During the 2014 and 2015 offerings of the course, my students completed a writing assignment I called "practical cryptography." For this assignment, students focused on the ways that cryptography is (or could be) relevant to the digital life of a college student. Students could address one of the ways that cryptography is embedded in the computer systems we already use (e.g. how credit card information is encrypted by websites) or explain how to better protect one's online privacy by adopting new practices (e.g. sending and receiving encrypted email). Each paper had an expository component, in which students explained cryptographic or mathematical processes in ways a fellow student could understand, and an argumentative component, in which students made the case for why a fellow student should care about the chosen topic.

Below you'll find some of the best "practical crypto" papers submitted thus far.