Hello and welcome to Professional Issues. Here is a short overview of this course for you.
This course is designed to give students an understanding of the larger societal context in which they will work as computing professionals. We will talk about the role and influence of computing in modern societies, potential harms that can be caused by poorly considered technical interventions, and some ways in which we can seek to reduce the risks.
This course is less interested in right or wrong factual questions than most of your other courses, and more focused on developing your ability to read, comprehend and discuss topics from a range of different disciplines beyond Informatics. These are largely learned only through practice: in reading and discussion, so your best chance to get good at them is to put in that practice.
There will be one lecture per week to curate topics, provide an overview, and introduce you to definitions that will help you engage with the following week's material. Prerecorded versions of these are also available from last year, and new recordings will be made as we go. The remaining time in the two timetabled in-person lecture slots will then be used for questions or discussion. These won't bring up any new/required material and are primarily for students who want to explore ideas further the lecturer.
The main content of the course is to be found in the readings, and you should endeavour to keep on top of these. The lectures are prep for these, not a replacement, as part of the aim of the course is to get students used to engaging with non-Informatics writings.
Tutorials are also be a core part of the experience, as your best opportunity to engage in discussion in a small group. Students who want to get the most out of the course will make sure to go to all tutorials. Attendance is not marked, but doing prep work beforehand and submitting it is (see below), and this helps the tutorials to be beneficial to those who do attend.
Aside from tutorial engagement, it is encouraged to discuss topics with each other on the course Piazza. This is all good practice, and will serve you well when it comes to the essays.
On successful completion of this course, you should be able to:
1. Identify a range of professional and unprofessional behaviour in ICT- related contexts and recommend remedial action.
2. Identify broader social and ethical considerations influencing the work of ICT professionals and how your work might be mindful of these.
3. Identify legitimate interests of broader society in computing systems and suggest approaches incorporating these into development.
4. Identify potential harms and benefits of the interventions of computing professionals, considering different stakeholder viewpoints and frameworks.
5. Identify examples of good and poor leadership and suggest leadership approaches which themselves encourage and uphold professional conduct.
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