Designing a Computer Forensics Course for an Information Assurance Track

Author:
Barbara Endicott-Popovsky, V. M. Popovsky, Deb Frincke
File Size:
186.43 kB
Date:
01 July 2004
Downloads:
1155 x

At the 7th Annual CISSE conference, 2003, a case study was presented regarding adding information assurance to the curriculum of a small private university in the Pacific Northwest with only a moderate budget and without hiring additional permanent faculty. In this paper, we continue to describe the evolution of that curriculum, this time describing the challenges of finding the best way to teach computer forensics, a cross-discipline subject that requires not only technical expertise, but an understanding of the relevant legal and evidence-collecting guidelines that govern a computer forensics investigation. This paper discusses strategies used to design a computer forensics course that combines all of the necessary elements in a way that actively engages students in their own learning. Using resources available within the community and building the course around a business game, the school was able to launch an enthusiastically received course. Central to the curriculum, the business game allowed students to learn while simulating a real world criminal investigation culminating in an actual courtroom where students used the products of their investigations to testify as "expert witnesses." The original stimulus to create this course came from an NSA Center of Excellence (University of Idaho) sponsored Computer Forensics Workshop that encouraged universities with an information assurance track to introduce courses in Computer Forensics. The lessons learned from this effort could prove useful to other universities contemplating similar attempts.

Designing a Computer Forensics Course for an Information Assurance Track