The HEA's learning and teaching in cyber security grant scheme is an opportunity to create innovative evidence informed practice. The scheme, backed by BIS, is an opportunity to help address the concerns raised about the quality of cyber security learning & teaching at universities by enhancing both quality and impact and to raise the profile of cyber security as a discipline. In this blog post Karen Fraser (HEA Consultant in Academic Practice) introduces the four projects funded through this scheme.
The computing industry is one of the fastest growing markets in the world and the security of the industry is becoming increasing more important to both industry and governments. However security, especially of confidential email is becoming such a problem that there have been suggestions that some governments have considered returning to the manual typewriter for sensitive documents. Combine this issue with employers concerns about the quality of the skill-sets of computing graduates and we have a problem. If the UK is to be equipped to respond to cyber threats, and the cyber security sector is to grow, we need to strengthen the pipeline of cyber talent and help prepare students for entry-level security career opportunities. It is inconceivable that the UK would not be in a position to keep our digital world secure.
The first meeting of four Cyber Security Learning and Teaching Projects took place at LJMU. The day was attended by all the project leads, an employer, Ron Allen from BIS and a number of LJMU students. The morning session consisted of a short presentation from each of the four projects where they outlined their aims and objectives. In the afternoon we considered how we could ensure that the resources developed as part of the projects could be presented to the sector as a cohesive offering.
Below we have short descriptions of the current projects, we would be interested in comments (below) in gaps in resources and materials.
Multi-disciplinary cooperation for cyber security, legal and digital forensics education
Project lead: Professor Ali E. Abdallah, Birmingham City University)
ConSoLiDatE will foster close co-operations among experts in cyber security, legal studies and digital forensics to improve education in these inter-connected disciplines. Due to the fast developments in these areas, it seems best to have the relevant material prepared by the domain experts but with strong guidance as to its contents from the other partners. The main activities are focussed on collectively developing specialised educational material by domain experts and on the delivery of this material to students at the partner’s institution. The materials will be prepared as a practice-based pedagogy to fill gaps in the education of related subjects.
Cyber security knowledge exchange
Project lead: Dr. Chris Beaumont, Edge Hill University
The lack of skilled cyber security professionals and inadequate information security practices in SMEs are well-known. This project addresses both concerns using innovative approaches, working with students and employers as partners in three ways: creation of on-line problem-based learning (PBL) scenarios and resources for learning aspects of cyber security, with content provided by employer partners to ensure relevance and authenticity; a student focussed knowledge exchange (KE) model of disseminating good cyber security practice in SMEs by involving MSc Information Security and IT Management students in work placement; and a flexible, tested model for engaging employers for developing cyber security resources and disseminating good practice.
Image: Project team meeting at Liverpool John Moores University
VIBRANT (VIrtual cloud-based cyBer secuRity trAiNing plaTform)
Dr. Kashif Kifayat, Liverpool John Moores University
The proposed VIBRANT project will focus on key skill gaps to enhance students’ practical learning and technical knowledge in cyber security at the level required by UK industry, establish strong collaborations among cyber security academics and share the benefits of the VIBRANT platform among students in the UK. It will establish and enhance student partnership by involving LJMU students in the project as steering group members, developers and evaluators. They will also engage with academics and industrial partners in project meetings and workshops, and gain direct insight into the platform’s technical development and evaluation process.
Active cyber security learning in a vocational HE setting
Jonathan Eaton, Newcastle College
Newcastle College is the only college-based higher education (CBHE) provider to award a Foundation Degree in Cyber Security under its own Foundation Degree Awarding Powers. This project seeks to develop an innovative approach to active learning in cyber security within a vocational setting through breaking down the perceived barrier between current industrial practice and academic learning. It challenges students to embrace uncertainty and complexity within an ever changing cyber security landscape through deep engagement with industry practitioners. Students will accrue enhanced skillsets beyond the traditional curriculum in alignment with the needs of industry.
Dissemination of the outputs and impact of the projects will take place from October 2015 onwards and will be advertised in Academy Update. They will be free to attend and everyone would be most welcome.
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How can we best support the sector?
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