ACE provides qualified* instructors with intensive, hands-on training in the five core cyberforensics curriculum courses. As of June 2013, ACE has provided four online train-the-trainer courses comprised of comprehensive course materials including 122 video lectures, lab assignments and assignment keys, quizzes, reading materials, and slides. The course materials can be used by faculty passing the train-the-trainer course in their own courses, and as such serve as a 'course-in-a-box' to bootstrap course offerings. Faculty members have flexibility in how they offer the courses, including fully online, hybrid, or face-to-face. Faculty members completing a course are awarded a stipend upon completing a course.
*Qualified faculty members are full-time faculty members who will teach one of the five courses at their respective institution.
An important objective is to assist colleges to bootstrap cyberforensics courses and programs. To that end we offer 'courses in a box:’ four courses in cyberforensics that have been taught at three higher-educational institutions. The courses were developed by the PI (Dr. Mark Pollitt) and Co-PI (Dr. Philip Craiger), who have 35 combined years of experience in the field of cyberforensics, and 20 years teaching these courses at the BS and MS levels. The courses include high-quality streaming video lectures, hands-on labs, assignment keys, quizzes, reading materials, etc. This is the same format that we have used for seven years to deliver courses at University of Central Florida and Daytona State College. During that time we have learned a lot about online course delivery, including how to provide the students with the tools and projects necessary to conduct hands-on labs at their home or work. We know it can be done, and done well.
One of our goals is to produce course that can be offered online. It is not a requirement that the colleges offer them in that format. Face-to face, entirely online, or mixed formats are all acceptable. But, as we all know, creating and updating high-quality, engaging materials for technical classes can be challenging, time-consuming and sometimes expensive. One of the objectives of the consortium is to reduce the curricular and course materials overhead of the individual instructor.
The courses are:
IT workforce employees often need retraining to keep abreast of technology changes. Workforce members affected by the dynamic nature of a global economy, requiring moving to a new field, require training as well. A primary example of the latter that has had a significant impact on Florida is the closure of the Space Shuttle program, which is expected to lose between 8,000 and 23,000 jobs in Florida (MSNBC, 2008, Florida, 2010), as well as the expected military draw down in Iran and Afghanistan, which will affect many of the military installations in Florida and other southeast region states (MacDill, Tyndall, Eglin, and Patrick Air Force Bases, Naval Air Stations Jacksonville and Pensacola; Naval Weapons Station, Shaw and Charleston Air Force Bases, SC; Pope and Seymour Johnson Air Force Bases, Ft. Bragg, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC; Robbins and Moody Air Force Bases, Kings Bay Naval Air Station, Kings Bay, GA).
This draw down will require considerable effort to retrain and retool the skills of the displaced workers. Because technology is dynamic, it is critical to provide displaced workers with the latest theory as well as hands-on training in the latest forensics and security tools and techniques. Consortium institutions are expected to offer cyberforensics non-degree certificate programs for non- traditional students who wish to be retrained for cyberforensics positions, a growth field in the U.S. (ISC2, 2011) As such, an important ACE goal is to graduate students who are immediately competitive in the workforce.
Children of the 21st century are often exposed to computers before they learn to read and write. It is therefore important that children are exposed to, and understand, the importance of safe ‘cyber habits.’ A goal is to perform outreach to K-12 schools, providing students with age-appropriate discussions on the importance of good cyber habits. Outreach includes visits to classrooms as well as through short videos created by institutions. These videos will be uploaded to popular video sharing websites to maximize dissemination.
As these children mature into young adults, and start to develop skills on their own, it is even more important to provide proper training to hone these skills. Consortium members reach out to middle and high school age students through various clubs and camps that focus on cybersecurity and cyberforensics. These students learn the building blocks necessary to begin quality training in cyberforensics as well as obtain necessary internships in the field.