Possibility of having small FOSS projects in introductory CS courses

Mike Conley mconley at mozilla.com
Fri Aug 1 15:44:06 UTC 2014

You might find the following resources helpful:

Bugs Ahoy: A tool to quickly find "good first bugs" that have an
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Code Firefox: A badass series of videos that introduce you to developing


@StartMozilla: A Twitter account that periodically spews interesting
bugs for new contributors to hack on.



On 01/08/2014 11:39 AM, Manish Goregaokar wrote:
> Most of those seem to be rather long and/or require a much deeper
> understanding of the system than what introductory-level students can pick
> up (though that can be resolved locally by TAs and mentors). But I'll go
> through the list more thoroughly later and see if I can pick up some C++
> bugs that are less lengthy and are understandable.
> -Manish Goregaokar
> On Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 1:42 PM, Sebastian Zartner <
> sebastianzartner at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I guess that these bugs fall into that category:
>> https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/buglist.cgi?keywords=student-project&keywords_type=allwords&resolution=---&query_format=advanced&list_id=10882988
>> Sebastian
>> On 1 August 2014 09:12, Manish Goregaokar <manishsmail at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> So this semester some rather interesting things are planned for the CS101
>>> course taught by Professor DB Phatak
>>> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepak_B._Phatak> (a great supporter of
>>> FOSS) in my university.
>>> One thing that caught my eye was that there were discussions for allowing
>>> students to contribute to FOSS as their 30% credit group project. Usually
>>> people make terminal-tic-tac-toe or games like minesweeper if graphics was
>>> taught, but this seems like a novel idea. Contributing to FOSS isn't
>>> *hard*, just intimidating, and the intimidation can be bypassed if you
>>> have a framework of professors and TAs around you.
>>> As of now, nothing has been planned, but the idea is that students are
>>> allowed to form a larger group (perhaps with modular subgroups if the
>>> project is complex) and work on a reasonably sized C++ project in open
>>> source (the project can also be a set of smaller contributions). Obviously
>>> most "student projects" are unsuitable for this; those are usually
>>> semester-long projects for experienced students. Most "good first bug" are
>>> on the other end of the spectrum -- while they might take a week to solve,
>>> they're not really project material.
>>> Are there any such (preferably C++) projects/bugs that we have in Firefox
>>> that could conceivably be solved by first year students doing an
>>> introductory course? Many of these students have learned some C++ (or Java)
>>> in school, which might help.
>>> If this works here, we might be able to create a better framework for
>>> other univs to try the same ("good first student project"? :P ). I love the
>>> idea of getting people involved in FOSS early on in the learning process --
>>> at this stage students are not yet really that intimidated since everything
>>> else is just as new.
>>> Thoughts? Bugs?
>>> -Manish Goregaokar (Manishearth)
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