A week ago the second semester started here at the University of Bradford. My initial courses I wanted to take this semester are not available (Web Technologies and Humand Computer Interaction Design and Development). Thus I had to choose alternatives. The University's cyber security modules are interesting and since I've always been involved in networks and computer security, my choice was to take the modules Ethical Hacking and ISO27000 Framework (Information Management Security Framework). Both topics are very present and are getting more and more important. By now, you can maybe tell that these topics are of interest to me and I am excited to take these modules.
The lecturer of the ISO27000 module is ISO27000 lead implementer herself, so she obviously knows what she is talking about. The Ethical Hacking module is basically held from people of an penetration testing and security consultant company. They bring in all there expertise for use students. Not only that, they are doing this free of charge (it costs them about 2000€ per person per day or so).
Now I am not saying that I am always motivated, interested and excited about University course modules but there is usually enough interest in the modules I take so that I gain some knowledge and understanding as well as that I get to appreciate the content. This is especially true when modules are optional choices. Fellow students in both the courses I am taking do apparently not care about any gain of knowledge. There were a few examples the last week which really got me thinking.
Students in the ISO27000 module expressed their lack of interest by not wanting to read some papers, not wanting to be in the lectures, just feeling like the module is totally boring and they would rather spend their time with other things.
In the Ethical Hacking module, some students are sitting in the laboratories like they are not even interested in picking up the knowledge from the lecturers. One student asked me why and how I am so energised and willing to share all my stories and knowledge. The lecturers also created a forum to share our experiences with penetration testing and the exercises we are given as well as to ask questions. Two out of the seven students participate with posts on the forum. The others not so much. The lecturers are actively asking the people on the forum if they are OK and understand everything because they have not heard from them on the forum yet.
All this lack of motivation and interest makes me think. I am glad that I chose the modules and I am eager to learn about these topics because they are current and extremely useful for Computer Science students. If there is no interest whatsoever in a particular module which by the way is even optional, students should probably think about if they really want to take that module or if they would be better off with alternative choices. Apart from that, students here are paying around 13000€ a year for tuition. With that in mind it is even harder to get your head around why one would take part in a module she is not interested in.
I just wanted to share my observations and thoughts about that in a quick post.