Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Symposium 2009
“Integrating FOSS into the Undergraduate Computing Curriculum”

March 4, 2009, Chattanooga, TN

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: November 10, 2008

Symposium Description

Beginning with the GNU software products in the early 1980s and launched into the mainstream software culture by the advent of Linux in the early 1990s, the free and open source software (FOSS) movement has become a major player in the modern software industry.

For example, the current Internet infrastructure is supported in large and growing measure by FOSS products such as GNU/Linux, Apache, OpenOffice, and MySQL.  The impact of FOSS on the software industry also includes its revolutionary methodology, characterized by cooperative, non-hierarchical, user-driven, and communitarian development approaches.  Moreover, the success of FOSS has spawned a rapidly growing openness movement throughout modern culture, leading to Wikipedia, YouTube, open source blogging, citizen news sites and a wealth of other software products that promote openness and grass roots community involvement.

Yet despite the growing importance of FOSS in the software industry, alongside the incredible cultural shifts taking place among the current cohort of college students, relatively little attention is paid to FOSS as an object of study or as a methodology in the undergraduate computer science curriculum. We think this situation is unacceptable.

This one-day symposium aims to bring together educators, FOSS practitioners,  and curriculum designers to discuss successful strategies for incorporating FOSS

as an object of study into the undergraduate curriculum. This symposium is intended to be highly interactive, taking place entirely in plenary session.  In addition to paper presentations, it will include invited speakers from industry and academia, an open-ended round table discussion, and a panel of computer science curriculum experts.

This symposium will also help address the following fundamental questions:

  • Can FOSS be used to help increase student participation in computer science by involving them in engaging and intellectually challenging real-world software projects?
  • Is student interest in Wikipedia, YouTube, and other aspects of today’s “openness culture” an effective vehicle to connect the computing major with larger numbers of undergraduates?
  • Can the cooperative and community aspects of FOSS projects help to attract and retain students from traditionally underrepresented groups?

Here is a (noninclusive) list of sample topics that participants are invited to address:

  • Examples of introductory or advanced courses that use FOSS as a main topic or organizing principle.
  • Uses of FOSS for humanitarian and community service projects.
  • Proposals describing how FOSS should relate to the rest of the CS curriculum.
  • Examples of FOSS assignments in introductory and advanced courses.
  • FOSS pedagogical resources for use in introductory and advanced courses.
  • Examples or proposals for how FOSS development methodology interacts with traditional software engineering courses.
  • Examples or proposals for how interest in the broader “open culture” movement can be used to generate interest in the computing discipline.
  • Experience organizing team projects, soliciting communication, and assessment of work done by individual team members.
  • Other planned or deployed educational initiatives involving FOSS.

Submission Information

We welcome prospective participants to submit either full papers (up to 5 pages) or short position statements (1-2 pages). To encourage a highly-interactive symposium, there will be only a single paper session.  The short position statements will be presented during the roundtable discussion.  All accepted papers and short position statements will be published and distributed as a collection under an open source license. Submissions accepted in PDF format. We would prefer if you follow the SIGCSE 2009 formatting guidelines.

Click here for paper submission site.

Important Dates

November 10, 2008 - Papers and panel proposals due
December 15, 2008 - Author acceptance/rejection notification
January 16, 2009 - Invited participants registration deadline
February 6, 2009 - Final (open) registration deadline

Organizing Committee

Ralph Morelli (chair), Trinity College
Danny Krizanc, Wesleyan University
Norman Danner, Wesleyan University
Gary Parker, Connecticut College
Ozgur Izmirli, Connecticut College
Heidi Ellis, Trinity College
Greg Hislop, Drexel University
Jana Iyengar, Franklin and Marshall College
Allen Tucker, Bowdoin College
Scott Dexter, Brooklyn College
Samir Chopra, Brooklyn College
Timothy Budd, Oregon State University
Ingrid Russell, University of Hartford