A University's Developmental Framework: Creating, Implementing, and Evaluating a K-12 Teacher Cybersecurity Micro-Credential Course
Bekir Mugayitoglu, Mike Borowczak, Andrea C. Burrows
At present, there is limited understanding of cybersecurity micro-credentials and their impact on K-12 teachers. This work evaluates a university’s development of a computing-based learning and teaching environment for K-12 teachers, focusing on a set of cybersecurity micro-credential modules that we encapsulate within micro-credential professional development (PD) opportunities. This ongoing work consists of two pilot studies (Pilot 1 and Pilot 2) over an academic year (2020–2021) that engaged 21 K-12 teachers. The research questions explore the benefits and challenges of the cybersecurity micro-credential PD. The authors developed two modules for Pilot 1: Introduction to Cybersecurity (Module 0) and the Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability (CIA) Triad (Module 1). There were nine K-12 teachers enrolled in the Pilot 1 course, with five participating in all aspects of the pilot study. The authors developed three more modules for Pilot 2: Abstraction (Module 2), Modularity (Module 3), and Least Privilege (Module 4). The authors utilized quantitative and qualitative data collection via four methods: 1) Assessment and lesson plan scores (quantitative); 2) thirteen semi-structured interviews (qualitative); 3) two bi-weekly progress reports (qualitative) and 4) two focus groups (qualitative). They assessed teachers' knowledge gains in specific cybersecurity and computing. The authors coded interview question answers, focus group notes, and biweekly progress report summaries and grouped them into major themes by searching descriptive words. This research study showcases innovative tools (i.e., micro-credential modules) for teaching cybersecurity.
Lastly, the authors describe a method to deliver cybersecurity content through a micro-credential based on virtual PD for K–12 teachers. The main limitation in this work is the small sample size.