CS3SL16-Social, Legal and Ethical Aspects of Science and Engineering

Module Provider: School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded: SE3SL11 Social, Legal and Ethical Aspects of Science and Engineering
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Pat Parslow

Email: p.parslow@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module provides students with a sound grounding in a range of social, legal, ethical and professional (SLEP) issues that might arise in their possible roles as working in technology related disciplines.

To provide students with the basic SLEP background to develop their professional role in the workplace, beyond simply performing technical tasks assigned to them.

To encourage them to consider the impacts that technologies they are developing and using could have on individuals, local, global and business communities as well as the wider world around them.

To provide an opportunity for the students to develop and exercise the critical and argumentation faculties they have developed as part of other modules.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the course, students should be able to:
-Understand the impact that new technologies have on individuals, businesses, communities and globally.
-Present compelling arguments about the social impact of new technological developments.
-Understand the legal and ethical implications of providing a service or product
-Understand the legal and ethical issues of holding and using data

Additional outcomes:
In addition, students will gain experience of working in teams to identify, analyse and critique issues related to SLEP.

Outline content:
- Social impact of technological change addressing a range of topics such as: communications; medical technologies; bio-engineering; education; entertainment; military; industry, commerce and working practices; globalisation; public understanding of science; environmental impact of high technology.
- Legal and ethical implications of providing or using a service or product including: intellectual property rights; copyright; contractual issues (e.g. payment terms, service level agreements and maintenance commitments); licensing; inclusivity
- Legal and ethical issues of holding and using data including: laws and regulations affecting this; data ownership and records management; governance processes and procedures

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The social impact of technological change will be taught using interactive lectures, presenting a topic to the class and giving a starting point from which the students can give their own ideas and reasoned arguments.
Encouragement will be given for students to continue these discussions outside lectures both in person and using online discussion tools such as Blackboard.
Seminars providing an opportunity for broader discussion, held in class or online.
Assignments (requiring self-directed research) will support the aims of the module.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Tutorials 10
Guided independent study 80
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Set exercise 100

Other information on summative assessment:
Seven assignments:

1 Produce brief abstracts for articles on current affairs (5%)
2 Critique a selection of peer-produced abstracts (10%)
3 An Academic Paper on issues related to the social impact of technology (20%);
4 A group based report identifying, analyzing and critiquing issues related to SLEP (20%);
5 A group based video presentation summarizing coursework 4 conclusions (20%);
6 A blackboard based multiple choice test on assessing legal content (15%)
7 Reflective piece (10%)

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Examination only.
    One 2-hour examination paper in August/September.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 4 January 2017

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