Professional Issues 2017/18

Special Lectures

You will write a one-page report summarising one of the guest lectures as part of the assessment for the course. Reports will be marked for both presentation and content and marking schemes will be posted here before the first lecture in the series.

You should write your report as though you were working for an IT company reporting on a topic of relevance to that company.

We will use Turnitin for submission of practical work and to provide feedback on drafts. The deadline for submission of reports is: 16h10 Monday 4th December 2017. Because the last talk is set for 30 November, late penalties will be imposed on submissions after 7 December at 16h10. Guidance on the use of Turnitin is available on the Piazza.

We are finalising the list of guest lectures. Currently the following dates are confirmed (the description of the guest lectures will be refined in the run up to the presentation. Reading for the guest lectures will be posted a week before the meeting:

Course Material

The course textbook is

Copies of material used in class will be available in PDF format on the course webpage. The website also contains a list of other relevant documents.

Please buy (and read!!) the course textbook. Amazon offer a Kindle edition at £17 or so if you want an electronic copy.

Communications skills.


Coursework is worth 15% of marks for the course, and the final exam is worth 85%.

Class Forum

The Professional Issues Piazza Page provides a discussion forum for the course. This is a more efficient way of communicating to everyone involved in the class. Rather than emailing questions to the teaching staff, we encourage you to post your questions on Piazza. I believe Piazza also has the possibility of anonymous posting so if you want to remain anonymous you can. We can also use this forum to post homework solutions if you are happy to share your work. If you have any problems or feedback for the developers, email

Class notes and lecture log

Class videos


The December 2017 examination will take place on 20 December 2017, in the Playfair Library, at 14h30-16h30.

The examination (that contributes 85% of the asssessment of the course) will involve a compulsory multi-part short-answer question (Q1) and an essay-style question (choose one from two Q2/Q3). You will be expected to be familiar with the material covered in the course text and to have an appreciation of relevant current affairs such as may be obtained by regular reading of a serious newspaper (e.g. Common Space, The National, or The Guardian) or news magazine (e.g. The Economist), or keeping abreast of relevant organisations (e.g. Open Rights Group). Your answers should, where relevant, draw on the content of lectures given by visitors, and on your fellow-students' video presentations, as well as on course notes and texts. The examination is OPEN BOOK so you are permitted to take written material into the examination hall.

This is the list of materials I suggest you take into the examination. There is no restriction on what you take into the examination and if there are books or papers you have found particularly useful it is fine to take them into the examination (e.g. you may want to take in your GDPR practice report or your report on a guest lecture, or some answers you have written to the specimen exams):

Past papers

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