Possibility of having small FOSS projects in introductory CS courses

Gen Kanai gkanai at gmail.com
Sat Aug 2 01:04:42 UTC 2014


David Humphries at Seneca College has been teaching via Mozilla and OSS
for many years.




On 8/1/14 4:12 PM, Manish Goregaokar 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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Gen Kanai

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