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Journal of Information Systems Education

Abstract

This paper explores the perceptions of undergraduate students experiencing an educational intervention in a cybersecurity course. The intervention was developed using activity theory. Laboratory activities were designed to ‘protect’ and ‘poke around’ systems and networks in a sandbox cloud environment. These activities provided dynamic opportunities to tackle cyber challenges through teamwork. Transcripts of interviews with students (working as system administrators) were analyzed to describe the development of their cyber defense consciousness. Activity system node analysis reveals the transformative development of cybersecurity consciousness over time that involves the internalization of skills and knowledge; reliance on community for support, information, and acculturation; working with others through the division of labor; as well as their struggle with the demands of cybersecurity work. The cyber defense activity model further unveils the potential of collective learning in teams as depicted by four mediated relationships. The study contributes by building a foundation for a pedagogical approach that transforms the cyber defense consciousness through the collective learning activity model.

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