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Student Software Engineering Learning in HFOSS Projects

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

ERM Technical Session 15: Perspectives on Engineering Careers and Workplaces

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Becka Morgan Western Oregon University

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Becka Morgan takes great joy in teaching students computing languages, a subject she has been passionate about since she learned to program in 2006 as a non-traditional student. She is driven to create an inclusive environment. Consequently Dr. Morgan was drawn to teaching FOSS and HFOSS development based on work that is being done that suggests underrepresented groups are attracted to HFOSS participation. She teaches a one-term HFOSS course to both senior and graduate level students. The goal of the course is to engage all students in participation that ranges from improving documentation to submitting patches. Learning to teach students how to participate in HFOSS is an ongoing process. As part of the continuing efforts to pursue that knowledge Becka is a graduate of the 2013 and 2016 POSSE workshop and has trained to be a facilitator.

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Heidi J.C. Ellis Western New England University

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Heidi Ellis is a Professor in the Computer Science and Information Technology department at Western New England University. Dr. Ellis has a long-time interest in software engineering education and has been interested in student participation in Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS) since 2006.

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Gregory W Hislop Drexel University

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Gregory Hislop is a Professor and Senior Associate Dean in the College of Computing and Informatics at Drexel University. His scholarly interests span computing education research, information technology for teaching and learning, and software engineering. Prior to coming to Drexel, Dr. Hislop spent 18 years working in government and industry, where his efforts included software development and support, technology planning and evaluation, and development and delivery of technical education.

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Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS) projects are supported by communities that focus on developing software to solve societal challenges and improve the human condition. These projects provide rich opportunities for computing students to practice and learn both technical and professional skills. In addition, the transparency of HFOSS projects provides students with an opportunity to create a portfolio of their contributions to real-world projects. This paper reports on three different undergraduate courses where students learned by participation in an HFOSS project. The paper provides an overview of each class and description of results. Student reflective writing about their class experiences was used to gather unstructured observations about the student experience and learning. This student perspective is summarized and discussed to provide insight into the effect of student participation in HFOSS projects as part of an undergraduate computing program.

Morgan, B., & Ellis, H. J., & Hislop, G. W. (2019, June), Student Software Engineering Learning in HFOSS Projects Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33300

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