GTPE Explores Issues in Cybersecurity Education and Workforce Development

Thought leaders from industry and academia participate in virtual NICE 2020 Conference

November 25, 2020 | By GTPE Communications
Global internet security concept with digital screen with lock icons in cells and pixel world map.

From October 27 through November 16, The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), virtually hosted its annual conference on Meaningful Actions for an Evolving Cybersecurity Workforce. Thought leaders and industry experts from around the country came together to explore issues in cybersecurity and share best practices to confront cybersecurity risks of today and tomorrow, and Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE) played a prominent role.

Curriculum Development in an Online Platform

Colleagues from GTPE were asked to prepare a workshop on Georgia Tech’s Approach to Curriculum Development in an Online Platform. Though the workshop was offered as an optional addendum to the conference at additional cost, it was completely sold out.

Troy Courville, director of assessment and educational insights and interim director of learning design; Mont Rogers, senior marketing research analyst; Stefany Sanders, director of marketing and digital strategy; and Jennifer Wooley, director of professional master's programs, presented the four most significant components to develop a successful online degree program, from initial concept to long-term support, market research, program development, curriculum design, operations, and student services.

The presenters broke down each aspect of this development process, all vital to the delivery of a successful program. “Marketing is part science and part art,” said Sanders. “Effective online program development and promotion requires both for effective outcomes.”

Emphasizing the importance of collaboration between faculty and the learning design team, Courville explained how to create a blueprint for online courses based on desired learning outcomes. “To deliver high quality online courses,” he said, “you need to have evaluations of both design and learning.”

Wooley also explored how to create a knowledgeable, empowered team of academic advisors. “Our goal is to provide a superior student experience form initial inquiry to graduate and beyond,” she said. “This is why we focus on a single point of contact for all the student needs.”

Throughout their presentation, the team emphasized the importance of cross-team collaboration and focusing on learning goals in every step of the development and operation process. “Instruction and collaboration are at the heart of creating compelling educational content that will keep students engaged and learning,” said Sanders.

ICS Security in the Age of Increased Digital Reliance

Raheem Beyah, Ph.D., executive director for the Online Master's in Cybersecurity and vice president for interdisciplinary research at Georgia Tech, also presented on his research in secure industrial systems.

In response to the skills shortage in the industrial control system (ICS) security field of cybersecurity and the high barriers to entry, Beyah helped developed a graphical realism framework for industrial control simulations (GRFICS).

In his presentation, Beyah discussed the major barriers to entry in ICS, explained how GRFICS was developed and its main functions and capabilities, and explored GRFICS’s application in higher education and industry training.

“Why did we develop GRFICS? I wanted to show students that cyberattacks have real significant consequences on industrial control systems,” Beyah explained. “GRFICS helps students appreciate the intersection of the digital and physical world by visualizing how simply typing a command can cause an explosion.”

Beyah’s research and development of GRFICS as a means to help students and professionals gain real, valuable, affordable experience in ICS security echoes GTPE’s mission to put people first and innovate solutions for the workforce needs of the future.