News Service


James Davis, Electrical and Computer Engineering, (515) 294-3637
Doug Jacobson, Electrical and Computer Engineering, (515) 294-8307
Marjorie Sandner, News Service, (515) 294-6881


AMES, Iowa --A team of Iowa State University professors has been awarded $325,000 from the National Science Foundation to develop instructional materials that university instructors can add to existing courses to teach and raise awareness of computer security and privacy.

ISU computer engineering professor James Davis said the goal is to develop a series of lessons, called curriculum modules, which will provide instructors with lesson plans, supporting materials and ways to assess the effectiveness of the lessons. Davis is working with Doug Jacobson and Steve Russell, computer engineering; Cliff Bergman, mathematics; and Johnny Wong, computer science on the project.

"Our goal is to weave the lesson right into the course so it doesn't feel like an add-on topic," Davis said.

While some of the modules will be of a technical nature, others will deal with non-technical topics such as computer literacy, ethics and legal issues. Some of the topics to be addressed include how to select safe passwords, who can and cannot legally read your e-mail and whether it is safe to send credit card numbers via the Internet.

"Another emerging area is computer security law," Davis said. "Much of the legislation focused on computer crime is untested and dated. We teach a course on legal and ethical issues in computer security and envision developing curriculum modules that would drop into pre-law classes."

Davis said a major part of the project is to export these modules to other universities. "Our partner schools at the other six Centers of Excellence in Information Assurance Education have expressed interest in working with us on the project," he added.

The Centers of Excellence in Information Assurance Education are universities chosen by the U.S. National Security Agency as having a significant role in computer security education.


Iowa State homepage

University Relations,
Copyright © 1999, Iowa State University, all rights reserved