University of New Orleans computer science professor Irfan Ahmed has received a 2-year $300,000 National Science Foundation grant to study how peer instruction techniques can improve cybersecurity education. Unlike the traditional lecture approach to teaching, peer instruction encourages every student to actively participate in discussions with fellow students.
Cybersecurity is one of the most strategically important areas of computer science, but also one of the most difficult to teach effectively, according to Ahmed. The vast majority of cybersecurity failures are the result of poor understanding of the security landscape and an inability to adapt to new threats, he said.
“We hope that peer instruction will be effective in improving learning outcomes in class and creating a mindset necessary for combating ever-evolving and more sophisticated cyber-attacks,” said Ahmed, an assistant professor of computer science and the grant’s principal investigator. “This will help students to develop the outside-the-box thinking that takes into account the incentives and capabilities of both the attacker and the defender.”