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Enabling Advanced Topics in Computing and Engineering Through Authentic Inquiry: A Cybersecurity Case Study

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

COED Modulus Topics

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

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Paper Authors


Mike Borowczak University of Wyoming Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Mike Borowczak is the Director of the Cybersecurity Education and Research center (CEDAR) and a faculty member of the Computer Science department at the University of Wyoming. He earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering (2013) as well as his BS in Computer Engineering (2007) from the University of Cincinnati. His research focused on detection and prevention of information leakage from hardware side channels. Mike’s current research interests include developing homomorphic encryption, compression and parallelized algorithms for streaming and pseudo-streaming data sources while developing authentic cyber learning experiences for K-20 students.
Mike also has over a decade of industry and research experience – mostly revolving around the semiconductor and bioinformatics industries – with specific experience at Texas Instruments, Intel, and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. In addition to his industry experience, Mike spent two years, while completing his Ph.D., as a National Science Foundation GK-12 fellow – teaching and bringing real-world STEM applications in two urban high schools. Since then, he has worked with university faculty to promote and extend K20 STEM outreach in Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Wyoming.
He has authored peer-reviewed articles and papers, presented at national and international conferences, and taught undergraduate/graduate courses in Computer Security, Data Mining, VLSI and pedagogy in STEM. Mike is an executive committee member of the IEEE Computer Society’s Technical Committee on VLSI, as well as an active member of the IEEE, ASEE, ASTE, among others.

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Andrea Carneal Burrows University of Wyoming Orcid 16x16

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Andrea C. Burrows is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Teacher Education at the University of Wyoming, where she teaches courses in science methods and pedagogy. Dr. Burrows worked at Northern Kentucky University for five years. In 2010, she was hired as an external evaluator to conduct research on community/university partnership relations at the University of Cincinnati. She has received several awards including the: 1) UW College of Education outstanding research award (2015); 2) UW College of Education outstanding service award (2016); and 3) Honored College of Education Faculty at Fall Convocation (2017). Her research interests include partnerships within pre-service and in-service teachers in STEM Education with a focus on engineering education and integrated STEM. An active member of AERA, ASEE, ASTE, NARST, and NSTA, Dr. Burrows has presented at numerous conferences, published in ranked journals (e.g. Journal of Chemical Education), reviewed conference proposals (e.g ASEE, AERA), and co-edits the CITE-Journal, Science. Additionally, she taught high school and middle school science for twelve years in Florida and Virginia, and she was the learning resource specialist for the technology demonstration school in Florida.

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With the adoption of pedagogical practices such as Authentic Science and Inquiry-based projects within collegiate level classrooms, researchers focused on delivering advanced concepts investigated the level of student success in conducting authentic science during a six-week long inquiry project. Two main questions are explored: 1) do students working on self-guided, problem-based projects, engage in active inquiry? and 2) is there alignment between exemplar active inquiry projects and other assessments? This pilot research study focuses on twelve self-selected projects from a group of 33 engineering students all taking an introductory computer security course. Based on the existing body of literature surrounding Authentic Science and Authentic Inquiry the researchers performed a mixed methods study which, while focused predominately on the artifacts generated by the students also includes quantitative assessment of the artifacts themselves. Each of the five student-generated artifacts (proposal, mid-term report, final report, poster, and presentation), were analyzed for their alignment with the ten common traits of Authentic Science and Inquiry. In the preliminary analysis an unweighted percent-alignment metric was used and compared to the overall instructor-derived assessment score and an independent peer-survey. The overall results, in-line with a body of K12 research, projects with more authentic inquiry traits tend to be of a higher quality and thus higher instructor-based assessment scores. When it comes to peer-assessment scores, only half of the authentic inquiry traits are found to have significant impact outcomes – these tend to relate to humanistic properties and soft-skills – e.g. real-world impact, communication, collaboration, and enabling access to a broader community. Results seen in this work continue to motivate the re-use and adoption of pedagogical practices at the collegiate STEM level that have already been vetted by other educational communities, especially those found within the K-12 STEM educational research community.

Borowczak, M., & Burrows, A. C. (2018, June), Enabling Advanced Topics in Computing and Engineering Through Authentic Inquiry: A Cybersecurity Case Study Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30370

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