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Cyber Space Odyssey (CSO) is a novel serious game supporting computer networking education by engaging students in a race to successfully perform various cybersecurity tasks in order to collect clues and solve a puzzle in virtual near-Earth 3D space. Each team interacts with the game server through a dedicated client presenting a multimodal interface, using a game controller for navigation and various desktop computer networking tools of the trade for cybersecurity tasks on the game's physical network. Specifically, teams connect to wireless access points, use packet monitors to intercept network traffic, decrypt and reverse engineer that traffic, craft well-formed and meaningful responses, and transmit those responses. Successful completion of these physical network actions to solve a sequence of increasingly complex problems is necessary to progress through the virtual, story-driven adventure. Use of the networking tools reinforces networking theory and offers hands-on practical training requisite for today's cyberoperators. This paper presents the learning outcomes targeted by a classroom intervention based on CSO, the design and implementation of the game, a pedagogical overview of the overall intervention, and four years of quantitative and qualitative data assessing its effectiveness.


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Author notes:

Author marked [*] was an AFIT graduate student at the time of publication.

Authors marked [i] were undergraduate interns at AFIT during the writing of this article.

Source Publication

IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies