teaching open source

Work on a free software project for a humanitarian cause

Professors in Open Source Software Experience - POSSE

What is Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS) in education and how can we get more students involved? HFOSS is open source software that has a humanitarian purpose such as disaster management, health care, economic development, social services, and more. Experience with undergraduate participation in HFOSS shows it can both motivate students and provide excellent learning opportunities. There is also an indication that it can help attract and retain female students. » Read more

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A guide to teaching FOSS: teachers as learners

teachers as learners

Knowing everything about any open source project is impossible. If you're going to deal with a large community, you're not going to know all the details. This is unlike teaching courses where everything is black-and-white, and there are plenty of reference texts. If you're going to teach open source, you're going to have to change the way you teach. Rather than a lecturer, you're a mentor.

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How to get a class involved with an open source project

open source projects in the classrom

We talk about "community" a lot when it comes to open source, but it's important to remember that just like local communities within a city, town, state, and country, each community has its own culture. One community is not just like another. Each has its own ways of communication and tracking and decision-making. Processes for code submission differ—perhaps two communities both use Bugzilla, but with different flags. Others require you to also alert a mailing list. A large software project may even have smaller sub-communities within it with their own customs and quirks.

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Getting started with HFOSS in the classroom

Stoney Jackson teaching POSSE

If we look at the big picture view, most frequently people think of student contribution as code. But student learning can span HFOSS (Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software) as an item to be studied. You can draw artifacts from HFOSS and not contribute back, although that's not the preferred model. Contributing back starts the cycle of students being involved in a community. You can start as small as one assignment.

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Six misconceptions about open source software

Fill in: True of False

In information technology (IT) and software development fields, there are a few fairly common misconceptions about the use of open source software. These misconceptions were debunked in a discussion at POSSE RIT 2012, and we’d like to share (and spread) that conversation. » Read more

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FOSS meets IT Education at ACM-SIGITE

FOSS meets IT Education at ACM-SIGITE

The Association of Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group in IT Education (ACM-SIGITE) met at West Point's Thayer Hotel on the first day of the three-day conference--and free and open source software (FOSS) was one of the top items on the menu.

The conference offered a three-paper session and a panel on using FOSS in the classroom that were well attended and generated good questions (and answers) about approaches, tools, and techniques for bringing students into FOSS. » Read more

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Saddened and bewildered by academic copyright assignments

Saddened and bewildered by academic copyright assignments

Karl Fogel reminded me to check the copyright assignment for the scholarly papers I'm starting to submit on Teaching Open Source (TOS), particularly POSSE. I sat down and did some digging, and here's what I found--keep in mind these are the notes of an unschooled grad student new to the topic, uneducated on copyright and new to academic publishing--let me know if your experiences have involved other interpretations of these policies. In fact, I'm posting these assertions in the hope that people will correct me if I've made mistakes (and I will edit this post and provide attribution for the edits). » Read more

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Teaching Open Source has a POSSE

Microphone static crackles.

Hi, everyone–Mel Chua here, reporting in. I'm recovering from POSSE, the Professors' Open Source Summer Experience, where we just kicked off our our 2011 cohort of professors over in Raleigh, North Carolina. Each of the faculty members here has committed to getting the students in at least one of their courses involved in open source community contribution during this coming school year, and they're off and running now after a weekend of intense cultural immersion. Let's recap the high points of POSSE Basics 2011, shall we?

Going-back-in-time sound effect, hazy visual shimmers. » Read more

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Voices of POSSE, part 1: From theory to practice

(This post is the first in the "Voices of POSSE" series, a collection of interviews conducted at this year's Professors' Open Source Summer Experience, held in Raleigh, NC, July 23-24.) » Read more

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Capturing SIGCSE conversation: Computer science professors discuss teaching open source

We asked you earlier what you'd ask 1,200 computer science professors about open source given the chance. So when I headed down to Dallas, Texas for SIGCSE 2011, the largest CS education conference in the world, I took your notes to the Teaching Open Source (TOS) birds of a feather session and listened in on the conversations there. » Read more

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