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Wednesday, August 14 • 9:00am - 9:50am
Engaging Students with Capture-the-Flag Activities in Class

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CTF (Capture the Flag) is a gamified hands-on cybersecurity activity tracing its roots to the 1996 edition of the largest cybersecurity conference in the USA (DEFCON). We propose a 45-minute presentation to explain how we were able to successfully use CTFs during class time in an introductory course for computer science majors .  We have incorporated Jeopardy-style CTFs and lessons from the Virginia Cyber Range materials to engage students in learning basic cybersecurity concepts in the context of an introductory Problem Solving course. The presentation will cover how we applied different strategies to engage students with CTF activities. For example, we divided students into small groups and encouraged them to collaborate on CTF challenges that required them to solve puzzles by applying the knowledge acquired in the classroom. Specifically, in one of the CTFs the students applied their cryptography skills to decode hidden messages and acquire the flag. We will also discuss the results of our experience and key takeaways applicable to a wide range of teaching institution types. For instance, we observed that students reacted positively to the CTF challenges and some liked them to the point were they solved them just for fun. Finally, we will conclude the presentation by covering the key opportunities and challenges that would be relevant to those that are interested in adopting CTFs into their teaching practice.

avatar for Andrey Esakia

Andrey Esakia

Collegiate Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech
Education: Virginia Tech, Computer Science, PhD, 2018Appointments: Virginia Tech Collegiate Assistant Professor, 2018 - presentResearch interests: Computer Science Education, Mobile computingComputer Science Education Publications:Esakia, A., Niu, S., & McCrickard, D. S. (2015, February... Read More →
avatar for Margaret Ellis

Margaret Ellis

Assistant Professor of Practice, Virginia Tech
Margaret Ellis, M.S. is an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Computer Science in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. Margaret Ellis has a broad range of teaching and professional computing experience. She develops and implements curricula for key courses such as problem... Read More →

Wednesday August 14, 2019 9:00am - 9:50am EDT
Room A