POSSE-V1 History: RIT (2011)

Follow the POSSE

There are a number of spaces where POSSE participants interact aside from the physical Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) location.

  • Wiki: this POSSE used the TeachingOpenSource wiki space. Participants were free to edit any pages.The page title should be prefixed with title with “POSSE RIT” for ease of keeping track of them.
  • IRC: The channel on Freenode will be used for POSSE-specific IRC communication. Participants are encouraged to join the larger TeachingOpenSource community in the #teachingopensource channel as well.
  • Mailing list: Join the teaching open source mailing list for discussion and ongoing session notes.

Event information

Sponsor

Red Hat

Dates

  • August 8 – 12, 2011
  • (Pre-event get-together on the evening of August 7th)

Location

Rochester Institute of Technology
B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences (GCCIS) (Bldg 70)
Room 2400 (big glass walled conf room on 2nd Floor)

Campus Map

Itinerary/Schedule

See POSSE RIT/2011/Schedule for program schedule details and materials.

Attendees

  • The following is a list of instructors who attended POSSE RIT in August (8th-12th)

Remy DeCausemaker

  • Fellow & Resident Hacktivist at The Center for Student Innovation, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Linkedin
  • At RIT

Nate Case

  • Graduate Student Rochester Institute of Technology
  • CSI Profile

Ben Steele

The class now…

RIT is a medium-sized technical university, and I am a lecturer who mostly teaches the introductory, two-year course sequence. Beyond that, I teach programming languages and operating systems. Unlike the first and second year courses, Operating Systems (OS) expects students already understand and have used basic algorithms and data structures. Historically, this has been a lecture course surveying the subsystems of an OS; as such the lectures tend to be a bit slow — lots of slides augmented by some whiteboard work. I know a bunch of the students get bored by that, and so do I in some weeks. I believe the best part of the course is the projects. These require use of C and C++ and introduce issues such as buffer management, signals, process management, and concurrency. They are challenging because they must decide how and where to research the problem; I give them a number of references through which they will have to dig to find what they need to learn. They also may not know about some language features/libraries that are available to solve their problems, and they learn how to apply these tools. While I know what open source is at a simple level, I really do not know how it works at all. How do groups form? Who decides what should be done? What are the priorities? How do builds happen? How is a change tested and validated? How is a new version released? I have very weak answers to these questions.

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

I’d like to enhance my teaching of Operating Systems so that the students get a feel for real OS code. I’m not sure whether they would all want or be able to contribute to an open source OS, but that might be a reach target (after all, they are just learning about what kinds of structures and functions are in an OS). If I could learn how to ‘segue’ from a short lecture into an exploration of the actual code in a real OS, I feel that would be very interesting to students. Beyond that, it might be possible to develop some assignable projects targeted for an open source release. I would hope that an elite few would actually start to work on some open source OS project. Mostly, I hope that the students learn about: – teamwork with far-flung participants – issues with evolving a large code base – current topics in the design/implementation of OS data structures, algorithms and services. I suppose I would like to learn more about those things too!

What needs to happen in the meantime?

I’m not really sure what we’d need for this sort of future. Would I need dedicated servers? an isolated network? Not sure. In any case, my department has a lab that could be used at some times for this, but it might not be big enough for a class of 35 students. (Typically students do work for this course on their own machines and then test on lab systems.) How do I find candidate projects to suit this OS course? It would be nice to meet others who have done this before with OSes and may have materials to jump-start me in this.

Other notes?

Cody Van De Mark

The class now…

I am designing a course in open source software development. It is still in the design phase and it designed to allow students to start, manage, license and distribute open source software. It is also intended to give students an introduction to Linux; how to use the system, how to develop on them and how to link to and use other open source packages. The Linux usage is intended to teach people how to use Linux, how useful it can be and how open source software development can be done. Students would be undergraduates in Information Technology. It would probably be an elective, but could also be a prerequisite for more advanced optional courses in the major. Most of the work will be practical hands-on experience and should be somewhat rigorous. The school is a technical university using mostly state of the art software. Equipment is usually hard to get and may not be that up to date, but will manage to run the software fairly well. Faculty is split somewhat between practical work and research based work. Current course work is being redesigned to fit an upcoming change to the semester system.

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

Looking back on the course, students were well engaged in learning the Linux environment, but more interested in being able to turn their own ideas into projects. Being the first time the course was offered and the large scope of the projects, not many were finished. Most students received a strong degree of understanding in open source development and management. They learned how to leverage existing code and help evolve the open source community. Many students are committing to taking their unfinished project and releasing it as completed software. Students are now involved in worldwide communities and worldwide computing projects such as World Community Grid.

What needs to happen in the meantime?

I will be using entirely open source software so I believe I will have access to all the software I need. Hardware requirements are geared around using existing lab hardware and being flexible to other systems if students would like to use certain hardware. Materials will be made over this Summer. With previous experience in the open source community I feel comfortable writing labs and assignments. I just would like to hear the opinions of open source professionals on what would be beneficial to students, what areas are emerging and just general experience from professionals in these areas. Existing materials and how to design these materials would be beneficial.

Other notes?

It was suggested I attend the session as it is focusing on a goal similar to the goal of my course design. I have never taught open source, but I have used almost entirely open source software for five years and am starting several open source projects of my own. I have shown many personal friends how to use and integrate with open source software. I have been part of the community in general for about five years, posting bug fixes, documentation and general forum help in various areas.

J A Stephen Viggiano

Ralph Bean

The class now…
I’m already a ninja (?) but just want to attend to see where I can help.

Eric Likness

The class now…
I don’t teach. I’m not a programmer. But I do support for the profs, and instructors where I work.

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

I’m really just trying to become more familiar with the tools, process and internal workings of open source. Beyond that, who knows?

What needs to happen in the meantime?

I don’t really need to learn anything specific other than getting exposure to the tools, process and community.

Michael Gage

The class now…

My primary interest in attending the POSSE at RIT is a bit non-standard. I, along with Arnie Pizer and Vicki Roth at the University of Rochester, have guided the open source online mathematics homework system WeBWorK and its community for the last 15 years. Today WeBWorK is used by thousands of professors and students at hundreds of universities and colleges and the Mathematics Association of America has agreed to support the project and provide modern hosting services, replacing the old Dell machines running in our offices. (see http://webwork.maa.org/wiki/WeBWorK_Sites, http://webwork.maa.org/wiki and http://webwork.maa.org/ for more information. To try WeBWorK go to https://hosted2.webwork.rochester.edu/webwork2/maa101 — use profa/profa as login/password ).To date WeBWorK has had little contact with the broader open source communities beyond mathematics and I figure that it’s high time to try to explore such connections. Fellow WeBWorK contributor Jason Aubrey at University of Missouri alerted me to the POSSE opportunity at RIT. I think that our community of mathematics content experts and a larger group of open source savvy hackers could combine to create a WeBWorK product and community that would have even wider reach and impact than it has at the moment.Currently we have many math instructors using WeBWorK in classes and contributing math questions to our NationalProblemLibrary. We have far fewer resources for updating the user interface of WeBWorK, for reconfiguring the mySQL database structure to make it more efficient, or for analyzing and optimizing our server performance for speed and minimizing memory leaks, for localizing the code, hardening it against XSS exploits, and creating a server that can be installed with the push of a button. Our current user community is strong on producing educational content, but only a few have both the skills and the interest in refining underlying code, tweaking servers so that they are efficient, or producing software packages that are easy to install and maintain. We have good retention in our community but eventually these few will be come overloaded.It would help if we become more acquainted with the “standard” open source culture, partly to borrow ideas from those with more experience about how to grow our community and improve our practices, but also to facilitate effective communication between our group and others not currently in our community who think helping students learn math and science is cool and whose skills complement our own.On the plus side, the central design of the WeBWorK remains robust and viable. When designing the question the author also designs the answering algorithm. That is, the student’s answer is merely a string and the question author provides an algorithm for analyzing the string and returning zero or one. (There’s also error checking, etc. ) Most questions use predefined answer evaluators, but this basic design allows one to plug in new answer evaluators when ever necessary and has allowed for dramatic extension of question and answer capabilities of WeBWorK over the last 10 years without altering the basic paradigm.About me: I am a full professor of mathematics (and was before I started the WeBWorK project.) My research field is differential geometry (and “curve shortening” or “motion by mean curvature in particular”). Much of my time and energy (beyond teaching) over the last 10 years has been toward WeBWorK and its community or to the Rochester Workshop model (http://www.rochester.edu/college/CWE/) (http://webhost.math.rochester.edu/gage/)

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

Things have actually worked out rather well:An influx of software developers and technical writers interested in mathematics (or more broadly STEM) education have contributed to make WeBWorK easier to use and even more attractive to students (this includes an IPad app) while the documentation on how to use WeBWorK and how to author math questions has been dramatically reorganized and reinforced. New techniques — such as programming WW questions using the Geogebra applet have been introduced — and have made it possible for many more educators to tweak the homework materials they use for their own purposes and to contribute to the rapidly broadening community supporting mathematics and STEM education at all levels. Partly through their efforts the WeBWorK server installation is now turn key and can be set up by any college or high school math teacher with moderate computer literacy and a small amount of patience. This has rapidly increased the acceptance of WeBWorK as a homework system in high schools and community colleges where server level computer expertise is not always available. The balance of the problem collection has also shifted in that more items are now geared toward community colleges and high school in addition to the university collection. With the influx of new people the interest and problem collection has also grown sideways, although more slowly, now including computer science, economics, physics, chemistry and biology. (e.g. CS: http://www.csis.pace.edu/~scharff/webwork/webwork.html, Economics: http://www.duke.edu/~dgraham/webwork/WeBWorK-vs-Brownstone.html )One interesting aspect of the confluence of communities is that while the user forum (http://webwork.maa.org/moodle/mod/forum/index.php?id=3) has always been very active, the newcomers have brought the use of the IRC channel (www.freenode.net #webwork) up to critical mass and it is now a useful means for exchanging information. The throughput and efficiency of webwork servers is greatly improved. Diagnostic tools keep track of usage and server load, speed of calculations and help detect the presence of memory leaks. The statistical display presenting student progress to instructors has been augmented by graphics displays and more sophisticated analysis. The database design has shaken off its GDBM legacy design and now fully uses the power of SQL (It’s now similar to the Moodle database).This new ease of data collection and analysis has encouraged those with math education interests to use data collected by WeBWorK to explore more deeply how students actually learn.WeBWorK’s user interface has finally migrated from its state of the art 2002 design to reflect current web aesthetics. Web designers with taste realized that they could use the template, theme and css features of the existing WeBWorK to present a modern interface for students doing math homework. In the process, and not by accident, they simultaneously vastly improved the accessibility of online homework for all students. The localization initiative begun the year before has now made WeBWorK a multilingual application. (https://devel1.webwork.rochester.edu:8009/webwork2 ).The interface between the WW question engine and auxiliary applets (java, javaScript, flash, HTML5) is now more robust and requires less tweaking. This stability has encouraged problem designers to explore a greater variety of formats, beyond the purely numeric and symbolic, for asking and checking the answers to questions. (https://hosted2.webwork.rochester.edu/webwork2/2010geogebra_at_ithaca/ use guest login)The NationalProblemLibrary is being curated using metadata tagging software customized from existing open source solutions so that it works with a collection of mathematics problems/questions. Developing submission protocols and defining useful categories was a significant part of the effort. The software, the categories and the protocols are still being tweaked to make the NPL as accessible and useful as possible so that high school college and university professors don’t have to reinvent the wheel.Oh yes. A serendipitous mashup with an open source medical library software team now allows us to cure cancer and transparently browse the homework collection simultaneously. It’s been great! (http://www.royzimmerman.com/lyrics/best_froze.html)

What needs to happen in the meantime?

The absolute needs are few. Simple awareness and cross pollination of ideas between similar communities which have developed on parallel tracks should eventually allow for developments such as described above (perhaps not quite by 2012.) We can use an influx of community members with internet web/skills to augment our strong base of members with education/content skills. We offer a large audience and distribution system for web ideas that can benefit STEM education (in particular mathematics). I expect WeBWorK can also benefit from community building ideas from open source organizations which have been at it for longer than we have and have a wider breadth of experience.

Other notes?

Jason Aubrey, a professor of mathematics at the University of Missouri and a major contributor to WeBWorK, had been hanging out in the TOS space and sent me a couple of pointers. One of the articles mentioned that Mel Chua had presented a POSSE at RIT last summer and since that is only 3 miles away I thought I would investigate. Mel responded with contact information and the rest is history. 🙂

Dorin Patru

RIT style.

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

I am not sure for which courses I will adopt the open source format. I will decide after the workshop. Thus, I can’t discuss dream outcomes at this point.

What needs to happen in the meantime?

Again, what I need will depend on which courses I will teach in the open source format, which I can only decide after participating in the workshop.

Rolando Raqueño

The class now…

Mainly in research

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

Mainly in Research

What needs to happen in the meantime?

Mainly in Research

Gordon Goodman

Beau Bouchard

  • Graduate Student, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Teaching Assistant, Rochester Institute of Technology
    • Number: 4002-217 Course Name: Programming for Information Technology I
  • Projects Web Page

The Class Now…

I encourage questions to be asked, and a report to be free flowing between students and myself when discussing class material. I have only been a teaching assistant for this current academic quarter, and aid in the education of 15 to 20 undergraduate students.

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

In the summer of 2012, the best class I would have taught would be a programming class which expands after or overlapping the third java course (4002-219), but using mobile android development. The class demonstrates the concepts of server client connectivity but using only android programming, and java. A Prerequisite for the class is that the students have experience in Linux, and during the class the students will be required to publish their code onto a repository, and by the end of the class the students would have created a server and each student’s mobile device would connect to said server to participate in a class activity.

What needs to happen in the meantime?

Drafting simple projects for the proposed class as well as documenting steps to create repositories.

Clark Hochgraf

Ted Pawlicki

The class now…

Intro to programming in Java. 70 students
Data Structures. 60 students
Game Programming XNA. 30 students
Recreational Graphics Blender. 20 students

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

Intro programming with collaboration. A number of standard “individual” assignments, but one project where they did a small part of a “big” thing.

What needs to happen in the meantime?

Distributed development practices.

Other notes?

Applicants Unable to Attend August Rescheduled Date

Antonio F Mondragon

The class now…

I just taught a senior design course and the objective was to add reusability to all the components we created both hardware and software. This will make it available to future generations inside the university and outside.

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

What we have created is a library that contains modules both hardware and software that anybody can access, reuse and contribute. Student names are included with the documentation and are getting coops and job offers because managers for different industries are looking at their professional work on this open source platform.

What needs to happen in the meantime?

We need real world projects, for example, contributing to a current project would be very beneficial. We also need experienced engineers around the country for ideas and mentorship. We need a server to build a virtual laboratory platform to host and connect with the hardware. We need help on virtualization platforms.

Sean Hansen

The class now…

The course provides Management Information Systems (MIS) students with an introduction to information systems analysis and design. Core areas of focus include various requirements engineering activities (e.g., elicitation, specification, and validation), a variety of modeling approaches (e.g., use case modeling, data modeling, and process modeling), and a thorough understanding of multiple IS development methodologies. The class generally consists of between 20 and 30 students. Open discussion is a heavy point of emphasis in the course. I am very open to students’ perceptions and actively encourage them to engage me in debate around issues where they might disagree with the perspective that I propose. So far, the students have been fairly receptive to my approach, with many students electing to move on to the Advanced Systems Analysis and Design course that I offer. The school itself (RIT’s Saunders College of Business) offers both undergraduate and graduate courses in all of the traditional management disciplines. The Saunders College emphasizes several key areas of student development, including exposure to technological innovation, fostering of a high level of global maturity, development of a robust ethical decision-making framework, and practical, hands-on experiences. Regarding academic research, the college has a blend of research-focused and teaching-focused faculty, with an overall trend toward increased high-quality research output.

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

My students experienced a real awakening of their intellectual interests. They were challenged in their group projects and they rose to the challenge, producing professional quality work that enabled them to reveal their creativity and design thinking. Students went beyond the minimal expectations outlined in the syllabus to truly immerse themselves in the analysis and design experience. Their projects provided them with an engine for internalizing the theoretical concepts we discussed in the classroom. Throughout the course, open discussion and collective exploration of ideas were predominant. I believe that the consistent fostering of experiences like this will make RIT’s students competitive on a global scale, creating a competitive edge for the Saunders College of Business in the development of innovative business leaders.

What needs to happen in the meantime?

I don’t believe that my vision of the ideal learning experience requires a significant amount of material input. Rather, the vision relies on the identification of an environment that combines a platform for conceptual exploration with the freedom of creative expression. I am confident that the POSSE experience will assist me in identifying real-world open source projects that can offer the type of environment that I seek for my students. To leverage this experience, I believe I will need a thorough understanding of how to engage with open source projects and the information and communications technologies that are required for students to become active participants in an open source project. In addition, I perceive the need for some grounding in the cultural norms of the open source development community. This will enable me to ensure that my students are actually contributing to the project with which they work. While I am well-versed in many IS development environments, my knowledge of open source software development is largely theoretical. I have no first-hand experience in these environments. Accordingly, I am hoping that the POSSE experience will give me a better understanding of this critical trend in IS development.

Other notes?

I learned about POSSE from Stephen Jacobs of the School of Interactive Games and Media at RIT’s Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. I have no past experience teaching open source technology, so I am really looking forward to the experience.

Dan Phillips

The class now…

Lecture with access to reference materials, assignments, assignment submissions. Usually less than 32 engineering students.

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

Access to remote materials enables productive and thoughtful discussions to occur in class meetings rather than just lectures presenting material.

What needs to happen in the meantime?

Access that is more interactive, easy to modify and provides useful resources.

Other notes?

John Sweeney

The class now…

I tutor students in a variety of freshman-level courses within GCCIS.

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

A group of faculty join together to develop software based on open-source code to help students, to challenge students to improve themselves.

What needs to happen in the meantime?

I am currently struggling with the distance between the potential of DBpedia, which incorporates many databases including Wikipedia’s tabular information, with the ability of our students to create a challenging project for themselves.

Other notes?

I attended an introductory session last year on POSSE. It was impressive, but I didn’t join at that time because of scheduling conflicts.

Mark Wambach

The class now…

RIT, about 20,000 students. The students I see most frequently (IST/Networking/NTID’s ACT program) are required to take programming. For the most part, they would prefer not to take it. Once in it, they often do not internalize it or feel they can be programmers. RIT is in the middle of two or three major shifts. One is from quarters to semesters. As part of this change, most or all of the software that runs RIT is being changed. It’s very expensive and time consuming. Another is switching to a much greater emphasis on faculty having PhD as a terminal degree. Finally, RIT is attempting to be more of a research/high-end institute (while simultaneously raising the bar for student performance and maintaining retention). Programming is required in liberal arts colleges as well as technical schools like RIT. It’s supposed value is to encourage problem solving and a logical, rational approach to defining and resolving problems/completing tasks. I often work with people from other departments: Software Engineering (Stephanie Ludi – research), CS – working with students as their advisor and occasional tutor, meeting with CS advisors; IST (Information Tech) – teaching classes, tutoring students, and meeting with advisors; Networking – teaching classes, advising students, meeting with advisors in Networking, tutoring students. My favorite classes right now are:Platform Independent Client-Server Programming and OS Scripting. The latter, OS Scripting, means that I would really like Systems Admin I/II if I had time. All of the stuff I’m doing (teaching) is in my courses, so there’s no URL for that. I’ve got tenure, no problem there. I’m not pursuing promotion, no problem there.

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

This story is from the C++ thing I’d like to do (see below). I did this last. The students came in underprepared, weak on pointers, and not enthused about C/C++. Then, they saw their first assignment in it’s finished state – as demo’d by their instructor. It showed file access, performance statistics, and progress of file reading/writing in a really nifty GUI. To my surprise, the students applied themselves to the usually mudane tasks of verifying files’ existence, opening the files, passing pointers, checking for IO errors with a passion I’d never before seen. All just to get that GUI working. Students ended up needing extra work to get over their issues with pointers, but they came up to speed by the middle of the quarter. By this time, they were handling various types of IO, creating utility libraries and classes, and beginning sockets. By the end of the quarter, students had not only mastered the materials, some had proposed revisions to the GUI templates. In one case, two students had actually made revisions that they proposed be incorporated into the course. Blah, blah, blah. You get the idea. ===================== This is the LeJos scenario. This is a course that is intended equally for deaf and hearing students as an introductory Java course that incorporates (forced) use of mathematics (elementary algebra) in combination with normal programming and control of robots. Students suddenly saw a reason to do the math. They realized why a local variable vs. a global variable could be important. They had a sense of “object” in their programs. Why? Because their programs controlled Robots. No program, no motion. The postulated need to help students adjust to longer term delayed gratification proved to be right on track. Starting with exercises that moved a wheel, or read the light intensity (immediately), students progressed to more complicated moves that required: 1) Imagining the robots behavior – both rules and sequence; 2) Applying mathematical tools to control motion and responses to input (ex. light/dark or touch); 3) Acquire and master the syntax and grammar of Java just to make the darned Robot move; 4) Relate the Classes and objects to actual parts and roles of the Robot. By the end of the quarter, students were thinking of their robots as children in need of discipline. As a side effect, the students had revised the way they approached problem solving. They now allowed for the value of mathematics and planning before actually doing.

What needs to happen in the meantime?

I am working on a variety of projects including Lejos for NXT2 computers, revision of a “generic” C/C++ IO class, encryption (I had a few students do work on that) and virtualization. I would like to pick one or two areas for possible work during POSSE. One is creating a (somewhat) complete GUI in C++ that could be used as an environment for working with elements existing in the 3rd in a sequence of C++ courses. The focus of the course is low-level IO (file), sockets (TCP/IP and UDP), and threads. My goal would be to have GUIs into which the IO and threads libraries (created by students in the class) could be plugged. To “make it real”, the various environments should be at least Linux and some version of Windows. The other one is Lejos and building a set of shells for programs that students could insert as part of an introductory java course. The language is not complete, but its weaknesses can be designed around. The advantages of it are: 1) it’s Java, which is ubiquitous. 2) You can do programming in Netbeans, plus get the feedback of a ROBOT. 3) It doesn’t cost anything as opposed to Robot C or other solutions. Disadvantages are: you have to roll your own and the version is < 1.0. Where Am I? As a former philosophy major, I must approach this question existentially. I am 57 years old, in an institution that is competing with my farm and outside clients for my attention. 9 – 6 daily, RIT wins. At this point in my life, I want my efforts to have a significant effect on students. I.e. A neat programming class that encourages kids to try (either the C++ or Lejos class) would be very satisfying. To do either one, dedicated time on task is necessary. This week would (I presume) be a good time for that. To be honest, almost no lines of code but lots of research might be done. And, if the results made producing the class (and the template programs) easier, I would consider that a complete success. I’m not sure if, to be politically correct, I’m supposed to mention that I’ve not considered any proprietary solutions in this. Well, it’s true, I haven’t. On the other hand, if using MS C++.net makes the best solution for the Windows part of the C++ course, I’d have to opt for it. Students get Visual Studio for free here so… What I need:Access to the internet and time. Perhaps some C++ or Lejos documentation. The C++ stuff might require purchasing a book or two.

Other notes?

Steve Jacobs (who, incidentally, is The Man).

Mark J. Indelicato

  • Mark J. Indelicato
  • Associate Professor
  • Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)
    • College of Applied Science & Technology (CAST)
      • Electrical, Computer and Telecommunications Engineering Technology Department (ECTET)

David Lawrence

The class now…

I am not currently teaching a programming course at NTID but want to learn more about open source coding. I may try to use it to do application development if it is compatible.

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

I am surprised how easy and effective open source coding is. Students love it and I have become more effective in helping students realize they don’t need to be tied to a specific vendor.

What needs to happen in the meantime?

This will seem awfully basic but I want to see examples of open source coding,…from basic coding to more advanced examples. Using those examples, I will be able to see how it can be used.

Bill Stackpole

The class now…

I teach forensics and security in a lecture/lab model. There are a variety of tools in the open source and commercial spaces that purport to do things – some are well-written and do what they say, others not so much.

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

A number of students in my classes will have written new or improved upon existing security and forensic tools. The target isn’t only to come up with NEW tools but to improve on the existing toolsets. Language isn’t important – having DONE something IS.

What needs to happen in the meantime?

I’m not sure what I need to make this happen. At minimum an understanding of how the process works so that I can communicate it to my students.

Other notes?

Thanks to Steve Jacobs for the invite.

Jim Leone

The class now…

RIT is a large, private university in upstate NY with a significant number of programs in the STEM disciplines. As an educator, I have had great experiences teaching networking and programming courses. Specifically, my courses are:1. Networking Fundamentals (4050-351), and 2. Programming for IT (4002-217/218/219) In these courses, I will see 25 – 30 students in any one section who are mostly freshmen or sophomores. Our students are exuberant and fun to teach. By the end of my courses, they begin to realize their backgrounds are far enough along to develop “systems.”

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

While many of our graduates have gone on for graduate studies, many others have gone into the private, public and governmental workforce. Each year, a small number of them become involved with entrepreneurial activities. And a smaller number yet, have actually succeeded with their efforts. As someone who works in the areas of networking and programming, I feel it is important to be able to talk to students about their plans. I believe the development of open-source systems constitutes a valuable experience for students who may want to go into business for themselves.

What needs to happen in the meantime?

Bluntly speaking, I am unsure.

Paula Yandow-Reilly

Raja Kushalnagar

The class now…

Programming Fundamentals (Introduction to Java); gateway course for first year Golisano courses. The deaf students are motivated and excited about programming, but need exciting visual examples to translate the abstract concepts to reality.

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

Students are able to call high level real-world application functions using simple code calls (e.g., setting up and displaying video capture)

What needs to happen in the meantime?

A real-world project (creating video applications for android phones/tablets).

Other notes?

At Berkeley, RIT and U of Houston, we always used open source software, and it has always been a positive experience to have extensible software that can be used in any environment.

Elizabeth Goins

The class now…

Interactive Design for Museums:In the process of developing this class for Spring quarter 2012. Looking for open source tools that Museum Studies students can take with them to their nonprofits. I hope to evaluate the ARIS (Augmented Reality and Interactive Storytelling) application during this session.

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

ARIS looks like a viable tool that will allow my non-technical students to make educational games. They will be able to focus on design and educational goals and will be able to develop museum based interactive games and stories.

David Kelly

The class now…

I am a student/graduate assistant that helps with database-related courses. They deal with database architecture, performance and tuning, and data warehousing. The students are grad students. Class sizes are often 7 to 20 students. The school is in a suburban area outside of Rochester. The colleagues are easy to communicate with and open to new ideas.

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

The material was both challenging and interesting. All of the students were competent and enthusiastic to learn and participate in class discussions. Resources were available to the students to help further their education by researching relevant topics and developing small projects to test and apply their knowledge.

What needs to happen in the meantime?

I think that currently at RIT, the resources are all available. In some cases, they may need to be aggregated to make their availability clear to students. Students may also need to be given some initiative to work independently on projects. One limiting factor is availability of some proprietary software that is common in the industry. Although RIT has a wide availability of software for its students, some applications/environments are very expensive and must be accessed via physically constraining conditions. Students must be in specific labs to do so.

Joe Geigel

The class now…

My general philosophy in teaching computing is that students get more by doing than they can by just studying. In fact, the real learning comes in debugging: trying to track down exactly where in the code things are going wrong. The Applications in VR course embraces that philosophy. It is a project and team based course where the class collectively attempts to develop an application in a Virtual Reality context using existing toolkits and APIs. At the start of the course, students are divided into teams (based on their interests and expertise) and each team is tasked with one component of an overall system. At the end of the course, the teams must come together and integrate each of the individual components. To be successful, collaboration and teamwork is required, both within teams and between teams.

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

The best measure of success in the class is when a student, after graduating, points to a method or technique learned in the class that they apply in their work as they move away from school and start on a career. And it’s not necessarily the code or details about VR that they remember; it’s more the interactions, the approaches, the general experience that is transferred to a working situation. Students in the class also appreciated the group experience, i.e. being a smaller part of a larger project. I’ve had students tell me that they’ve emphasized this experience at a job interview and got the job because of it. It is in hearing this that I smile and am pleased that I chose to introduce this course to the curriculum.

What needs to happen in the meantime?

We have used a variety of different VR toolkits in the past for the course, ranging from commercial products, to home grown system to open source software. I have been a user of open source software for decades, however, just a user. As we start to work more heavily with open source toolkits (and in the VR world, specifically we have used OpenSim and HIPPO), it would be valuable to learn about the open source community. How do these communities work? How is workload shared? How would I go about releasing our own developed software as open source? Is there a standard practice for doing so? These are the types of questions that I have that I am hoping to gain insight about during the POSSE experience.

Other notes?

I did want to attend last year’s POSSE even at RIT, but the timing did not work out as I was out of town during the week POSSE was offered.

Michael Yacci

The class now…

I currently teach a class in Agent-Based Modeling and Cognitive Modeling. This is a course for graduate students in various computing majors (MS and PhD). There are currently 17 students in the class. RIT is a technically advanced school, with great computing resources. This course takes a research approach to the topics, with the intent of developing truncated research studies that students might follow up on later, should they be so inclined. The technology is largely open-source. We find ourselves talking a lot about how the tools could be improved to reflect current technologies, interfaces, and research questions.

Flash forward to Summer 2012…

Students worked with both theoretical and practical ideas that were presented, and talked about possibilities in an imaginative manner before settling in on the practical work of conducting a theoretically interesting research study. As technology was introduced, students made suggestions about how it could be modified to work better technically, and what features it needed to be of more use to researchers. We were able to modify important aspects of the software and consequently, our studies were richer and addressed more detailed questions.

What needs to happen in the meantime?

I am looking to better understand the open-source community and to learn the basic process by which one gets involved in this world. I know there are repositories of information regarding open-source code, but I don’t know where to start or how (in general) to proceed to work with open-source material. I am a good programmer, and reasonably good with tools, once I get started. I hope that this workshop can bridge the gap and get me started. I believe that these skills are essential to computing professionals, and I also know that many students do not know of all the opportunities that exist in open-source.

Instructors

Chris Tyler, Seneca College / Fedora
Dave Shein, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) (and RIT POSSE 2010 alumni)