Computing Practices

Study Notes by Rahul Prabhudesai

Information

This page is still in progress and new content will be added over time. Estimated completion is March 2020.

Contents


1| Cyberethics


The study of moral, legal and social issues involving cybertechnology can be defined as Cyberethics. It examines the impact on social, legal and moral systems resulting from the use of cybertechnology.

Development Phases of Cyberethics

Phase 1 – Circa 1950s to 1960s

The invention of transistors in 1948 marked the earliest phase in computing technology along with the invention titled “A Mathematical Theory of Communication” published by Bell Telephone Laboratories in a monograph. As technological advancements post WWII gave rise to Artificial Intelligence (AI), the intelligence of machines made room for questions such as Can machines think? If so, what are the consequences, what does it mean for our sense of self? Are me machines? What does it mean to be human?

Privacy was another point of consideration once mass surveillance and data collection was a possibility with computers. The USSR’s Sputnik 1 launch in 1957 in the public eye propelled the issue.

Phase 2 – Circa 1970s to 1980s

The beginning of phase 2 is outlined by standalone mainframe computers being connected to ARPANET, which is a predecessor to Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). Simultaneously, computers were becoming commercially available products which in turn raised ethical issues associated with concerns about personal privacy, intellectual property and cyber crime. The privacy concerns were exacerbated due to information previously stored in physical formats were being converted to electronic/digital records allowing for easy transmission of confidential and non-confidential data.

This period led to an increased number of cyber crime such as hacks targeted at the computer systems of large organisations fuelling the increased privacy concerns.

Phase 3 – 1990s to Present

The decommissioning of NSFNET, the mid-80s network research and education promoter marked the start of development phase 3 while the commercial internet and the first Internet Service Providers (ISPs) came into existence.

This phase caused ethical concerns to sky-rocket as issues of free speech, anonymity, data ownership, etc. due to the proliferation of personal technology. Social media websites steadily increased in popularity which brought about more concerns regarding anonymity and ownership of personal information. These issues arose resulting from a lack of clear national or geographical boundaries in cyberspace.

An emerging e-commerce market led to consumers being concerned about trusting online businesses with personal and financial information. These concerns were and are still valid, especially with the prevalence of data breaches.

Phase 4 – Present to Near Future

Increased reliance and dependence upon Information Technology (IT) in modern society and the rapid development of nanotechnology and biotechnology will create more ethical concerns. As electronic devices reduce in scale and ultimately become integrated/embedded into objects, they will start to lose their property of distinct entities. Biotechnology will make it difficult to separate certain aspects of biology from technology.

Furthermore, advancements in AI and quantum computing will create a paradigm shift in the field of cyber ethics and more unforeseen issues and dilemmas will emerge.

Definitions of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Thinking Humanly

“The exciting new effort to make computers think … machines with minds, in the full and literal sense.” (Haugeland, 1985)

“[The automation of] activities that we associate with human thinking, activities such as decision-making, problem solving, learning …” (Bellman, 1978)
Thinking Rationally

“The study of mental faculties through the use of computational models.” (Charniak and McDermott, 1985)

“The study of the computations that we make it possible to perceive, reason and act.” (Winston, 1992)
Acting Humanly

“The art of creating machines that perform functions that require intelligence when performed by people.” (Kurzweil, 1990)

“The study of how to make computers to the things at which, at the moment, people are better.” (Rich and Knight, 1991)
Acting Rationally

“Computational Intelligence is the study of the design of intelligent agents.” (Poole et al., 1998)

“AI … is concerned with intelligent behavior in artifacts.” (Nilsson, 1998)

The definitions above are concerned with thought processes and reasoning, whereas the ones below address behaviour. The definitions on the left measure success in terms of fidelity to human performance, whereas the ones on the right measure against an ideal performance measure, called rationality.

Approaching Cyber Ethics Issues

Brey (2004) argues that analysing cyber ethics issues should require the following three levels of analysis:

  • Disclosure Level – Disclose embedded features in computer technology that have moral importance.
  • Theoretical Level – Test newly disclosed features against standard ethical theories.
  • Application Level – Apply standard or newly revised/formulated ethical theories to the issues.

This approach requires a tight collaboration between computer scientists, philosophers and social scientists.

Ethical Concepts

Ethics can be described as “a system of general moral principles and a conception of morality and its foundation” or in other words, the study of moral principles (Solomon, 2008). Morals are a set of fundamental rules that guide our actions and principles for evaluating those rules.

A moral system is a system comprised of rules of conduct, broken down into directives which guide individual conduct and social policies at the macro level. In addition, it also includes evaluative standards used to justify rules of conduct.

Discussion Question


One of the major criticisms of Kantian philosophy relates to its handling of cases where we have a conflict of duties. Suppose I promise to you to keep a secret and then someone else asks me about it. I cannot both tell the truth and keep my promise, yet according to the Kantian position I should do both. In that situation I cannot logically universalise my behaviour: if I tell the truth I will break my promise, and if I keep my promise I will not tell the truth.
Discuss your opinion about this criticism.

Personally, I think this criticism does not have a valid stance in that, in any situation, despite our aim to universalise our behaviour, cases arise where this is impractical or impossible to do so. We should instead weight the implications of either outcome and chose the most “ethical” option.

In this particular case, what the promise is determines the outcome. Say the promise is to not reveal the identity of the thief who burgled a local pawn shop, it would be ethical to break the promise and tell the truth to authorities. If however, the promise is to keep the location of a birthday present secret, there is no harm in keeping it a secret and lying and would be considered ethical.

Essentially what I am trying to get at here is that it is not feasible to both tell the truth and keep a promise, likewise to how it is impossible to both agree and disagree regarding the same subject. I believe that the only ethical outcome to any scenario where there is a conflict of duties is to respond in a manner that would be considered the “social norm” per se and a universally accepted response. Referring back to the burglar example, it would be considered normal to break the promise and would be the response by a majority of people while keeping the promise would be seen as unethical.

2| Critical Reasoning


A complex concept described as an analysis of facts upon which a justified and rational judgement is produced. It involves the identification of bias, challenging ideas and ensuring evidence is credible.

Critical Thinking Strategies

  • Analysis – breaking things down
  • Evaluation – making judgements based on evidence
  • Synthesizing – combining elements together into a coherent whole

On the other hand, critical reasoning is a core skill which allows individuals to actively conceptualise, analyse, question and evaluate ideas and beliefs and make an informed judgement based on strengths and weaknesses of the argument.

Arguments

Basic Structure of an Argument

Arguments are important as they allow one to determine the degree of truth of a statement through the use of the following key components:

  • Premise/s – One or more statements from which another is inferred (examples) which follows a conclusion.
  • Conclusion – A proposition which is reached resulting from the given premises.

A sample argument is as follows:

  • Premise 1: I built a new custom desk last week that I use.
  • Premise 2: There is a video on YouTube of me building the desk.
  • Conclusion: I built the custom desk that I am using now.

Valid Arguments

The valid argument test determines whether the logical reasoning which underpins the argument is strong or weak. A valid argument is one where if all premises of the argument is assumed true, then the conclusion must be true. If there is a possibility that the conclusion is deemed false despite the true assumptions, then the argument is invalid.

The argument below is valid.

  • Premise 1: The watch band I purchased is navy blue with a striped rubber pattern.
  • Premise 2: You liked my Instagram post of my watch with the new watch band installed.
  • Conclusion: The watch I am wearing has a navy blue band.

Sound Arguments

A valid argument does not mean it will be sound. An argument is considered sound only when it is considered both valid and its premises are applicable in the real world and are likely to be proven true, and not just assumed.

The argument below is both valid and sound.

  • Premise 1: All Quails have wings.
  • Premise 2: My pet bird is a Cotrunix Quail.
  • Conclusion: My pet has wings.

The argument below is valid but unsound as not all premises can be determined true in the real world.

  • Premise 1: People wearing glasses are smarter than people who don’t wear glasses.
  • Premise 2: I wear prescription glasses.
  • Premise 3: My friend does not wear glasses.
  • Conclusion: I am smarter than my friend.

Invalid Arguments

An argument can be deemed as invalid given that a counter-argument is developed in a situation where all premises are true, but the conclusion is false.

The argument below is not valid as a counter argument can be made where the watch band I am currently could be a different style navy blue band and did not have the time to replace it.

  • Premise 1: The watch band I purchased is navy blue with a striped rubber pattern.
  • Conclusion: The watch I am wearing has a navy blue band.

Inductive Arguments

Inductive arguments are invalid arguments which, while it does not guarantee a conclusion will be true, there is a high probability it will. They are arguments in which the conclusion is obtained from an assumption that the premises are true.

The example below is an inductive argument. Although the argument is invalid, and does not guarantee a positive conclusion, there is a very high chance that it will be true given the circumstances.

  • Premise 1: 95% of students who undertake an 8 hour study week will get a high distinction.
  • Premise 2: I study for 8 hours every week.
  • Conclusion: I will get a high distinction.

Fallacious Arguments

Fallacious arguments are a total inverse of inductive arguments as they do not guarantee its conclusion, it has a low degree of probability that the conclusion will be true. The conclusion will not likely lead from assuming the truth of the premises.

The argument below is fallacious as the conclusion likely won’t be a result of the premises.

  • Premise 1: Many researchers and companies are working on developing advanced AI capabilities.
  • Premise 2: AI can be used effectively in combat situations.
  • Conclusion: AI will be a prominent weapon in World War III.

Argument Evaluation – Seven-Step Strategy

  1. Take an argument and convert it into the basic structure defined above consisting of a number of premises followed by conclusion.
  2. Test the argument and determine if it is valid or invalid. Assume a true premises and question whether the conclusion will be true or false.
  3. If the argument is valid, proceed to step 4, otherwise skip to step 5.
  4. Is the argument sound; are the premises true in the real world.
    • If the argument is both valid and premises are true in the actual world, the argument is sound.
    • If the argument is valid, but premises are not true in the actual world, the argument is unsound.
  5. Is the argument inductive or fallacious? Determine the likeliness of the conclusion where the premises are assumed true.
    • If the likelihood of the conclusion is high due to the premises being true, the argument is inductive.
    • If the likelihood of the conclusion is low despite the premises being true, the argument is fallacious.
  6. Determine whether the premises in the argument are true or false in the real world.
  7. Create an overall assessment of the argument through calculating the strengths or reasoning (valid, inductive, fallacious) and truth conditions of each of the argument’s premises.

Common Fallacies

Ad Hominem – An argument typically used as an attack towards the person putting forward the argument as a pose to the argument itself. It is fallacious as it attacks an individual’s personal attribute rather than providing counter evidence or relevant arguments.

Slippery Slope – An argument based on assumptions where the form “X could possibly be wrong/misused, therefore X should not be allowed at all!” It is based on the assumption where if a bad consequence is possible, a plethora of bad consequences will follow, therefore the source should not be allowed.

Fallacy of Appeal to Authority – This fallacious argument assumes that if a person is knowledgeable and an expert in one matter, their opinion on another tangentially related matter must be correct.

False Cause Fallacy – Also known as the ‘correlation not causation’ fallacy, just because one event follows another, it does not signify a connection/relation between the them.

Fallacy of Composition/Division – The assumption that if an argument can be applied to an individual part of a whole, it can be applied to the whole.

Fallacy of Ambiguity/Equivocation – When there is ambiguity of the terms used in an argument where they have more than one interpretation or used equivocally (have two or more different senses or meanings).

False Dichotomy Fallacy – Also known as the ‘all or nothing’ fallacy, it assumes an argument is binary, and if you can have one thing, you can’t have the other. In other words, both sides of an argument are mutually exclusive.

Virtuality Fallacy – An argument where actions which occur in the virtual realm are not real and therefore have no consequences, but do in fact have consequences regardless of where they occur.

Discussion Question


Pick four types of common fallacies from the following list, and provide one example of each fallacy (clearly indicate the fallacy). You do not need to explain the meaning of your chosen fallacies – only provide an example.
– Ad hominem
– Slippery slope
– Fallacy of appeal to authority
– False cause fallacy
– Fallacy of composition/division
– Fallacy of ambiguity/equivocation
– False dichotomy fallacy
– Virtuality fallacy

Ad Hominem
“Harry spent his childhood robbing stores and assaulting people. He also cheated on his wife and is now divorced. Why would anyone watch his new cooking series?”
This argument is a personal attack on Harry rather than focusing on a valid reason why people don’t want to watch his show. Maybe it costs too much or isn’t available in their region.

Slippery Slope
“If we let them all use pocket knifes for self-defence, next thing you know, they will want to use guns and tanks for self-defence. They will then start breaking the law and be more violent.”
This argument is assuming that bad consequences will follow as a result of the change.

False Cause Fallacy
“Tim’s stealing cars from the neighbourhood! The number of stolen car reports in the local neighbourhood has increased by 10 fold. Many cars go in and out of Tim’s property.”
This argument is linking two unrelated events and blaming Tim with no real evidence.

Virtuality Fallacy
“They didn’t steal anything from you, they just hacked into your computer and spent all your Bitcoin. It’s not like they stole real money from you!”
This argument is stating that events which occur in a digital space produces no tangible outcome, however, it does in fact have a consequence.

3| Professional Ethics and Responsibility


Professional Ethics

In comparison to ethics applied to an individual, professional ethics demand more ethical and moral obligations which sometimes exceeds those of individuals. Furthermore, ethical issues faced by individuals and professionals tend to be distinct from each other.

Professional ethics or a ‘code of ethics’ do not necessarily apply to all jobs, but do apply to professions. This is because of the significant social impacts present, resulting from decisions made by professionals. Professions such as engineering, medical and law tend to have a greater responsibility in terms of ethics due to the nature of their work and the social crater their decisions may cause. For example, a doctor having to make a life or death decision for a patient or a lawyer working on a case which could result in a prison sentence for their client. Similarly, those working in the Information Technology (IT) field are required to deal with the data of millions of people responsibility and ethically.

Professional Codes of Ethics and Conduct

A professional code of ethics is like a code of conduct in that, they are a set of professional codes which are to be followed by all members of society. In the professional realm, this statement of valued would be adopted with changes made and more codes added to suit the profession. This is required to be followed by all members from the CEO or director to the internship employees. It is a set of ongoing values which provides guidance for ethical decision-making and to prevent misconduct. It is a valuable tool in communication which can be used to articulate a commitment to ethical and legal compliance.

The ‘Hippocratic Oath’ written in ancient Greece is one of the oldest known examples of a code of ethics. A set of ethical and moral standards which all new physicians made an oath to follow upon completion of their medical training.

A professional code of conduct would be more detailed that a professional code of ethics as it would outline a more specific list of expected behaviours and consequences in the form of disciplinary action if they are not adhered to. Likewise to a code of ethics, a code of conduct sets a standard for expected behaviour and expresses the values expected by the organisation. It also includes a clearer description of what is and is not considered expected behaviour and may potentially describe the penalties applicable for violation of the code.

Employee Loyalty

Many ethicists believe in equality and employees and employers should be loyal to each other. Sometimes, an employee’s obligation of loyalty can conflict with societal obligations. This requires balancing of obligations between employers and the general society.

When an employee determines that their obligation to society is greater than their loyalty to their employer, they so called ‘blow the whistle’. This occurs when the organisation they are employed in is involved in a serious moral or ethical issue where the employee decides it is their obligation to share information regarding illegal, immoral or unethical activity with the general public.

Whistleblowing

The general definition of a whistleblower is a person who voluntarily releases information which is non-public as a moral or ethical protest against said organisation in the hopes to highlight illegal, immoral or unethical conduct to an appropriate public audience.

Knowing when to blow the whistle is a complicated decision to make, and requires employees to balance their potential preventable harm from the release of information versus the definite repercussions that will be faced. Instances have risen where failure to blow the whistle has led to significant and severe repercussions to many individuals, for example the Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme and the Enron Scandal.

Responsibility

Liability is a legal concept whereby one is legally responsible for their actions, whether it be right or otherwise. Responsibility is the moral notion of blame. The direct cause of a harmful event would be the individual who is deemed responsible for the occurrence. Accountability on the other hand is a broader concept involving a larger group or system in which the individual would belong to who are held accountable for allowing harm to occur.

Moral ResponsibilityLegal LiabilityAccountability
Attributes blame or praise to individualsDoes not attribute blame or fault to those held liableDoes not necessarily attribute blame (in a moral sense)
Usually attributed to individuals rather than collectives or groupsTypically applies to corporations and property ownersCan apply to individuals, groups of individuals and corporations
Notions of guilt and shame apply, but no legal punishment or compensation need resultCompensation can be required even when responsibility in a formal sense is not admittedSome or some group is answerable (ie. it goes beyond mere liability)

Discussion Question


Edward Snowden committed a crime, no matter which way you look at it. Discuss your opinion about this statement.

I believe the statement ‘Edward Snowden committed a crime’ to be true as he illegally collected confidential documents from the US National Security Agency (NSA) according to the Title 18 US Code §641 and wilfully shared these documents with an unauthorised person according to Title 18 US Code §793(d) and §798(a)(3).*

In contrast, Snowden’s voluntary release of non-public information as a protest against immoral and unethical activities being conducted known as whistleblowing can be considered a greater trade off to the crime he is convicted of. This invalidates the latter half of the statement ‘Edward Snowden committed a crime, no matter which way you look at it’ because viewing it from the perspective of a whistleblower shows the release of information about the PRISM program helped publicise and question whether the privacy of US Citizens were being violated as a direct result of the program.

Overall, Snowden’s goal to protect the privacy of all US citizens puts him in the good light. My perception is that his actions were morally justified as the overall reach of the program became apparent and the increasing number of individuals whose privacy was being violated.

*United States District Court Criminal Complaint on USA vs. Edward J. Snowden [https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/716888/u-s-vs-edward-j-snowden-criminal-complaint.pdf]

4| Privacy


“Privacy is a sweeping concept, encompassing … freedom of thought, control over one’s body, solitude in one’s home, control over information about oneself, freedom from surveillance, protection of one’s reputation, and protection from searches and interrogations”

– Daniel J. Solove

Whose privacy is threatened by cybertechnology?

With a surge of technological innovation, there are privacy implications for the billions of people worldwide. Although not all people make use of a smartphone, computer, or a similar type of electronic device, organisations who have control over these collect and store the personal information of their millions and millions of users.

Unfortunately, avoiding such devices will do little in the 21st century to protect one’s privacy due to the many mundane activities undertaken by the vast majority of people including things such as social media, navigation apps, news websites and more. This along with governmental activities such as Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) in public spaces and other legal documentation provides these entities with tons of personal data which is stored and used for a variety of purposes, in essence, it voids the privacy of millions throughout the globe.

Privacy Concerns Specific to Cybertechnology

  • Amount of Personal Information Collection Allowable
  • Transmission Speed of Personal Information
  • Retention Time Limit for Personal Information
  • Types of Information Allowed to be Acquired and Shared

Personal Privacy

Previously, the term ‘personal privacy’ was defined as freedom from physical intrusion which later became freedom from interference in one’s private affairs, ability to make unfettered decisions freely without any interference. With the introduction of the digital or ‘cyber’ realm, personal privacy entails the ability to access and control one’s own personal information.

Three contributing factors for the modern notion of personal privacy is:

  • Accessibility Privacy – Freedom from unwarranted intrusion.
  • Decisional Privacy – Freedom from interference in one’s personal affairs.
  • Informational Privacy – Control over the flow of personal information.

Notions of Privacy

“An individual [has] privacy in a situation with regard to others if and only if in that situation the individual [is] protected from intrusion, interference, and information access by others.”

– Moor (2004)

Descriptive Privacy
Situations described as private but not inherently private and thus protected. For example, dancing alone to a song in front of the apartment window overlooking the city would be described as private, but if people in the person stopped dancing as a result of the possibility of people overlooking the apartment through the window, the person would have lost their descriptive privacy, but not as a direct result of intrusion or interference of others.

Normative Privacy
Situations where there is an expected norm of privacy in certain situations where said privacy will be protected. For example, if the person was dancing and then moved into the bathroom and started to dance in the shower while someone from the opposing building chose to move positions and use binoculars to watch them, their privacy would be violated.

Importance of Privacy

Privacy is very volatile, such that, once it is lost, it is exceptionally difficult to flat out impossible to recover, therefore it is highly advisable to be vigilant and protect one’s privacy where and when possible. As an example, the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provide citizens of the EU with the right to, or the right to request erasure. In contrast, Australian’s do not have any such privacy related legislation, therefore privacy concerns remain fairly high.

The Intrinsic and Social Value of Privacy

Discussion Question


Supporters of the right to be forgotten in the digital age claim that this privacy principle is needed to prevent innocent people from being harmed and to protect their identity as it evolves over time. On the other hand, its opponents claim that they do not control the content on the internet and that the sheer volume of the content is impractical to manage. What is your opinion about the right to be forgotten in the digital age?

The right to be forgotten should be a right that is honoured in my opinion, despite it being the digital age. Many innocent people, consisting of mostly adolescents who, in their early years, make many mistakes on the internet or the physical world which is translated into a digital outcome that the individual wants to be removed from the web for any number of reasons, including for the purpose of having a clean record when applying for a job or maintaining a good reputation. I believe the opponent’s claims that they lack control over the internet and the volume of content is impractical to manage are invalid as there are a plethora of tools available to assist in this matter. Ultimately the opponents will have full control over the data and will have the ability to erase it upon request. Cases of suicide among other things are prevalent in direct correlation with people not being able to request the removal of data. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has included this as a right of citizens within the EU. If the removal of data was such a major feat and near impossible, then it would not be added into the GDPR, further establishing the claims of opponents as exaggerations to maintain their monopoly through the collection and processing of personal data.

5| Cybersecurity


Discussion Question


In 2002, the then-US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld gave the following response to a reporter’s question: “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know”. Discuss how you think this translates to the world of cybersecurity, and what measures companies and individuals can take to protect themselves from the three mentioned categories.

Personally, I think that in the cybersecurity world, there are many little things that are known knowns, such as identified vulnerabilities, then there the known unknowns along the lines of known threats where the cause or potential cause is unknown. Finally, there is the unknown unknowns like unexpected internal threats.

The measures that individuals and companies alike could take to protect themselves from known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns are as follows:

  • Known Knowns – software tools such as antivirus and antimalware (ie. Bitdefender Total Security) along with hardware firewall and similar solutions. Furthermore, patches and updates to known vulnerabilities should be pushed out soon as possible.
  • Known Unknowns – known threats should be looked into to find any potential vulnerabilities need to be researched and made known in order for it to be patched immediately. This can be done though the means of a program similar to the bug bounty program or experts can be hired to find any exploits.
  • Unknown Unknowns – although these are not known, some research into similar companies, similar programs, similar use cases, and more can and will most definitely reveal useful information which can be interpreted. This interpretation can turn the unknown unknowns into a known unknown which can then be defended against. Additionally, staying up to date with news can help businesses and individuals to prepare for any potential threats.

Intellectual Property (IP)

Intellectual property can be defined as property consisting of intangible objects which include trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights, patents and other creative works such as inventions. Unlike physical objects, intellectual property can be owned, sold and/or used by multiple entities simultaneously. As intellectual property is not physical, the extent of ownership varies, with ownership of intellectual objects only given to physical manifestations or expressions of that object.

Philosophical basis for providing legal protections for intellectual property

Discussion Question


Digital businesses such as Amazon and Alibaba are impacting on the sustainability of traditional (e.g., bricks and mortar) businesses because they generally provide cheaper and faster products and services, among other benefits. Do you think this trend will continue in future and will our commercial space completely shift to the digital environment? What are some of the pros and cons of this?

Personally being and working in the ecommerce space for a good year now has made me believe that these businesses are not only negatively impacting most brick and mortar retail outlets, but their sheer scale is shadowing many smaller businesses and entrepreneurs and making it immensely difficult to compete. The trend so far has rapidly risen and will steadily increase into the foreseeable future in my opinion, however, I do not think our commercial space will shift into the digital environment in its entirety as many people would prefer to examine and test the quality of the product prior to purchase. What will likely happen is a major shift where a majority of products and services will shift to a warehoused solution similar to Amazon or use a third party fulfilment service to accomplish this feat and only a small number of physical stores will exist in major cities or population centres to accommodate for the people wishing to see the product in person. Stores such as supermarkets will continue to thrive, albeit at a lower overall rate as it will likely also be partially dragged into digital realm.

The inherent benefits of digital businesses such as Amazon, Alibaba and others is the sheer scale in which they work at allowing lower prices for consumers along with increased convenience and transport speed. The downside however, is the ability for these conglomerates to tower over the competition and sometimes throw them out of the water with unfair pricing (generally by selling at a loss while gaining profits from alternative business ventures) or by marketing their own products on their own platform with a financial benefit, therefore stealing customers from competitors. While there are other benefits such as a seamless and significantly easier experience for the end user, the future when most businesses are digitised, competition may diminish, and will ultimately provide more power to the already hungry corporations.

7| Business Processes


What is a business?

A business is one which operates in a business-like manner undertaking steps such as obtaining an ABN or similar, have an intent to make a profit, repeat certain types of similar activities, size or scale of activities are consistent with other businesses in the industry and business activities such as record keeping and accounting are carried out like a traditional business.

An entrepreneur on the other hand is an individual who takes upon the financial risk in exchange for a potential profit down the line.

Analysing the Business Idea

A crucial step before undertaking any business ventures is to determine how good of a business idea is formulated. Questions to be asked regarding the business idea include the following:

  1. Are there people interested in purchasing the product?
  2. What is the difficulty in developing the product? Is it financially viable? How will it be protected?
  3. Are there any existing competitors, and if so, who are they?

Furthermore, it is beneficial to question the ability of the individual to execute the business idea. Questions include:

  1. What are the goals and aspirations of the business? What skills does the individual posses?
  2. How much revenue is required to break even? How much is the start-up cost of the business?
  3. What financial capacity does the individual have for start-up and management?

Discussion Question


Nowadays a lot of tech companies, especially software development companies, are adopting Agile practices to deliver projects. What sort of advantages and disadvantages are associated with this approach? Do you think Agile is prevalent in tech companies, and if so, why? In your response, back up your opinion with some recent case studies (e.g., Boeing 737 Agile practices).

Agile practices being adopted into the many tech companies serves each of them with benefits such as predictability, speed and quality and significantly improved communication to name a few, with many businesses having a strong focus on speed, such as Amazon and the United States Postal Service (USPS). Another major advantage of the agile approach is the psychological effect it has, or the reduction in demoralising effects. This perfectly leads to the challenges of it, which is the high failure rate – or as the saying goes, “Fail Fast, Fail Often”, that companies will face compared to any other approach. The best way to approach this challenge is by accepting the failures and learning from them. The moral benefit comes from the time it takes to fail being very short, therefore keeping the demoralising effect to a minimum. Companies using other approaches who do fail will do so much later down the timeline and employees will suffer from it as there has been much more effort put into it before it failed.

I think that agile is prevalent in many of the major and start-up tech companies with many other companies joining the train. This is so, mainly due to the advantages it provides to businesses with an article published on FCW in regard to USPS stating that “many … successes just three years into USPS’ … agile adoption strategy roadmap helped spur the agency … to declare that the … methodology will be the standard … for all projects” (FCW, 2013). Another big player is Amazon, with an article on Forbes writing about “How Amazon Became Agile”.

Sources
USPS goes all-in on agile development – https://fcw.com/articles/2013/06/13/usps-agile-development.aspx
How Amazon Became Agile – https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2019/06/02/how-amazon-became-agile/#28fa613f31aa

8| Marketing


Business Marketing

Marketing is a crucial part of any business and can determine whether many businesses will fail or succeed. It can be defined as a practice which assists businesses and individuals to sell their product or service to a broad or targeted audience and is usually done in the hopes of generating increased profits a vast majority of the time. Marketing enables businesses to develop their brand, customer base and reputation and ensure their products or services meet the needs of their customers and potential customers.

Marketing when done right tells a story about a business and provides customers with a reason to purchase from them instead of purchasing from competitors. Types of marketing strategies include:

  • Advertising
  • Competitions, Lotteries or Promotions
  • Direct Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Distributing Flyers or Leaflets

Market positioning refers to the ‘niche’ of a business and helps businesses reach out to new and existing customers and gain higher profits as a result. It is important to know the market position of any business before writing a marketing plan. With clear marketing position, the business’ activities, how they differ from their competitors and their location or experience would set its position and allow the business to focus their efforts on marketing.

The 5 P’s of Marketing

Product
What the product or service the business is offering encompassing details such as value, features, branding, packaging, service and warranty. This also includes the experience the client or customer will receive when dealing with the business.

Price
How much the offerings of the business costs, factoring in the overall business costs, advertised price, discounts, sales, credit terms, payment arrangements and price matching services if offered. The pricing will depend on the market position as newer, less established businesses may not be able to compete with experienced competitors whose client base and good reputation exist.

Promotion
Which methods or activities such as sales, public relations, direct marketing or advertising can the business utilise to assist in promotion of their business and their products or services. Businesses should consider the questions below before considering promotion options:

  • What is the goal you wish to achieve through promotion?
  • Does it align with your brand and business goals and objectives?
  • Who are the customers you will be targeting?
  • Are the promotional activities going to reach them?
  • How do customers normally find your business? What means is it, internet, social media, word of mouth, flyer, ad in a publication, radio, TV or something else?
  • Which approach will net your business with the greatest value for money, while still reaching your target customers?

Place
How the products or services are delivered to the customer, be it a physical location such as a shop-front, online or a distributor, and the delivery methods employed.

People
Refers to the customer service any existing and potential customers will receive, communication and training of staff members.

Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is the outline of a business’ market position. It encompasses the 5 P’s of marketing and is used to assist businesses in accomplishing targeted product or service promotion. The benefits of compelling marketing plan allows businesses to understand how their product or service meets the needs of the target market, detail the market research which is the identification of competitors and their perceived advantages and disadvantages, where the brand lies in the target market, specific goals and time frames for marketing activities, and a strategy map to reach the target audience, information to be conveyed and what methods and tools will be used to accomplish this feat.

Developing a Marketing Plan

A good marketing plan incorporates the various details of the industry, market, target market, a SWOT analysis, information about competitors, business goals and objectives, marketing strategy and marketing budget, both of which should be kept up to date.

Industry
Answer the questions below taking into consideration the industry structure the business is operating in.

  • What is the size of the industry?
  • Is the industry growing or shrinking?
  • What factors may influence the growth and success of the industry?
  • Does the industry have a predominant focus locally or internationally?
  • What is the major profit maker in the industry?
  • Which businesses are at the top of the ladder and leading the industry?
  • What is the industry size in which these leading businesses operate in?

Market Research
Conduct market research, either primary or secondary and take the questions below into consideration. Primary research is conducted and collected first-hand by the business whereas secondary is information previously collected and publicly available.

  • Who are the target customers?
  • What are the consumers interested in?
  • What problems to the consumers face?
  • What needs do the target customers of the business have?
  • How do competitors serve the needs of the target market?
  • What improvements can be made?

Target Market and Target Customers
It is beneficial to define the market segments in which the business will operate. Market segment in this case would be the target customer profiles within the target market. Doing do assists the business in determining the business won’t waste resources on markets where there are no potential customers.

  • Was there already a need for the product or service?
  • Do different products or services which fulfil this need already exist?
  • Will there be a need for the business’ product or service over competitors?

SWOT Analysis
Conduct a SWOT analysis of the business and take the questions below into consideration.

  • Strengths
    • What are the things the business does well?
    • What advantages do the business hold over competitors?
  • Weaknesses
    • What improvements need to or can be made to the business to remain competitive?
    • What do competitors do better that the business?
    • What factors are holding back the business?
  • Opportunities
    • What market trends could excel sales?
    • What can the business use to their advantage?
  • Threats
    • What advantages do competitors hold over the business?
    • What harm could the business face?

Competitors
Study both the direct and indirect competitors taking the following questions into consideration.

  • What products or services do they sell?
  • Do they offer a similar product or service?
  • What product or service offered by competitors are used by consumers?
  • How do they engage with their customers?
  • What locations do the competitors operate in?
  • How competitive are the competitors?
  • What share of the market do they posses?
  • What media channels are utilised by the competitor to market their products or services?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the competitor?

Goals and Objectives
Both long term and short term goals should be set, and the following questions should be taken into consideration when setting these.

  • What are the main long-terms goals such as expansion plans, profit and size milestones of the business?
  • What are the immediate short-term objectives such as market establishment, increased sales and customers of the business?

Marketing Strategy
Develop a marketing strategy where the short-term goals are analysed and find a suitable marketing activity, process or price which can bring the business closer to realisation of these goals. Marketing activities should be carefully chosen such that they convey the right message or multiple messages efficiently and suit not just the business, but the customer too.

Marketing Budget
A marketing budget should be set and as promotion and advertisement costs are expensive, the option with best value while maintaining a high target customer reach should be chosen.

Stay Up-To-Date
The marketing plan and budget should be kept updated as it can help ensure the business can evolve with competitive landscape changes.

Advertising

A marketing activity which is most commonly used to assist businesses in reaching potential customers and providing them with encouragement to purchase the products or services offered by the business, usually in the form of paid promotion. These paid promotions are usually done through print, visual or digital channels, however, free or low cost options also exist. Advertising is done to create awareness, communicate information, educate the audience, enhance and/or create demand for the product or service. Some of the inherent benefits of this include increased sales, enhanced brand recognition and awareness, increased customer reach, education of customers, increased loyalty and competitive advantage.

Two major categories, traditional and digital media, encompass the various different forms of advertising.

Traditional Media Advertising
One-way transmission of information or the message to be promoted to a mass audience through traditional means.

  • TV Advertisements
  • Radio Advertisements
  • Print Advertisements – ie. Newspapers, Posters, Flyers, etc.
  • Cinema Advertisements
  • Billboards
  • Off-Site Signs
  • Banner Advertisements
  • Mail Order Advertisements
  • Cold Calling
  • Door-to-Door Sales
  • Transit Advertisements

Digital Media Advertising
A two-way method of communication between the business and customers allowing greater engagement and significantly greater (international) reach.

  • Online Advertising – ie. Targeted Advertisements, Banner Advertisements, Display Advertisements, Keywords, Native Advertisements, Video Advertisements, etc.
  • Online Streaming – ie. Radio Advertisements, TV Advertisements, etc.
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Mobile App Advertisements
  • Email Marketing

Social Media

Social media allows for greater engagement between businesses and customers and provides businesses with feedback on their products or services. It may also be used for advertising, promotional giveaways and mobile applications.

BenefitsRisks and Advantages
Attract customers, collect customer feedback, develop business brand, build customer loyalty and keep an eye on competitors.Businesses without a clear marketing or social media strategy will be unable to reap the attached benefits.
Increased market reach – both nationally and internationally, increased website traffic and improved search engine rankings.Additional resources may be needed in order to manage and maintain an online presence as social media requires constant monitoring to create any benefits.
A reduction in marketing costs through market research and exchanging business improvement ideas.Businesses may face bullying, harassment or similar unwanted and inappropriate behaviour due to the nature of social media and the people using it.
An increase in revenue thanks to advertising and the development of customer networks.Online exposure can attract risks such as negative feedback, information leaks or hacking.
Skilled staff can be recruited through job networking sites such as LinkedIn.False or misleading claims made on social media (by a business or customer) can be subject to consumer law. Businesses can be fined if for example, a customer posts misleading or deceptive information, particularly about the products or services offered by competitors.

Developing a Business Website

Business websites allow businesses to display details of their brand, products and/or services to its customer base and may additionally become a digital shop-front available to customers worldwide. It allows businesses to maintain a 24/7 operation through automation. A business website can also be used as a canvas for marketing through promotion of products or services to increase customer engagement, create or enhance brand image and reputation and improve the productivity and efficiency of the business. The business website should be unique to differentiate and stand out in a crowd consisting of competitors and other businesses.

Setting up a website can be a complex task, however, businesses such as Tech4K Studios take care of the hard work by designing and developing unique websites while providing exceptional value to the business.

Search Engine Ranking

Another important factor to be considered by businesses in terms of their digital presence is where they rank on search engines, namely Google. Furthermore, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) should be an important focus factor for the business, which will make it easier for search engines to index the business websites.

In order to have the business website to rank high, the following should be considered:

  • Understand the online customer base of the business.
  • Use keywords.
  • Keep the website updated as much as possible.
  • Gain links from other websites.
  • Include metadata description tags.

Legal Considerations

Some legal considerations to be met by Australian businesses should be known when deciding new marketing strategies.

Advertising

  • Misleading and Deceptive Conduct – customers must not be mislead through advertising by Australian businesses.
  • Bait Advertising – it is illegal to advertise products where it is known the supply is unable to meet demand.
  • Bill Posting – posters or other forms of advertising cannot be posted on public property unless a permit is held or a designated poster location is in place.
  • Brochures, Flyers or Promotional Materials – a permit is generally required when handing these out on public property.
  • Music – a license from the Australasian Performing Right Association Limited (APRA) and Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society Limited (AMCOS) is required when using music in any business advertising.
  • Pricing Regulations – prices should be clearly and accurately displayed to ensure the business complies with pricing regulations.
  • Signage – a permit is required both before and after erecting a sign.
  • Spam – unsolicited commercial electronic messages sent without consent under the Spam Act 2003 is illegal.
  • Spruiking – when walk-in traffic is enticed by marketing products or services to passers-by is regulated at the sate level and may require a permit.

Competitions
Trade promotion lotteries may require a permit depending on which state it is conducted in and must meet conditions outlined on the Victorian Commission for Liquor and Gambling Regulation website.

Direct Marketing
Direct-to-public marketing can be through email or phone for example and their activities are mostly regulated by the states and territories.

Telemarketing
An advertising strategy where businesses must comply with the Do Not Call Register legislation. Businesses must not contact numbers on the register or may face penalties for breaching the law.

Handbills (ie. Flyers, Leaflets, etc.)
A permit may be required for the distribution of flyers, leaflets or similar forms of advertising or promotional material on premises or to persons.

Privacy
Businesses are responsible for protecting the personal information of their customers under the Australian Privacy Act 1988 and some businesses may also need to comply with the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Intellectual Property (IP)
Businesses must comply with Intellectual Property (IP) regulations when another person’s or business’ IP is used for advertising, branding or selling.

Trademark Law
Australian businesses must not breach Australian or International trademark laws for branding, business names or website names.

Discussion Question


Influencer marketing is not as effective as companies think it is because many people don’t trust influencers and celebrities (who often have large followings). Discuss whether you agree or disagree with this statement.

Honestly, I somewhat disagree with this claim that many people don’t trust influencers and celebrities. I would however say that it heavily depends on a per-influencer basis and the correct product or service must be matched. Furthermore, the number of followers don’t matter as much as the direct impact the influencer has.

Celebrities are fairly influential, but the rise of platforms such as YouTube and Instagram has brought a new generation of influencers who have large followings and are able to very effectively market the right products and services with great success. These influencers include people such as Linus Sebastian, Belle Delphine, and Elon Musk. These are all people who are able to use social media to gain the trust of millions consisting of a highly diverse group of people in some cases. This trust is generated as a result of many influencers giving insight into their personal lives. This relationship is very effective as fans can relate to this on varying levels, while not present in other forms of advertising.

Companies who chose the right influencers with the correct target population can set themselves up for a great success as their marketing will be very effective. On the other hand, businesses who don’t research well enough will definitely suffer lower returns. Regardless, influencer marketing in the 21st century is an effective marketing tool and can provide the impressive results expected by companies.

9| Online Communities, Social Networks and Freedom of Expression


Online Communities and Social Networking Services

Social networking websites have been exceptionally popular and ubiquitous around the world since their emergence in the mid 1980s. It has helped bring together people of all ages, genders, races and religion and allowed them to build communities, interact with peers in a variety of contexts such as work and social.

The common aspect between these social networking sites is that they challenge the traditional notion of ‘community’ where people are limited by geography such as communities which revolve around a school, workplace, or place of religion. These communities can be referred to as an ‘online community’ as they are based in the digital realm and tends to focus on the common interests of the group as opposed to the geographical boundary.

Social media has its fair share of of benefits and drawbacks, with some of the benefits including:

  • Ability to make new friends online
  • Be able to meet online prior to meet-up in person
  • Join support groups which were previously limited by distance
  • Communicate with people who one would otherwise not communicate with through mail or telephone
  • Greater freedom of choice in social interactions

Negative effects of social media include:

  • Potential to lead to social polarisation or narrowly focused online communities
  • Facilitate deception or other inappropriate behaviour while protected by some anonymity
  • Inability to develop ‘true’ friendship in the traditional sense due to online only friendships

Free Speech vs. Censorship and Content Control in Cyberspace

There is an ongoing debate on whether the cyberspace should or should not be regulated with numerous compelling arguments both for and against its regulation along with whether it even can be regulated as regulation can be overly difficult to enforce. In Australia, certain types of speech are prohibited under law for the greater benefit of society.

Censorship is the suppression of information either through prevention of distribution or prevention through deterrence, which is preventing the recipient from receiving the information. Censorship through suppression prohibits objectionable material or text from being published, displayed or circulated. Censorship through deterrence does not block, nor suppress information, and depends on social deterrence and threats of arrest, prosecution, conviction and punishment for both the source of the objectionable material and individuals who acquire said material.

Discussion Question


Australia is a party to seven core international human rights treaties. The right to freedom of opinion and expression is contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Does this mean that Australians can use social media to express their unfettered opinions? Why or why not?

Under Act 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Australians should possess the “right to freedom of expression … of all kinds … either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”. This, I believe, allows all Australians to freely express their unfettered opinion, but this does not mean that social media organisations are required to host such content. Additionally, the ICCPR acts more like a guideline which is very loose and flexible in terms of what is noted within it.

Ultimately, it is the social media organisations which have control over whether or not the opinions of many will be heard by users on the platform. This is so because companies such as Facebook and Twitter have to adhere to other Australian policies and their own policies alike. They have to ensure there is no hate speech, opinions leading to aggression and violence, racial or sexual discrimination along with other discriminatory or inappropriate expressions against others. Therefore, people within Australia do not have the luxury of expressing their unfettered opinions and it is a good thing in some circumstances as it protects people from unwanted negativity.

10| Professional Soft Skills


Professional Soft Skills Categories

There are 10 important professional soft skills all IT professionals must have and fall into the 6 categories outlined.

  1. Communicating
  2. Dealing with People
  3. Dealing with Self
  4. Dealing with Superiors
  5. Dealing with Staff
  6. Being Visionary

Communicating

A good communicator will be able to convey their message in a manner which is easily understood by the recipient in a succinct and focused manner. People who are successful are almost always great at communication.

  • Develop a personal brand and pitch it to influential people, as doing so can increase chances to add the person to one’s personal network or create opportunities which can arise in the future.
  • Summarise key points during an introduction speech, presentation or written document to keep the interest of the audience and maintain their engagement.

Diagrams should be used to simplify complexity and should be limited to a maximum of three as going over would mean it is easier to convey the issue through words.

  • Match the presentation with the interests of the audience along with using appropriate language for the demographics, ie. age, industry position, etc.
  • Being mindful of careless comments involves not using words in a manner which may be perceived as exaggeration, over-confidence, offensive or similar and holds the potential to negatively impact ones career and reputation.
  • With written communication, never use all caps under any circumstances apart from when yelling at the recipient. Furthermore, ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors and lastly, don’t communicate anything in written which would not be said to the recipient in person.

Dealing with People

Align with the culture present in the office or workspace environment where a majority of work time will be spent.

  • Be empathetic by understanding the point of view of others and find solutions to appeal to the other person and be self-reflective by understanding and highlighting the strengths and protecting the weaknesses possessed.
  • Being aggressive by not being aggressive involves asking and pushing for what is deserved and progressing one’s career while maintaining a good long-term relationship with superiors and colleagues.
  • Gaining by giving in a professional and personal environment means that people are only willing to do a favour when they can expect something in return at a time in the future.
  • Successful networking can better the professional and personal reputation of a person and determines what they are known by.
  • Listening and being attentive to the speaker shows respect and being prepared to respond is beneficial.

It is important to share one’s successes and tell others the story of success. This can be through learning how to promote a “product” (ie. oneself or one’s work) in its best light and do so at the right place at the right time to be noticed by the right people.

  • Sizing up and resonating with customers, such that people with different needs, interests and expectations can expect different types of results tailored or suitable for them.
  • Putting a positive spin on the “product” is a personal skill where the strengths and current potential benefits are displayed in the best possible light.
  • Inciting enthusiasm with enthusiasm can be done by presenting oneself and one’s ideas with enthusiasm, confidence and excitement to entice customers to develop a similar feeling toward the “product”.

Dealing with Self

Work smarter, not harder is the one thing which should be achieved. Seeking different methods of working which provides optimal returns for time investment and adapting to changes allows for efficiency in the work environment.

  • Achieve outstanding results while not striving for perfection because a 70-90% theoretically perfect solution will requires reasonable effort, whereas the final 10-30% will require substantial effort and will not be justifiable for a marginal improvement.
  • Avoiding overconfidence can cause problems such as over or under-estimation of resources or making incorrect decisions can lead to bigger problems over time.
  • Focusing on self-examination involves not blaming others, but instead working out solutions and learning from the mistakes and ensuring they are not repeated in the future.

Good time management, or being time smart in a professional context can allow for more work to be completed in shorter periods or time, or allow for increased free time.

  • Invest time into a good project plan, such that, the following result will flow smoothly and require limited follow-up.
  • Killing two birds with one stone is a metaphor for planning and making one deliverable useful for multiple tasks when feasible.
  • Always strive for greater time efficiency, such that the best results can be achieved with minimal time investment.
  • Convert non-productive time into productive time for additional opportunities such as activities that provides career advancement, attending networking events or acquiring new skills.

Dealing with Superiors

When attending a job interview, it is incredibly important to ensure punctuality, politeness, experience and being overall well prepared. Furthermore, one should seek something which allows them to stand out from the crowd.

  • Being well prepared by researching the position being applied for, the organisation and if possible, researching the interviewers.
  • Putting a positive spin on qualifications and experience while downplaying weaknesses and providing concise and convincing responses to interview questions can be very beneficial.
  • Build a rapport with the interviewer/s and tailor responses to their interests. Furthermore, demonstrate a good fit for their company culture and team/organisation which will be joined.
  • Avoid overconfidence while not pointing out the weaknesses of the interviewer and avoid being overly opinionated.

Being boss smart involves a demonstration of loyalty through shielding their weaknesses, allowing bosses to take credit for work done and promoting their policies.

  • Exhibiting loyalty to bosses and being mindful not to cross any moral, legal or ethical lines out of loyalty to the boss will garner their trust.
  • Gain gratitude through sharing credit with the boss and taking blame for failures where the boss contributed.
  • Being proactive and far-sighted means superiors can count on staff to be competent, proactive and far-sighted to exceed expectations with limited supervision. This however, requires the boss to resonate with the same vision of being “proactive and far-sighted”.
  • Showing enthusiasm for challenging tasks and performing them well has the potential to present golden opportunities for recognition and future potential for promotion.

Dealing with Staff

Motivated staff are more creative and productive, therefore providing for their needs and building a good rapport with them can be very helpful.

  • Earn the loyalty of staff members through being loyal to them.
  • Managers generally receive credit for the work of subordinates without requesting it, therefore it is good practise to credit staff for their work when things are successful.
  • Having good judgement and matching the right people with the right responsibilities can go a long way.
  • Achieve more through a lack of micromanagement at any position other than a 1st manager to ensure staff are not demoralised and stripped of their energy.
  • Delegate successfully through understanding the strengths and interests of staff and assign the correct tasks and responsibilities to staff accordingly.

Being Visionary

In order to be visionary, one should think “outside of the box” and follow the three-step process of examining the bigger picture, forming a visionary plan and executing or marketing it. Doing do can lead to career enhancement or advancement. Sticking to the set of tasks provided and completing them successfully alone will not provide these benefits.

  • Examine the bigger picture and determine factors which can lead to enhancement of performance. To do so, one must understand their own skill set, the skill set of staff, operations and external factors such as market movement and technology.
  • Form a visionary plan which identifies and outlines visionary objectives worth pursuing and map out an action plan for realising them.
  • Market the vision through the support of stakeholders if and when required and articulate the value of the vision to these stakeholders.

Being visionary can be very beneficial to the individual when done right.

Discussion Question


Utilise the STAR model to describe a difficult workplace or University related situation and how you overcame it using your soft skills (refer to section 10 notes for guidance). Please do not reveal any sensitive or private information.

Situation:
I wanted to commence the RMIT Bachelor Degree in Information Technology through Open Universities Australia (OUA) while simultaneously completing the final subject from the Associate Degree in Information Technology with the intention to complete both degrees by the end of 2020.

Task:
Determine whether I can enrol into the OUA degree while completing the on-campus Associate Degree alongside it.

Activity:
To obtain some guidance and advise on this matter, I initially contacted my program manager from the Associate Degree. From there, I was referring to RMIT Connect to speak with a particular person. Unfortunately I was unable to get in contact with them. To resolve this, I exchanged emails with my current program manager again and got in contact with other people who were able to then refer me to the correct place. There I was able to speak with a person with the necessary knowledge and obtained all required information to determine the outcome of my query.

Result:
I was informed that I could only complete subjects which did not have any mandatory prerequisites until I completed the Associate Degree and thereafter I can apply for a credit transfer and complete the remainder of the subjects, so I enrolled into those subjects and have commenced the Bachelor Degree.

References