ISDA 121-10
Human-Centered Cybersecurity
Fall 2021 Syllabus

Dr. Tonia San Nicolas-Rocca
Office: Email, Zoom, and IM
Office Hours: Virtual office hours. Telephone and Zoom by appointment

Syllabus Links
Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)
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Canvas Information: Courses will be available beginning August 19, 2021, at 6 am PT unless you are taking an intensive or a one-unit or two-unit class that starts on a different day. In that case, the class will open on the first day that the class meets.

You will be enrolled in the Canvas site automatically.

Course Description

Overview of human interactions with cybersecurity technology. Topics: how people react to cybersecurity policies and tools, reasons for behavior, development, and evaluation of tools for assisting people in cybersecurity, human factors involved with social engineering attacks and phishing, ethical hacking.

Course Requirements

This course is an offering of SJSU’s School of Information, which offers all courses completely online. Home computing requirements are posted online for prospective students at Home Computing Environment. Students must meet those minimum requirements to participate in the activities for this course. 


Formal assignments for this course are as follows:

Assignment and Due Dates Learning Outcomes Total Points

Hands-on Assignments

  • Hands-on Assignment 1
  • Hands-on Assignment 2
  • Hands-on Assignment 3
 1-5 300

10 Discussion Posts (Due dates)

  • Discussion 1:
    1. Post - Aug. 22
    2. Reply Aug. 29
  • Discussion 2:
    1. Post - Aug. 29
    2. Reply - Sept. 5
  • Discussion 3:
    1. Post - Sept. 5
    2. Reply - Sept. 12
  • Discussion 4:
    1. Post - Sept. 12
    2. Reply - Sept. 19
  • Discussion 5:
    1. Post - Sept. 19
    2. Reply - Aug. 26
  • Discussion 6:
    1. Post - Sept. 26
    2. Reply - Oct. 3
  • Discussion 7:
    1. Post - Oct. 3
    2. Reply - Oct. 10
  • Discussion 8:
    1. Post - Oct. 17
    2. Reply - Oct. 24
  • Discussion 9:
    1. Post - Oct. 24
    2. Reply - Oct. 31
  • Discussion 10:
    1. Post - Oct. 31
    2. Reply - Nov. 7
  • Discussion 11:
    1. Post - Nov. 7
    2. Reply - Nov. 14
  • Discussion 12:
    1. Post - Nov. 14
    2. Reply - Nov. 21


Exams (Due dates)

  1. Oct. 3
  2. Nov. 29
 1-5 200

Research Project Presentation

  • Topic Selection (due, Sept. 5)
  • Status Report (due, Oct. 10)
  • Research Presentation (Dec. 6)
 1-5  200

This schedule and related dates/readings/assignments is tentative and subject to change with fair notice. Any changes will be announced in due time in class and on the course’s website in the Canvas Learning Management System. The students are obliged to consult the most updated and detailed version of the reading material and syllabus, which will be posted on the course’s website.

  • Hands-on Assignments (CLO# 1-5)

Students will complete hands-on assignments. These assignments provide students with an opportunity to use various applications and examine online resources.  

  • Discussion Posts (CLO#1-5 ) 

Students will participate in the discussion board by providing ideas and/or opinions relating to assigned readings and lectures, and current events.  Discussion board participation cannot be made up once the discussion has been completed. 

  • Exam (CLO#1-5 ) 

Students will complete two exams covering assigned materials. Exams will not cover optional materials.

  • Research Project Presentation (CLO#1-5 ) 

Students will conduct research and present their findings on a current human-centered cybersecurity topic area. Students/groups must propose their research project to the instructor by the end of the third week of the semester. No more than one student/group can research any one particular topic area. Therefore, students/groups should select and propose their research topic to the instructor as quickly as possible

Detailed information on assignments, including the research paper grading rubric, will be provided on the course Canvas site.

Course Workload Expectations

Success in this course is based on the expectation that students will spend, for each unit of credit, a minimum of forty-five hours over the length of the course (normally 3 hours per unit per week with 1 of the hours used for lecture) for instruction or preparation/studying or course related activities including but not limited to internships, labs, clinical practica. Other course structures will have equivalent workload expectations as described in the syllabus.

Instructional time may include but is not limited to:
Working on posted modules or lessons prepared by the instructor; discussion forum interactions with the instructor and/or other students; making presentations and getting feedback from the instructor; attending office hours or other synchronous sessions with the instructor.

Student time outside of class:
In any seven-day period, a student is expected to be academically engaged through submitting an academic assignment; taking an exam or an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction; building websites, blogs, databases, social media presentations; attending a study group;contributing to an academic online discussion; writing papers; reading articles; conducting research; engaging in small group work.

Course Prerequisites

ISDA 121 has no prequisite requirements.

Course Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Map frameworks for understanding human behavior to cybersecurity situations.
  2. Generate hypotheses about what people will do in specific cybersecurity contexts.
  3. Design cybersecurity tools and policies based on predicted human behavior.
  4. Evaluate the consequences of cybersecurity tools and policies based on predictions about human behavior.
  5. Analyze and explain ethical and equity issues in use of cybersecurity technologies.

    SLOs & PLOs

    ISDA 121 supports:

  1. Information Science and Data Analytics SLO 5: Identify and apply best practices in human centered design and information architecture to ideate and design user-centered knowledge products and services for the Web environment; prototype new concepts; evaluate a prototype's usability; and communicate deliverables to project stakeholders from diverse backgrounds.
  2. Information Science and Data Analytics SLO 6: Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamentals of network security, compliance, and risk mitigation by evaluating and applying appropriate technical, information assurance, ethics, and privacy solutions to specific security problems.
  1. SLO 5 and SLO 6 supports the following Information and Data Science Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs):

  2. PLO 3: Demonstrate an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility in data ownership, security, sensitivity of data, and consequences and privacy concerns of data analysis.
  3. PLO 4: Demonstrate an ability to identify user-centric information and data needs of diverse populations and to interpret data findings effectively to diverse audiences, orally, visually, and in written formats.
  4. PLO 5: Demonstrate an understanding of how people from diverse backgrounds and cultures interact with technology and with each other in technological contexts; and how to plan strategically for emerging technologies and the changing technological landscape.


Recommended Textbooks:

  • Moallem, A. (Ed.). (2019). Human-computer interaction and cybersecurity handbook. CRC Press. Available through Amazon: B07HZ6P3CYarrow gif indicating link outside sjsu domain

Grading Scale

The standard SJSU School of Information Grading Scale is utilized for all iSchool courses:

97 to 100 A
94 to 96 A minus
91 to 93 B plus
88 to 90 B
85 to 87 B minus
82 to 84 C plus
79 to 81 C
76 to 78 C minus
73 to 75 D plus
70 to 72 D
67 to 69 D minus
Below 67 F


In order to provide consistent guidelines for assessment for graduate level work in the School, these terms are applied to letter grades:

  • C represents Adequate work; a grade of "C" counts for credit for the course;
  • B represents Good work; a grade of "B" clearly meets the standards for graduate level work or undergraduate (for BS-ISDA);
    For core courses in the MLIS program (not MARA, Informatics, BS-ISDA) — INFO 200, INFO 202, INFO 204 — the iSchool requires that students earn a B in the course. If the grade is less than B (B- or lower) after the first attempt you will be placed on administrative probation. You must repeat the class if you wish to stay in the program. If - on the second attempt - you do not pass the class with a grade of B or better (not B- but B) you will be disqualified.
  • A represents Exceptional work; a grade of "A" will be assigned for outstanding work only.

Graduate Students are advised that it is their responsibility to maintain a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA). Undergraduates must maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).

University Policies

Per University Policy S16-9, university-wide policy information relevant to all courses, such as academic integrity, accommodations, etc. will be available on Office of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs' Syllabus Information web page at: Make sure to visit this page, review and be familiar with these university policies and resources.

In order to request an accommodation in a class please contact the Accessible Education Center and register via the MyAEC portal.

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