Encryption Explained

How can we communicate the basics of encryption to students who may have never taken a computer science course before?

Crafted in 2016 as Creative Team Lead, Educational Media at Brown University.

I. Background

The Executive Master in Cybersecurity is a blended learning program developed in 2016 at Brown University. EMCS was designed to foster multidisciplinary leaders in the field of cybersecurity.

II. The Challenge

Many students in the EMCS program do not have a background in computer science. How can we communicate the core concepts of encryption in a manner that is both engaging and easy to follow for students unfamiliar with the subject?

III. My Role

I produced and directed this project, and did all design, animation, audio, and editing. I also worked with the professor teaching the course to collaboratively write and edit the script.

A simple coin flip. The first step in understanding how keygens work.

IV. Our Solution

We decided to use a variety of media to introduce the core ideas of encryption and then build upon them.

To start, we made a short, animated video that laid out the basics of encryption, using visuals to illustrate important ideas and concepts.

We complimented this 3-minute video with images, bite-size videos, and gifs on the following course pages. Sometimes these visuals harkened back to imagery from the introductory video, reinforcing ideas previously presented. Other times, we introduced new visual metaphors to represent novel concepts.

As the course progressed, we built upon these core images, allowing us to present more complex ideas in a familiar way.