Open Education Book available

Now available: a new, free-to-download, Creative Commons-licensed book about how open can work in education, called “The Open Organization for Educators.” 

The book, which is free to download here: or can be ordered hard copy at-cost from contains content authored by Teaching Open Source members Heidi Ellis, Moorthy Krishnamoorthy, Gina Likins, and Wes Turner.

Next POSSE in Philadelphia, PA at Drexel University!

The next POSSE will be held in Philadelphia, PA June 17-19.  All U.S.-based college-level faculty and instructors who teach computing are invited to join us! Join the over 175 instructors from over 150 academic institutions who are supporting student learning via Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS).

Contact Heidi Ellis ( with questions.

Next POSSE to by Hosted by City University of New York

The next POSSE will be in New York City in January 2019.  This POSSE will be hosted by the City University of New York and attendees will primarily be City University faculty.  Faculty at John Jay College have graciously agreed to provide meeting space and serve as local contacts.  Other U.S. academic organizations that would be interested in hosting a POSSE should contact the POSSE team.  We expect to hold at least one more POSSE for individual faculty applicants later in 2019.

Trouble teaching Git? New tool to try!

I discovered this interactive, online Git training tool: and thought it might be of interest. The advantage (IMHO) is that students do not have to have anything other than a browser with an internet connection on their machine at all: no need for a CLI (or for everyone to be using the same CLI), etc. — you can even run this on a tablet or phone! (This isn’t the best of the katacoda courses I’ve tried — it still assumes more CLI knowledge than I’d like), but if you want students to be able to experiment and have everyone using the same setup, this might be an option. 

Privacy Policy Updates

Teaching Open Source is committed to our users’ privacy and protection of their data. On May 25, 2018, extensive changes in EU data protection law (General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR) go into effect. We are using this opportunity to make improvements for all users, not just those in EU.

We have updated the Teaching Open Source Privacy Policy to make it more clear what data we collect from you, why we collect it​,​ and how it’s used.

These changes go into effect starting May 25, 2018 and you can find the new policy here: Privacy Policy
If you have questions about ​Teaching Open Source and GDPR, ​please contact

Sabine Wojcieszak’s Working in and with Free Open Source Software Course

Sabine Wojcieszak, (Bologna POSSE July 2017), just published a blog post on her experiences offering a course tiled “Working in and with Free Open Source Software”.  She describes her class and how she mastered being “productively lost”. Great job Sabine!!

Red Hat Honors Instructors Who Champion Open Source Education

For the second year, Red Hat is honoring the work of higher education instructors who are committed to teaching the open source development process to their students.   The majority of honorees are past participants in Professor’s Open Source Software Experience (POSSE). Launched by Red Hat in 2009, POSSE is a cultural immersion in the tools and practices of open source communities, designed for instructors looking for ways to bring their students into active participation in those communities. These workshops are made possible through National Science Foundation grants awarded to Drexel University, Nassau Community College and Western New England University, and by Teaching Open Source, a member project of the Software Freedom Conservancy. Corporations such as Red Hat and Google provide support through Teaching Open Source and their participation in POSSE workshops, which are co-taught by members of the academic and open source communities. (Read the full news release on

Congratulations to:

  • Aria Chernik, lecturing fellow, Social Science Research Institute, and director, Open Source Pedagogy, Research and Innovation (OSPRI), Duke University
  • Joshua Dehlinger, assistant/associate professor, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, Towson University
  • Robert Duvall, lecturer, Department of Computer Science, Duke University
  • Joshua Pearce, professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering; professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; and advisor, Open Source Hardware Enterprise, Michigan Technological University
  • Alan Rea, professor, business information systems, Haworth College of Business, Western Michigan University
  • Wes Turner, senior lecturer, computer science, School of Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Stewart Weiss, associate professor, Department of Computer Science, Hunter College of the City University of New York
  • Sabine Wojcieszak, lecturer, University of Applied Science Kiel 


TOS Happenings at SIGCSE!

If you’ll be at SIGSE, make sure to attend these Teaching Open Source-related sessions (use this quicklink while you’re there for easy reference:

Time: Thursday 10am
Activity: Demo Session #1
Title: Teaching “Blinky Flashy”:​ ​Best Practices and Helpful Tips for Teaching eTextiles to a Wide Range of Students
Location: Exhibit Hall
Speaker(s): Gina Likins (Red Hat, United States)
Abstract Electronic Textiles, or eTextiles, are textiles that directly incorporate conductive fibers or elements. eTextile projects are engaging and hands-on, and can serve as an introduction to computing, electrical engineering, and the Internet of Things. In addition, evidence suggests eTextile projects are especially well-suited for girls and young women, and may help improve their overall attitudes and confidence about computing.

This demo will prepare instructors to lead a successful eTextiles workshop. Attendees will learn by doing – up to 20 participants will experience the fun of eTextiles by adding an LED sequin to an article of clothing they bring. In addition, the demo will cover: what information should be included in an eTextiles workshop — and what can be skipped; variants to accommodate experience and knowledge levels; and how instructors can ensure that workshops go off without a hitch.

Time: Thursday 2:35 – 3:00 PM
Activity: Paper
Title: A Survey of Instructors’ Experiences Supporting Student Learning using Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software Projects
Location: Room 319
Speaker(s): Heidi Ellis (Western New England University, United States), Lori Postner (Nassau Community College, United States), Gregory Hislop (Drexel University, United States)
Abstract: Studies have shown that Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS) projects provide a rich learning environment for students, allowing them to gain a range of both technical and professional skills. Although there have been a number of studies on student attitudes toward learning within HFOSS projects, little has been documented about instructors’ experiences supporting their students in the classroom. This paper examines survey results from 26 faculty members who participated in an NSF-funded Professors’ Open Source Software Experience workshop with the goal of incorporating HFOSS into their curriculum. The survey was designed to identify barriers to using HFOSS in the classroom, to understand the type of classes where instructors incorporated HFOSS, the successes attained and challenges faced by instructors, and to understand instructors’ future plans. The data gathered was used to enhance semi-structured interviews that are currently being analyzed. This paper focuses on the hurdles reported by faculty members, the cross-section of uses of HFOSS in the classroom as well as factors that may influence one’s ability to integrate HFOSS into the curriculum. The results of the survey demonstrate that faculty have successfully incorporated HFOSS into a wide range of courses across all four years of the curriculum with both large and small classes. The major hurdles are time to prepare materials for one’s course as well as finding time within an existing course to integrate HFOSS material. This paper discusses possible ways to address the hurdles as well as future directions for the work.

Time: Thursday 3:45 – 4:10 PM
Activity: Paper
Title: A Multi-Institutional Perspective on H/FOSS Projects in the Computing Curriculum
Location: Room 323
Speaker(s): Grant Braught (Dickinson College, United States), John Maccormick (Dickinson College, United States), James Bowring (College Of Charleston, United States),
Quinn Burke (College Of Charleston, United States), Barbara Cutler (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, United States), David Goldschmidt (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, United States), Mukkai Krishnamoorthy (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, United States), Wesley Turner (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, United States), Steven Huss-Lederman (Beloit College, United States), Bonnie Mackellar (St. John’s University, United States), Allen Tucker (Bowdoin College, United States)

Time: Thursday 6:30 – 7:20 PM
Activity: BoF
Open Source Student Clubs
Location: Room 318
Speaker(s): Darci Burdge (Nassau Community College, United States), Gregory Hislop (Drexel University, United States), Joanna Klukowska (New York University, United States)
Abstract: Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is interesting to many students and provides an excellent opportunity to observe and practice many aspects of software product development and management. There is an active community of faculty fostering student participation in open source within computing curricula (see However, the opportunity to add coverage of FOSS varies considerably from institution to institution, and there are always limits to what can be done with existing computing curricula. One approach to solving this limitation is for students to learn about and participate in FOSS projects as an extra-curricular activity. This BoF will provide a forum for faculty members to discuss open source student clubs. The Mozilla Foundation has been developing a program to support open source clubs. The initial clubs were primarily located in Asia, but Mozilla started an effort to expand the clubs to the U.S. during the current academic year. The BoF will include discussion of this effort and the materials developed by Mozilla. (See:

Jody Paul Teaches Software Engineering Practices

Jody Paul (2017-11 POSSE alum) relates his experiences in the first two weeks of teaching 2 sections of Software Engineering Practices. We hope to hear more from Jody as the course progresses!

“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
      • 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 GitHub.
    • 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 accessibility-focused.)

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