University of New Orleans Professor Granted $300,000 for Cybersecurity Peer Instruction Project

The National Science Foundation has yet again pinpointed the University of New Orleans as a grant recipient. Professor Irfan Ahmed has received a 2-year, $300,000 grant to study how peer instruction techniques can improve cybersecurity education.

Irfan Ahmed UNO According to the university, peer instruction encourages every student to actively participate in discussions with fellow students, unlike traditional lectures.

Ahmed believes cybersecurity is both a strategically important area of computer science, but an extremely difficult area to teach effectively. “The vast majority of cybersecurity failures are the result of poor understanding of the security landscape and an inability to adapt to new threats,” explains the assistant professor of computer science.

In April, another UNO professor, Golden Richard, also received a grant from the National Science Foundation to expand his cybersecurity training program.

Ahmed will work alongside Richard, a third computer science faculty member, Vassil Roussev, and Stanford University’s Cynthia B. Lee, to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of peer instruction methodology for cybersecurity education.

“We hope that peer instruction will be effective in improving learning outcomes in class and creating a mindset necessary for combating ever-evolving and more sophisticated cyber-attacks,” said Ahmed. “This will help students to develop the outside-the-box thinking that takes into account the incentives and capabilities of both the attacker and the defender.”