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Sociology and Ethics in Informatics

Code: DPI4001     Acronym: DPI4001     Level: 400

Classification Keyword
OFICIAL Personal and Communicational Development

Instance: 2021/2022 - 1S Ícone do Moodle

Active? Yes
Responsible unit: Department of Computer Science
Course/CS Responsible: Master's degree in Computer Science

Cycles of Study/Courses

Acronym No. of Students Study Plan Curricular Years Credits UCN Credits ECTS Contact hours Total Time
M:CC 20 Study plan since 2014/2015 2 - 6 42 162

Teaching Staff - Responsibilities

Teacher Responsibility
Luís Filipe Coelho Antunes

Teaching - Hours

Theoretical and practical : 3,00
Type Teacher Classes Hour
Theoretical and practical Totals 1 3,00
Luís Filipe Coelho Antunes 3,00

Teaching language



Information technology plays a fundamental role in society today. It is, therefore, important to understand and reason about social and ethical issues that its use raises.

The main objectives of this course are:

  • to induce among the students critical thinking about social and ethical questions raised by the use of computers and the Internet;
  • to raise awarness for an ethical conduct, privacy and relevant legislation impacting their future profession;
  • to contribute to improve their oral and written communication skills.

Learning outcomes and competences

At the end of this course, students must know how

1. to assess the intended and unintended consequences of the introduction of IT on people and organizations;
2. to know and identy relevant legislation and norms related with intelectual property, copyright, data privacy;
3. to create a personal code of ethics as part of a professional identity

Working method



1. Codes of conduct (ACM)
2. Software licenses, intellectual property, patents; 
3. Legislation on informatics and data protection;
4. Security and privacy;
5. Crime
6. Evaluation and control of risks associated to the use of software;
7. impact of informatics on the society;

Practical component: students must prepare and present a report about an emergent topic in information technologies.

Mandatory literature

n.a.; Vários
Sara Baase; A Gift of Fire, Pearson, 4th edition, 2012. ISBN: 978-0-13-249267-6

Complementary Bibliography

Edited by M. David Ermann and Michele S. Shauf; Computers, Ethics, and Society, Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN: 9780195143027

Teaching methods and learning activities

Lecturers are to present the ideas on the topics of the program and to foster a critical debate among the students. These will be also given by invited specialists on the topics of the syllabus. Some classes will be reserved for the students to present their topics that they have prepared and about which they have to submit a report.

Evaluation Type

Distributed evaluation without final exam

Assessment Components

designation Weight (%)
Defesa pública de dissertação, de relatório de projeto ou estágio, ou de tese 50,00
Trabalho escrito 50,00
Total: 100,00

Amount of time allocated to each course unit

designation Time (hours)
Elaboração de relatório/dissertação/tese 50,00
Frequência das aulas 50,00
Estudo autónomo 62,00
Total: 162,00

Eligibility for exams

Presence in the classes (according to rules of the University of Porto); report and its presentation; participation in discussions.

Calculation formula of final grade

Average of the evaluation of the reports 80%.
Participation in the classes and discussions 20%.

Classification improvements are carried out by submitting a report on a topic other than the topic that led to approval. The final classification is the same as the report's classification.

Special evaluations are carried out with the delivery of a report, with the final classification being the same as the report's classification.

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