OCRI Names Cedarville as a Regional Programming Center

Cedarville University has been named a Regional Programming Center (RPC) of the Ohio Cyber Range Institute (OCRI).

OCRI Names Cedarville as a Regional Programming Center

The OCRI, headquartered at the University of Cincinnati, exists to promote the Ohio Cyber Range, a state-funded cloud computing infrastructure that hosts cybersecurity educational materials, labs and exercises.

Access to the range is provided as a free educational tool to Ohio residents. The goal of the OCRI is to leverage the range to further cybersecurity education and workforce development in Ohio.

“A crucial function of the OCRI is developing cybersecurity educational materials to be hosted on the range for K-12 students to use,” Dr. Seth Hamman, associate professor of cyber operations and computer science and director of the Center for the Advancement of Cybersecurity, said. “We look forward to partnering with them and to serving the state of Ohio. We are honored to receive this designation.”

“The OCRI-RPCs represent a state of Ohio network of leaders aligned to the mission of the OCRI to advance cybersecurity education, workforce and economic development,” Rebekah Michael, the executive staff director of the OCRI, commented. “Cedarville is certainly a leader in this critical mission as is evident through the powerful degrees they offer, strong student support and workforce development placement programs and their CAE-CO designation from the NSA. We are excited that they are being added to the OCR ecosystem and look forward to a strong collaboration and disseminating their activities across the state.”

Cedarville’s Regional Programming Center will focus on adapting cybersecurity educational materials used at the university, including curriculum for K-12 students Hamman has developed through grants from the NSA.

Cedarville undergraduates will also be hired to work alongside professors to develop the materials, providing them a unique opportunity to learn about pedagogy, accessibility and quality standards. To ensure that the materials are engaging and relevant, Cedarville will enlist the help of local K-12 teachers as well.

“The cyber range is a great tool for teaching kids how to stay safe online and for exposing them to cybersecurity as a potential career path,” Hamman noted. “Having a place [online] where kids can practice cybersecurity for free will allow their cyber interests to take root.”

The pandemic has only exacerbated the growing need for cyber education.

“As a society, we have become more and more dependent on a secure cyberspace, and COVID-19 has accelerated this trajectory,” Hamman said. “Many of the changes the pandemic has introduced are here to stay, such as increases in online education, telecommuting and telehealth.”

Cedarville’s opportunity to contribute to the OCRI’s educational project directly coincides with the goals of its Center for the Advancement of Cybersecurity.

“The mission of our cyber center at Cedarville is three-fold: developing cyber leaders in the classroom, shaping cyber education in the academy and promoting cyber awareness in society,” Hamman shared. “Our new role as a Regional Programming Center extends our influence in all three areas.”