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"What's That Coming Over the Hill? Digital Futures, Emerging Cultures, New Learning"
Steve Wheeler (Plymouth University, UK)

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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Event-Anchored Learning: Using Cybersecurity Competitions to Engage Students

John Sener (Founder/CKO, Sener Knowledge LLC, USA)
Session Information
April 11, 2013 - 10:10am
Learning Spaces and Communities
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Applied Use (technology or pedagogy)
Institutional Level: 
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Sunset 3
Session Duration: 
50 Minutes
Information Session 9

Student cybersecurity competitions = engagement on steroids. This rapidly growing form of event-anchored learning enlivens curriculum and engages participants (students, faculty, employers) - learn how!

Extended Abstract

Event-anchored learning is an emerging strategy for engaging students. Student cybersecurity competitions, a rapidly growing form of event-learning, can be more like engagement on steroids. Imagine, for example, that you are a cybersecurity professional whose company's network is being relentlessly attacked by some of the best hackers in the world. Participants in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Collegiate CyberDefense Competition (CCDC) don't have to imagine this; for two days, they experience it intensely as members of student teams who try to manage and protect an existing network infrastructure from attacks by a volunteer "Red Team" of cybersecurity professionals who are also master hackers. The competition, which has been run since 2006 as part of CyberWatch, a National Science Foundation-funded Advanced Technological Education (ATE) center focused on cybersecurity education, is a form of event-anchored learning which not only intensely engages participants through in-person events and virtualized qualifiers, but also enlivens curriculum and provides numerous opportunities to engage multiple stakeholder groups -- students, faculty, employers, spectators, and professionals in the field.

In terms of delivery mode, event-anchored learning is a form of blended delivery which typically combines a live, in-person focal event that ‘anchors' numerous other activities that engage participants, generate greatly increased interest in learning, and even influences curriculum redesign. These numerous other activities can include guest speakers, job fairs, sponsor booths, field trips for K-12 students, networking with potential employers, even field research and data mining. These events also generate numerous on-campus activities to prepare for the competition events, including formation of cybersecurity clubs, virtualized practice sessions, collaborative knowledge creation with faculty and professionals, and curriculum redesign through the introduction of more practical, hands-on learning experiences.

Anyone who wants to learn more about how to use event-anchored learning as a strategy for engaging students would benefit from attending this session. From this presentation, participants will learn:

- What event-anchored learning is and why it's important.
- How live in-person events can ‘anchor' a wide variety of additional activities that engage participants, attract stakeholders, and add value to the entire process.
- How virtualized student competitions can improve access, increase student engagement, and enable scale.
- How in-person events can support the infusion of practical, hands-on learning activities and exercises into a curriculum.

The presentation will discuss and demonstrate several different types of student competitions, including regional Collegiate CyberDefense Competitions (CCDCs), the National Cyber League (NCL), and others as time permits. The presentation will also discuss each of the above-listed topics and provide multimedia examples. The presenter will include slides and web links to be posted on the conference web site, and a paper will be submitted to the conference proceedings.

The presentation will engage the audience through interactive question and answers, audience contribution, and brief high-production video clips showing students engaged in cybersecurity competitions. The presentation will also present survey, anecdotal, and other research data which describe findings in terms of participant satisfaction, perception of learning, and self-assessment of impact.