[TOS] Brief survey on FOSS use for spring courses

Dr. Jody Paul jody at acm.org
Sat Jan 27 21:32:23 UTC 2018

Hi all!

I thought this might be a good opportunity to share what's going on in my
program this semester.

I'm the instructor for 2 sections of Software Engineering Practices, a
senior experience/project course aimed at graduating seniors in computer
science.  Software Engineering Practices primarily involves software
development project work and generating associated artifacts for a
professional portfolio.  The prerequisite for this course is Software
Engineering Principles, in which students have the opportunity to gain
knowledge and skills in software engineering and to experience guided
practice in team-based software development.

This will be the first time that the projects are directed toward HFOSS
project core contributions.  (Some previous efforts have involved
developing new plug-ins, but nothing that required close coupling with a
FOSS project itself.)

So far (the first two weeks):

• In ad hoc teams of size 3 or 4, students engaged in the evaluation of
HFOSS projects, based on
 -- Each team published an evaluation of a project. There were at least 2
evaluations for each candidate project.
 -- Post-activity reflections indicated that students believed the
experience was extremely valuable, providing insight into open source and
software project considerations.

• In ad hoc teams of size 2 or 3, students experienced a standard workflow
for contributing to a GitHub-hosted project, based on
 -- No teams completed all steps of the activity in 90 minutes. Most would
have benefited from ~20 minutes of additional time or a precursor activity.
 -- Post-activity reflections indicated that participants all felt activity
was useful, including those who already had "significant familiarity" with

• Students have formed working teams for the rest of the semester.
 -- Each team is comprised of 4 or 5 students.
 -- There are 9 teams across the 2 sections.
 -- Each team has identified its project of interest, taking into
consideration the evaluations, group dynamics, and personal preferences.

Projects chosen by working teams include: Mediawiki Accessibility, Moodle,
Mozilla Tools, OpenMRS, and SugarLabs.  (The first three are specifically

I had been hoping for a smaller set, but decided against imposing that
inter-team constraint.  Fortunately, several projects were chosen by at
least 2 of the teams.

It's scary for me; but, students are engaged and excited!

I am truly thankful for the POSSE experience and contributed materials!!!


Dr. Jody Paul

Department of Mathematical and Computer Sciences

Metropolitan State University of Denver

On Fri, Jan 26, 2018 at 8:21 AM, Heidi Ellis <heidi.ellis at wne.edu> wrote:

> Hi Folks,
> Happy New Year!  In order to gain a better understanding of what courses
> and/or extra-curricular activities are being used to help students learn
> about FOSS/HFOSS for the winter and spring terms, below is a link to a
> brief (2 minute) survey. We would greatly appreciate your participation.
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