Teaching Resources for Online Privacy Education (TROPE)

Principal Investigator(s): 
Serge Egelman and Gerald Friedland

Researchers are developing classroom-ready teaching modules to educate young people about why and how to protect their privacy online, as well as a Teachers' Guide with background information, suggested lesson plans, and guidance on how to employ the modules in the classroom.

Recently released high school and college computer science curricula acknowledge the significantly increased importance of fundamental knowledge about privacy --- but do not yet provide concrete content in the area. At the same time, many high school and college teachers are eager to provide their students with guidance on online privacy, but feel they are not qualified to do so because they are not sufficiently versed in the technical details. Building on previous research and educational work in online privacy, the researchers are developing a Teachers' Kit that supports high school educators and undergraduate instructors in teaching fundamental principles and best practices for online behavior to protect privacy.

The goal of the teaching modules is to provide students with an understanding of some basic technical and social principles underlying how online privacy works, knowledge of effective techniques they can use to protect their privacy, and the motivation to use those techniques when they go online. Based on essential privacy principles we developed in a previous project, the researchers are creating 5- to 10-minute videos featuring experts explaining important concepts and effective protection techniques in accessible terms. They are also creating classroom discussion guides and stand-alone activities in which students explore how the structure of the Internet affects online privacy. As these individual lesson elements become available, the researchers will seek feedback and measure changes in students' awareness and actual behavior. The team for this effort consists of privacy researchers, who have a track record of privacy-related technical publications, curriculum developers and hands-on educators.

Funding provided by NSF grant #CNS-1419319.