module specification

CS5052 - Professional Issues, Ethics and Computer Law (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Professional Issues, Ethics and Computer Law
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 150
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 60%   Coursework (1800 -2000 words or equivalent)
Unseen Examination 40%   2 hours Unseen Exam
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Thursday Afternoon

Module summary

Professional Issues, Ethics and Computer Law, 15 weeks: This module focuses on computer laws, social, ethical and professional issues (LSEPI) underpinning the IT discipline. It also covers techniques for the world of work such as job search, CV and interviews as well as professional ethics and responsibilities. Topics on academic research and academic writing are also presented. (Exam and course work).

Module aims

 The aims of this module are to:

  • Provide students with knowledge and understanding of the regulations governing the digital environment (e.g. Internet) and social, ethical and professional issues (LSEPI) underpinning the IT discipline.
  • Prepare students for the world of work and equip them with the knowledge and appreciation of professional bodies, code of conducts and professional certifications.
  • Introduce students to academic research and research ethics, and to academic writing


• Computer Law and LSEP issues:

  • Information and Society
  • Regulating the digital environment
  • Electronic Information, risks, misuse and criminal activity
  • Digital content and intellectual property rights
  • Ecommerce (contracts, liability and payments)
  • Privacy and access to Information
  • Future challenges (e.g.  the Cloud, Green IT, Virtual Worlds)
  • The World of Work

• Professional ethics and responsibilities

  • Professional bodies’ Codes of Conduct
  • Job search, CV,  job interviews, aptitude tests and professional certifications
  • Introduction to research

• Research ethics and the University code of conduct

  • Literature search and review, academic writing, referencing and avoiding plagiarism
  • Managing an academic project

Learning and teaching

Topics will be introduced through the medium of formal lectures, supported by tutorials and workshops sessions, and blended learning as follows:
Lecture (1 hour / week):
Introduction of the major topics (LSEPI)  identified in the syllabus, plus suggestions for practical exercises, directed reading and other further study

Tutorial/ Workshop (2 hour / week):
Consolidating the understanding of topics introduced through: weekly assignments and use of case studies, small group discussions and other activities in the tutorial sessions. Tutorials will be student centred using carefully graduated exercises to build up student's confidence and self-esteem and will also provide the opportunity for students to reinforce learning and demonstrate their skills and receive individual advice from their tutor.

Blended learning:
Using the University’s VLE and online tools to provide deliver content, assessment and feedback, to encourage active learning, and to enhance student engagement and learning experience.
Reflective learning/complete PDP:
Students will continue with their reflective journal to evaluate the development of their academic, professional and technical skills and their relationship to employability. They will plan for improvement and future direction.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to            

LO1 Demonstrate an awareness of the importance of Legal, social, ethical and professional issues (LSEPI)  underpinning the IT discipline, and present a piece of critical analysis of their relevance to a topic of current importance.
LO2 Appreciate and explain current regulations, and professional body guidelines (such as the BCS Code of Conduct) governing the IT discipline.
LO3 Understand the importance of a good CV and cover letter, good interview technique together with an insight into the recruitment process of employers.
LO4 Provide evidence of personal reflection and evaluation on the importance of academic, professional and technical skills, their relationship to employability and the need to plan for improvement and continuing professional development.
LO5 Demonstrate an awareness of the importance of ethical issues underpinning academic research and professional accountability.
LO6 Effectively research, plan, structure and deliver an academic report and presentation.


Assessment strategy

The module will be assessed through a  2-hour unseen written examination (40%), and by coursework (60%).

The written exam will provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of current regulations governing the IT discipline (LO2) and analyse and explain relevant legal, social, ethical and professional issues (LSEPI)  (LO1).

Through the weekly tasks and Personal Development Planning (PDP), students will build their awareness of the importance of LSEP issues (LSEPI). This will take the form of an extended piece of academic writing about a topic of current importance, addressing  each of the issues (LSEPI) in an appropriate way, referencing key sources such as Computer Law, Ethics Principles, Social Effects and Professional Issues (such as code of conduct).( (LO1 – LO2)Their employability skills and personal development will also be examined by a short section on self-reflection in the course work essay (LO3 - LO4).  The coursework will examine students’ abilities to research, review, plan and structure a substantial piece of academic writing as well as their awareness of research ethics, critical thinking and self-evaluation (LO5 – LO6).


• Andrew Murray (2010), Information Technology Law: The law and society, Oxford University Press.
• Chris Reed & John Angel (2007), Computer Law: The Law and Regulation of Information Technology 6thedition, Oxford University Press.
Sara Baase (2013), Gift of Fire: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues for Computing Technology, International 4th Edition, Pearson.  [CORE TEXT]
• David Bainbridge (2008) ,Introduction to Information Technology Law, Pearson.
• Mark O'Neill (2010), Green IT for Sustainable Business Practice: A Foundation Guide, BCS.
• Christian Dawson (2009), Projects in Computing and Information Systems A student’s Guide,  2nd edition, Addison Wesley.

Web resources:
BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT (
BCS Code of Conduct  (