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Foss2serve

Foss2serve promotes student learning via participation in humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) projects. Humanitarian FOSS projects exist to meet a social need in areas such as health care, economic development, disaster management, ecology, and education. Becoming a participant in these projects is appealing to many people, but there is a learning curve that can create a daunting barrier to entry. Foss2serve aims to reduce that learning curve for instructors and students.

Foss2serve has grown out of efforts by university faculty to find ways for students to participate in humanitarian FOSS projects. Early explorations indicate that student participation in FOSS projects opens excellent educational opportunities. Participation in humanitarian projects adds additional facets that can be highly motivating and educational. Foss2serve retains this focus on instructors and students in higher education. But foss2serve also tries to make learning resources available to anyone wanting to participate in a FOSS project.

Foss2serve is a part of the teachingopensource.org community, and can be thought of as a group within that community with particular interest in humanitarian FOSS projects.

Goals of Foss2serve

The overarching goal is to promote student participation in humanitarian FOSS communities. This effort has two prongs. To:

  • Add to knowledge of learning and community by exploring how FOSS culture can be applied in computing education
  • Use knowledge of FOSS learning and community to have a practical impact on computing education and to involve students in making a positive contribution to society via participation in HFOSS projects

To support that goal, foss2serve will:

  • Provide faculty development programs to help instructors gain competency in humanitarian FOSS
  • Build small learning communities focused on particular humanitarian FOSS projects for teachers, learners, and FOSS developers
  • Create, collect, and share learning materials to teach students how to participate in humanitarian FOSS projects

Indicators of Success

Primary elements that would define a successful result are:

  • Students are participating in HFOSS projects and making useful contributions to HFOSS products and communities. These contributions occur in the context of courses, independent projects, and informal school sponsored activities such as clubs, and hacking events
  • Student participation in HFOSS is well-recognized strategy that institutions use to teach students about computing. Basic understanding of HFOSS is part of core required material. Additional HFOSS learning is part of the available electives
  • Improved learning resulting from participation in HFOSS is well documented and well known
  • University faculty or staff people are core members of some HFOSS projects. This may include cases were universities are owners, committers, and highly-valued contributors to HFOSS projects

Secondary elements that would define a successful result are:

  • HFOSS activities provide students and faculty with opportunities to collaborate across institutions in a manner similar to the Canadian UCOSP program
  • HFOSS activities provide a basis for outreach to high schools. Although there is too much of a learning curve for most high school students, informal HFOSS opportunities could reach advanced students, HFOSS can provide case studies and vignettes showing high school students what college students have done. HFOSS can also provide opportunities for high school students could contribute to activities such as bug confirmation, documentation, and usability testing

You can browse the site in three ways:

Eventually, this site will bring together work from several prior projects. At present, that work is available here:

SoftHum

HumIT

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