Professional Issues (PI)

Response to 2014/15 survey feedback.

The PI course is running in 2015/16.

We have taken note of the feedback provided through the Student Online Survey. We have the following responses/clarifications:

Response from Michael Fourman

  • First, please note that passing this course is a requirement for BCS accreditation of your degree. Relevant topics are defined by the BCS. Most of you will find this material dry in contrast with the engaging technical content of our other courses, but it is important that you understand the context - ethical, social, legal, financial and organisational - in which you will probably be working after you graduate.
  • The guest lectures are an integral part of the course. They expose you to professionals who are dealing with these issues on a daily basis.
  • You can pass the course by attending the lectures, submitting the coursework, studying and reflecting on the book, and following press coverage of relevant current affairs. The examination is 'open book'.
  • My "lectures" are largely structured as group discussions, in each of which we explore some aspect of the syllabus, and its social and professional context, in more depth. This often leads to discussion of topical issues that go beyond the book; for example privacy, surveillance, encryption.
  • The first PI lecture consists of an overview of the syllabus. In the second lecture, the class decides which topics it wants to explore in greater depth. You are expected to bridge any resulting gaps in coverage by private study.

Response from Phil Wadler

  • The video presentation will be better described and scheduled further in advance this year.
  • We will take into account the student desire to cover more material in the textbook.
  • We will emphasise in communication skills that the point is to get students to think about how to improve their communications, but there is no one right way to do so.

Philip Wadler and Michael Fourman, September 2015.