Campuswide Cybersecurity Training Educates and Entertains – EdTech Magazine: Focus on K-12

“They said they learned a lot, and that they appreciated the fact we were doing something different,” he says. “I think people enjoyed the creativity, but they also recognized we’d made a genuine effort to build something special around a very serious topic.”

Notre Dame’s CISO Leilani Lauger echoes that sentiment.

“It is crucial to connect to people’s real-world experiences,” she says. “The Cybersecurity Carnival was able to do that by making the topic fun and accessible to all ages.” 

WATCH: Chas Grundy talks about Notre Dame’s cybersecurity carnival at EDUCAUSE 2022.

CPP’s Cybersecurity and Awareness Fair Supports Attendees

The University of Notre Dame isn’t the only school trying to make cybersecurity more interesting. At institutions across higher ed, campus leaders are increasingly turning to festivals and fairs to drive home the importance of good cyber hygiene.

“Entertainment with education is effective,” says Joe Potchanant, director of the cybersecurity program at EDUCAUSE. “Events like these, they’re not just putting out a blanket statement like ‘You need to do this,’ or ‘Read this policy.’ They’re meeting their students and faculty where they are by educating them in a format that draws them in.”

That was the thinking at Cal Poly Pomona leading up to its 2022 Cybersecurity and Awareness Fair. In Cal Poly’s case, though, the gathering wasn’t new; it was the 18th iteration of the annual event.

“It has definitely evolved over the years,” notes Christopher Laasch, who organized the first fair in 2005 while he was a Cal Poly Pomona student. Back then, he imagined the event as a free “hacker’s conference” where tech-savvy students could network with leaders in the cybersecurity industry. Today, as a senior security analyst with the university who serves as the official coordinator of the fair, Laasch strives to keep it true to its original mission while also ensuring it has broad appeal.


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