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World of Spies: Keeping Secrets

Get a taste of spy training with code-breaking puzzles and get to grips with how intelligence agencies use data encryption.

12,077 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

Have you got what it takes to become a spy?

The key attributes of a good spy include strong critical thinking and communication skills, logical thinking skills, and a love of codebreaking puzzles.

Do you think you’ve got what it takes?

On this spy training course, you’ll develop key spy skills, while learning about the fascinating world of espionage.

You’ll learn about code-making and complete codebreaking puzzles.

As you build your skills in logical thinking, you’ll find out if you’ve got what it takes to be a good spy.

You’ll also find out about real-life intelligence agencies, and discover how they use data encryption to protect secrets.

What topics will you cover?

  • Introduction to spying and the common United States agencies that collect intelligence
  • Reasons for encrypting information
  • Various ways information is encrypted
  • Using logical thinking and linguistic patterns to break encrypted messages without a key
  • How traditional decryption methods led to the modern day computer
  • Why protecting information is important
  • How information we provide in social media can compromise the safety of our personal information
  • The effectiveness of modern day encryption

Learning on this course

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...

  • Investigate reasons for encrypting information.
  • Compare various methods for encrypting information.
  • Apply logical thinking, linguistic patterns, and historical enciphering methods to encipher and decipher messages.
  • Evaluate weaknesses of various encoding and enciphering methods.
  • Debate the necessity and effectiveness of protecting information.

Who is the course for?

This course has been specially designed for school students aged 13 and over who enjoy puzzles and are looking to improve their logic skills or find out more about espionage.

What software or tools do you need?


Who will you learn with?

Sheree is an instructional designer who has won awards for her work in both K-12 and higher education. This course is based upon a face-to-face course she developed for Purdue’s GERI program.

Ben Wiles is the Chief Data Officer at Clemson University and teaches in the Department of Mathematics.

Who developed the course?

Purdue University

One of the four best public universities in the US, Purdue delivers an engaging learning experience and a world-class degree.

Endorsers and supporters

supported by

GERI logo

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • 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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