SIGCSE 2023 Affiliated Event

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HFOSS Education

March 15, 2023 - Toronto, Ont.

Meeting Location

Metro Toronto Convention Centre South building. Room to be determined.

This event is an affiliated event of the SIGCSE Technical Symposium. See SIGCSE 2023 for general information about the location.


Student participation in Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software (HFOSS) provides an opportunity for learning software engineering technical and professional skills while also engaging students with computing for social good. There is evidence that placing computing in the context of social good may help attract women and other underrepresented student groups to computing.

Experience indicates that faculty are interested in employing HFOSS but also find this teaching approach challenging, especially at first. To better support instructors, HFOSS educators are exploring ways to provide better support and control for instructors taking initial steps in using HFOSS with students. This full-day event will consist of morning and afternoon sessions that can be registered for separately. The focus for each session will be as follows:

POSSE Round-up – The morning session will provide an opportunity for faculty members engaged in HFOSS education to present and discuss their experiences. Attendees will include prior attendees of the Professors Open Source Software Experience (POSSE) and other faculty who have some familiarity with open source software development.

HFOSS Education Approaches – The afternoon session will explore tools and opportunities that can help faculty expand HFOSS education. This will include:

  • Instructor-Led HFOSS Projects – This topic will focus on development of instructor-led HFOSS projects. This model of HFOSS education employs HFOSS projects that are started by and managed by one or more academic institutions. Examples include Libre Food Pantry, Open Energy Dashboard, FarmData, and Submitty. Presentation and discussion will cover status of these projects and issues and opportunities for starting or joining an instructor-led HFOSS project.
  • HFOSS Education Kits – This topic will cover development of HFOSS kits as an approach to making HFOSS education more manageable. The goal of an HFOSS kit is to provide an isolated environment built with artifacts from an active HFOSS project that can be used to learn and practice software skills. For example, a kit containing a code base, issue tracker, and revision control history could support learning related to version control. HFOSS kits can provide the complexity and scale of the real project, and introduce students to computing for social good. A kit can also provide better predictability and control for the instructor, including an ability to reset the environment to a known state.


Time Activity Facilitators
Wednesday March 15, 2023
8:30 AM


  • Introductions
  • Plan for the day
Greg, Darci
9:15 AM HFOSS education experience reports Heidi
10:15 AM Break All
10:30 AM HFOSS education experience reports Heidi
11:45 AM Wrap-up All
12:00 PM Lunch
1:30 PM Getting started with HFOSS education
  • Overview of instructor-led HFOSS projects
  • Overview of HFOSS kits
Grant, Karl
2:00 PM Breakout 1: Kits and Projects All
3:00 PM Break All
3:15 PM Breakout 2: Kits and Projects All
4:30 PM Wrap-up
  • Opportunities for participation
  • Closing remarks
5:00 PM End

Information for Attendees

Attendees should bring a laptop to participate in the breakout activities.

There is no charge for attending this event, but participants are expected to be registered to attend the SIGCSE Technical Symposium.

To Register

This event is open to computing instructors who have previously attended a POSSE workshop or who have considerable open source experience.To register, please complete the form here.

NOTE: seating is limited, so please do not assume you are attending before receiving a confirmation from us.

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