Building Open Source Communities in Higher Education

Accepted Session
Short form
Scheduled: Thursday, June 18, 2009 from 3:50 – 4:35pm in Burnside


Learning how Open source communities work is an important skill in today's job market, but many college students fail to join projects. Come learn how the School of EECS at Oregon State University is working to motivate students, and help them overcome the barriers of joining open source projects through Beaversource.


A large number of computer science students leave school without getting the kind of real world experience working on Open source project can give them. They have not been exposed to large code bases, had to deal with constructive feedback, and may lack basic skills such as writing good bug reports, good coding practices, submitting patches, and other project collaboration skills. Open source communities provide excellent venues for learning these skills while still in school.

This presentation will focus on how Oregon State University is trying to encourage more students to participate in Open source, and use Open source tools and development practices. We accomplish this by providing a custom Open source hosting environment (Beaversource) with social networking features aimed at removing many of the stigmas and fears students have when approaching Open source. This social framework also helps people with similar interests find each other so that they can work together.

The information in the presentation will be of use to people in academia who want to encourage students to learn more about open source, as well as those in the open source community who want to engage more students.

Speaking experience