Photograph of James Walden
James Walden

Teaching with Humanitarian Free/Open Source Software Tutorial

CCSC:MW 2014

Department of Computer Science
Northern Kentucky University

Many students find involvement in Humanitarian Free/Open Source Software (HFOSS) projects engaging and motivating. Such projects give students the ability to contribute to and learn from real-world software projects. This workshop will introduce faculty to FOSS tools and culture. Through a virtual field trip into the world of HFOSS, attendees will learn how to find potential projects, identify characteristics of good projects for student participation, and learn how participate in FOSS communication channels. The use of version control to support project development will also be discussed. Along the way, you will learn how to support student learning in such projects. All topics will be covered at an introductory level. Laptop required.


  1. What is HFOSS?
  2. Student Participation in HFOSS
  3. Open Source Project Virtual Tour
  4. FOSS Community Involvement
  5. Using FOSS in your Class

Slides in PDF and PPT formats are available.


If you want to learn more about teaching with open source software, please consult the following references.

Teaching with Free/Open Source Software

  2. Humanitarian FOSS Project Educational Resources
  3. Foss2serve sponsors workshops for faculty to learn about teaching HFOSS.

Free/Open Source Software Communities

  1. Producing Open Source Software: How to Run a Successful Free Software Project
  2. The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation (Second Edition)
  3. The Open Source Way online wikibook on open source communities.
  4. Open Advice: What We Wish We Had Known When We Started online book.
  5. Eric Raymond's Essays on Open Source Communities

Finding Free/Open Source Projects

  1. Freecode: curated index of open source projects (no updates after June 2014).
  2. OpenHub: user-maintained index of open source projects (replaced Ohloh).

Collaboration and Communication Tools

  1. CodeShare: share code in real time with syntax hilighting.
  2. Gerrit: collaborative code reviews.
  3. GitHub: free source code repositories and more.
  4. Internet Relay Chat (IRC).
  5. SourceForge: source code repositories and downloads.
  6. TitanPad and other EtherPad sites allow editors to collaborate on text in real time.

Further Reading

  1. OpenSource.coms news.
  2. The Success of Open Source
  3. Open Sources 2.0: The Continuing Evolution
  4. Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking

Copyright and Licensing

© 2014 James Walden. All materials on this page are available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. Some slides are based on the POSSE 2014-5 workshop slides, which are available under the same license.