This is a collaborative project involving George Washington University (NSF Award No. 1129398), the University of Washington (NSF Award No. 1128989), and the University of Hawaii (NSF Award No. 1129567).

Since 2003, George Washington University has offered students in its Cyber Corps (Scholarship for Service) program a seminar in which Federal and industry experts deliver guest lectures. This project is making that seminar available through videos, notes, and instructor guides to two partner institutions (the University of Washington and the University of Hawaii) and, ultimately, to the entire Cyber Corps community, so that students in SFS programs outside the DC area can benefit from the experiences and leadership skills of on-the-ground Federal leaders. The two partner institutions are adding lectures by Federal government and industry leaders from their respective regions who have made significant contributions to the advancement of cybersecurity. For example, the University of Washington is contributing lectures from industry leaders developing secure cloud environments, and the University of Hawaii is contributing lectures from the original ALOHAnet developers.

The project is developing a "Cybersecurity Library of Content," based on a concept inventory, which is consistent, cutting-edge, and part of a comprehensive approach to the teaching of strategic, operational, and defensive cybersecurity. At all of the participating universities, this program effectively augments faculty by providing speakers either in person or by video. In addition, instructors are able to use material developed by the project, including an instructor's guide, laboratory exercises, examination questions and answers, learning objectives, and links to related artifacts (e.g., PowerPoint presentations, reading lists), where appropriate.

The project is also creating links with the broader SFS program and with community colleges that are starting to teach cybersecurity. It is helping the participating institutions transform their programs into ones that better serve their students by making previously unavailable content available to them. Students are trained in many current policies so that they can hit the ground running. When they arrive at their internship or job in the government, they are prepared not only with knowledge of traditional cybersecurity and information assurance mechanisms but also with an appreciation of government-related issues obtained from up-to-date lectures by individuals with current or recent first-hand experience in Federal government cybersecurity and information assurance.

Project Report

The purpose of this project was to make the George Washington University (GWU) Cyber Corps (Scholarship for Service) seminar, in which Federal and industry experts deliver guest lectures available through videos, notes, and instructor guides, to two partner institutions (the University of Washington [UW] and the University of Hawaii Manoa [UHM]) as a test of how students in cybersecurity educational programs outside the DC area can benefit from these presentations showing the experiences and leadership skills of on-the-ground Federal and industry cybersecurity leaders. Another objective was to determine how much the use of the videos created interest in cyber security careers nationwide, and in particular in federal government cyber security careers. At the partner institutions, there was a secondary objective, to capture the expertise of their respective, local cybersecurity experts on video to share with students at GWU and ultimately the other CAE's for whom a database to collect these videos was built. In the case of UW, cybersecurity experts are largely from the industrial sector: Microsoft, Amazon, the Agora {a group of cybersecurity experts some hundreds strong that meets quarterly on campus), Boeing, T-Mobile. It is important to note that the major cloud vendors and the Cloud Security Alliance are all headquartered in the Northwest--in a sense the Cloud is forming in that region. In the case of UHM, cybersecurity experts consist of those who created the AlohaNet and who are involved with military implementation since the Islands are home to the Pacific Fleet and have large military installations. The partner institutions were greatly assisted by active involvement of a retired FLETC (Federal Law Enforcment Training Center, an FBI facility) founder who was funded under their portion of the grant. He helped facilitate video lectures from the Federal government and contributed his views and insights on how things work in that space. This also helped make Federal government employment relevant to students who continue to seek his mentorship outside of class. Student participants overwhelmingly reported that they found the videos to be useful and that the presenters were knowledgeable. Thus, the videos rated strongest and most relevant by the students will continue to be used in the associated courses and in relevant future courses at all of the participating institutions. Eight themes emerged from the student discussion board evaluation responses. In general, students learned something new; lecture content was applicable in the real world; the lecturers were perceived as knowledgeable professionals; the content was interesting to students; students were able to draw comparisons between the lecture material and their own work experiences; and students were able to critically engage the content of the lecture. In general, students who participated in the review of the videos offered comments indicating that video presentations were useful, interesting, and valuable as a learning tool. In order to gauge student perceptions of their knowledge and understanding about Cyber Security topics, survey participants were asked to reflect on the following ten 10 topics: attack vulnerability, mitigation strategies, cybersecurity policy, FISMA requirements, federal agency structure and function, continuous monitoring, information assurance (IA) legislation, and IA security jobs in state agencies, corporations, and the federal government. At the end of the course, a majority of the students felt they possessed at least a solid grasp of those topics. All of the students said that employment in the federal government and/or their own personal interests were of high importance to their decision to enroll in the program and all indicated that urgency about national security was either of medium or high importance to their decision to participate in the program. In addition, over 80% of the participants indicated that US government needs in the IA workforce, current news or journal articles on IA they read, and scholarship or financial support were all of medium or high importance in their decision to enroll. Half of the participants indicated that the fact that the course was offered online was either of medium or high importance to them when deciding to participate in the course; the other half indicated that it was of no importance. In the view of the partner institutions, an important goal was acheived: to expose students at a distance from Washington DC to the leaders who are shaping the cybersecurity field at a Federal level and to open them to career opportunities in Federal government that before might have seemed remote. There are now several students from both institutions who have interned and/or now work in the Federal government. A contributing factor is the introduction of the Federal government perspective on cybersecurity leadership and an inclusion of careers with Federal government as an option in their career planning discussions and explorations.

Agency
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Institute
Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
Type
Standard Grant (Standard)
Application #
1128989
Program Officer
R. Corby Hovis
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
2011-10-01
Budget End
2014-09-30
Support Year
Fiscal Year
2011
Total Cost
$99,130
Indirect Cost
Name
University of Washington
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
Seattle
State
WA
Country
United States
Zip Code
98195