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 on both GitHub and OpenHub.
  2. Use and describe different features of GitHub and OpenHub.
Process Skills
  1. Critical Thinking
  2. Information Processing


FOSS predates the Web, but the Web has been essential for the growth of FOSS. People locate and access FOSS projects on the Web, and FOSS communities collaborate on the Web. There are websites (called forges) that provide a home and visibility for many FOSS projects, although many large FOSS projects have their own websites.


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

Part 1 - GitHub

One of the best known forges is GitHub. In Part 1 you will search GitHub for projects. Do the following:

  1. Go to:
  2. Search for education projects. To do this, find the search box near the top of the page, type "education", and press enter or click on Search.
    1. How many repositories are found?
    2. Click on the first project to see its overview page. Click on Graphs (Insights), then Commits. What information is shown?
  3. Go back to the main GitHub page and search for humanitarian projects.
    1. How many repositories are found?
    2. Locate the HTBox/crisischeckin project. When was the last update?
  4. Search for disaster management projects.
    1. How many repositories are found?

Keep this browser tab open while you move on to Part 2.

Part 2 - OpenHub

In this part of the activity, you will search OpenHub for projects. Do the following:

  1. Go to:
  2. In the search box, type "education".
    1. The listing shows the number of pages, not the number of projects. By default, each page shows 10 projects. How many projects were found?
    2. Click on KDE Education (near the top of the list), and then click on Code Locations (on the right side of KDE Education).
    3. The listing shows repository locations. Are any of them on GitHub?
    4. Go back to KDE Education, and click on Similar Projects (below Code Locations). How many similar projects are listed?
    5. Scroll down. What info does OpenHub provide about each similar project?
  3. Search for both "humanitarian" and "disaster management".
    1. How many projects did each search return?
    2. Some projects show 'Activity Not Available'. Click on the pyramid icon and read the info provided. Why do so many projects show 'activity not available'?
  4. Click on Organizations (near the top of the page).
    1. What info is shown?
  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 info?
  7. What are some benefits & drawbacks of searching for a project in both GitHub & OpenHub?


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