In this time and era, we have witnessed the emergence of electronic resources as the most important development of the modern day communication system. Technologies such as cellular phones, home computers, the internet and websites have added another dimension to the way we live our lives today. This presentation seeks to address and analyse the negative and positive aspects in view of the introduction of computers and telecommunications techniques as follows: Firstly, it raises awareness with regard to the new age of crimes, termed as cyber crimes. The paper focuses, in particular, on the difference between the two common types of cyber crimes, cyber war and cyber terrorism. Secondly, the paper examines the limitations and impact of having graduates through e-learning. Thirdly and lastly, the paper discusses on whether computer practitioners should be required to have a practicing license as it is with other professionals such as doctors, lawyers and teachers.
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1. (a) Difference Between Cyber War and Cyber Terrorism
The end result of both cyber war and cyber terrorism is the same, to damage critical infrastructures and computer systems. The major difference being that cyber war is launched by governments whereas cyber terrorism is launched by individuals or a group of individuals. Cyber war, often done in conjunction with traditional military attacks, is an organised attack by one nation against another nation’s information and communication systems with an aim of gaining an advantage over the enemy by disrupting their ability to fight back. Cyber war attacks often targets an enemies systems such as command and control systems, intelligence collection and distribution, information processing and distribution, tactical communication, troop and weapons positioning and so on. For instance, when the United States of America invaded Iraq, they disrupted the country’s communication and defence systems, crippling their ability to find and take down US aircrafts. On the other hand, cyber terrorism is when individuals or terrorist groups use computers, computer networks and the internet against persons or property to intimidate or coerce government, civilians, society in order to reach political, religious or ideological agenda. The things that are targeted are power plant systems, telephone systems, transportation systems, water or oil pipelines, financial institutions and so on. ([online] Available at: community.mis.temple.edu/mis2901001…[Accessed 5 April 2014])
Cyber terrorism takes many forms. One of the more popular is to threaten a large bank. The terrorist hacks into the bank’s system and then leave an encrypted message for senior directors demanding for a sum of money. If the bank does not cooperate, the terrorist threatens to use anything from logic bombs to electromagnetic pulses and high-emission guns to destroy the bank’s files. Most banks would rather pay the money than have the public know how vulnerable they are for fear of loss of business. ([online] Available at: csciwww.etsu.edu/../cases.htm [Accessed 6 April 2014]) One practical example is where banks in Zambia have lost an estimated US$4 million to cybercrime through Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) withdrawals. This was reported in the local Post newspaper dated 14 June 2013. This was after the state police discovered a scam in which three foreign criminals had recruited and trained Zambians in cyber-crime. ([online] Available at: www.postzambia.com/post-read…article [Accessed 6 April 2014]) Cyber terrorism can also include terrorists getting secret data from defence files, network with other terrorists, or raise and manage funds for terrorism by hacking. (b)
Limitations and Impact of Having Graduates
Through E-learning E-learning has become an increasingly popular learning approach in higher educational institutions due to the rapid growth of internet technologies. Many foreign renowned universities offer all types of programmes ranging from Bachelor, Master and PhD programmes, to Short Courses. Essentially, emerging evidence suggests that having graduates through e-learning has substantial beneficial impact on social and economic development of our societies today and includes the following. It has enhanced skills development to would be graduates and their countries to cope with the demands of the 21st century where rapid change and globalisation is taking place. For instance, graduates have acquired an improved ability to conduct independent research, think critically to solve problems through the use of e-technology to communicate and collaborate. It has lead to an increased student turnover because of its flexibility and cost effectiveness and hence has broadened educational opportunity for many, especially financially disadvantaged students and those with disabilities. This has resulted in an increased human resource base and enhanced economic progress from direct job creation in the technology industry as well as from developing a better educated work force, much needed in developing countries such as Zambia. Online access promises a new access route for millions of students.
This new approach of learning facilitates different students at different continents to attend the same classes almost at the same time. It has brought about improved learning methods and teachers have a more positive attitude towards their work and are able to provide personalized learning. On the other hand, although e-learning has brought about many benefits for students and organizations alike, it also has its limitations. In order to perform the tasks required by system, an e-learning environment requires basic state of the art equipment and minimum level of computer skills. Thus, a student that does not have the minimum computer knowledge, or have access to these equipment is disadvantaged and will not succeed in an e-learning program. Certain subjects, such as sports and public speaking, require physical exertion and practice. Thus, they cannot be applied in an e-learning environment. Needless to say, it can be a useful companion to traditional education for teaching background and technical information. A successful e-learning program requires students that are well organised, self motivated and have good time management skills. In other words, an e-learning program is directly related to the amount of effort applied.
Successful e-learning students are able to study independently and incorporate study time into their busy lives. Students that lack discipline and are not good at time management are disadvantaged and will not succeed. E-learning requires good reading and writing skills. Most activities and communications are written, and thus, the ability to efficiently interpret instructions is a critical skill to a successful e-learning program. Students that are not comfortable with the ability to express themselves through writing will not succeed in e-learning. 2. Are computer practitioners similar enough to other professionals that they should be required to have a License too? Licensing is not currently required for computer practitioners but is being considered by several professional computing organizations and is believed, in principle, as necessary as the certification and licensing of doctors, lawyers, teachers, hairdressers and other professionals. The question of licensing professionals in general is a very controversial and political question. Licensing generally means that to practice a certain profession requires a government licensee, usually administered through a professional organization. The general theory of licensing professional is that it is supposed to help the general public outside the professional to be assured that someone else is capable of doing certain jobs.
For instance, one of the top e-learning institutions, the University of Liverpool in conjunction with Laureate Online Education offer 41 distance learning courses from a wide area of disciplines. The notion that degrees through e-learning are perceived not to be as rewarding or valuable as full-time traditional degree has been proved not to be the case. In fact, in the late 1990s, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education of the British Government measured academic excellence in more than 100 universities, including the Open University. Surprisingly, the Open University was ranked in the top ten of British Universities in terms of academic excellence. The only underlying difference between a traditional degree and e-learning degree is the manner in which information is conveyed. The traditional setup has been based on a face to face communication where students and lecturers are brought together at the same time and the same place in classes, laboratories and recreation centers for the purpose of learning, whereas in e-learning systems use technology to separate the learner from the teacher, and the learner from the learning group while maintaining the integrity of the learning process. Follow up statistics placing the Open University in the top 10 with Oxford and Cambridge have been repeated for several years and cannot be statistically be explained as a mere coincidence.
([online] Available at: http.//www.webbasedtraining.com/ [Accessed 3 March 2014]) The main focus of this presentation is to gain insights into critical issues confronting two major stakeholders in the new era of WBT, the student and faculty. The question at hand requires objective views on the advantages and disadvantages of WBT from a student’s point of view as well as advantages of WBT from the college’s point of view. It further requires identifying ways that studying from a website is better than studying from written text as well as discuss in details the social and economical benefits and limitations of E-technology in Zambia.
Systems Development Life Cycle
The second part of this presentation discusses a linier Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) which is a technique used to assist developers effectively develop information systems. ‘Gaining competitive advantage and improving information delivery will urge an organization to restructure its activities. The information system has to be developed to suite the business scenario and objectives. It needs to be carefully planned and activities well thought of.’ (Ndhlovu, 2009). Thus, in an effort to answer the question at hand a description of the stages involved in a SDLC using annotated diagram shall be discussed. In addition, the discussion shall also include a description of techniques which can be used to investigate the existing system of an organization identifying the advantages and disadvantages of each and also give an alternative to SDLC for developing systems.
Having said that, details of the mentioned topics in question is as follows. a) Web-Based Training
Advantages and Disadvantages of WBT: Student’s Point of View Advantages
Utilisation of the World Wide Web is a current and extensive source of information and relatively easy to use. Some of the advantages from a student’s point of view include the following. There is unlimited source of information on the internet as compared to textbooks and class lectures as it provides a variety and quality of learning materials. Encountering a new experience of sourcing information on the web increases a motivation to learn among students. For example, the web allows browsing from one link to another on a particular subject or topic Access to meaningful resources foster critical thinking skills and allows the student to see new ways of interpreting and evaluating information. For instance, gathering view points and knowledge from various internet sites cause students to debate previously held values and ideas which they may have had misconceptions. Gain of competence with technology by learning to navigate and use the web successfully, apply computer skills, use of conferencing tools such as e-mail and listservs. Integration of technology with content-related work provided a more meaningful interaction with the subject matter.
For example, students reflected on the lack of relevance in acquiring computer skills in isolation noting that when combined with content, those applications become a tool to improve learning in their field of study. Technological aspects of course assignments encourage cooperative dialogue rather than isolation. For example, e-mail and listservs are used regularly providing a valuable resource for support and collaboration among classmates for help in completing assignments, support with technological frustration and to share acquired skills or content resources. In addition, e-mail communication with instructors gives a student individual attention that is not apparent in a traditional coursework setup. E-mail utilization has many assets that face-to-face classroom contact lacks. For example, student need not wait for class time in order to get or clarify a piece of information. The student who would normally shy away and not ask a question in class or participate in a class discussion are more comfortable using e-mail as a medium of communication and thus is not left out on the much needed information. For the student, online course allows them to integrate work, family and school more efficiently as it eliminates travel time to and from class for commuters.
The positive aspects of WBT are countered with some frustrations that are experienced by some students. These include the following. Student lack of computer skills, internet server being down, difficulty in accessing computer, use of obsolete computers and lack of technical and instructional support are some of the frustrations that a student may encounter. Required assignments are time consuming as mastering computer application tools and learning to navigate the web efficiently take up most of the time.
Advantages of WBT: College’s Point of View
Higher education is evolving, consumer needs are shifting, and competition for students is increasing. Consequently, institutions must be driven to some extent by the needs and demands of the consumer. To satisfy the unique needs of growing numbers of nontraditional students and to make graduate degrees more attractive and feasible, the availability of online courses and distance learning opportunities is essential. Most of the faculties consider technology applications in university courses as the wave of the future citing their main reason for wanting its continuity as mainly being the benefits they believe their students receive. Moreover, in this time and era, a faculty member who does not use technology is often considered out of date and out of touch with skills that are needed for the coming millennium. Faculty respondents consistently identified convenience and improved learning as advantages for students enrolled in Web-based instruction. Other advantages identified by faculty are as follows. Students gain knowledge on how to use numerous technology-based applications such as e-mail, PowerPoint, listservs, graphics programs, and HTML, many of which are considered essential skills for today’s workforce. Students also gain comfort with the medium, anxiety levels are reduced, and they are more willing to explore the potential of technology applications.
Students tend to become independent learners, are more motivated to explore related topics on their own, and develop critical thinking skills. The quality of completed assignments is often better than in the traditional classroom because students have more time for reflection and better access to resources. More information can be included in a course with the potential for students to expand on the information received by providing links to related sites. Many students will click on a link more readily than obtaining a print resource identified in a bibliography. Students learning how to access the extensive resources available on the WWW, online databases, and other technology-based resources. Student convenience. For example, online classes provide students with 24-hour access, eliminate the need to travel or find parking, and eliminate scheduling conflicts with jobs or family. These advantages may particularly benefit graduate students and nontraditional students. Connecting students with technology allows the student to become part of a global community. Information and ideas can be exchanged with other students and experts throughout the world using e-mail and listserv discussions. Collaboration and communication among students are fostered, as well as communication between instructor and student.
Online Studying Vs. Written Text Studying
Among the several ways that studying from a website is better than studying from written text three distinct ways include the following. Text books become outdated almost immediately after publication and cannot be updated until the next publication which may take several years down the line. Information on the website can be updated daily and printing errors are corrected immediately. Written text is limited to the information on the page whereas educational websites can link to an infinite number of other educational sites to give supplemental detail in as much as possible on a particular subject or topic. Textbooks are limited to the points of view of their authors whereas the website allows multiple view points, which is essential for critical thinking especially if the author is too vague about a particular topic. ([online] Available at: English.varsavskyfoundation.org/education [Accessed 7 March 2014])
b) Social and Economical Benefits and Limitations of E-technology in Zambia Zambia is one of a number of countries in the Southern African region that have sought to include e-technology in its national development plans. E-technology is believed to contribute to improving development outcomes in two main ways: E-technology-based knowledge and products contribute directly to wealth creation. The use of e-technology contributes indirectly to national development through its impact in social and economic sectors such as agriculture, health and education, and by empowering individuals to take advantage of new opportunities. For example, AfriConnect, in partnership with the Zambian Ministry of Education, have been piloting a project aimed at bringing web-based e-learning to schools in different parts of the country. The objective is to move from the traditional chalk-and-talk pedagogy to enquiry-based learning, while at the same time bringing the option of lifelong learning to people who have already left school. Individuals also benefit from the availability and use of e-technology in a number of ways. For example, by substituting phone calls for travel, which saves time and money, and by using e-technology to obtain information on prices, for their own produce and for purchases.
In these various ways, e-technology can have a significant impact on a country’s ability to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). There are, however, also constraints on the potential impact of e-technology in many developing countries. These constraints include inadequate technical infrastructure, limited human skills to use available networks and services, the relatively high cost of communications equipment, and poor policy and regulatory environments. These factors reduce the scope for countries and communities to realise the potential of e-technology for development.
Question 2 Solution
(a) Model of the Systems Development Life Cycle highlighting the maintenance PhaseThe systems development life cycle (SDLC) is a conceptual model used in project management that describes the stages involved in an information system development project, from an initial feasibility study through maintenance of the completed application. In general, an SDLC methodology follows the following steps:
1. Planning Stage
The existing system is evaluated. Deficiencies are identified. This can be done by interviewing users of the system and consulting with support personnel.
2. Analysis Stage
The new system requirements are defined. In particular, the deficiencies in the existing system must be addressed with specific proposals for improvement.
3. Design Stage
The proposed system is designed. Plans are laid out concerning the physical construction, hardware, operating systems, programming, communications, and security issues. The new system is developed. The new components and programs must be obtained and installed. Users of the system must be trained in its use, and all aspects of performance must be tested. If necessary, adjustments must be made at this stage.
4. Implementation Stage
The system is put into use. This can be done in various ways. The new system can be phased in, according to application or location, and the old system gradually replaced. In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to shut down the old system and implement the new system all at once.
5. Maintenance Stage
Once the new system is up and running for a while, it should be exhaustively evaluated. Maintenance must be kept up rigorously at all times. Users of the system should be kept up-to-date concerning the latest modifications and procedures.
The systems development life cycle (SDLC), also referred to as the application development life-cycle, is a term used in systems engineering, information systems and software engineering to describe a process for planning, creating, testing, and deploying an information system. The systems development life-cycle concept applies to a range of hardware and software configurations, as a system can be composed of hardware only, software only, or a combination of both. The waterfall model is a sequential design process, often used in software development processes, in which progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards (like a waterfall) through the phases of Conception, Initiation, Analysis, Design, Construction, Testing, Production/Implementation, and Maintenance.
What is systems development life cycle (SDLC)?
(SDLC is also an abbreviation for Synchronous Data Link Control.) The systems development life cycle (SDLC) is a conceptual model used in project management that describes the stages involved in an information system development project, from an initial feasibility study through maintenance of the completed application. Various SDLC methodologies have been developed to guide the processes involved, including the waterfall model (which was the original SDLC method); rapid application development (RAD); joint application development (JAD); the fountain model; the spiral model; build and fix; and synchronize-and-stabilize. Frequently, several models are combined into some sort of hybrid methodology. Documentation is crucial regardless of the type of model chosen or devised for any application, and is usually done in parallel with the development process. Some methods work better for specific types of projects, but in the final analysis, the most important factor for the success of a project may be how closely the particular plan was followed.
In general, an SDLC methodology follows the following steps: 6. The existing system is evaluated. Deficiencies are identified. This can be done by interviewing users of the system and consulting with support personnel. 7. The new system requirements are defined. In particular, the deficiencies in the existing system must be addressed with specific proposals for improvement. 8. The proposed system is designed. Plans are laid out concerning the physical construction, hardware, operating systems, programming, communications, and security issues. 9. The new system is developed. The new components and programs must be obtained and installed. Users of the system must be trained in its use, and all aspects of performance must be tested. If necessary, adjustments must be made at this stage. 10. The system is put into use. This can be done in various ways. The new system can phased in, according to application or location, and the old system gradually replaced. In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to shut down the old system and implement the new system all at once. 11. Once the new system is up and running for a while, it should be exhaustively evaluated. Maintenance must be kept up rigorously at all times. Users of the system should be kept up-to-date concerning the latest modifications and procedures.