Connect with the Community (Activity)

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Title Getting connected with the community
Overview learners should get familiar with different communication tools (such as iRC, TitanPad, Skype etc.) that are commonly used by the Open Source community.
Prerequisite Knowledge
Learning Objectives In this activity learners will:

- familiarize with different communication tools (such as iRC, TitanPad, Skype etc.) that are freely available for everyone.

- explore interactions and find out how different open source software development communities (HFOSS in particular) use these tools to perform efficient communications among their members.




This is the longest and most important part of this activity.

IRC, which stands for Internet Relay Chat, is an essential tool used by open source software developers. It allows members of the community, or those interested in becoming involved in the community, to communicate 24/7, regardless of their geographic location. IRC is much like Instant Messaging with a group. Bear in mind that ‘talking’ is not always a requirement. You will learn a great deal by ‘listening’, especially in the beginning.

  • Everybody should then
    • Connect to the server via the command: /server
    • Join our own (newly created) channel via the command: /join #chooseYourOwnChannel
  • HOMEWORK 1: join and observe an existing channel discussion
    • Connect to the freenode server via the command: /server
    • Join the foss2serve channel via the command: /join #sourceforge
    • Monitor, then write and return a 1-page paper on the discussion you discover in here for at least a couple of hours:
      • Pay attention to the interactions that occur between community members.
      • Ignore the technical terms you don't understand.
      • Accept that the content may be beyond your understanding at this point
      • Observe:
        • How do people interact in this context?
        • What is the pattern of communication you just observed?
        • Can you make any other observations?

PART 2: Titanpad

Titanpad allows authors to simultaneously edit a text document, and see all of the participants' edits in real-time, with the ability to display each author's text in their own color. There is also a chat box in the sidebar to allow meta communication.

In this part of the activity you will need to:

  • use a web browser to connect to:
  • let’s chat:
    • do you have any comments you would like to share here about what you just observed in the iRC channel?
    • every student should write at least one line!

PART 3: Alternatives

Propose some alternatives ways team can collaborate such as: mailing lists, blogs, twitter, facebook, google+, skype, wiki, iRC, community sites, blogs, twitter, youtube, slideshare, vimeo, etc. which ones do you think are most effective and why? In-class discussion.

PART 4: Discussions

  • Describe the difference between synchronous and asynchronous communication.
  • Compare the HCI issues in individual interaction with group interaction.
  • Discuss several issues of social concern raised by collaborative software.
  • Discuss the HCI issues in software that embodies human intention.



  • #openstack
  • #openstack-101
  • #openstack-doc
  • #wikipedia
  • ##java
    • only for registered nicks are allowed!!! You must create a registered nick on iRC.
  • ##C++
  • ##c++-basic
  • #sagemath
  • #ubuntu
  • ##linuxmint


A paper with students' findings, or a blog post.



Additional Information:

Knowledge Area/Knowledge Unit HCI/Collaboration and Communication
Topic The are several topics:

- Asynchronous group communication, e.g., e-mail, forums, social networks

- Synchronous group communication, e.g., chat rooms, conferencing, online games

- Social media, social computing, and social network analysis

- Online collaboration, 'smart' spaces, and social coordination aspects of workflow technologies

- Online communities

Level of Difficulty EASY
Estimated Time to Completion 50-120 minutes
Author Razvan A. Mezei
Source 50 ways
License Licensed CC BY-SA

Suggestions for the Open Source Project:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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