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At Iowa State University, we have addressed this gap in security education by developing a course entitled “Introduction to Computer Security Literacy.” The specific purpose of this 8-week, 16-lecture course is to provide both students from technical and non-technical majors with the opportunity to formally learn about the many components of practical computer security knowledge. Although one would believe that students from technical majors (i.e., computer engineering, computer science, management information systems) have a perceived advantaged over their non-technical cohorts, past research on this subject has actually shown that before the beginning of the course both technical and non-technical students are on an equal playing field as far as practical cyber security knowledge is concerned . Having taught this course 10 times to more than 250 students, we draw on many lessons learned, and pedagogical approaches, as well as effective demonstrations and in-class activities that can be performed to support lecture concepts.
This course and its delivery method are particularly effective at accomplishing stated course outcomes in part because students have the opportunity to apply the knowledge learned in lecture when they next begin to interact with their computing devices and the Internet. Furthermore, the constant interaction that students have with technology increases awareness and repetition, which leads to the goal of synthesis. Therefore, when students are presented with a novel situation, they have the experience and background to make a sound security decision. Current event topics are also included in daily lecture content so that a direct connection can be made in what students are learning in the course with the events that are currently happening in the world.
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