F1-COMP3-2 - Teaching Cyber-Security for Distance Learners: A Reflective Study

1. Innovative Practice Full Paper
Ali Ahmed1 , Karsten Lundquist1, Craig Watterson1, Nilufar Baghaei2
1 School of Engineering and Computer Science, Victoria University of Wellington
2 School of Natural & Computational Sciences, Massey University

The number of distance learning degrees has increased dramatically over the last decade. Yet, despite this increase, teaching computer security subjects for online students remains challenging. Online classes often need a special infrastructure such as devices with specific tools, or hardware requirements. It is also a challenge to design a course that is pedagogically sound, engaging and fun for students who may come from a wide spectrum of educational backgrounds. The quality of the education delivered also differs from one institution to another. To provide a sense of accreditation and regulation, the National Cyber-security Centre, which is a part of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in the United Kingdom (UK) has certified only two online (i.e. distance learning) cybersecurity MSc degrees in the country.

This paper presents an innovative way of designing capstone projects (i.e. case studies) along with the impact of it on retention, completion, and success rates in a world-class distance learning degree at the University of Liverpool (UoL) over the last ten years. The Chartered Institute for IT (i.e. BSC) is the accreditation body of the degree program studied in this research.