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Introduction to Encryption and Cryptography

Learn how encryption keeps information safe, and teach your students how it's used in the world today. Supported by Google.

10,436 enrolled on this course

Introduction to Encryption and Cryptography
The CPD Certification Service

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. Find out more.

Discover the history of encryption and learn how it's used in the modern world

On this course, you will learn about what encryption is and understand its use in the past by using the Caesar and Vigenère ciphers.

You will also look at the present and future of encryption and investigate both symmetric and asymmetric encryption schemes.

The course includes several practical encryption activities which you can complete and use in your own classroom.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    Encryption and substitution ciphers

    • Welcome to the course

      An introduction to the course, the course team, and your fellow learners.

    • The history of encryption

      What is encryption, and how has it been used?

    • Substitution ciphers

      An introduction to the encryption process, using the Caesar cipher as an example

    • The importance of complexity

      How can adding complexity to an encryption algorithm make it harder to break?

    • End of Week 1

      A short quiz to help you cement your knowledge of encryption and look to the next weeks activities.

  • Week 2

    Modern encryption

    • Welcome to Week 2

      An introduction to the week, with a discussion about the ethics of encryption.

    • Asymmetric encryption

      An introduction to asymmetric encryption, a counterpoint to symmetric schemes. What's the difference between these two types of encryption? How do we use both in the modern world?

    • Applications of Encryption

      How are encryption schemes used in the modern world?

    • Teaching encryption

      How can you teach the intricacies of encryption in a classroom? A look at some pedagogies you can use and some misconceptions you can address.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

The CPD Certification Service was established in 1996 and is the leading independent CPD accreditation institution operating across industry sectors to complement the CPD policies of professional and academic bodies.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the general process of encryption and decryption
  • Apply a Caesar Cipher and a Vigenère Cipher
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different encryption algorithms
  • Compare symmetric and asymmetric encryption
  • Demonstrate methods of breaking simple encryption schemes
  • Describe how encryption is used in the modern world, and some of the possible ethical implications of this

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for teachers delivering computer science lessons in the classroom, at GCSE level or equivalent.

What software or tools do you need?

There are several optional steps involving using Python to implement some forms of encryption. To complete these you will need a Python IDE, either on your computer, or an online one like Trinket

What do people say about this course?

Very interesting and very helpful in giving me ideas for teaching.

"This has been (a) very interesting, and (b) very helpful in giving me ideas for how I could improve my own teaching in this area, and my school's current scheme of work for this topic."

Who will you learn with?

Who developed the course?

Raspberry Pi Foundation

The Raspberry Pi Foundation works to put the power of digital making into the hands of people all over the world, so they are capable of understanding and shaping our increasingly digital world.

National Centre for Computing Education

This course is part of our professional development teacher programme for the National Centre for Computing Education (NCCE). Our nationally-recognised certificates cater for all levels of teaching.

Funded by the Department for Education and supporting partners, we aim to transform the way computing is taught in schools across England, and enable more young people to benefit from studying this important subject.

Endorsers and supporters

supported by

Google logo
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$23.33/month

Billed at $279.99 for a year

Endless possibilities!

  • Access to this course
  • Access to ALL eligible short courses with additional benefits, for a year
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Upgrade this course

$49

Unlock your expertise

  • All of the above* for this course only, plus a printed certificate when you’re eligible

*Excludes access to all eligible short courses with additional benefits for a year

Basic access

Free

Try before you buy

  • Limited access to course content for 2 weeks

Find out more about certificates, Upgrades or Unlimited.

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Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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