Piloting the Air Force JROTC Cyber Academy for High School Students
Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering
In summer 2020, the United States Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) piloted a Cyber Academy to teach cybersecurity skills and career awareness to high school JROTC cadets. Modeled after the Air Force JROTC Flight Academy, a collaborative effort between the aerospace industry and Air Force to address a national pilot shortage and increase diversity in the field, the Academy lasted 8 weeks and a diverse group of 25 cadets from 12 states participated. The Academy was led by instructors from three institutions, Moraine Valley Community College, Brookdale Community College and Madison Area College. In this experience report, we provide an overview of the curriculum and student learning ecosystem, including the shift from an in-person experience to online due to COVID-19. We present some preliminary findings based on cadets' feedback, grades, and self-efficacy. Despite being an online course that met 3-5 hours per day for 8 weeks, course retention was 96%. Although girls showed much lower cyber threat identification self-efficacy prior to the start of the course than the boys, they reported the same level of self-efficacy as the boys had post-course. We also share lessons learned from the pilot program and future plans for creating a distributed model of the Academy.
SIGCSE 2021 - Proceedings of the 52nd ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education
(2021). Piloting the Air Force JROTC Cyber Academy for High School Students. SIGCSE 2021 - Proceedings of the 52nd ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, 597-603.
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/18889