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Ethics and ICT [ LFSA2202 ]

3.0 crédits ECTS  30.0 h   2q 

Teacher(s) Pereira Olivier ; Gosseries Axel ;
Language English
of the course
Online resources



No specific prerequisites. An interest for ICT issues and a curiosity for their ethical/policy dimensions are perfectly sufficient.

Main themes

The themes change from year to year, and may include:
- net neutrality and freedom of expression
- intellectual property
- privacy
- crowdsourcing and the "sharing economy"
- cryptocurrencies

  • - e-democracy

Contribution of the course to the program objectives (N°)

3.2, 3.3

4.2, 4.3

5.2, 5.5, 5.6

6.2, 6.3, 6.4

Specific learning outcomes of the course

a.      Disciplinary Learning Outcomes

Students having successfully followed this course will be :

  • understanding why ethical reasoning is relevant for their specific disciplinary domain and more generally ;
  • ble to identify within an ICT ethical/policy question which parts of the debate have to do with factual questions and which parts belong to a properly ethical dimension and how they should be articulated ;
  • able to formulate an ethical question when facing a technical choice with an ethical dimension, and dare stating and arguing for their own view on the question ;
  • grasping the spirit of a method in ethics to answer a given question, in relation to ICT ;
  • aware of the content of the central arguments and rationale on issues such as, for example, freedom of expression, intellectual property, privacy, e-democracy and how they lead to specific challenges in well defined ICT contexts.

b.     Transversal Learning Outcomes

 Students having successfully followed this course will be :

  • able to access the relevant sources on the topics seen in class and on other related ones ;
  • able to work both individually and in group
  • able to answer a question in a short well-structured written format, in non-technical language ;
  • able to present their work orally.

The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.

Evaluation methods

The students will be graded, based on the learning outcomes described above, from oral examination and from essays that they will submit individually or in small groups. This may take the form of a short draft essay benefiting from a detailed feedback from the professors and from an oral discussion with colleagues before being handed-in in final version.

Teaching methods

a.    Process organization

The course is organized in two parts. In a first part, half days are dedicated to the study of specific themes. Students are required to prepare each of these half days through readings that are communicated beforehand. These half days may include the following activities : (1) presentation by the professors of some of the main arguments in the debate, (2) work in small teams on specific questions, (3) oral presentation of the results of each team and discussion. The second - and shorter - part of the course will be devoted to the production and presentation of students essays, based on the methodology developed earlier.

b.    Media

Students will be provided for each specific theme with a short reading list. They will also be provided with a short general bibliography on the theme.


The content will be adapted depending on the themes investigated in the class.


Relevant sources are provided during the class, depending on the themes that are discussed.

Faculty or entity
in charge
Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)
  Sigle Crédits Prérequis Acquis
Master [120] in Electro-mechanical Engineering ELME2M 3 -
Master [120] in Biomedical Engineering GBIO2M 3 -
Master [120] in Electrical Engineering ELEC2M 3 -
Master [120] in Computer Science SINF2M 3 -
Master [120] in Physical Engineering FYAP2M 3 -
Master [120] in Civil Engineering GCE2M 3 -
Master [120] in Computer Science and Engineering INFO2M 3 -
Master [120] in Chemical and Materials Engineering KIMA2M 3 -
Master [120] in Mathematical Engineering MAP2M 3 -
Master [120] in Mechanical Engineering MECA2M 3 -
Master [120] in Political Sciences: General SPOL2M 3 -
Master [120] in Management GESM2M 5 -
Master [120] in Management GEST2M 5 -
Master [120] in Business engineering INGE2M 5 -
Master [120] in Business Engineering INGM2M 5 -

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