Need: Cybersecurity education is increasingly critical to national and personal security. Colleges and universities need to prepare students for the security challenges they will encounter, and the workforce of the future needs to have additional cybersecurity skills to best protect the interests of the nation. Games have been successfully used in many areas of education to engage students and measure their learning. Although many simulations/games are available to increase cybersecurity awareness, most either target high school students or require high levels of knowledge to use. As a result, it is hard to find serious games for college students that focus on advanced security topics. However, the education community needs this type of tool to help motivate and engage students in learning difficult security concepts. This engagement is especially important for attracting and retaining students to the field of cybersecurity. Guiding Question: Both quantitative and qualitative data are used to answer two research questions: 1) Is the educational game more effective than a lecture for achieving learning outcomes, a quality learner experience, and influencing student attitudes and motivation? 2) Is the educational game more effective than other experiential learning approaches (e.g., case study; lab) for achieving learning outcomes, a quality learner experience, and influencing student attitudes and motivation? Outcomes: We have developed three educational games to teach cybersecurity concepts including Buffer Overflow, Access Control, LAN and ARP Spoofing. The games were developed using Unity Game Engine and deployed to the WebGL format so students can play them online. These games have been utilized many times in the classrooms with positive student feedback and promising evaluation results. In this poster, we will present game design, development, and assessment results in detail. Broader Impacts: The results of this project have been broadly disseminated through the project website (https://gamelab.wssu.edu/), social networking sites such as YouTube, and presentations at conferences. Additionally, we will host a faculty workshop on 5/21/2022 to share the products of the project. All the educational games developed during the project have been made available online (https://gamelab.wssu.edu/modules.htm) for educators and students at other universities. If adopted, this will help instructors engage their students in learning about cybersecurity, improving the quality of education in this important field. Further, both WSSU and NCA&T are Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Thus, this project has directly benefited underrepresented students in both universities by being the developers of this project and by being the first users of the educational games. The integration of support for STEM students will have a lasting impact on the campus beyond the funding period.
Xiaohong Yuan, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC; Jinsheng Xu, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC; Elva J. Jones, Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, NC