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Towards a Multimedia-based Virtual Classroom on Cyber-Physical System (CPS) Security Education for Both City and Rural Schools

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1590.1 - 26.1590.9



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Paper Authors


Fei Hu University of Alabama

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Dr. Fei Hu is currently an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Alabama. He obtained his Ph.D. degrees at Tongji University in the field of Signal Processing (1999), and at Clarkson University in the field of Electrical and Computer Engineering (2002). Dr. Hu's research has been supported by U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Cisco, Sprint, and other sources. His research interests are 3S - Security, Signals, and Sensors.

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Thomas Morris Mississippi State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Tommy Morris currently serves as Director of the MSU Critical Infrastructure Protection Center (CIPC), Associate Director of the Distributed Analytics and Security Institute (DASI), and Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Mississippi State University. Dr. Morris received his Ph.D. in Computer Engineering in 2008 from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, with a research emphasis in cyber security. His primary interests include cyber security for industrial control systems and electric utilities and power system protective relaying. Dr. Morris’s research projects are funded by the NSF, Department of Homeland Security, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, NASA, the US Army Corps of Engineers Engineering Research Development Center (ERDC), Pacific Gas and Electric Corporation, and Entergy Corporation. Prior to joining MSU, Dr. Morris worked at Texas Instruments (TI) for 17 years.

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Towards a Multimedia-based Virtual Classroom on Cyber-Physical System (CPS) Security Education for Both City and Rural SchoolsSignificance: The system with a tight coupling of cyber and physical objects is called cyber-physical system (CPS), which has become one of the most important and popular computerapplications today. However, in CPS the physical systems are susceptible to the cyber securityvulnerabilities. We may not teach our students to simply use conventional, general cyber securityschemes because that most CPS security solutions need to be closely integrated with theunderlying physical process control features. Many schools lack the corresponding educationalresources including cyber security faculty and lab conditions. This is especially true for manyrural area colleges. In the U.S. 20% colleges are located in rural areas.Project outcomes: The goal of this project is to establish a multimedia-based virtual classroomwith virtual lab teaching assistant for the education of CPS security. Especially such a virtualclassroom will help college students in resource-limited rural areas to learn the latest CPSsecurity knowledge through on-line, peer-to-peer learning with other students (such as those inlarge city schools). The novelty of this development includes three features: First, all CPSsecurity teaching materials target application-driven learning. We select the important,interesting CPS applications including healthcare, renewable energy, and industry control, forCPS attacks analysis. Second, we build interesting virtual classroom lectures for rural schools.Third, we build interactive virtual lab helper software (called virtual lab TA), to enable remotestudents to conduct virtual hardware labs.Pedagogy: (1) Encourage students' creative CPS security learning: Our materials design use thefollowing important principles to encourage innovative learning: We use an iterative processwith idea incubation in our lab design for students' more mature, creative design. (2) 3E-basedapproach for security labs/projects teaching: In order to meet the security lab teachingrequirements for different types of students, we adopt a 3E (Explain-Exploit-Explore) basedpedagogy for all CPS security labs/projects: The basic level labs emphasize conceptexplanations. The intermediate level senior projects require the exploit of the students' previousknowledge to perform a multi-disciplinary CPS security design. The advanced-level labs requiresindependent exploration of the creative solutions.Methods of Assessment: We use both formative and summative methods to evaluate oureducation performance based on the recent NSF handbook on project evaluation. FormativeEvaluation: A formative evaluation include collecting feedback from rural and the PIs' schoolsthrough surveys. In addition, student focus groups are conducted to obtain more in-depthfeedback. Summative Evaluation: The summative evaluation comprehensively reflects theeffects of the CPS security education on computing curriculum and their long-term effects onrural student learning gains. Students’ perceptions of their multimedia e-learning gains aretriangulated with course grades and performance on the learning assessment.

Hu, F., & Morris, T. (2015, June), Towards a Multimedia-based Virtual Classroom on Cyber-Physical System (CPS) Security Education for Both City and Rural Schools Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24926

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