Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Computer Science


Computer Science

Major Professor

Irfan Ahmed

Second Advisor

Golden G. Richard III

Third Advisor

Vassil Roussev


Cybersecurity classes focus on building practical skills alongside the development of the open mindset that is essential to tackle the dynamic cybersecurity landscape. Unfortunately, traditional lecture-style teaching is insufficient for this task. Peer instruction is a non-traditional, active learning approach that has proven to be effective in computer science courses. The challenge in adopting peer instruction is the development of conceptual questions. This thesis presents a methodology for developing peer instruction questions for cybersecurity courses, consisting of four stages: concept identification, concept trigger, question presentation, and development. The thesis analyzes 279 questions developed over two years for three cybersecurity courses: introduction to computer security, network penetration testing, and introduction to computer forensics. Additionally, it discusses examples of peer instruction questions in terms of the methodology. Finally, it summarizes the usage of a workshop for testing a selection of peer instruction questions as well as gathering data outside of normal courses.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.