Discipline: Computer Sciences and Information Management
Subcategory: Computer Science & Information Systems
William Frazier - Auburn University
Our task this summer was to expose high school students to cyber security. The main problem was how to do this. With how big the internet is and how much we rely on computers, cyber security is a big issue, especially with all the hacking and stolen information that is happening. We addressed this task in three phases. The first phase was to identify the cyber security topics that would be taught. This entailed researching topics to find which could be of use to high school-aged students. We identified 8 topics: encryption, hashing, network basics, email security, passwords, data deletion and recovery, steganography, and malware. We then designed the course material so that it would be appealing and engaging. The lessons were designed in a way that there was some lecturing/explaining each topic, and quite a lot of hands on activities. We planned on culminating the lessons by having the students participate as teams in a cyber exercise at the end of the course. The second phase was actually teaching the material. This was done over the span of one week. Two to three topics were taught each day in 2-hour increments. There were 22 students that participated, comprised of juniors and seniors. At the end of the week, the students worked in groups of 2 to present a topic they thought was interesting (whether it was one we taught or something new). The third phase was a reflection phase used to see how we should shape next years camp. We sought feedback through live discussion on the last day of camp as well as through after-action surveys. The most valuable suggestions included placing each student in a beginner class or an advanced class. For the beginner class, students should share computers (2:1) and help each other with the activities. In the advanced class, every student will use their own computer. There should be a small lecture at the beginning of the camp that explains a little about the operating systems and how to use them. In conclusion, the students learned basic cyber security concepts (such as strong passwords, recognizing spam, how malware is contracted, etc.) while also shown tools needed to further their knowledge. Overall we got high praise for this year’s camp and will use the feedback to improve next year’s camp.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Research in Disabilities Education (RDE); NSA (provided by Dr. Umphress)
Faculty Advisor: David Umphress,