Embedding research into the ceis computer forensics undergraduate experience



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Embedding research into the CEIS computer forensics undergraduate experience
Dr Chris Laing, School of Computing, Engineering and Information Sciences

Project aims

  • To provide opportunities for undergraduate students to operate as ‘research assistants’ for postgraduate researchers.

  • To encourage regional businesses to support Northumbria’s Digital Security Investigations Student Symposium.

  • To develop collaborative projects with Northumbria Police and the European Network & Information Security Agency (ENISA).
Project outputs and dissemination

Current:


  • Opportunities for undergraduate students to operate as ‘research assistants’ for postgraduate researchers

  • Regional businesses supporting Northumbria’s Digital Security Investigations Student Symposium

  • Collaborative projects with Northumbria Police and the European Network & Information Security Agency (ENISA). Acting Detective Inspector, Alan Batey (Economic Crime Unit, Northumbria Police) has stressed the importance of this partnership in, “providing valuable knowledge and information sharing which has been of great benefit to Northumbria Police.” ADI Batey, also notes that future collaborative projects between CEIS and Northumbria Police will offer an opportunity to provide computer security advice to local businesses which otherwise may not have been reached.” David Reynolds (ENISA: SME Working Group) has made it clear that this association is “beneficial in the delivery of information security awareness to the SME(s)”, and that given that ENISA is charged with “raising the awareness of information security issues with local and regional business, formal collaboration with regional university bodies would be much appreciated.”

Future:




  • The development of modules that link both undergraduate and postgraduate students to PhD., research projects.

  • The development of a regional Warning, Advice & Response Point (WARP – www.warp.gov.uk/) for Small to Medium Enterprises (SME).

  • The validation of the undergraduate and postgraduate security and forensics programmes to ‘Skills for Justice’ National Occupational Standards. Detective Inspector, Phil Butler (Northumbria Police) believes that work undertaken by Northumbria is an essential element in helping to guard and protect the region's IT infrastructure, and that “Northumbria University are taking a proactive approach to the growing problem of cyber crime.”

  • CEIS: Computer Security & Forensics Student Conferences. As part of the assessment strategy for the Computer Security & Forensics undergraduate programme, students are required to submit & present a research paper at the above conferences – the presentation is in the form of a poster. The conferences are held in the CETL hub, and are very popular, not only with students from Northumbria, but also with secondary school pupils who had selected Northumbria as their first UCAS choice for computer forensics and security programmes. An external examiner commented at the exam board that they were “extremely impressed by the work produced”, he made it clear that in his opinion this method of assessment “greatly enhanced the student learning experience”, and that they intend to do something similar at their own institution. Further, at a recent HEA Event on ‘Issues in Teaching Computer Forensics’, one of the delegates noting the quality of the conference papers produced, commented that “this work was superior to some of the work produced by my PhD students”.



Project impact and evaluation




  • The project has allowed students to engage with research; undertaking research activities provided students extensive opportunities to engage in the kinds of tasks that develop and demonstrate their learning. The award has also provided the necessary high-tech network forensics and security laboratory environment – ensuring that undergraduate students will continue to be introduced to the nature of research, and thereby enhancing the student experience.


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