FOSS Field Trip (Activity)

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FOSS Field Trip - Browsing a Forge


Learners will explore the breadth of available FOSS projects as well as differences between GitHub and OpenHub.



After successfully completing this activity, the learner should be able to:
  1. Search for FOSS projects by category on both GitHub and OpenHub.
  2. Look at different features of GitHub and OpenHub.
Process Skills
  1. Critical Thinking
  2. Information Processing


Open source pre-dates the Web, but the Web and Internet connectivity have been essential for the blossoming of FOSS in recent years. FOSS projects need to be available on the Web to ever gain much attention. There are a growing number of sites (often called “forges”) that provide a home and visibility to FOSS projects (although many of the biggest projects live on their own sites).


POSSE Attendees: Please post your answers to the following questions on your foss2serve wiki.

Part 1 - GitHub

One of the best known of these FOSS project hosting sites is GitHub. In this activity you will search for projects on GitHub based upon category.

Do the following:

  1. Go to:
  2. Use the Search feature on the top right next to the Sign in or Sign up links to search for educational applications by placing the word education in the search box and click Search.
    1. How many repositories are there in this category?
    2. Click on the first project. Click on Graphs (Insights), then Commits. What information does this page provide?
  3. Go back to the main page and use the Search feature to look for humanitarian applications. Type the word humanitarian in the search box and click Search.
    1. How many repositories are there in this category?
    2. Locate the HTBox/crisischeckin project. When was the last update?
  4. Use the Search feature to look for disaster management applications. Type the phrase disaster management the search box and click Search.
    1. How many projects are there in this category?

Keep this browser tab open while you move onto Part 2.

Part 2 - OpenHub

In this activity, you will use OpenHub to search for both educational as well as humanitarian projects.

Searching OpenHub:

  1. Go to:
  2. In the search space, enter: education
    1. Notice it tells you how many pages of results there are, not number of projects. By default, there should be 10 projects per page. How many projects were returned?
    2. KDE Education should be the second result. Click on it. Look on the right hand side of the page and click on Code Locations. There are a number of projects listed here. Is any of the code located on GitHub?
    3. Go back one page. Under the Code Locations, it provides several projects that are Similar. Click on Similar Projects. How many similar projects are listed?
    4. Scroll down. What information does OpenHub provide about the project?
  3. Perform searches for both humanitarian and disaster management.
    1. How many projects were returned for each search?
    2. Click on the Activity icon. Why do so many projects not have activity information available?
  4. Click on Organizations.
    1. What information is provided on this page?
  5. Search for OpenMRS.
    1. When was the last commit for OpenMRS Core?
  6. Go back to GitHub and search for OpenMRS Core.
    1. When was the last commit?
    2. Why do you think these sites have different information?
  7. What would be the benefits/drawbacks of using both GitHub and OpenHub to search for a project?


POSSE: Please post the answers to these questions on your foss2serve user wiki page.

Students: Wiki posting describing your explorations of GitHub and OpenHub.

Notes for Instructors

The remaining sections of this document are intended for the instructor. They are not part of the learning activity that would be given to students.


  • How will the activity be graded?
  • How will learning will be measured?
  • Include sample assessment questions/rubrics.
Criteria Level 1 (fail) Level 2 (pass) Level 3 (good) Level 4 (exceptional)
The purpose of the project
Why the project is open source


  • What should the instructor know before using this activity?
  • What are some likely difficulties that an instructor may encounter using this activity?

Variants and Adaptations:

POGIL-style combined FOSS Field Trip and Project Evaluation used by Chris Murphy in his FOSS Course, UPenn, Murphy.

Area & Unit(s)
Estimated Time
to Complete

30-60 minutes

Environment /

Access to Internet/Web and web browser.


Detailed FOSS Field Trip


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

CC license.png

Suggestions for Open Source Community

Suggestions for an open source community member who is working in conjunction with the instructor.

Personal tools
Learning Resources
HFOSS Projects