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2024/25 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

IDEA5240M Professional Issues 2: Privacy and Confidentiality

15 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Andrew Kirton

Taught: 1 Feb to 30 Apr View Timetable

Year running 2024/25


IDEA5210MIntro Ethics: Reason Happiness
IDEA5220MProfessional Issues 1

This module is not approved as an Elective


This module focuses on ethical issues relating to privacy and confidentiality, addressing some of the key theoretical issues and bringing these to bear on consideration of questions in applied ethics where matters of privacy and/or confidentiality are central.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should have an ability to:
- understand some of the key theoretical issues involved in the study of privacy;
- evaluate critically questions in applied ethics where matters of privacy and/or confidentiality are central;
- apply this understanding to the development of thoughtful and well presented arguments which reflect their own critical engagement with the material studied.


Topics may include, for example:

- The difference between privacy and confidentiality

- Understanding privacy
> Competing accounts of privacy (and its importance)
>> Autonomy and control, relationships and well-being
> Privacy in the public domain
> Privacy as an absolute or something that comes in degrees
> An ambiguity: descriptive vs prescriptive
> Privacy rights.

- Understanding confidentiality
> The value of confidentiality
> Consequentialist and deontological accounts.

- Whose privacy and whose responsibility?
> Whose privacy should be protected?
>> Do we have any reason to protect the privacy of the dead?
>> Do some people give up their right to privacy (by becoming celebrities, for example)?
> Whose duty is it to protect/respect a person's privacy?

- The limits of confidentiality
> Should confidentiality be limited or absolute?

- Privacy/confidentiality vs other considerations
> How do we weigh reasons?
> How much weight should we give to privacy and/or confidentiality?
> To what extent do our answers to these questions depend on which account of privacy/confidentiality we want to defend.

- Privacy and fiduciary relationships

- Contrasting approaches to privacy and confidentiality in different professional domains.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning82.0016.00
Independent online learning hours34.00
Private study hours100.00
Total Contact hours16.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

On-Line Learning: online tutor-led discussion.
Independent Online Learning: working through exercises online

Private Study Time:
Students be assigned set readings, and will be given teaching materials to work through at their own pace. These materials will set the readings in context, at certain points provide prompts for carefully structured online discussions, which will be supported by tutors.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Essay plans (400 words).

Tutors will be involved in students' discussions to monitor their contributions, and provide clarification or answer questions where necessary. Access to teaching materials will also be logged through the VLE, which will give some indication of students' progress in independent learning.

Contribution to online discussions will be assessed (on participation rather than content) to encourage regular, active participation.

There will also be an online personal tutoring system to review progress on completed modules and identify any areas where further support is needed.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 3,000 word90.00
Group DiscussionParticipation in online group discussion10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 07/06/2023 12:15:32


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