SIGCSE 2012/TOS symposium

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We have a Teaching Open Source symposium at SIGCSE 2012 on Wednesday from 9am til 5pm. This is an official SIGCSE pre-conference event; you can read more at The summary from that page:

The Teaching Open Source Symposium is a gathering spot for those interested in student participation in open, informal communities as a way to further the learning of computing. While most of us do this by assigning classwork that involves students in open source software projects such as Mozilla Firefox, various Linux distributions, or humanitarian free and open source software (HFOSS), we also cover open hardware and content projects (as in Wikipedia), hackerspaces, language and other technical meetup groups, and communication processes that promote realtime transparency such as the use of wikis and blogging.

This event unites newcomers with members from the Teaching Open Source community (, an emergent (3 year old) group working on scaffolding to bridge the cultural differences between academic and FOSS communities of practice. Join us to share questions, challenges, and triumphs of incorporating FOSS participation into existing and new curricula as well support resources for doing so. Alumni and current members of the POSSE (Professors' Open Source Summer Experience) will attend in mentorship roles, as we discuss topics in an unconference-style environment, a format specifically designed to invoke participation, teaching, and learning by all attendees regardless of prior topic experience.


    • Location:** Raleigh Convention Center, Room 305A

The registration fee is $50 and will be collected as part of the conference registration -- you can simply select the TOS event during your normal online registration at

We'd like to invite all interested parties to register as early as possible, to give us a good idea of the number folks we'll be expecting. We'll use that fee to cover parts of the cost for the event itself (room, projector, etc.) as well as potential food offerings. If finances are a barrier to your participation, contact Sebastian Dziallas and we'll work with you to figure something out.

Who's coming

Put your name here if you're coming! More details to come soon.

What's happening

We plan on doing this with several unconference-style techniques, which means we have a lot of work to do to make sure people understand the (somewhat unique) format(s). More details forthcoming, but if you're curious about what unconferences look like, we've started a list of resources below.

Proposed Sessions

In this section, list any sessions that you would like to host/organize. You simply need to post a title, organizer name(s), and a brief description of the topic. Note that posting a topic here does not guarantee that session -- we will be drawing up the schedule as a group at the start of the event. (For instance, if someone else wants to talk about the same thing, you might combine your sessions into one.)

That having been said, writing things down here is great -- it inspires people to think and talk about your topic, having things out in the open gives us all more ideas, and you'll come with a coherent pitch and purpose, which gives you a very good chance of getting what you envision. So be clear and public about your vision in advance whenever you can be, but be flexible about it when you come. (We know it's a tall order and very different from how you might be used to working. We'll help.)

Title Organizers Topic Comments
Barriers to Faculty Involvement in FOSS Heidi Ellis - Western New England University This session will include a discussion of the factors that inhibit faculty members from participating in and involving students in FOSS projects. If there's a list of factors here, I want a copy - I'm researching how faculty who do teach open source have overcome those barriers. Mel Chua 23:16, 25 January 2012 (UTC). One goal: Article for
The Great (Mostly-American) TOS Lit Review Mel Chua, co-organizers welcome Presumably, many of us think getting students involved in FOSS is a Good Thing. Is it? Who's tried to find out? Let's survey the scholarly research/talks/publications that have been done on teaching open source. Think of this as a collaborative annotated bibliography party - bring your own if you have one and we'll all end up with better lit reviews.
The Future of POSSE Mel Chua, co-organizers welcome We've run faculty workshops on teaching open source for 3 summers. Should we keep doing it? (The answer isn't necessarily yes.) If yes, how? If no, should we do something else - and what?
Open-Source Development in a Maximally Collaborative Class Ed Gehringer, co-organizers welcome Collaborative learning is a hot topic in education, as it has been shown to be effective in achieving learning goals, and employers want students to have more experience in teaming. In open-source development, collaboration is essential, because students on a team can cooperate to “find their way around” a new project more quickly than they could as individuals. In the age of the Web, plagiarism is a serious concern. By taking OSS collaboration to its logical end, we can virtually eliminate the possibility of cheating, freeing students to help each other learn.
Joining a project vs starting your own What are the tradeoffs between students engaging in a small, written-from-scratch, client-based FOSS project they make themselves, and a larger existing project community?
High context, low context, and structure What structures help students slide into the more self-directed world of OSS work? "Internships"? Openhatch-style missions? Meetings? Self-guided tutorials? And are there structures or practices that have proven especially effective in helping students from high-context cultures adjust to OSS work and communication styles? Sumana Harihareswara suggesting this because I want to know and I think you all will have useful answers; sadly, I won't be there to talk about it with you.
How to Get Started in FOSS Heidi Ellis - co-organizers welcome! This session is intended for folks that are completely or relatively new to FOSS and involving students in FOSS. Pairing with Mel or Sebastian in this session would be helpful. Perhaps this could be a first session and the "Barriers" could follow?
FOSS Assignments - 50 Ways to be a FOSSer Greg Hislop - co-organizers welcome! An existing effort has started to build a collection of FOSS assignment ideas that will cover a broad range of computing topics. This session will discuss the status of this effort and take steps to push things forward. See 50 Ways