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Development of Military Friendly Cybersecurity Courses and Programs

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Military and Veterans Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Military and Veterans

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Paper Authors


Jeremy Straub North Dakota State University

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Jeremy Straub is the Associate Director of the NDSU Institute for Cyber Security Education and Research and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the North Dakota State University. He holds a Ph.D. in Scientific Computing, an M.S. and an M.B.A. and has published over 40 journal articles and over 120 full conference papers, in addition to making numerous other conference presentations. Straub’s research spans the gauntlet between technology, commercialization and technology policy. In particular, his research has recently focused on cybersecurity topics including intrusion detection and forensics, robotic command and control, aerospace command and 3D printing quality assurance. Straub is a member of Sigma Xi, SPIE, the AIAA and several other technical societies, he has also served as a track or session chair for numerous conferences.

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The development of a military-friendly cybersecurity graduate certificate program, options as part of Computer Science and Software Engineering M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, a special recognition as part of a B.S. degree in Computer Science and supporting ‘anytime, anywhere’ courses at the [blinded] are presented. The programs and courses were designed to respond to the national need for significantly more individuals with cybersecurity skills to protect government agencies and private sector businesses and other entities alike. Recognizing that individuals with military backgrounds, in most cases, already have skills and abilities directly supporting their success in the field, a specific effort was made to make the courses and programs military friendly. With [blinded] already designated a Military Friendly School by Victory Media’s G.I. Jobs Magazine, core policies and procedures were already in place.

This paper, thus, focuses on the development of the programs and courses at the departmental level. A key decision that was made early in the process was to make all of the courses equally available, synchronously or asynchronously, to both local and distance students. To support this, all of the newly developed cybersecurity courses are taught in a distance enabled classroom and combine pre-recorded videos, in class activities and lectures (which distance students can complete on their on schedule or connect to in real time using video conferencing software), online assessments and bona fide course-integrated research and development projects. Where relevant certifications existed (and are available to be taken by students), the courses were mapped to the objectives for these certifications. Courses have targeted EC Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker and Certified Hacking Forensic Investigator certifications and CompTIA’s Security+ certification.

The graduate certificate is designed to be able to be completed in conjunction with a graduate degree program or on a stand-alone basis. The certificate is designed, in particular, to help individuals with a technical background gain the skills required to successfully enter the cybersecurity field. The certificate program requires a sequence of four graduate level courses.

The options as part of the M.S. and Ph.D. programs allow students to gain particular cybersecurity skills while completing their graduate degree programs. All of the options require a sequence of three courses in cybersecurity.

The undergraduate recognition provides a similar benefit to undergraduate students. Like the graduate options, it also requires students to take a specific sequence of three courses. Undergraduate students also benefit from cybersecurity relevant coursework that is otherwise required as part of the B.S. degree in Computer Science.

Each of the aforementioned programs will be described in detail and design decisions that have been made to support military students will be highlighted and qualitatively evaluated. In addition to the discussion of the program-level design, military friendly course design decisions will also be discussed. These include key decisions to distance-enable the courses, using individuals with military experience to help deliver certain courses and the use of student assistants to aid the learning of students enrolled in the cybersecurity courses. The paper concludes with a discussion of planned future expansion.

Straub, J. (2019, June), Development of Military Friendly Cybersecurity Courses and Programs Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32658

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