Certificate IV in Information Technology

South Regional TAFE, Albany Campus, Western Australia

Law, Technical Support and Virtual Machines

Of all the components of our IT Certificate IV, this was the most eclectic and broadest in scope. The subjects I am grouping together under "Law, Tech Support and VMs" are as follows:

Obviously, these constituted a significant proportion of our assessable units, and as such this class (Wednesdays) packed a lot more into our studies than we had to do already. I am subdividing the elements of this unit into the following sub-categories:

  1. Law
  2. Technical Support
  3. Virtual Machines (VMs)

Copyright, Ethics and Privacy

We started by investigating Copyright, Ethics and Privacy in an ICT environment. Why is it important to know about this?

N.b. References for copyrighted subject matter (sections) are the Copyright Regulations 1969 and the Copyright Act 1968 under "fair dealing."

From Austrade.gov.au: "Intellectual property (IP) and other intangible assets that relate to doing business include patents, trademarks, designs, and secret processes and formulae."

Naturally this also applies to database and other source code. A TAFE anecdote comes to mind here. I was informed by one of my lecturers that almost all of the Certificate II students from the semester preceding my Cert III in 2016 were severely reprimanded and nearly failed their course for plagiarising a the work of a certain fellow who was ahead of the class. So be warned and don't plagiarise!

Assessments (I)

One of our first assessments for this unit was to prepare and deliver an oral presentation. I chose the topic "Databases and Sharing Code" as the former was something that interested me. I delivered the presentation with a class mate, Jonathan Sofoulis. Find it here:

SR TAFE IP Policy: Databases and Sharing Code [255.2KB]

We were given in-class assignments that we had to research, such as answering questions like, "Research state legislation and policies relevant to an ICT environment and relating to the following:"

We were required to research current Copyright, Privacy and Ethics legislation and standards and provide an overview for each topic, which was to be submitted to the lecturer. Generally these were around 200-400 words. For Copyright, for example, we were required to, "Research the current legislation and standards relating to intellectual property (IP) and copyright. Provide an overview of how these relate to employees in the field of information technology. (Min 300 words)"

Here follows a 394-word extract from a pair of questions that was assigned to us on the topic of privacy. It required extensive research and summarisation; these sentences (after the link below) constitute my final submission.

Assessments (II)

Access the privacy policy of an organisation; this can be your workplace or another organisation such as the “Australia Post” Privacy Policy. Read the policy and document how the policy relates to the legislation. Identify all components that are relevant to ICT.

Selected policy: Netregistry Privacy Policy, Effective March 2015.

“Netregistry respects your privacy and is committed to its protection. We are bound by the Australian Privacy Principals of the Privacy Act 1988(Cth).”

(Netregistry, Privacy Policy, https://www.netregistry.com.au/legals/privacy-policy/)

Netregistry is a popular Australian online provider of web hosting and other services. The components of Netregistry’s privacy policy that relate to ICT are as follows: Why and when Netregistry collects your information (specifically, online collection of information), how Netregistry uses your information, disclosure of your information to third parties, accuracy/access, and security.

Netregistry collects and utilises personal information to deliver their services, e.g. their clients’ full name, mailing address, phone number, email address, ABN, and fax number. The policy stipulates that such personal information is made available upon registration of top level domain names:

“As a domain name registrar, we are required by ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) to make available the personal information we collect from you when you apply to register any generic top level domain names (e.g., com, net, org, biz, info and name) to the public on a publicly accessible database known as the WHOIS database.”

It also indicates where and why your information may be disclosed to third parties.

“We may supply your personal information to third parties to perform services on our behalf, such as: the distribution of Nett Magazine to you (except where you have chosen to opt out of receiving this magazine); the supply of web hosting, website design, SEO and other services; call centre sales and support services (provider in the Philippines).”

The client has the choice to opt out of receiving marketing or promotional material. Also, Netregistry’s mode of delivery of the service it provides involves using cookies and web storage. Cookies can be disabled, but at the loss of website functionality. The client can access and update personal information, and security is ensured by means of firewalls and access controls. Netregistry’s relationships with third party service providers are governed by its contracts with them.

“Those service contracts contain privacy and confidentiality provisions which are consistent with the Australian Privacy Law obligations.”

Assessments (III)

Most of my fellow students were school leavers, so I had the advantage of having completed two years of essay-writing in English and History classes while undertaking my Year 12 Certificate (in Canberra, ACT), as well as having studied a bit of Latin and Greek for some years, providing me with that competitive edge over my peers. I noticed that some of the younger crowd struggled a bit with spelling and grammar, but they all did surprisingly well in terms of output (poorly worded though it may have been...)

Working on my own, as required for our second oral presentation, I was able to pay more attention to the detail and content of the PowerPoint presentation without needing to negotiate, compromise on or double-check things with my prior colleague.

This Code of Conduct joined together all three topics we'd been studying until then (Copyright, Privacy and Ethics). My lecturer complimented me on my good design skills and for this I am indebted to my parents, who owned a graphic design business in Perth in the late 1980s to early 90s. (I like to think that I inherited some of their attention to detail!) Anyway, see below for a screen snip in case you don't have the time or inclination to go through the entire slide show.

Privacy screenshot

Some dot points about privacy in IT

Assessments (IV)

And here's the full slide show. Don't be put off by the large file size, it's actually fairly concise in terms of content.

Code of Conduct MS PowerPoint presentation [3.7MB]

Thus, I submitted the following forms of assessments:

  1. Written (or rather, typed and submitted as documents via email), and
  2. Spoken (i.e. oral presentations). Our final assessments for Copyright, Ethics and Privacy were
  3. A Code of Conduct written on South Regional TAFE's behalf (joining together all three of the aforementioned topics), and
  4. A brief knowledge-based test (KBT).

Here's the code of conduct I wrote:

South Regional TAFE - Code of Conduct [644.8KB]

And here are the questions for the Knowledge Based Test... (but not the answers, so as not to give too much away!)

Copyright KBT

  1. What are the 5 state or territory legislations relevant to “access and equity”? Supply a link for each Act and their policies
  2. What is the state or territory legislation and policy relevant to “copyright and intellectual property”
  3. What is the state or territory legislation and policy relevant to “workplace health and safety (WHS/OSH)”
  4. What is the state or territory legislation and policy relevant to “privacy”
  5. Discuss 3 ways you can secure server operating systems to provide privacy of data

Those final assessments concluded our work on Copyright, Ethics and Privacy in an ICT environment. This component of the course seemed harder than it really was, but it is an important subject and I would not want for my fellow students nor myself to run into the slew of legal troubles that can crop up if these matters are not given due consideration/attention within the industry. N.b. The KBT was actually left until the last few weeks of the term so that the lecturer could test us on Virtual Machines in the fifth question.

Technical Support

Now that the IT legislation's out of the way, I suppose most of the next units would come under the heading of "Technical Support:"

One-to-one instruction for client ICT problems

"Provide one-to-one instruction" and "Identify and resolve client ICT problems" were two really interesting units in which we made two bus trips from school to the library in order to help other, less tech-savvy persons with their IT enquiries. We did this on Wednesday afternoons over two consecutive weeks gratis (without cost) as a service to Albany Public Library and the community.

I volunteered to assist with Macintosh computers, since growing up in a home-run graphic design small business when I was very young, they have always intrigued me. One elderly lady wisely brought in a list of problems with her Mac she had written down specifically. I found that most of the help I was providing had to do with basic desktop navigation and installing or uninstalling software.

I was awarded mostly 5s (on a scale of 0 to 5, 5 being the highest) on the feedback forms the lecturer handed out, so client satisfaction was high!

I suppose "Relate to clients on a business level" applied to all of our course to some degree, firstly considering the library patrons as our clientele, and if we consider that our lecturers are standing in as the clients' representative.

Relate to clients on a business level

The only really official client we had was a director from Grove Securities come and answer our premeditated questions on our GroveDB design. Ah yes, and we did help out the Certificate IIs in Business; mine claimed to build her own computers (!) and therefore not to need any assistance from my end. Finally, I did a short presentation on the Linux OS for the IT Certificate IIs just out of interest and because the opportunity came up. No extra certificates, but it sure felt good to showcase the very operating system I am using to create this website itself. Next up for flashy innovative design: PHP and MySQL, or Razor and T-SQL.

"Support users and troubleshoot desktop applications" turned out to be worth doing, not least because I befriended one of the young fellow students in IT Cert II and have had interesting conversations with him via email. This came about because one of the Cert IIs' tasks was to specifically request assistance from our end. Unlike my obnoxious, unenthusiastic and largely unhelpful peers, I was nice to "my" Cert II, and following an exchange of emails he gave me a whole stack of WinXP textbooks for my new place in Milpara. Good things happen when one is nice to people.

Provide first-level remote help desk support

For the Certificate IIs we first wrote a Windows 10 Installation Guide, and later down the track a brief guide to setting up VMs (Virtual Machines). This was definitely a success in "Providing first-level remote help desk support." Here are the PDFs:

Windows 10

Windows 10 Installation Guide v1.1 [136.2KB]

Virtual Machine

How to Set Up a Virtual Machine [236.6KB]

As you can see, it is simple stuff but turns out to be nonetheless time-consuming in terms of research, writing and implementing digital media e.g. screenshots. I found it a lot easier than Web Design and Databases, and in fact I would consider it one of the easier collection of units for those with good literacy skills.