Applying High Impact Practices in an Interdisciplinary Cybersecurity Program

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Cybersecurity Education, Research & Practice






4 (1-26)


The Center for Cybersecurity Education and Research at Old Dominion University has expanded its use of high impact practices in the university’s undergraduate cybersecurity degree program. Strategies developed to promote student learning included learning communities, undergraduate research, a robust internship program, service learning, and electronic portfolios. This paper reviews the literature on these practices, highlights the way that they were implemented in our cybersecurity program, and discusses some of the challenges encountered with each practice. Although the prior literature on high impact practices rarely touches on cybersecurity coursework, the robust evidence of the success of those practices provides a sound rationale for applying them across the curricula. Challenges confronted included developing partnerships, introducing students to new learning strategies, and gaining buy in from faculty. Despite these challenges, the authors’ experiences with the efforts also support using high impact practices in cybersecurity programs. Recommendations for other cybersecurity programs seeking to expand the use of high impact practices include integrating experiential learning throughout the curricula, developing campus-wide partnerships, embracing the interdisciplinary nature of cybersecurity, demonstrating the purpose of the practices, providing faculty development, emphasizing writing, and embracing failure.

Original Publication Citation

Payne, B. K., Mayes, L., Paredes, T., Smith, E., Wu, H., & Xin, C. (2020). Applying high impact practices in an interdisciplinary cybersecurity program. Journal of Cybersecurity Education, Research & Practice, 2020(2), 1-26, Article 4. https://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/jcerp/vol2020/iss2/4/