Understanding the Open in OpenSource Activity

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Title Understanding the 'Open' in Open Source
Overview The student will explore the meaning of 'openness' from a broad perspective and be introduced to the idea of a humanitarian free and open source project (HFOSS).
Prerequisite Knowledge None
Learning Objectives The student will understand the difference between open source and proprietary software; understand how open source principles apply to other groups; understand the difference between a FOSS and an HFOSS project.


This activity works nicely as a first introduction to openness and open source software.


Use the Web resources provided (and links from these pages) to answer the following questions. Your answers must be typed and can be in MS Word, pdf or rtf format. All answers should be formed using complete sentences and should be in your own words (do not copy and paste answers from the websites provided).

Go to http://opensource.com/resources/what-open-source to find answers the following questions:
  1. What is meant by the open source way?
  2. How do open source licenses differ from proprietary licenses?
  3. Open source software is important to everyone, even if you are not a programmer. Give two examples that show how open source software benefits someone other than a programmer.
  4. Give two examples that explain why programmers prefer using open source software.
  5. The ‘free’ in free and open source software doesn’t mean free of charge. This is only one of the misconceptions many have about free and open source software. Briefly describe the 6 misconceptions (click the common misconception link).
  6. How do open source software principles apply “beyond software”?
    Go to http://hechingerreport.org/content/computer-coding-can-increase-engagement-provide-purpose-learning_17457 to find answers to the following questions
  7. How do FOSS and HFOSS differ?
  8. Provide a response to the author’s stance that HFOSS “can increase engagement, provide a purpose for learning.” Do you agree or disagree? Please provide a compelling argument as to why you agree or disagree.


The document containing the answers to the questions.


How will the activity be graded?

How will learning will be measured? Ideally, there should be a way to measure each of the objectives described above.

How will feedback to the student be determined?

Include sample assessment questions/rubrics. Feel free to indicate that the activity itself is not graded, however it would be helpful to include any questions that might be used at a later date to interpret learning, for example on a quiz or exam.

The form of the assessment is expected to vary by assignment. One possible format is the table:

Criteria Level 1 (fail) Level 2 (pass) Level 3 (good) Level 4 (exceptional)
Criterion 1...
Criterion 2...


What should the instructor know before using this activity?

What are some likely difficulties that an instructor may encounter using this activity?

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 in Appendix A - The Body of Knowledge (page 58) - https://www.acm.org/education/CS2013-final-report.pdf
Level of Difficulty Easy
Estimated Time to Completion How long should it take for the student to complete the activity?
Materials/Environment What does the student need? Internet access, IRC client, Git Hub account, LINUX machine, etc.?
Author(s) Who wrote this activity?
Source Is there another activity on which this activity is based? If so, please provide a link to the original resource.
License Under which license is this material made available? (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/)

Suggestions for Open Source Community:

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


Feedback to the author(s) of the activity regarding usage or suggestions for enhancements can be included via the Discussion tab (upper left of the page).

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

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