Friday, May 23, 2008

Oideachas 2.0

I attended EdTech 2008 which was on yesterday and today in Dundalk Institute of Technology. A former Masters student of mine, Ronan Carty, presented a paper based on his dissertation entitled "Oideachas 2.0" concerning the use of Web 2.0 by Irish computer science lecturers, and future directions of Web 2.0. Ronan researched a range of learning and teaching theories, and surveyed over 100 lecturers on their views and usage of Web 2.0. Following this he developed a prototype learning environment that incorporates Web 2.0 Tools.

Ronan's presentation was really splendid, he took the audience through his research, discussing in detail some of the responses that the lecturers had given, he did this with great insight, critial thinking, and humour. After that he showed them his prototype learning environment which clearly wowed them. His system is built in AJAX and allows both teachers and students to configure their learning environment dynamically, excellent stuff! His disseration can be found here;

There were other excellent papers presented at EdTech 2008, including; Crystal Fulton's paper on blogging as a facilitator in the learning process, Namgyal Damdul's paper on developing an eXtreme Programming (XP) game, and Seamus Fox's paper on the measurement of the quality and efficiency of online teaching.

Conferences are also an opportunity to catch up with old friends, it was my great pleasure to meet up with Tim Savage who is in the Department of Computer Science in Trinity. I knew Tim as a lecturer on Trinity's Masters in IT in Education which I also taught on for a while, plus we both worked on a report commissioned by the Information Society Commission entitled "Innovation in Learning in the Information Society: A Comparative International Study". Tim is doing some really interesting research into Blended learning, and his work on Immersive Virtual Worlds looks very great.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Hackers and Hollywood

I submitted a paper to the 3rd International Conference for Internet Technology and Secured Transactions and I'm pleased to say I just got word back that the paper has been excepted. The paper, whose title is "Hackers and Hollywood: Considering Filmic Cyberthreats in Security Risk Analysis", looks at the way computer hackers (really "crackers") are portrayed in movies to determine if that influnces the security policies of organisations.

Defining what exactly constitutes a hacker movie was the first step. To do this a large number of potential candidates movies were reviewed to determine whether or not they were truly hacker movies, and using Grounded Theory a series of guidelines were developed to explain why some movies were added and others rejected.

  • GUIDELINE 1: A hacker movie must feature a hacker in it, it is insufficient to have an act of hacking in the movie, the hacker must appear in the movie as being either the main protagonist or antagonist, or at least be a well-developed character with their hacking being integral to the plot.
  • GUIDELINE 2: Not all cyberpunk movies can automatically be considered as hacker movies.
  • GUIDELINE 3: Only Science Fiction movies that feature recognisable hacker scenarios should be included.
  • GUIDELINE 4: No animated movies will be considered.
  • GUIDELINE 5: No movies will be considered whose sole focus is cryptography.
  • GUIDELINE 6: No hacker documentaries will be considered, only movies.
Following this a list of 50 movies featuring a total of 60 hackers were compiled from the 1960s to the 2000s. And from here a general list of characteristics that hackers are most commonly portrayed with in movies was complied which was then compared with the reailty of hacking.

More detail here;