Project Design and Implementation for Digital Forensics Education

Yan Bai, University of Washington Tacoma
Bryan Goda, University of Washington Tacoma
Xinli Wang


As with other disciplines in cybersecurity, hands-on activities are an important component in digital forensics education to help students gain better understanding of basic concepts and knowledge presented in class lectures. While these lab activities are helpful for students to learn how to use software and hardware forensic tools, it is hard to help students gain problem-solving and analytic skills and other experiences that are needed to conduct digital forensic investigation in real-world. In our digital forensic courses, we have been using course projects as a means to help students develop their skills for identifying, locating, preserving, recovering, examining, analyzing and presenting electronic evidence associated with a case of digital forensic investigation. Student's feedback is positive and the educational outcome is promising. In this paper, we present the idea to design and implement a course project to achieve specified educational objectives for a digital forensic course. Example projects finished by students are introduced to show the major activities to complete a project. Experience, lessons and feedback from students are discussed. Our results will provide a point of reference for those who teach a digital forensics course at a college or university, or are developing a digital forensic curriculum.