There has been a widespread use of ICT in teaching and learning process. Computer is one of the most technologies used in learning activities by students in universities throughout the world. It is a mean to facilitate learning, improve academic success, provide access to many resources and give opportunity for communication (Kay & Lauricella, 2011).
Even though the computers provide students with advantages, they might also lead to several ethical problems. There is extensive unethical usage of computer among students. Kuzu (2009) stated some of these unethical computer using behaviors such as using unlicensed software, copying files or programs without authorization, contempt of people’s work, accessing personal information of people and publishing this on the Internet without authorization, communicating on the Internet in disrespected way, downloading of others’ files and e-mails, opening adult web sites and sending viruses. These are some of the unethical practices of computer which lead to the build a big construct that is computer ethics. Martin and Yale-Weltz (1999) stated that there are characteristics caused by computer use namely: new concerns emerge rapidly, computer ethics, and computerized information.
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The term of computer ethics refers to a part of social and humanistic studies of computing (SHC) which is theoretical of the way in which different forms of information technology shape these computer ethics which have been developed to address individuals or social systems (Breij, 2001). On the other hand, Shelly (2010) is more specific and described the term computer ethics as ethical guidelines that lead people to the right way of using computers and information systems. Moreover, Barnard, de Ridder and Pretorius (2003) state that computer ethics is the study of behavioral activities of IT professionals that is useful for all of society. Baase (2003) definition is quite closely to Barnard’s definition and describes computer ethics as a list of professional ethics same as medical, legal, teaching and accounting ethics.
Computer ethics’ aim is to make decisions that depend on criteria of ethics, and then to provide more generalized ideas – in terms of theoritical evaluation, ethical insights, normative standards, educational programs, legal advice and so forth (Floridi & Sanders, 2002). Ethical issues are very essential in every society. The increased growth of computer usage has been generated a lot of questions of what is good and is not good ethics regarding the activities of computer use. Therefore, there are some organizations that pay attention in social and ethical results of extensive computer usage such as Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society, the Data Processing Management Association (DPMA). ACM is one of these organizations which is special interest group that address the side effects of using computer and its aim is to raise awareness about the impact that technology has on society (ACM, 2012). In this case, ACM has established a code of ethics and professional conduct in 1992.
It is clearly that computer has become a part of the educational environment which students use it as research and communication tool. At the same time, using computer has created ethical problems and violation of computer ethics is on the rise (Maslin, Zuraini& Ramlah, 2009). In other word, there are different practices that students do and relate to the use of computer unethically. As Frestone and Mitchell (2004) stated that downloading music, movies and software is unmoral due to the copyright issues. Moreover, students are generally more tend to pirate software and other intellectual property (Kini, Ramakrishn & Vijayaraman, 2004). Intellectual property is mind creation, names, designs, etc. It is divided into two types: industrial property and copyright which includes poem, films, designs, music and games. Maslin, Zurainy, Rashidah, Ramlah and Norshidah (2010) found that a round more than half of students are aware of abuse of computer ethics in terms of intellectual property and privacy.
Therefore, there are a lot of discussed sites of computer and networks. Information privacy, intellectual property rights, code of conduct and green computing are some examples of those sites (Shelly, 2010). In addition, Namlu and Odabasi (2007) build an unmoral computer using behavior scale (UECUB) to define unethical computer behaviors. A factor analysis of the related items discovered that the factors can be categorized into five groups; intellectual property, social impact, safety and quality, net integrity and information integrity.
Based on the experts in the field of computer security, universities are one of the lowest secure places (Maslin & Zuraini, 2008). Furthermore, academic dishonesty in these days technology is classified as an issue for higher education (Underwood & Szabo, 2003). Scheyvens, Wild and Overton (2003) found that the level of plagiarism is in high level in graduate students more than in undergraduate students because of the high degree of demand for critical and analytical writing. Therefore, different groups of people whether they are organizations or individuals have become more concerned about ethical issues caused by interconnected world (Martin & Woodword, 2011).
IIUM is a unique university all over the world. It integrates traditional and moral values in the all modern areas of disciplines. The essential aim of establishing IIUM is to generate international center which can combines beneficial knowledge and Islamic values in all types of disciplines which can lead to the right way of Ummah’s leading role in variety fields of knowledge (IIUM philosophy, 2012)
According to Tun Sri Mohd Sidek Hj Hassan (The president, IIUM Community), “IIUM must be highly ethical even as it strives excellence” (IIUM Code of Ethics, 2008). Concerning this, As an Islamic- oriented institution, IIUM students are expected to be ethical concessionaires at all time.
IIUM has established the IIUM Student Code of Ethics which is a code of practices depending on the strong basic of Islamic values with a view to gaining a high level of morality in commitment with IIUM’s core values namely, Integrity (trustworthiness), Justice and Fairness, Adab and Professionalism. IIUM Code of Ethics defines integrity (Istiqamah) as trust (Amanah) and stresses the need for sincerity, accountability, justice and transparency in all academic conduct (IIUM code of Ethics, 2008).
Besides that, IIUM is committed to supplying a wide range of internet services to all its population and facilities by providing access to broadband and wifi to all its members whether they are students or staff as well as providing them with a number of computer laboratories in each Kullyah. Based on these services, students use computers whether they are university computers or their personal computers in their university or personal lives.
In IIUM, There are several Kulliyyahs the Kulliyyah of Information and Communication Technology (KICT) is one of its kullyyahs which was opened in November 2001. Since that time, KICT has produced knowledge workers who have a variety of ICT skills and knowledge and Taqwa of Allah. KICT offers Cyber Law and Islamic Ethics (INFO 4502) as Kullyyah required course for all students to equipped them with more information of ethical computer use (KICT, 2005).
At the same time, the Institute of Education (INSTED) is one of Malaysia’s top education schools in IIUM. It offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in different specialization. INSTED provides the strategies that reduce the gap between theory and practice (INSTED, 2012). Unlike the KICT, INSTED does not offer Cyber Law and Islamic Ethics as an Kulyyah required course. In this case, students are not familiar with the ethical practice of computer use.
Recently, some studies have conducted in IIUM related to assess the ethical behaviors in terms of academic integrity practice and computer ethics among IIUM students. To clarify, Moshood (2010) conducted his study to examine the IIUM students’ perceptions toward academic integrity practice. Integrity practice in the IIUM campus was determined by two important sub- constructs (awareness of academic integrity policy and commitment to academic integrity’s implementation). On the other side, Maslin, et al. (2007) investigated the awareness of computer use among undergraduate computer science students from UTM and IIUM.
Generally, many researches have been done in computer ethics field. The large number of these studies conducted to investigate students’ awareness and perceptions of computer ethics and ethical beliefs (Adebayo, 2005; Akbulut, Usal, Odabasi & Kuzu, 2008; Acilar, 2010; Jabour, 2011; Maslin & Zuraini, 2008; Maslin, Zuraini& Ramlah, 2009; Molnar, Kletke & Chongwatpo, 2008; North, George &North, 2007; Perryer & Jordan, 2002; Peterson, Rhoad & Vangght, 2001; Virginiam, Kelly& Kathleen, 2011; Teston, 2008). Furthermore, these studies investigated the impact of gender, computer experience, age and program of the study on ethical judgments and ethical awareness.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
It is obviously that universities and educational organizations pay a huge attention in providing computers to their students or members. Despite the increased using of computer and its applications such as Internet and shared resources in human lives activities all over the world, however some users of computers such as students do not practice the code of computer ethics due to their ignorance of these ethics or due to their lack knowledge regarding these ethics. In addition they are not familiar with the idea that ethical issues related to computer use might be of importance to them in their future career as computer professional (Namlu& odabasi, 2007) Therefore, they do not aware of the side effects of violation of computer ethics.
It is noteworthy that in Malaysia, computer ethics is not offered as an individual subject, but rather the topic integrated in some related courses such as Management Information Systems or Cyber Law and Ethics course (Maslin, et al, 2009). In IIUM, KICT offers the course of Cyber Law and Ethics as a required course for all students to equip them with more information of ethical computer use (KICT, 2005). On the other hand, INSTED does not require this course for the students who are under this institution. Therefore, on the absence of computer ethics guidelines as a subject or chapter in the INSTED courses, there is a need to assess students’ violation of computer ethics and make comparison between KICT as-they have at least background about computer ethics- and INSTED students.
In addition, According to IIUM website, the philosophy of the university is to create international center of educational excellence which integrate Islamic Knowledge and values in all disciplines. Furthermore, In IIUM, integrity (Istiqamah) is recognized as the essence of the university code of ethics. IIUM Code of Ethics (2008) requires students to the code of ethics strictly in their academic works and general lives. This code of ethics contains many core values such as piety, honesty, trustworthiness, responsibility, sincerity, accountability, justice and transparency. With this code of ethics, IIUM students’ practices are expected to be ethically (IIUM Codes of Ethics, 2008). In addition, IIUM requires integrity practice to be able to produce ethically outstanding scholars in various fields of studies (Moshood, 2010). As a result, it requires firm commitment to the implementation of academic integrity policies. Consequently, IIUM administrators and faculty are expected to be committed to implement the integrity policies in campus. Therefore, this study firstly will examine the level of students’ violation of computer ethics in two different Kullyyahs with the existence of Islamic values in the university. Moreover, the researcher will investigate if there is any relationship between students’ violation of computer ethics and the level of IIUM faculty and managements’ commitment to the implementation of academic integrity policy from students’ perspective.
Finally, there are some researches were conducted in the field of computer ethics. The large number of these studies conducted to investigate students’ awareness and perceptions of computer ethics and ethical beliefs (Adebayo, 2005; Akbulut, Usal, Odabasi & Kuzu, 2008; Acilar, 2010; Jabour, 2011; Maslin & Zuraini, 2008; Maslin, Zuraini& Ramlah, 2009; Molnar, Kletke & Chongwatpo, 2008; North, George &North, 2007; Perryer & Jordan, 2002; Peterson, Rhoad & Vangght, 2001; Virginiam, Kelly& Kathleen, 2011; Teston, 2008). Furthermore, these studies investigated the impact of gender, computer experience, age and program of the study on ethical judgments and ethical awareness.
In IIUM context, there are only one study was conducted in terms of academic integrity practice and one study in term of computer ethics. To clarify, Moshood (2010) conducted his study to examine the IIUM students’ perceptions toward academic integrity practice. On the other hand, Maslin, et al. (2007) investigated the awareness of computer use among undergraduate computer science students from UTM and IIUM.
After examine the literature, It is clear that there is a lack of studies which conducted to evaluate the real violation of computer ethics among students. To add, there is no study investigate whether there is any relationship between students’ violation of computer ethics and the level of IIUM faculty and managements’ commitment to the implementation of academic integrity policy from students’ perspective or not. Therefore, this research aims to assess the level of students’ violation of computer ethics, examine any significant difference between KICT and INSTED student’ violation of computer ethics and to investigate if there is any relationship between students’ violation of computer ethics and the level of IIUM faculty and managements’ commitment to the implementation of academic integrity policy from students’ perspective.
The study of Peterson , Rhoads & Vaught (2001) revealed that age as a factor has an effect on ethical behavior. They found that older people have high level of ethical behavior than younger. In term of investigating different program on students ethical computer use, Akbulut, Uysal, Odabasi & Kuzu.(2008) investigate the effect of program on unethical computer using behavior. They found that there is no significant difference among different programs of study. By contrast, Maslin, Zuraini & Ramlah (2009) found that there were some significant differences in ethical awareness of computer use among undergraduate computer science students from different universities (UTM and IIUM) In addition, Maslin, et al. (2009) have developed this model of ethical awareness of computer use:
In IIUM, Integrity (Istiqamah) is recognized as the essence of the university code of ethics (IIUM Code of Ethics, 2008). Academic integrity, according to the Center for Academic Integrity (International Center for Academic Integrity, 2011), is defined as a commitment, even in the face of great difficulties, to five basic core values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. Based on these values, principles of behaviors come into being that help academic communities convert these ideals into practice.
Based on previous studies and model, in present study, the researcher will investigate the effect of age and program of study (Kullyyah) on students’ violation of computer ethics. The model will be as following:
The extent of faculty and management’s commitment to the implementation of academic integrity policies from students’ perspectives.
Program of the study (Kullyyah)
Violation of computer ethics
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to assess the level of computer ethics violation among IIUM students whether they are undergraduate or postgraduate students in two different Kulyyahs and to find if there is any significant difference between KICT and INSTED students in their violation of computer ethics. Moreover, this study aims to examine if there is any relationship between students’ violation of computer ethics and the extent of faculty and management’s commitment to the implementation of academic integrity policies from students’ perspectives.
This study designed to address the following questions:
What is the level of violation of computer ethics among IIUM students?
Is there any statistically significant difference between KICT and INSTED students in their violation of computer ethics?
Is there any relationship between IIUM students’ violation of computer ethics and the extent of faculty and management’s commitment to the implementation of academic integrity policies from students’ perspectives?
Is there any statistically significant difference between different groups of students’ ages in their violation of computer ethics?
Conducting this study will not generalize to all universities in Malaysia. It will be limited to IIUM only. Specifically, this study will focus on only two Kullyyahs (KICT and INSTED). Although there are several aspects of students misconduct behavior, however this study will be restricted to find out the level of computer ethics violation. Furthermore, this study will find out only the effect of faculty and management’s commitment to the implementation of academic integrity policies from students’ perspectives on students’ violation of computer ethics. However, there are others factors affect students violation of computer ethics.
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SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The results from this study will make a meaningful contribution to our knowledge concerning computer ethics violation in our University. Moreover, this study will provide data about the level of IIUM students’ unethical practice of using computer that could help the lecturers to be informed about their students’ violation of computer ethics and help them to find what they think that help their students if the level is low.
Furthermore, the leaders of the KICT and INSTEAD will be awarded about the level of students violation and make their decisions of how the level of ethical practice in using computer be improved if the level is low. Finally, this study will give a clear picture about the nature of the relationship between students’ violation of computer ethics and the extent of faculty and management’s commitment to the implementation of academic integrity policies from students’ perspectives which helps the policy makers of IIUM to take more notice on academic integrity practice in IIUM campus.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Computer ethics: Moral guidelines that govern the use of computers and information system. In this study computer ethics will only cover intellectual property, privacy and shared resources (adapted from Shelly, 2010).
Intellectual Property: A broad category of materials, inventions and original works that are legally recognized as proprietary assets of an individual or organization which cannot be used without permission or legal licensure (Adapted from Techopedia.com, 2010)
Privacy: The degree to which personal information, digital communication and digital devices can be accessed and shared by individuals (Adapted from your Dictionary.com, 2012)
Shared Resources: Known as network resources, refer to computer data, information, or hardware devices that can be easily accessed from a remote computer through a local area network (LAN) or enterprise Internet (Techopedia.com, 2012).
IIUM: International Islamic University Malaysia. IIUM is a unique university
either in Malaysia or on a broader plane of the world. Since its inception English is used both as its medium of instruction and the language of its administration. It blends harmoniously modern and professional disciplines with traditional values and moral virtues. Its students originate from more than 100 countries representing nearly all regions of the world. IIUM has spared no effort to ensure that it provides the best tertiary education possible in all branches of knowledge.
6. KICT: Kullyyah of Information and Communication Technology in IIUM.
7. INSTED: Institute of Education in IIUM.
8. Violation: an act that disregards an agreement or a right (AudioEnglish.net, 2006).
9. Academic integrity: refers to the extent that core ethical values ( honestly,
sincerity, piety, quality and originality) are transparently observed and strictly implemented in all academic pursuits. This is expected to facilitate the attainment of comprehensive excellence in the academic process as highlighted in the IIUM fundamental mission for learning.
10. Commitment to Academic Integrity’s Implementation
It contains four indicators that measure the extent of the university administrators and faculty’s commitment to the implementation of academic integrity policies. The four observed variables include (Code of ethics is well implemented in IIUM; Academic integrity practice is adequated emphasized by lecturers at the beginning of each course; Consequences of dishonest practices are well discussed in most of my classes; and Defaulters of academic integrity rules are given appropriate sanctions in IIUM.
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