KV4007 - Computers & Society

What will I learn on this module?

This module will open your eyes to the harmful impacts that seemingly mundane actions and decisions taken (or lack thereof) during the development of technology may have on people’s lives and livelihoods. It provides a foundation knowledge of the key harms caused by technological developments and their application to the wider society, covering topics including techno solutionism and responsible design of technology.

‘Computers & Society’ will prepare you for further modules in your program of study where you will need to be able to use evidence-driven research and critical reflection on technology design as well as for your final year project and any placement years or consultancy projects you might undertake. Increasingly, employers are looking for computing professionals who can go beyond the mere functional analysis and design of new technologies to doing so in a responsible manner by anticipating societal impacts that might arise through their design.

During ‘Computers & Society’ you will engage in research-rich critical analyses of harm arising through the development of technology, learn how to develop evidence-driven arguments, and position yourself as a responsible computing professional by identifying what harms you might unintentionally contribute to, and how you might avoid or mitigate doing so. The main element in assessment (70%) will be a final research-driven report that will bring together all your new skills and knowledge and allow you to position yourself as a responsible computing professional.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through lectures, interactive workshops, and independent learning. The lectures will cover theory and techniques to provide you with a foundation in understanding the professional, ethical, legal, and societal implications of technology, with a detailed evaluation of harms arising, and techniques for avoiding or mitigating these harms. You will further your understanding during the workshops in which you will work through tutor-led exercises to critically assess both research and our own assumptions.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported by tutors during the timetabled sessions and you will receive formative feedback on your work and engagement with the workshop exercises. The University’s eLearning Portal offers remote access to all lecture and seminar materials to reinforce your learning. In addition, the university library offers support for all students through the provision of electronic resources and a detailed reading list for the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
MLO1 – Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between technology and society
MLO2 - Demonstrate an understanding of the societal responsibility of computing professionals

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
MLO3 – Find and use evidence to assess, and justify your standpoint on relevant topics
MLO4 - Discuss technological developments in computing in general and your specialization in particular and exhibit an understanding of their professional, ethical, legal, and societal implications

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
MLO5 - Be able to identify where you can potentially make a difference in responsible development of technology

How will I be assessed?

Knowledge & Understanding:
MLO1 – Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between technology and society
MLO2 - Demonstrate an understanding of the societal responsibility of computing professionals

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
MLO3 – Find and use evidence to assess, and justify your standpoint on relevant topics
MLO4 - Discuss technological developments in computing in general and your specialization in particular and exhibit an understanding of their professional, ethical, legal, and societal implications

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
MLO5 - Be able to identify where you can potentially make a difference in responsible development of technology

How will I be assessed? (SRS 0006)
Please give details of all formative and summative assessment process indicating which MLOs will be addressed and how feedback will be provided.

There will be two summative assessments in this module.

The first summative assessment will be a literature review examining a topic related to this module and/or your field of specialization. You will submit a one page poster visually summarising how you conducted the literature review, what results you found, and what lessons you have drawn from it. It is worth 30% of your mark for this module.
This assessment addresses Module Learning Outcomes: ML01, ML03, ML04.

The second, main, summative assessment will be a final research-based report where you will use the knowledge and skills you have learned throughout the module to identify what you feel is the main societal harm in your field of specialization where you could make a difference, and how you could make a difference. The word limit will be 3,000. It is worth 70% of your mark for this module.

This assessment addresses Module Learning Outcomes: ML01, ML02, ML03, ML04, and ML05.

You will receive critical constructive feedback on your assessments.
During workshops there will be formative workshop exercises and class discussions for which you will also receive formative feedback.
Programme (Level) Learning Outcomes that this module contributes to:
[Please insert PLO number as listed on the programme specification]

This Level 4 Module addresses the following PLOs as listed in the relevant programme specifications:

ALL programmes:
KU1, KU3
IPSA3
PVA1, PVA2, PVA3, PVA4.

Pre-requisite(s)

N/A

Co-requisite(s)

N/A

Module abstract

This module will open your eyes to all the harm that the seemingly innocent development of technology has, and continues to have, on people’s lives and livelihoods. Indicative topics include: techno solutionism and the role of technology in overcoming societal issues, critical research and literature review, and approaches for the responsible design of technology. Research-driven lectures are followed by practical workshops where you will engage in exercises to critically assess both research, new technologies, and your own assumptions. You will apply your newly acquired knowledge and skills in a research-driven assessment where you identify the main harm(s) in your field of specialization, and what role you can play as a responsible computing professional to mitigate them.

Course info

UCAS Code GN50

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Computer and Information Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2023

Fee Information

Module Information

All information on this course page is accurate at the time of viewing.

Our Campus based courses starting in 2022 and 2023 will be delivered on-campus with supporting online learning content. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to adjust the delivery of our education accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

On-campus contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with any additional restrictions, which may be imposed by the Government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors. This could potentially mean increased or fully online delivery, should such restrictions on in-person contact time be required.

 

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