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Chitra is an educator, researcher, and author with over 20 years of experience spanning across academia and industry in the areas of cyber security, data networking, mobile communications, technologies, and applications.

A certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), she is currently the Program Leader for Cyber Security at Open University and the cyber security lead within the government funded Institute of Coding (IoC) project which aims to enhance UK’s digital skills and address the skills gap. She has previously held position of program leader for Networking, Security and Forensics at Edge Hill University and Head of Networks and Services with Centre of Excellence for Mobile Applications and Services at University of South Wales, Cardiff.

She has, over the last 15 years championed cyber security education, training and its professionalisation. In addition, she has been instrumental in acquiring research income of over £2 million as a co-investigator and principal investigator from funding sources such as ERDF, Innovate UK, HEA, EPSRC and British Council. She has over 40 academic publications to her credit in international journals, peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed conference proceedings. In addition, A book she has authored titled “IMS: a development and deployment perspective” (John Wiley) is highly cited.

Her work mainly focuses on human aspects of cyber security. In 2017, she secured grant from Higher Education Academy (HEA) for a project on gamification of cyber security education. She has held the GSIKE UK-Gulf partnership fund with University of Bahrain between 2018-2019 and researched on areas relating to cyber security challenges within consumer IoT in healthcare.

In 2019, her project CyberGaITE fetched funding from CyberASAP program managed by Innovate UK was extended as GICAST ‘ A Gamified Intelligent Cyber security Aptitude and Skills Training’ environment. GICAST attracted £280K funding by Nesta and the Department of Education. The outcome of the project is currently available for free on Open Learn –

In her current role, Chitra actively engages with certification providers (CompTIA, EC-Council, CREST, Cisco etc), accreditation providers (NCSC) and works quite closely with cyber security academic community within UK (CISSE, UK). She is passionate about changing the way we teach cyber security and in building a sustainable cyber security capability.


Gamification is the application of elements of gaming design and game mechanics in a non-game context. Game players regularly exhibit risk-taking, strategising and problem solving; behaviours that are ideally required in a cyber security professional.

Gamification mechanics and game design techniques engage and motivate people to achieve their goals, encourage participation and usage.

Gamification design principles include:

Relatedness: creating personal goals, creating communities of interest, guiding the user through a meaningful story, creating social context meaning
Competence: an achievement flow, interesting challenges, clear design and goals, feedback, awareness of unintended behaviour
Autonomy: voluntary play, being aware of losing autonomy and devaluing the activity by avoiding over-justification.

Intended impacts of using gamification in CyberGaTE

Better learning experience

The learner can experience fun during the game and still learn if the level of engagement is high. A good gamification strategy with high levels of engagement will lead to an increase in recall and retention.

Better learning environment

Gamification provides an effective, informal learning environment, and helps learners practice real life situations and challenges in a safe environment. This leads to a more engaged learning experience that facilitates better knowledge retention.

Higher recall / retention of information

Hub IT allows your business and technology computers to store, transmit, analyze, and manipulate big data.

A catalyst for behavioural changes

Hub IT allows your business and technology computers to store, transmit, analyze, and manipulate big data.

Problem Based Learning

  • PBL is an approach to learning characterised by the following:Students receive a scenario, which describes the context of a situation, including a problem. The problem is meant to reflect a situation that could occur in the real world, so it is ill-defined, contains superfluous (or sometimes insufficient/ incorrect) information. It therefore promotes students to analyse the problem and identify what is important.
  • A key aspect of PBL is that students don’t have the knowledge to solve it at the time. They are required to identify what they need to learn to solve the problem. The tutor is a facilitator to ensure they don’t go too far off track.
  • Once students have identified a list of aspects they need to learn (their learning goals) they independently research those areas.
  • Finally they share what they have learned and apply it to manage/ solve the problem. Often they work in teams to do this work.
  • Resources needed to support this form of learning comprise:
  • The problem scenario, comprising background and the problem to be solved.
  • A list of learning objectives that the scenario is intended to help students achieve.
  • A list of resources students could use to learn the material.
  • A facilitator guide that identifies potential solutions.
  • Classroom-as-a-service

    The GaTE will be made available to other HEIs, industries and students over the internet, and reside in the newly created Red Rose Cloud. The virtualized training environment is built on the principles of classroom as a service technology, hosting carefully designed gamified problem-based learning resources.

    Classroom-as-a-service is akin to the concept of software-as-a-service, whereby immersive learning content is hosted on a cloud based service.

    Partner colleges, SMEs, larger industries and HEIs will be able to use GaTE as a cyber-security practice ground for students and staff.

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