Increasing learning and engagement in cybersecurity through segmented and interactive modules
Links to Fileshttp://library.towson.edu/cdm/ref/collection/etd/id/54044
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Type of Workapplication/pdf
x, 140 pages
DepartmentTowson University. Department of Computer and Information Sciences
Cybersecurity is a global crisis. Continuously increasing cyber threats and attacks have lead the United States to take several initiatives to produce skilled cybersecurity workforce professionals. One such initiative is the introduction of cybersecurity education in schools. Since a majority of cybersecurity problems are attributed to software vulnerabilities, there is a need for teaching secure coding and computer security concepts to students using effective cybersecurity learning modules. Learning intervention based on modules are common in computer science education. Some cybersecurity learning modules have been developed, including the Security Injections @Towson cybersecurity modules. Learning modules that present a large amount of content on a single web page in a linear format may lead to pedagogical issues including - 1) content skipping, and 2) lower student engagement and learning. Addressing these issues in web-based learning modules is critical at a time when module-based pedagogical approach is widely adopted by instructors in academia and industry. This research presents a theoretical framework that uses the e-learning design principles of segmentation and interactivity to address these issues; describes a system built on this framework; and tests its effectiveness through quasi-experimental studies using the Security Injections @Towson cybersecurity modules in computer literacy, Computer Science 0 (CS0) and Computer Science I (CS1) courses . A total of four studies compare linear modules and segmented interactive modules using the two group control group experimental design in the following order - 1) student engagement evaluations using post surveys in spring 2014; 2) student learning (retention of knowledge and ability to apply knowledge) evaluations using pre-survey, post-survey in fall 2014 and spring 2015, 3) students’ content skipping evaluations using an eye-tracking in fall 2015 and spring 2016; and 4) usability evaluations using surveys in fall 2015. A significant increase in student engagement (p < 0.05), ability to apply knowledge (0.05) and students’ content reading (p < 0.05) was demonstrated by students using segmented-interactive modules compared to linear modules. The segmentedinteractive modules were found to be significantly (p < 0.05) more usable than the linear modules. In addition, students indicated higher interest towards segmented-interactive modules.