Free and open source software (FOSS) is created by individuals and organizations that make the resulting software freely available for anyone to use, study, modify, or re-distribute. FOSS has become a major part of the software industry and is producing many world-class products. Among these products are Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software products (HFOSS) that create social benefit in areas such as disaster relief, economic development, and health care.
Experience with undergraduate participation in HFOSS demonstrates a potential to motivate students, create excellent learning opportunities, and attract and retain female students in computing disciplines. However, many instructors need professional development and a supporting community to bring HFOSS into their classes. The Open Source Faculty Expertise (OpenFE) project is expanding the community of faculty with expertise in HFOSS and is also creating, organizing, and evaluating learning materials needed to integrate HFOSS into computing curricula in diverse settings including community colleges.
OpenFE is building on prior NSF-funded work to reach a larger and more diverse student population. Group informatics is being tested as an approach for creating and supporting instructor learning groups. OpenFE is also incorporating FOSS community learning strategies such as Legitimate Peripheral Participation to create an innovative application of professional learning strategies to undergraduate computing education.
OpenFE is a collaborative project involving Drexel University, Western New England University and Nassau Community College.