New e-learning module teaches students to be cyber-safe

IMG_2330Jose Calvo, a post-baccalaureate intern who works in the Office of Planning and Assessment, designed an e-learning module that will educate incoming freshmen on cyber-security in regards to laptops, desktops, and mobile devices.

Calvo graduated from BU in the Fall 2013 semester as a dual-major in Psychology and Philosophy. Through the Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (URSCA) grant, Calvo studied student perceptions on cyber-security. Calvo was recently accepted into a Psychology PhD program at George Mason University concentrating in Human Factors and Applied Cognition.

In an experiment designed by Calvo, he found that many students thought that smart phones were safer than laptops and desktop computers.

“Mobile devices are basically just smaller computers,” says Calvo when it comes to cyber-security.

Even more surprising was that during the experiment, 50 percent of the students in the survey willingly gave their Social Security Numbers when it was optional. 40 percent gave out their Social Security Numbers even after a cautionary window popped up on-screen asking if the students were sure they wanted to provide the sensitive information.

Calvo’s e-learning module will make students aware of just how careful they should be. The presentation be split into two sections. The first section will focus on mobile devices. Calvo outlines the dangers of phishing emails (fake emails that are designed to appear like other organizations in order to obtain users’ information), viruses, and other dangers. The second section will center on personal information- what to keep to yourself, when it is acceptable to provide that information and why it is important to take precautions. Students will also learn strategies they can use to safeguard their information.

The e-learning module will begin with small group testing in the Summer of 2014 with the summer freshmen. From there it will be made available online and will be incorporated into Freshmen Orientation for the 2014-2015 academic year. Calvo hopes the module will become a staple in every Freshmen Orientation so that students know how to keep their personal information safe.

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