FOSS Course, UPenn, Murphy
|Course||Open Source Software Development|
|Institution||University of Pennsylvania|
|Term||Univ of Pennsylvania: CIS 399 Special Topics, Fall 2016 (14 undergraduates)|
|Course Overview||This course exposes students to the cultural, technical, and legal aspects of FOSS development and provides students with an opportunity to contribute to a real-world open-source software project, and gain experience in software maintenance and enhancing software quality.|
|Student Characteristics||The course is targeted to upper-level undergraduate or graduate students.|
|Prerequisites||Students should have completed a traditional software engineering course and have had experience working in groups. They should be familiar with GitHub and the target programming language for the FOSS project on which they will work.|
|Infrastructure||The class meets twice a week for 75 minutes each. In general, one of the class meetings will consist of discussions of the reading assignments and/or guest speakers, and the other class meeting that week will be for learning activities, project status updates and presentations, or time to work on the project.|
As a result of completing this course, students will be able to do the following:
- describe the technical, cultural, legal, and business foundations of FOSS
- engage with and make contributions to a FOSS project community
Methods of Assessment
Each week, students are expected to post to their public blogs a 200-300 word response to the weekly reading assignment. In some cases, specific prompts may be given but in general the prompt is open-ended. Blog posts are assessed on the following scale:
- Exceptional: a blog post that is particularly insightful, thorough, or thought-provoking
- Satisfactory: a blog post that demonstrates that the student has read the articles, understands their main points, and can synthesize a response including personal insight
- Unsatisfactory: a blog post that demonstrates that the student has not read the articles, does not understand the main points, and/or is simply summarizing the readings but not relaying any personal insight
- Not submitted: when it's... umm... "not submitted"
Students are also expected to attend and participate in all discussions of the reading assignments. Participation is assessed on the following scale:
- Exceptional: numerous contributions to the discussion that are particularly insightful, thorough, or thought-provoking
- Satisfactory: multiple contributions to the discussion that reflect the student's personal insight
- Unsatisfactory: few or no contributions to the discussion, or contributions that do not offer any insight
- Unexcused absence: when they're... ehhh... "absent" (without a verified excuse)
For learning activities and other class meetings (not involving discussions of reading assignments), students are simply assessed as present or absent.
Students are also expected to contribute to an open source project. The project on which the student will work must be approved by the instructor. If possible, a mentor within the project community should be identified and should be available to help the student with onboarding activities, becoming familiar with the project and community, and identifying tasks to work on.
There are three milestones for contributions to the project: an initial task (usually around week 3 or 4 in a 13-week course, assuming work starts around week 2); a small task (around week 7 or 8); and a large task (at the end of the course). Each milestone is assessed by the mentor and/or the instruction staff on the following scale:
- Exceptional: contributions that exceed expectations and are of very high quality
- Satisfactory: contributions that meet expectations and are of acceptable quality to the community
- Unsatisfactory: contributions that fail to meet expectations or are of low quality
Additionally, students are expected to post project updates to their blogs each week, in which they describe: what they have accomplished in the past week (with supporting evidence such as links to discussion board posts, GitHub PRs, etc.); if they did not accomplish everything planned, why not; how much time they spent on the project last week; what they hope to accomplish in the following week; and what might prevent them from doing so. Weekly blog posts are assessed as follows:
- Satisfactory: a blog post in which the student answers all of the prompts
- Unsatisfactory: a blog post in which some prompts are unanswered or not taken seriously
- Not submitted: when it's... like... "not submitted"
Finally, students are expected to submit a final report in which they describe and reflect on their experience and the course in general. The final report is assessed as follows:
- Satisfactory: a report in which the student answers all of the prompts
- Unsatisfactory: a report in which some prompts are unanswered or not taken seriously
- Not submitted: when it's... ya know...
Blogs, IRC, and GitHub
FOSS Field Trip and Project Evaluation
|3||Getting Started in FOSS
Start Getting Involved in Project
|4||Ways of Contributing to FOSS
|5||What Motivates People to Contribute to FOSS
|6||Licensing and Legal Issues
|7||FOSS Business Models and Opportunities
|9||FOSS Success Stories
|10||Starting and Growing a FOSS Community
|11||Criticisms of FOSS
Notes to Instructor
The schedule above lists 11 weeks but can be expanded to a longer schedule depending on breaks, exams, etc.
This variant of this course will be first taught in Fall 2016; modifications will be reported back in early 2017.
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