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Cybercrime research incorporated into computer crime course

An assistant professor of criminal justice at Florida Atlantic University incorporates his cybercrime research in his Computer Crime course to enhance the curriculum and trigger student participation.

“The Computer Crime course is about a topic that is inherently fascinating to most people, and I try to make the learning process enjoyable so that the material sticks into the students' minds,” Professor Sameer Hinduja said.

The course has been a part of the FAU curriculum for two years, and it offered by the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice within the College of Architecture, Urban, & Public Affairs.

This course provides an in-depth breakdown of approximately 15 types of computer crime. Among some of the topics covered are: hacker culture, sexual exploitation of children, identity theft, wireless security and cyberstalking.

The course generally is offered during the spring semester on FAU's MacArthur campus in Jupiter and features professionals in the criminal justice field.

“We have guest speakers from local law enforcement agencies who are actively involved in combating cybercrime,” Hinduja said.

Cybercrime can be defined as any illegal act performed with the use of a computer, whether the computer is an object of crime, an instrument used to commit a crime, or is evidence related to a crime, Hinduja said.

Being a cybercrime fighter himself, Hinduja specializes in cyberbullying research. “There is simply not enough research on cybercrime out there, so I am able to use my studies and research as teaching tools,” he said.

Hinduja has written several research papers and made many presentations at professional conferences that focus on cybercrime. He works nationally and internationally with school districts, law enforcement agencies, businesses, parents and youngsters to promote online safety by combating cybercrime.

He also has written books, the latest entitled Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying. In this book, Hinduja teams up with Justin W. Patchin of the University of Wisconson-Eau Claire. Together they provide a wide-ranging guide to identifying, preventing, and responding to the ever more serious problem of bullying using the internet.

“I love teaching this class as my primary research interest is computer crime, and I am able to bring up a number of memorable examples and stories to help students understand the material,” Hinduja said.

“I would definitely recommend the computer crime course with Dr. Hinduja to any FAU student. You won't look at the computer the same again. This was a topic and a professor that aroused my interest,” said criminal justice major Shawntozi Dennis, a senior.

The course alerts students about how widespread computer crime is.

“The class opened my eyes to other issues I didn't even know about - issues that happened in my own town, which makes crime even more relevant to our everyday lives” criminal justice graduate Jamie Kahler said.

For a list of Dr. Hinduja's research works and other information, including contact information, visit http://wise.fau.edu/~hinduja/.




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