Community Engagement with Free and Open Source Software

TitleCommunity Engagement with Free and Open Source Software
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsMurphy, Christian, Buffardi Kevin, Dehlinger Josh, Lambert Lynn, and Veilleux Nanette
Secondary TitleProceedings of the 2017 ACM SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education
Place PublishedNew York, NY, USA
ISBN Number978-1-4503-4698-6
Keywordsfree and open source software (FOSS), humanitarian free and open source software (HFOSS), localized free and open source software (LFOSS), under-represented minorities (URM)

A common refrain from Senior Exit Surveys and Alumni Surveys is the desire to work on "real-world," "practical" and "hands-on" projects using industry-ready tools and development environments. To assuage this, institutions have moved towards adopting Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) as an avenue to provide meaningful, applied learning interventions to students. Through these experiences, students benefit from engagement with various communities including: the community of contributors to the FOSS project; the community of local software developers; the community of citizens who reside in the local area; the community of students at their institution and others; and, the community of people impacted by the FOSS project. These engagements motivate students, enhance their communication and technical skills, allow them to grow and become more confident, help them form professional networks, and provide the "real-world" projects they seek. In this panel, we will discuss our experiences in engaging students with five different types of communities as part of incorporating FOSS into our courses, focusing on how other educators can provide the same benefits to their students as well. In order to satisfy the time constraints of the panel, the last two authors will present together.