Learning goals

This module consists of two components. The first is the practical component, BIT Inc., with a size of 10 EC. The second component is new: the reflection component. This component is 5 EC large and is to be thought from the Department of Philosophy and the Department of Science, Technology and Policy Studies, both from the BMS faculty. This module is BIT only. In 2018-2019 it will be given in quarter one and three; where the edition in quarter three is the regular edition (which likely will be followed by most students).

The practical component of BIT Inc focusses on a realistic organizational problem, related to IT application, within a real organization. The problem is to be approached in a systematic and methodological correct manner. This course integrates all knowledge, methods, techniques and approaches as has been aquired by the student as part of the rest of the BIT bachelor programm, and gives it a practical vextension.

The reflection component is intended to raise students’ awareness of the philosophical and ethical issues raised by the research component of the project.

The learning objectives of this course is to improve students'

  • ability to apply critical reasoning and ethical deliberation to assess the ethical and societal implications of handling IT-related organization issues.
  • ability to understand how IT-related organization issues may affect core moral values, user well-being, and societal change
  • knowledge of the most fundamental discussions, theories and controversies in computer ethics, in particular related to IT-related organization issues.
  • knowledge of professional codes of ethics and Dutch/European legislation related to computer science research.

Content

In the practical component of BIT Inc students work in teams on a real organizational problem at a company. The groups consisting of 3-4 students are to be formed by the teacher – we thrive to form groups with a mixed profile (mix computer science / industrial engineering profiles). Each group works 3 days/week at the comapny, next tot hat half a day is reserved for a lecture (Friday morning), and corresponding preparation. Two types of lectures are scheduled: [1] lectures were progress within the assignments are discussed, and [2] lectures where we discuss “theory”: partly filled with guest speakers. The course finishes with an end seminar where the different groups present their results to each other, the company supervisors and the two teachers involved. The company supervisors have a say in the grading of the work. Furthermore, the involved teaching staff will grade the results: the module coordinator, and a second reader who assesses just the end results. The form for the final deliverables for the different groups are to be set during the project in joint interaction between the student groups, the company supervisor and the module coordinator.  

In the reflection component students will work on two reports:

  • BIT INC reflection (3 EC): In cooperation with an assigned group supervisor, students identify a series of ethical and societal aspects of their BIT INC projects. The groups produce a corresponding 8-10 page report on the basis of supervisor recommendations, recommended literature, and a series of lectures on relevant topics. For students whose BIT INC project do not raise any significant issues to address, students can choose an ‘open topic’ report instead, to be determined in cooperation with supervisor.
  • Elective (2 EC): In addition to the BIT INC reflection group report, students also produce an individual report on one of the elective topics. The elective topics will be centered on more narrow topics where students can pursue more particular interests, in collaboration with a supervisor who is an expert on the topic. Students choose an elective in the first week and, together with supervisor, determines a corresponding research question. There will be one lecture dedicated to each elective, and students will be given guidance for themselves finding and making use of relevant literature and empirical research.

Assumed previous knowledge

Both for BIT all mandatory modules have to be completed upon starting BIT INC (e.g. 120 EC excluding the minor modules).