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Linda Beach

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Course Description Recommended: IFSM 201. A comprehensive study of ethics and of personal and organizational ethical decision making in the use of information systems in a global environment. The aim is to identify ethical issues raised by existing and emerging technologies, apply a structured framework to analyze risk and decision alternatives, and understand the impact of personal ethics and organizational values on an ethical workplace.

Course Introduction The word ethics has its root in the word ethos, which most often refers to character. The concepts of ethics, character, right and wrong, and good and evil have captivated humankind ever since we began to live in groups, communicate, and pass judgment on each others’ actions based on motivation, group rules and norms, and intermediate and end results. Thinking about ethics can begin with the individual, and then expand into group, societal, and cultural ethical considerations. From this foundation, we can apply (and test against) known theories and frameworks to information systems and situations in the modern age. Can ethics and personal character apply, and in the same ways, in the modern information- and data-based world in which we currently live, work, and function? Discovering this application, and determining the degree to which it satisfies logic, justice, ethical truths, and modern reality, is the overarching goal of this course. While ethics is important for its own sake, we, as information-systems professionals, have a particular responsibility to understand and apply ethics to our professional actions and decisions. Character, goodness, and just actions are certainly important for everyone, as they have been throughout history—and the more power the individual possesses due to political position or wealth, the greater the ramifications of character or the lack of it. However, in no previous age has the technology for information retrieval, storage, and communication possessed such potential to change power structures and be the source of power itself. In the modern era, information systems managers and professionals exercise a new kind of power, with broad and often instant ramifications. This power—gained through technical expertise—requires a new level of social responsibility. This responsibility is satisfied through a development of understanding of ethics in Information Technology and the application of ethics to their own decision-making process. After reviewing a foundation of ethical thought and becoming familiar with ethical theories, frameworks, and approaches, you will be able to consider several key aspects of modern information systems that currently challenge information professionals and citizens of networked and computing-dependent societies. Through the use of vignettes, you will consider issues affecting ethics for IT workers and IT users; privacy and intellectual property; the impact of IT on productivity and quality of life; and the tradeoffs between laws guiding group needs and individual needs. After gaining a basic understanding of ethics, you will examine privacy/accuracy and property/accessibility, seeing a broader and more complex array of modern ethical questions in information systems and direct challenges facing information systems professionals today. You will explore future challenges as you consider how things may change and what ethical behavior will appear in information systems as the twenty-first century unfolds. The language and facts of information systems and computing have changed the world, and touched and changed lives. This industry has spawned, and continues to spawn, new concepts and new language, and it does so with extreme rapidity. On the other hand, ethics, which was often a study of the ancients, examines unchanging truths. With many obvious differences in the concepts and practicalities, a shared aspect of both computing and ethics is universality. The time-tested and largely globally shared concepts of basic ethics mirror in many ways the universal language of programming and operating systems. The fun begins as we apply time-tested ethical frameworks to determine correct actions and decisions in this information systems world of ones and zeros; of self-replicating, anonymous, and invisible actors; and of the global marketplace for information instead of more concrete and physical goods and services. The study of ethics in the Information Technology is fascinating and mentally challenging, and this course should equip and guide your journey into this ethics and information maelstrom.

Course Outcomes After completing this course, you should be able to:

Apply relevant ethical theories, laws, regulations, and policies to decision making to support organizational compliance. Apply decision-making framework to analyze risks and decision alternatives at different levels of an organization. Identify and address new and/or increased ethical issues raised by existing and emerging technologies. Analyze the impact of personal and organizational ethics in order to foster and support an ethical workforce.

Course Materials Click to access your course materials information (

Class Guidelines Contacting your Faculty Member

University of Maryland University College • Adelphi • Syllabus •

IFSM 304 7982 ETHICS IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (2188) IFSM-304 Fall 2018 Section 7982 3 Credits 10/22/2018 to 12/16/2018 304&S=7982&Sem=2188

You can use the Pager feature within the classroom to send a message to your faculty member. Contacting the Department

If you have questions related to the course content or any of the graded deliverables, please contact the instructor. For questions and concerns related to advising, please write to ( or call (301) 985-7000 or, toll-free (800) 888-8682. For other questions and concerns, you can contact your Program Chair by writing to ( or by calling (240) 684-2840. Please be sure to mention the course name, course number, and your section number in the “Subject:” field of your e-mail. Course Materials

This course uses e-resources posted in the classroom. Assigned readings and videos, or links to them, may also be posted in the classroom. Software Requirements

Students have free access to Google software tools through their UMUC Google mail accounts and Google Drive. Google Drive is also a good environment for collaborative document creation. In addition, there are other free, open software tools that students may use. Rather than require students to purchase Microsoft Office applications, they may use whatever tool they have as long as the document created can be read by the faculty member using Microsoft Office. The responsibility is on the student to ensure the readability of their products and the retention of the formatting when they are opened and read in Microsoft Office. Additional Information

Effective writing is critical to the intellectual life of university students and graduates within the workplace. Effective managers are usually effective communicators. Your work in this course must demonstrate your ability to master and effectively communicate course content. Effective writing

Meets the needs of the reader Adequately covers the subject Uses expected conventions of format and organization Demonstrates use of credible reasoning and evidence Satisfies standards of style and grammatical correctness Requires 100% compliance with UMUC’s zero-tolerance policy regarding plagiarism

This class uses APA style and format for all assignments. All materials submitted must be original materials developed by the student solely for use in this class and must conform to UMUC’s academic policies. Submission of reused materials may result in a reduced grade or non-acceptance of the assignment at the faculty member’s discretion. For more information about student services and other general information, visit UMUC’s website at (

Grading Information This course consists of the following graded items:

Conference participation 16%

Analysis of current events posting on IT-related ethical global issues (multinational corporation)


Paper A: apply decision-making frameworks to IT-related ethical issues (individual)


Paper B1 (matrix): IT-related ethical organizational issue applying relevant laws, regulations, and policies (individual)


Paper B2: organizational policy to address an ethical IT workforce issue (individual)


Paper C1: select topic and identify three critical questions related to the (individual)


Paper C2: – Individual research paper on existing or emerging technology and related ethical issue


Paper C3: group presentation: research on emerging technologies and issues (group)


Paper D: individual reflection on class learning (individual)


Total 100%


By registering for a web-based, hybrid, or face-to-face course, you have made a commitment to participate in your course conferences as well as other online and face-to-face activities. Plan to participate regularly. Participation for this course is defined as proactive discussion in weekly conferences, discussion questions, and study group activities. This requires you to actively reflect on weekly module and textbook readings and to develop original ideas in your responses. Participation for this course is also defined as your proactive engagement in face-to- face meetings, if applicable. When participating in a hybrid course, the online portion requires your participation each week throughout the semester, even during weeks when the class meets face to face. Your online sessions will focus on conference discussions, study group activities, and homework assignments. Face-to-face sessions will be used for instructional lectures, class oral presentations, and quizzes/tests. The hybrid classroom allows you to benefit from face-to-face interaction with the instructor and other students, but also gives busy UMUC students the opportunity to work from home for a significant portion of the course. You are expected to demonstrate critical thinking and your understanding of the content in the assigned readings as they relate to the issues identified in the conference discussion. You are expected to make your own contribution in a main topic as well as respond with value-added comments to at least two of your classmates. You are encouraged to respond to other students as well as to your instructor. You will note in the grading policy that your online conference participation counts significantly toward your final grade. You are expected to adhere to the general rules of online etiquette. Participation must be completed the week due. Please review the Grading Rubric for Participation, as shown below:

Responded to discussion topic (by Wednesday midnight) and two classmates’ postings (by Sunday midnight); postings and questions posed are relevant to the discussion topic, well supported with outside research or assigned readings as appropriate, add value to the discussion, and demonstrate student’s understanding of concepts.

2.0 (A)

Responded to discussion topic (by Wednesday midnight) and to two classmates’ postings (by the end of the class week) postings and questions posed are relevant to the discussion topic, supported with outside research or assigned readings as appropriate, add value to the discussion, and demonstrate student’s understanding of concepts but may lack depth, completeness, or relevant research

1.6 (B)

Responded to discussion topic (by Wednesday midnight) and one or two responses to classmates’ postings; postings meet minimum requirements but lack sufficient depth or supporting research.

1.4 (C)

Late response to discussion topic, and 1 or 2 responses to classmates’ postings (by the end of the class week); and/or lack of sufficient depth, supporting research, demonstration of understanding of concepts.

1.2 (D)

No participation in the discussion. 0 (F)

Final Examination

There is no final examination for this course, as your grade is based on a series of assignments that constitute an authentic assessment developed into a Learning Portfolio. See Other Information below.

Late Policy:

Assignments are expected to be submitted on time. Students have a long lead time in which to prepare, ask questions, and seek help. A late assignment will be penalized unless a major accident, illness, or deployment (for active duty military), with supporting documentation, prevents a student from submitting their assignment on time. Late discussion posts will not be accepted.Unless we have communicated differently, students have one late week to make up assignments with a 10% penalty assigned. Students should keep their instructor informed in advance about military deployments or other events that may impact their progress and participation in the course. All assignments must be submitted by the end of class, 11:59 PM, EST/EDT. UMUC is on Eastern Standard time and all activities and communications will be based on this time zone.


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Linda Beach was first posted on September 18, 2019 at 8:39 pm.
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Linda Beach was first posted on September 18, 2019 at 8:39 pm.
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