Marshall University’s John Sammons, director of the digital forensics and information assurance program, authored a submission that was selected for publication in the National CyberWatch Center’s 2019 Innovations in Cybersecurity Education.

His submission, titled “Advanced Concept Mapping: An Active Learning, Multi-Sensory Learning Tool,” was one of the selections in the “Evidence-Based Strategies” category. The publication showcases a range of creative and pioneering ideas across four categories: evidence-based strategies, instruction, practice, and program development. The National CyberWatch Center’s goal with this publication is to accelerate the adoption of new ideas in academics and the workforce, while recognizing individuals and organizations for good work.

“Digital forensics and cybersecurity are complex fields of study. Successful practitioners must have a deep understanding of not only the underlying technology, but the tactics and techniques used by adversaries and criminals,” Sammons said. “Learning strategies like advanced concept mapping, based on sound scientific research, can significantly help students learn, retain and recall information.

“Concept mapping is also a skill that’s quite useful for practitioners in the field for a couple of reasons. First, it’s an extremely effective way to organize and display data. For example, these data points could include individual evidence items, suspects, devices, locations, etc. It’s a great way to organize data in an investigation. Second, the learning in this field never stops. Students can easily use this strategy to help them learn long after they graduate.

“Having this piece published by the National CyberWatch Center helps get the word out that Marshall is a leader in digital forensics and cybersecurity education,” Sammons added.

The National CyberWatch Center is a consortium of over 200 member institutions, representing higher education, business and government agencies. They collaboratively focus on advancing information security education/research and strengthening the national cybersecurity workforce.

The publication can be found at

Originally from Jean Hardiman for Marshall University Communications