FOSS Politics Writing Activity

From Foss2Serve
Revision as of 16:40, 26 January 2016 by Casey.ellis (Talk | contribs)
Jump to: navigation, search
Title FOSS Politics Writing Activity
Overview This activity helps student investigate politics within the open-source community.
Prerequisite Knowledge Basic knowledge of definition of Open Source
Learning Objectives Close reading of articles. Identifying concepts and relationships. Writing communication.


Every community has politics. Understanding those politics is important work effectively within a community. This activity helps student investigate politics within the open-source community.

This is a general activity that could be appropriate for a variety of classes.

  • Openness courses
  • Any course where you want students to understand how FOSS communities communicate/work-flow
  • Research methods course (information literacy)
  • Less programming course, like CS0
  • Writing component in a technical course
  • Ethics course


Read articles that discuss the organizational and institutional view of FOSS, focusing on how communications in FOSS projects are organized and structured, and how FOSS projects have inherent politics. The outcomes of this activty is the production of a summary (extended abstract) address the research methods used to study these situations - this could be modified to address more pertinent aspects about the FOSS community.

Articles that have been used in the past, include:

  • Ebert, Christof , "Open Source Drives Innovation Software", IEEE 2007 (Volume:24, Issue: 3)
  • Morelli,Ralph. "A global collaboration to deploy help to China" Communications of the ACM CACM,Volume 53 Issue 12, December 2010
  • Zilouchian Moghaddam, Roshanak and Twidale, Michael and Bongen, Kora. Zilouchian Moghaddam, Roshanak and Twidale, Michael and Bongen, Kora. "Open Source Interface Politics: Identity, Acceptance, Trust, and Lobbying". 2011 CHI '11 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing


Written abstract or essay


How will the activity be graded?

How will learning will be measured?

Include sample assessment questions/rubrics.

Criteria Level 1 (fail) Level 2 (pass) Level 3 (good) Level 4 (exceptional)
The purpose of the project
Why the project is open source


Typical rubrics relating to writing, completeness of argument, and process of understanding structure. You may choose to focus on identifying research methods correctly (e.g., other steps they took to dig into the material).

Depending on your class, there may be some concerns:

  • How do you fit it into your curriculum that already has a lot of requirements?
  • How long does it take to grade them (peer review?)
  • Build up to larger assignment with smaller assignments.
  • Matching level of articles to level of students.

Additional Information:

ACM Knowledge Area/Knowledge Unit What ACM Computing Curricula 2013 knowledge area and units does this activity cover? ACM_Body_of_Knowledge
ACM Topic What specific topics are addressed? The Computing Curriucula 2013 provides a list of topics -
Level of Difficulty Is this activity easy, medium or challenging?
Estimated Time to Completion 2 weeks
Materials/Environment Current events articles or papers
Author Robert Duvall, Stoney Jackson, Joanna Klukowska, Edward Mirielli
Source POSSE 2014-11
License Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Suggestions for Open Source Community:

Suggestions for an open source community member who is working in conjunction with the instructor.

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

CC license.png

Personal tools
Learning Resources
HFOSS Projects