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International cyber students feel the benefit of established online learning platform

A PARTNERSHIP that has seen the University of South Wales (USW) collaborate with institutions across Europe has come into its own during the Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring students can continue their studies online.

Between 2014 and 2017, the DECAMP programme was set up to deliver specialist modules focused on ICT Security. The blended online modules – provided by institutions in Finland, Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain, and USW – were designed to give students an understanding of how to deal with sophisticated cyber attacks and how to effectively investigate them.

With the programme web-based since 2017, the experience of providing online courses has meant that the DECAMP students have been able to work seamlessly on continuing their study, unhindered by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Sebastian Becker from Germany has been showing the way.

Since the beginning of this year, the IT Masters student at the Munich University for Applied Sciences (MUAS) – which is one of the six institutions involved in DECAMP – has been studying the Applied Computer Forensics and Cyber Crime Investigation module created by USW.

“I decided to take the DECAMP module, designed by USW academic experts in the UK, because I couldn’t find anything similar at MUAS and the topic sounded exciting,” he said.

“The decision is now paying off twofold. The restrictions are not stopping me from studying content I otherwise would have not had access to locally and, after successful completion of the module, I’ll receive credits from MUAS towards my final results.”

Gareth Davies, Senior Lecturer in Digital Forensics and Cyber Security in USW’s School of Computing and Mathematics, which is part of the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science (FCES), and also a UK Government scientific adviser on Digital Forensics, explained the benefits for students of being involved in the DECAMP programme.

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”Students from the European partner faculties can access academic content and virtual network laboratories 24/7,” he said.

”These virtual labs enable them to run their tests and investigations utilising effective resources not available to students at home, and to carry out their joint project work hands-on with other students.

“They can even learn how to investigate compromised machines and networks in virtual environments, a huge advantage that equips them also with the practical knowledge to protect companies efficiently against cyber attacks and insider threats.

”This is something that they are not always allowed to do in the local networks of their home universities precisely because of the nature of network security.

“We are proud to have been a part of this EU project and feel that it has been a valuable lesson and will ultimately benefit us and our students in dealing with any challenges we may face with teaching online in the future.”

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