Consider this as a reflective paper on class learning as it applies to ethics in information technology. It describes your Ah-ha moment. I hope this course made you think about the ethical trade-offs that occur in our personal and work lives and how we go about making our ethical choices. You can use the ideas you learned from this course; how you will synthesize what you learned from your research about your topic including – over-arching issues, readings, discussion from class, and conclusions from other assignments that apply to your research.
This should not be a stream-of-consciousness narrative, but an organized summary.
From a class learning perspective, what were some of your take-aways? (How easily you can turn something that’s suppose to be good when it comes to technology it can be used in a bad way and it becomes an issue.)
How has this impacted your understanding of the ethical issues? (It made me more aware of what to look out for and what not to do if I’m ever in a situation.)
What did you like about this class or not like about this class.(I did not like the weekly paper assignments but I preferred the discussion because you see different point of views) Would you change anything, if so, what would you change? (I would rather have done a test over the stuff we read throughout the class)
As we continue to move toward a global community, what new challenges might we see relating to ethics in IT?
Ethical aspects of information technology include the rights and responsibilities, quality of life issues, equity and access, the use of power and risk, privacy and copyright issues and how they affect individuals, organizations and nations (Edgar, 2002). This class has provided a proper foundation for ethical thinking within the information technology context as well as a basis for making moral decisions, defences of ethical skepticisms, and criticism of ethical theories such as classical, utilitarianism and deontological theories. This reflective paper will reflect on how the exploration of that framework has contributed to my knowledge of the practical application of information technology ethics in my profession.
Reflections on class learning perspectives
Most of the lessons learnt in this course have been on how to recognize an ethical dilemma and then identifying how to suitably apply the ethical framework to resolve the dilemma amicably with the least impingement to the stakeholders concerned.
My main take out from this course was the realisation of the ethical significance of the intellectual property, trade secrets, trademarks, copyright and patents from the perspective of technical and social settings (Edgar, 2002). I was amazed at how quickly something that is supposed to be good technologically can turn into an ethical dilemma and it then becomes an issue. The chapter on privacy enlightened me about personal ethical issues around caller ID, computer matching, and recent arguments surrounding Clipper Chip (Edgar, 2002).
Possibly the most useful topic in this class is the knowledge of working with computers, command, control and cybernetic theories. The ethical issues surrounding control and surveillance of employee activities in the workplace were well addressed as well as the recent concerns about Internet identity, anonymity, free speech and censorship (Edgar, 2002).
The framework provided in this class will be helpful for those working to create new computer and IT policies or to revise or amend previous policies. While I am not aware at this time whether I shall directly be part of a process to create new policies in future, the knowledge gained in this class will be helpful in understanding the rationale used to evaluate whether the policy is legally okay, ethically professional and acceptable for the given situation.
This course has given me a clear understanding of the broad domain of computer and IT ethics. While I did not like the weekly paper assignments, I always looked forward to the discussions because I got to interact and get the different point of views from my course mates. If I were to change anything about the way the class is administered, I would rather have a test done covering all the chapters we read throughout the class. Although the coursework has been challenging and even intense over the period, the knowledge I acquired has given me the insight and prepared me to effectively promote ethical foundations, including how ethics is applied within the IT environment.
As new technologies continue to impact the computerised world, businesses and organizations will be confronted with new issues and ethical dilemmas such as Cyber War and hacktivism, wearable technology, and Super-intelligent robotics. This course has tackled quite some topics relating to the theoretical, legal and practical application of ethics in information technology. The knowledge I gained has and will continue to impact my future studies as well as my career as an IT professional.
Edgar, S. (2002). Morality And Machines: Perspectives On Computer Ethics: Jones & Bartlett Learning; 2 edition.