Apps for Integrating Mobile Devices into Classroom Use and Campus Communications

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Apps for Integrating Mobile Devices into Classroom Use and Campus Communications

How many of you are integrating mobile devices into classroom work? In addition to my role as Policy and Awareness Analyst, I teach a couple of classes, Cyber Self Defense and Effective Technical Communication.

We discuss secure use of mobile devices in the Cyber Self Defense class. We’ve also talked about potential attacks on mobile device users, especially as the devices are used more for bank account access and making payments. We discuss the potential pitfalls of location services. (As an infosec guy, I’m always focusing on the should not’s rather than the should’s.)

I haven’t really thought too much about integration into the Effective Technical Communication class.

I’m struggling with how to integrate mobile use into either classroom or distance learning. Our students can access some content from our LMS, but so far the functionality is limited. Any successful (or not successful) experiences? Any ideas?

Wearing my Policy and Awareness Analyst hat, one of our strategies in increasing security awareness is to take our message to where the students are. We created a Facebook page for RIT Information Security and have driven up the number of fans by having a drawing each fall for a $100 Barnes & Noble gift card and believe the effort has had some success. As more students use mobile devices, we’re going to want to be where they are as well. One of our HEISC Awareness and Training Working Group members suggested creating an app for security awareness. I know of a Google App for this, but I’d like to have something personalized for our institution.

Have any of you created mobile apps to integrate coursework or for other communications? Are you pushing information to the devices or are you relying on the students pulling the information? Have you found existing apps that you’ve found useful?

Lots of questions. Can anyone suggest some answers?

Ben Woelk

Co-chair, Awareness and Training Working Group
EDUCAUSE/Internet2 Higher Education Information Security Council

Policy and Awareness Analyst
Rochester Institute of Technology

ben.woelk@rit.edu

http://security.rit.edu/dsd.html

Become a fan of RIT Information Security at http://rit.facebook.com/profile.php?id=6017464645

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/bwoelk

Follow my Infosec Communicator blog at http://benwoelk.wordpress.com

Please note that this blog entry is also posted as part of the EDUCAUSE Mobile Sprint #EDUSprint at http://ow.ly/4GFzf


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Why Professional Conferences Matter

I’ve heard a lot of discussion recently that professional conferences aren’t needed anymore because of the inter-connectivity afforded by the Internet. Why is it reasonable to spend hundreds or even a couple of thousand dollars to attend a face-to-face conference?

Over the last week, I’ve been part of the leadership teams for and attended two conferences, the STC Rochester Spectrum regional technical communications conference and the EDUCAUSE Security Professionals Conference in San Antonio. It’s been an incredible experience.

Here’s what I’ve found:

  • Spectrum provided an opportunity for me to meet face-to-face with people I’ve been talking to via social networking for almost a year. This is important because I was able to have indepth conversations with key leaders about critical issues affecting our profession. These conversations wouldn’t have been viable in social media. They may have been doable through Skype or phone, but the ability to read the nuances of a conversation when you’re not together is really difficult.
  • Spectrum also provided STC Rochester an opportunity to showcase our abilities (and to have those abilities affirmed by other community and society leaders.) It was important for our chapter to understand our connections and I think our membership was “blown away” that international leadership would attend. We were truly honored.
  • Spectrum provided state of the art content in technical communications. In the sessions I facilitated, Kristi Leach was able to test a usability session with peers and gain invaluable feedback and Hannah Morgan provided a fresh look at the importance of social networking in your branding and in your career.  Other speakers presented key information about current tools and the future of our profession.

The Security Professionals conference allowed me to see (way too briefly) colleagues that I speak with on conference calls and work with, but from a distance of thousands of miles. We’ve become friends and it’s great to be able to unwind with a team that’s worked hard together all year.

  • The Security Professionals conference gave me the opportunity to present with a panel of fellow practitioners that are remediating private information at our respective universities. It gave our audience an opportunity to hear how four schools are tackling similar problems and the “unvarnished” truth of the stuggles we’ve faced and inroads we’ve made. This was invaluable to our attendees, because they could ask questions and establish the networking contacts that will save them time and dollars as they tackle similar problems. We become resources for each other.
  • The Security Professionals conference also allowed me to work in tandem with Cherry Delaney of Purdue University, my former co-chair of the Awareness and Training Working group. We were able to share with a group of ISOs, information security practitioners (and even a CIO) the steps needed to create a holistic strategic Security Awareness plan and share examples of how we’ve approached the task of educating end users. We were also able to work with them in small groups to develop specific steps and put together the beginnings of an action plan.

The interaction at a professional conference is one of the key enablers to moving forward in your profession, becoming “unstuck” when you’re out of ideas, and establishing a network of contacts to help each other.

This interaction was helped by the fact that the conferences were of a size (120 and 350) where you could actually see the same people in several venues. Large conferences don’t always allow for that.

For me, professional conferences matter.

What do you get out of them?

 

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Developing a Security Mindset

In my Cyber Self Defense course at the Rochester Institute of Technology, I teach a module on Developing a Security Mindset. Based on a class exercise by Tadayoshi Kohno at the University of Washington (mentioned in a blog posting by Bruce Schneier), the goal of the module is to reorient students’ thinking from the features of a product and how those features are supposed to be used to thinking about how someone might “hack” the product. In other words, develop a security mindset.

I ask the students to determine product assets and vulnerabilities and identify how someone might attack  the product. The students are told that they do not have resources to counter every possible threat.

I also have the students create a risk map that depicts the likelihood of a particular attack and the potential impact of that attack. Placing specific threats on a risk map helps students understand that since not all threats bear the same weight they need to choose what is most important to defend against.

The twist to the exercise is that students may not conduct an analysis of a computer-related product. For example, subjects presented by my students this quarter included Water Purification, Bicycle Safety, Running a Pizza Business, etc. As the students presented, we discussed their risk maps and the choices they made.

Group one risk map for a water purification plant

Although we may not agree with the students’ risk map, the exercise stretches IT students to think “outside the box.”

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