinkman, W. & Sanders, A., 2012. Ethics in a Computing Culture . Cengage Learning.

Johnson, D., 2009. Computer Ethics. 4 th ed. Prentice Hall.

Quinn, M., 2014. Ethics for the Information Age. 6th ed. Addison-Wesley

Tavani, H., 2013. Ethics and Technology: Controversies, Questions and Strategies for Ethical Computing . John Wiley


ACM Digital Library

Professional Bodies Websites

The British Computer Society (BCS)

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

The Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: