blended learning, Curriculum Planning, Cyber Security, design thinking, Employer Engagement, Project-Based Learning

Project Based Learning / Employer Engagement – ‘Cyber Security’

The ‘Cyber Security’ project was delivered to BTec level 3 year 1 Computing students.

The project was delivered as an imitation of real-life projects undertaken by IT companies.

 Learning outcomes and Assessment criteria’s were mapped to Employability skills.

The project was supported by IBM, Tenable Security, Amnesty International and Activate Learning.

Students were divided into teams of 5. Each team was a start-up IT consultancy/company which provides IT security protection to other organisations.

Project Overview (mapped to BTec Level 3 Computing specifications) :

“The Office for National Statistics has reported that there were 2.5 million cyber crime offences in 2015. An organisation (Charity/Educational/Finance/Health) is well aware that their IT system would be the target for cyber criminals and  has contacted an IT company to investigate and report on current security threats to their website and software. They have also asked to investigate Cryptography methods and how these could be used to keep their website and software secure.”

Phase 1 – Empathy – Creating Personas of different “organisations” which face IT Security threats. (1 week)

Guest Lecturers from organisations were invited to help students understand how the organisation operates, who are their customers and how their IT system works. Brainstorming sessions were conducted in class and teams created the empathy chart for their organisations.

Images below shows the empathy chart created by two (out of twelve) of the teams for their organisations :

IMG-1949.JPG  IMG-1950

Phase 2 – Prototyping / Framing the problem – Different types of IT Security threats faced by these organisations. (2 weeks)

Research various IT security threats to an organisation, Principles of Information Security and Legal Requirements. We logged all our notes on blogs and used twitter / google community for outside class discussions. Students created youtube videos on impact of these threats.

#L3ClassAnshi is used to share content(blogs) on twitter by students.

Phase 3 – Building / Generative Ideation – Learning new techniques and how these techniques can be used to protect organisations.(6 weeks)

Various techniques explored in classroom were :

  1. Cryptography principles, uses and methods which can be used to protect an organisation.
  2. Physical Security
  3. Policies and Procedures
  4. Anti-Virus and Firewall
  5. User Authentication
  6. Access Control
  7. Protecting wireless LAN

We worked on protection plan as teams, using design thinking, to explore various solutions.

Phase 4 – Testing / Validation – Implementing and testing the techniques.(2 weeks)

The plan was to give students a practical experience in the actual lab, but due to time restrictions, this was done in a virtual environment.

Phase 5 – Reflecting – Presenting our final plans. (1 week)

Students delivered a 20 minutes presentation to employers on 12th December 2017.

There were two deliverables for our client organisations – a presentation and a detailed document with all the details of the IT Protection Plan.

Students were motivated throughout the project and there was a considerable improvement in the learning outcomes of this unit.

Employability Skills developed throughout the project : Teamwork, Critical Thinking, Writing skills and presentation skills.

Happy to share more details or class resources (lectures, tasks, assignment briefs, scheme of work, lesson plans) for this project, please contact me at